Friday, February 05, 2010

Cafe de Hong Kong, Balestier Road

The name Cafe de Hong Kong (586 Balestier Road, #01-01 Eastpac Building, tel : +65 6255 3865) seemed something of a misnomer as I had the impression that it was just one of the numerous Hong Kong cafe places. A friend who had eaten there on a couple of occasions before made mention of the place to me and shed some light on what I had been missing about that place. Apparently, it was not just another one of the char chan teng. This particular restaurant had a spread of offerings on menu that was much larger. Dinner plans were then drawn.

We were informed that the roast chicken had to be pre-ordered and I thought that it was quite unusual for such a common dish need that. It was ok. To me, if felt like a competently done roast chicken with thin crispy skin that was devoid of fat. Pretty enjoyable but not exceptional. There was an accompanying sauce that was made with fermented beancurd. Didn't really do anything to enhance the flavour of the tender bird. In fact, it robbed the chicken of it's aromas.

One of the highlights of the dinner which also require pre-order was their lup mei fan. These were waxed meats cooked in claypot rice and are usually seen during the Chinese New Year festive seasons. I don't know if one could get them in any other times of the year since I haven't had these very often. The waxed meats were apparently prepared by a chef from Hong Kong who had flown over to do them for this season. The lup cheong, liver lup cheong, pork belly and duck were pretty good. Greasy in a nice way, paired with the beady grains of claypot cooked rice that was pretty well done. Exceptionally tasty eaten with the very good chilli which they had provided.

What caught my eye from the menu was their braised crocodile paw. Not something that one gets to see often in restaurants here. This was essentially a stewed dish of a whole crocodile paw with strips of pork belly and some vegetables. I am guessing that some effort had been made for the cooking process which ended up with a rich tasting broth that was slick with collagen that our lips remained sticky after they were wiped clean by paper napkins. The meat tasted so much like chicken that I would not be able to tell if I had to identify it. The skin was soft and textured like sea cucumber. I was pretty impressed by the flavour.

Their French toast was an ad hoc decision after we were told that it was good. For the record, this was probably the best Chinese French toast that I've had. Despite the greasy appearances, the fried exterior was crispy and the bread was light to the point that I could simply stick a butter knife going right through smoothly without a fork. The rest of what made it good was accomplished by the drizzle of honey, butter and the fillings of the creamy peanut butter in the middle of the bread. 

This was one of the dinners that had turned out much better than I had anticipated. Would look forward to returning again some time to try something else. Thanks Alice, for the arrangements and introduction.

1 comment:

red fir said...

Oh my that looks like crocodile claws! Exotic enough (for me) lol.