Tien Court's a bit of a hidden gem. Although it's been around for the past 20 over years and garnered a number of dining awards, it's still relatively unknown to the masses. This is the kind of place that is frequented only by regulars, usually the old(er) tai tai types with their stereotypical big big BIG hair and their Chinese towkay husbands.
Service here is amazingly professional and discreet, yet warm and attentive. From the moment we stepped into the antique-filled restaurant, we were attended to with such warmth and dedication. Soft instrumental Teresa Teng classics floated through the air. Although I'm not a fan of such songs, the music was never intrusive or annoying.
The food's a mix of Cantonese and Sichuan classics, with prices in the same range as the Imperial Treasure Nan Bei group of restaurants. Apart from the pricey appetizers and drinks, the price points of this restaurant are really much lower than what you'd expect of such a fine dining establishment.
We started off with the Crispy Fried Chicken Marinated with Fuzhou Rice Wine ($16), which was amazingly full-flavoured. This had obviously been marinated really well, the flavours of the sweet rice wine and Chinese five-spice had infused every single protein strand of the chicken, making it bold, tender and moist.
The Braised Beancurd with Crab Meat and Crab Roe ($16) was also very yummy. The thick, eggy, luscious gravy balanced out the plain beancurd. If I had one gripe about the beancurd, it was that it was a little water-logged.
The Stir Fried French Beans with Minced Meat ($14) was another hit. Tien Court uses the skinny baby French beans type, much like Zi Yean. This was so well done, the heat of the wok had imparted a smokiness to the vegetable. The minced pork was also nicely caramelised.
I love their soups here. The Braised Assorted Seafood with Winter Melon Soup ($8) was full-flavoured yet delicate, thick yet light.
The Braised Assorted Seafood with Beancurd Soup ($8) is equally thick but slightly more muted than the aforementioned soup. I love the plentiful ingredients.
The XO Chilli Sauce ($3) was well worth the $3 price tag. It tasted exactly like Grans' Hae Bee Hiam (Fried Spicy Dried Shrimp)! Gran used to whip up a batch of freshly fried Hae Bee Hiam and I would scoop a dollop of the aromatic warm sambal atop freshly sliced chilled cucumber. It was spicy and refreshing at the same time. I loved it. And I loved this. Even if it was quite pricey.
The Braised Peanuts Appetizer ($3.50) wasn't braised long enough. The peanuts weren't soft enough and the soy flavours of the braising liquid hadn't seeped into the peanuts yet.
Tien Court Restaurant
Copthorne King's Hotel
403 Havelock Road
Tel: 6318 3193
Lunch from 12noon to 2.30pm
Dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm