This was quite an unplanned visit. We met M&J for dinner, and since baby E came along, we had to go somewhere relatively kid-friendly, and still close by to M&J’s place. Our plans to go to either Hanabi or En Japanese Dining Bar in the Crown Centre area were thwarted when both places looked packed and we couldn’t find any parking in the immediate vicinity. We were driving around aimlessly trying to come up with ideas when I suddenly thought of Westlake, since it was the closest thing around.
This place is another blast from the past for me. I used to have weekend family dinners here quite often when I was young, then somehow we stopped going; I’m not sure whether it was because other joints took our fancy, or the standard dropped/prices rose. We’ve been back a few times over the years, and I even brought A a couple of times, but nowhere near the frequency of old.
Westlake’s specialty is their Kong Bak Pau – a deliciously sinful dish of braised pork belly slices that you eat sandwiched between a steamed man tou. This is probably their most popular dish, and they’ve even taken to setting up kiosks at mall atriums occasionally, just selling this dish. In fact, they may actually have a permanent stall in the Tangs basement food hall. This dish is quite a no-brainer – juicy pork belly in a sweet-savoury sauce, eaten with a soft fluffy bun. Can’t really go wrong.
This was my first time ordering the deep fried squid, and I’m very impressed. Instead of calamari rings, these were baby squid, lightly battered and deep fried. It was extremely addictive, although the dipping sauce that came with it was a nasty lemon sauce, the kind you get with lemon chicken (ick). Eaten without the sauce, though, this is a great dish.
We also ordered the kung pao chicken, and long beans with sambal. The kung pao chicken was nothing spectacular – a little too sweet and not sour nor spicy enough. The long beans fared a bit better, although I would have preferred them with spicy minced pork rather than the hay bee hiam that they used.
All in all, I guess the food here isn’t bad, with some winners and some more ordinary dishes. It’s certainly a useful alternative when you need something in the vicinity, but for similar high-end zi char, I’d still rather go to Manhill, Romanee’s or Arcadia restaurant.
Blast from the past is right. Food quality is still pretty good. Parking is pretty easy with the HDB car park on the ground floor (No Free Parking at any time as I discovered after walking all the way to the entrance to find the notice board).
The only problem I can see is the lack of elevators for old people and baby prams. Considering it’s primarily a family gathering kind of place, the big flight of stairs doesn’t make it very accessible.
Block 4, Queen’s Road