Saturday, October 16, 2010

East Ocean Teochew Restaurant, Shaw Centre

Have been wanting to take a look at this place (1 Scotts Road, #02-18 Shaw Centre, tel : +65 6235 9088) for the longest time now, but it seemed that this restaurant was one of those places that became out of mind when out of sight. This visit actually happened because we were in the vicinity and were actually making our way past Shaw Centre when we saw it and decided that it was time to give them a try.

East Ocean charges a small sum for a package of amenities that the restaurant provides. It includes as I remember some Chinese tea served in little Chinese tea cups, wet paper napkins, pickles that you get when the table is laid and even condiments. So if you should opt out of any of those items because you felt that it wasn't necessary to pay for them, you don't get them all.

We started off with an order of fried cuttlefish tentacles which was really, the largest assed ones which I've ever eaten. Figuratively of course. For appetizers, they came in pretty large portions as well. Fortunately, these cuttlefish tentacles were pretty good with a nice crispy flavored batter which weren't overly greasy. I had a little unfounded fear that all that batter might have upset the rest of my appetite for dinner, but it didn't turn out that way after all.

There seemed to be some seasonal hairy crab promotion that they were having so we decided to try their hairy crab roe and meat xiao long bao for the heck of it. Turns out that these larger than usual dumplings were pretty good. Even though they were slightly less "juicy" than the regular variety, the larger size and the yellowish roe stained juices in it with crabby flavors made up for it.

We picked out the pork ribs in strawberry sauce because it sounded interesting. Fortunately, it didn't taste quite the same as the ribs I had in Wan Hao some years back. The flavors of the fruit in the sauce was noticeable, but was unfortunately contested by the marinate in the meat of the ribs. To be fair, this wasn't a gimmicky dish. It just didn't quite balance out in the flavors unless one ate them with the strawberry slices they used for decoration.

Another item which caught our attention from the seasonal crab menu was their braised noodles with hairy crab roe and meat. It looked frankly, a little disappointing in comparison with that creamy luscious sauce that we saw on the picture of the menu. In truth, this was pretty good stuff in spite of appearances. The sauce was of finely minced crab flesh blended with a rich flavor of the roe. It was also however, pretty small in portions and I wished there was more of it. Even the noodles had a good chewy texture.

We hit the fried rice with goose liver since the regular fried rice costs merely 3 dollars less and it really didn't make much sense ordering that. This wasn't too bad if a little greasy. I'm sure I've had better, but I wouldn't really knock this one off since it was honestly not mediocre, being nicely textured with various bits of chopped vegetables, sausages and goose liver.

This was some sort of red bean kueh that was complimentary. It seems that there would be some complimentary dessert item served around the tables at the end of meals and what you got depended on what they had at the time you were getting it. It appeared to be a regular kueh, but I couldn't taste any traces of coconut and this stuff was very loaded with red beans. It tasted kinda good in small servings actually.

I remember a time as a child doing meals with my parents in Chinese restaurants and we would invariably end up ordering mango puddings for dessert. We used to know which places had puddings with mango cubes in them and which ones didn't or didn't have any flavors in the pudding itself. I haven't been ordering this dessert for quite a long while and this one was okay if not overly impressive. There were real mango cubes in them, but the flavors in the pudding were a tad subdued.

This was hashima in almond and coconut. Pretty good warm dessert which wasn't excessively sweet. We realised that the almond soup within thickened quite a bit after we had scraped the flesh off the insides of the young coconut, becoming more viscous.

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