Saturday, January 28, 2006

Gastroliterary 32: Asian iv, Lei Garden

8 Jan 2006
With Chinese New Year approaching, time has arrived to introduce Lei Garden. Located in downtown Orchard, Lei Garden has a location far off the upbeat crowded streets. But this restaurant was filled with many customers, including foreign blood who prefer to dine Chinese food in al fresco style.

Food: 8
The general impression of the food was pretty good; some innovative combination of ingredients, yet skills of the chef was well presented, with most dishes having balanced taste. Unlike most Chinese restaurant, this place have a heart for providing healthier food for their customers in hope that even they would live long enough to celebrate their grand 60th birthday here.

However, the first dish which was Peking duck, the skin was greased with unhealthy juices. But the taste was great, especially with contrast with the spring onion. This is one of those rare moments where the health has got to be conpromised for the taste; worthy of taking the risk.

Prawns in steam egg had got to the impression for the day. The prawns were overcooked but the main focus is the egg. It melts in mouth while oozing out Chinese wine fragrance. Having such unique taste, there were questions about what egg or what secret recipe the chefs.

Very surprisingly, the noodle dish which was the finale before dessert, was really wonderful. It was supposed to fill the customers up and make sure that their stomach feel satisfied with before they leave, and that having leftovers is the common situation. This, however, under the skilful chef has got to change and their secret weapon-taste.

Service: 8
Service was quite attentive, with careful distribution of food by the waitresses. Clean plates were changed with every change of course. However, unlike some other Chinese restaurants, this place has an additional charge for their service. Even after the customers foot the bill and are leaving, they still have great and polite attitude.

Ambience: 7.5
Chic Chinese setting, with live seafood and dry food on public display. The door to the toilets is another catch of the day.

Overall: 8
This place has the potential of being really expensive. The luxurious giant crab from Australia cost well over $600 for a 2kg piece. There are also abalone, bird nest, of exceptional quality and of really special prices. Being conservative and with some alertness in ordering food, helps in countering the shock when the bill arrives. Their simpler fare, if one is not so well-to-do, is certainly most unbeatable for Chinese restaurants around. Total dinner package costing $330 for 9 people is quite worth the effort of being there. This is certainly an agreeable place for a Chinese New Year dinner.


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