The Lunar New Year is officially over...yay! While I love the Chinese New Year festivities, it's been quite a pain dining at Chinese restaurants. It was a nightmare scoring reservations at any reputable restaurant. Then, if you were lucky enough to get a table, there was no ala carte menu. Most, if not all, of the in-house hotel Chinese restaurants only allowed for set menus, and every single set menu featured stuff I totally hate/dislike/not-a-fan-of, like yusheng or dried oysters or poultry feet or nian gao...you get the idea. On top of that, restaurants were all operating on a close-to-full capacity and so, service was often choppy and harried.
It's a completely different scenario after the "chap goh meh", aka the Chinese Valentine's Day, aka the end of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebrations. We managed to enjoy a quiet, peaceful dinner at Tien Court, one of our favourite hideaway restaurants.
Today however, turned out to be a disappointing dinner. All of our dishes were sub-par, and plainly unimpressive. Maybe the chef was having an "off-day".
The Sauteed Fillet of Garoupa with Honey Peas ($22) couldn't compare to Tung Lok Signatures' version. The fish was a wee bit powdery and while I like my dishes delicate, the seasoning in this was a bit too light.
We ordered double portions of the Pan-fried US Pork Chop ($13), one done Chinese-style, a blend of tomato ketchup, hoisin sauce and oyster sauce. The pork chop was a too dry and lacking in juices. And the sauce was really something a novice home chef could have whipped up.
The other portion of the Pan-fried US Pork Chop ($13) was accompanied by a black pepper sauce, and because the sauce wasn't slathered over this, it was even more glaringly obvious that the pork was dry. We needed a lot of gravy to get through this.
The Braised Bamboo Pith ($15) with beancurd sheets and baby cabbage was also lacking in flavour, despite the prevalence of sweet wolfberries.
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