This is why we're really indulging in ourselves, watching all the TV we like, waking up as late as we do and taking all the naps we want, while we still can.
Lei Garden remains one of our top choices for a scrumptious dim sum brunch, and to our surprise, despite the last minute reservations, there was available seating. We love it here. For a fine-dining restaurant, it sure doesn't feel like the typical fine-dining restaurant. It's bustling but affable, warm but elegant, noisy yet refined, casual but stately. Diners may be in their dressed down sandals and berms, but the detailing of their Audemars Piguet and Birkins are tell-tale signs of the well-heeled clientele here.
We started off with the ubiquitous Siew Mai ($4.30), which, in the Fiance's opinion, is the best around. It's bouncy, juicy and utterly delicious.
The Crispy Silver Needle Fish ($7) is nicely battered, fried to a crisp without being oily. This was controlled and addictively tasty without being salty.
The Braised Vegetarian & Beancurd in Thick Soup ($8) had a plain, grassy, palate-cleansing taste. Nice but not really my thing.
We both loved the Crabmeat Congee ($10.80), there were huge chunks of freshly shredded crabmeat tossed into the porridge mix. This was rich yet delicate, with the sweet essence of crab stock stirred right into the congee.
Deep fried dough fritters accompany the congee as a textured and flavoursome topping in the roe-infused smooth rice gruel. This is so not the dish for heart patients.
The Chicken and Mushroom Dumpling ($4.30) was unfortunately laced liberally with waaaay too much coriander. I would not have ordered this if I knew there were coriander leaves in this dish, but obviously, I couldn't tell from the description of the item from the menu. I couldn't stomach this, and the Fiance tried his best to stomach even one. Naturally, this wasn't finished.
The Grilled Cod in Japanese Style ($9.80) was oily, flaky, moist and soft. You can detect a slight whiff of aromatic coffee in this dish, as they'd added the fragrant beverage into the marinade of this delightful dish.
I liked the Steamed Rice Roll with Prawns ($4.80) more than the Fiance did. The skin is more chewy than other versions, so you get a nice bite out of the thin rice roll.
A word of caution if you're ordering iced tap water, it costs a hefty $2 per person, refillable of course. I suppose it's to detract diners from being cheapskates. I suggest you order the Chinese tea instead, it's probably more worth the price-tag.
Chijmes Lei Garden Restaurant
30 Victoria Street
Tel: 6339 3822
Open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch and from 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner