Friday, April 13, 2007

Romanee’s Kitchen

C says:

Another Lao Pa Sat discovery. Y introduced this place to me when we had lunch one day, and I was pretty impressed with the quality of the food, and also genuinely bemused that a proper air-conditioned Chinese restaurant can actually exist within Lao Pa Sat. Situated at one corner of Lao Pa Sat, diagonally opposite the soon-to-be-built posh One Shenton development, it’s quite incongruous with the rest of the stalls as well as the satay vendors that pop up in the evenings right next door.

My first impression of the place was that it was a lower-end My Choice - it also tries to introduce wine pairings into Chinese cuisine, and there are even wine books on the shelves and a wine fridge in the corner. I guess that’s no surprise, given that the owner, Ms Romanee Lee, used to be a wine retailer, and has devised a wine-pairing menu for some of the dishes. When we were there for dinner on Friday, there was a table of about ten who were making their way through about eight bottles of wine.

Being rather unadventurous, the dishes we ordered at dinner were mainly repeats of what I had at lunch with W and Y. We ordered the deep fried eggplant with chicken floss, the deep fried pork chop with salt and pepper, and the sautéed string beans with minced pork and chilli.

The eggplant was very interesting, and certainly the first time I’ve had eggplant prepared this way. The eggplant was cut into batons, like French fries, coated with a spiced salt and deep fried, so that the outside was crispy and the inside was soft. It was then topped with lots of chicken floss, and fried chilli and spring onions. The eggplant really did taste like French fries too; I thought this was a very good appetiser dish.

The deep fried pork chop with salt and pepper was loaded with deep fried garlic chips. In fact, the garlic should at least have been mentioned in the name of the dish, because there was a lot more garlic than there was salt and pepper. The pork itself was quite tender, but while the garlic chips certainly packed a punch, I think they overdid it a little bit. After a while the garlic kept getting stuck in our teeth, and it became way too much of a good thing.

The beans with minced pork were pretty good – the beans were tender and crisp, and the sauce was very conducive to steaming white rice.

A quick mention of a few of the other dishes I had at lunch the other day – the squid with salted egg fell short of the one from My Choice, but the beef brisket in claypot was awesome. I actually think it was better than the one at Manhill, because the sauce was delightfully sticky, the meat and tendon pieces were stewed until they were meltingly soft, and there were nice pieces of radish in there as well. Unfortunately I’m still working on A liking beef brisket, so we couldn’t order this dish on Friday. Otherwise, hot white rice and the beef brisket and I’m a happy girl.

Apparently this place does a good stewed beef rib, as well as crab bee hoon. I’m not sure when I’ll ever get to try these, but I’ll keep them in mind anyway.

I would have given this place an unconditional rave review, if not for the fact that I was inordinately thirsty when I got home on Friday. I’m not sure if it was the garlic overload, the salt from the eggplant and pork chop, or whether they use MSG, but I had to glug loads of water all night, which was quite uncharacteristic of camel-like me. Still, that aside I am still impressed with this place and would like to go back one day to try some of the other dishes. Oh yes, and the beef brisket again.

A says:

The eggplant fries dish was really interesting but a bit inconsistent. Some fries would be salty on their own, but some were flavourless and needed the pork floss to give them a good kick.

With decent food, very good service and a nice air-con environment, I’d rate this place as worth considering if you’re in the area, but definitely not worth going out of your way to try.

Romanee’s Kitchen
18 Raffles Quay
Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, Unit 38
Tel: 6222-5138
Daily: 11.30 am to 3 pm (Lunch); 6 pm to 11 pm (Dinner)

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