We dragged W and M to Pudong for lunch today, after finding out that W used to frequent the place (albeit quite a while ago) with her folks. Turns out that the dishes that caught our eye from a neighbouring table during our last visit are actually some of the house specials – the stir fried eel, and the edamame with preserved vegetables.
Apart from a few slightly bony pieces, I really liked the eel. It reminded me of the claypot eel dishes I used to have during my childhood, at old school restaurants like the one at the old Hotel Equatorial. The one at Pudong isn’t served in a claypot and is lighter on the garlic, but that suits me fine. The eel wasn’t fishy at all, and the whole dish just had a very simple yet umami feel to it.
I was slightly disappointed with the edamame dish, because originally it’s supposed to come with bean curd skin “tagliatelle”. Instead, I think they were out of bean curd skin so they served the dish with konnyaku tagliatelle instead. Flavours were still good but the chewy texture of the konnyaku threw me off slightly.
We ordered the lion’s head, which essentially is meat balls with stewed cabbage. The dish is so named because it’s traditionally served as one big meat ball, surrounded by the stewed cabbage, hence giving the appearance of a lion’s head complete with a huge mane. It deviates from the norm somewhat here, with a few smaller meat balls mixed together with the cabbage. This was quite good but I found it a little too sweet. I would have preferred it slightly more savoury.
We had to have the xiao long bao and the guo tie, and at the last minute we also ordered the scallion pancake, which was one of the best dishes of the day (after the eel...). The pancake was crisp and not oily, nor did it overwhelm with too much spring onion.
Overall, while I wasn’t disappointed, I can’t say that I was especially impressed. Plus service wasn’t exactly stellar and some of the dishes took absolutely ages to arrive. More importantly, I think it’s going to be an uphill task trying to convince A to come back.
It’s ok, but still quite expensive, and I’m not sure if it’s really a destination restaurant. Maybe if we feel like some “Chai-neese” after work, but that’s about it.
271 Bukit Timah Road
#B1-02 Balmoral Plaza
Daily: 11 am to 2.30 pm; 5.30 pm to 9.30 pm