Thursday, April 12, 2007
Lei Garden, CHIJMES
I must have walked by this place at least a million times before (30 Victoria Street #01-24, 6339-3822). And yet I never went in, mainly because it looked like a typical Cantonese restaurant with a huge open dining room and big tanks of seafood (I'd gotten plenty of it back in California, where most Chinese restaurants were Cantonese). Tonight, it wasn't my choice to come here, but I'm glad that we did.
While many of the items were still standard Cantonese fare, such as a steamed fish sitting in a hot oil and soy sauce seasoning, there were a few things that really got me excited...most notably a cubed roast pork thing with one of the crispiest skins ever while still preserving a perfectly tender meat inside. A Chinese mustard was provided with it, which also struck me as a bit odd at first, but provided a perfect contrast to the pork itself. Normally I think of the Germans for great pork, but this is one that really got me going. Apparently these guys are known for this dish.
There were a few other items that worked well for me, including the Peking Duck, which was also meticulously crispy (despite being in a Cantonese restaurant) as well as a crabmeat casserole thing sitting in some bird's nest-like shell/pastry (sorry, I don't know the official names). These were all enough for me to realize that these guys clearly were beyond the Cantonese places that I had become accustomed to, and I liked it.
Still, not all was perfect. The service was quite slow, and some of the other items like fried rice and veggies were a bit of a bore. The bamboo clam was also done with too much garlic in my opinion. But in the end, this place fared far better than I was expecting, and I'd come back again just for that pork.
Digested at 9:52 PM
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