Lei Garden, a famed and much-lauded chain of Cantonese restaurants hailing from Hongkong has 2 Singapore outposts, the "original one" along Orchard Road, and the "pretty one" at Chijmes. While there are an equal number of loyalists who swear by each outlet for a variety of reasons ranging from service to food and ambience, I didn't feel that there was a discernible difference in service and food between the 2 branches. Having dined at both restaurants several times, the only material difference (to me, at least) is that the Orchard location offers free valet parking.
I had my regular Saturday lunch date with Ernie here at the Orchard outlet. We're making the most of whatever free time he's got in Singapore before he heads back to Hongkong to start a new job in April.
We started off with a plate of Crispy Silver Needle Fish ($7), with a deliciously thin batter coating the crunchy fish.
We shared a portion of the Rainbow Egg and Shredded Pork Porridge ($4.80). Ernie ate the century eggs and I ate the rest. Very lightly grainy but thick and gruel-like, this was both delicate and rich in flavour.
The Fried Beancurd Roll with Mushroom ($4.80) was unfortunately, laced with coriander. It took me quite a bit of time to pick out the coriander on half of one piece. This was very thin, almost flat, with just a slice of Chinese black mushroom and some mince stuffed into it. Very crisp and light.
I liked the Pan-fried Dumpling with Chive, Dried Shrimp and Minced Chicken ($4.80) very much, with a thick chewy skin enveloped around the mince, and chives lending freshness to this fried dish.
The Steamed BBQ Honey Pork Bun ($4.30) were very commendable, soft and moist and fluffy.
With lots of sweet and smoky diced marinated sticky pork cubes stuffed into the buns.
We also liked the Steamed Cheong Fun with Fresh Shrimp Filling ($5.20). Skin was chewy and prawns were sweet and crunchy.
Lei Garden Restaurant
321 Orchard Road
#03-00 Orchard Shopping Centre
Tel: 6734 3988
Open daily from 11.30am to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 11pm for dinner