When it comes to birthdays of the people in my team, we prefer to celebrate our turning a year older with a good meal at a nice restaurant. We're not really in the habit of buying each other gifts or birthday cakes (and then singing the obligatory birthday song, in the office). We usually head to some place for an intimate get-together and talk all through a huge dinner. For my birthday this year, I'd been craving steamed fish all week, and so we headed to Tung Lok Signatures. We've got the Palate Card, which offers a substantial discount at all Tung Lok restaurants, and this fairly elegant and downtempo restaurant offers a variety of fresh seafood.
My favourite fish, when it comes to steamed fish, has gotta be marble goby, also known as soon hock. The fact that the marble goby spends its adolesence in the sea ensures it doesn't have the muddy taste of freshwater fishes, and because it spends its adult life in the rivers and streams, the cost is kept a bit low(er) and flesh softer. The Steamed Soon Hock ($9 per 100g) was incredibly fresh, so it tasted clear and mild, with a soft, moist, flaky texture. A pool of delicate balanced light soy and crisp refreshing green onions lent flavour.
We liked how mild and light the Poached Spinach with Bamboo Pith in Pumpkin Stock ($22) was. The pumpkin-and-wolfberries-sweetened broth was muted and delicate, while the spongy texture of the bamboo pith soaked up the delicious broth.
The best part about the Sauteed Scallops topped with Crabmeat and Roe ($44) was the luscious eggy and starchy crab meat and roe infused gravy. The scallops, encased in a thin batter and deep fried, managed to stay moist and cooked just right.
The Sauteed Beef Cubes with Wild Fungus in Black Pepper Sauce ($28) was very tender and hearty, with just a hint of pepper to flavour but not overwhelm. Diced button mushrooms and fried cruellers completed the heady dish.
The Century Egg with Pickled Ginger ($8) was a disappointment though. What should have been a classic Cantonese staple just tasted off, the century eggs had an uncharacteristically sourish tinge.
The Chilled Mango Cream ($5) with pomelo, diced mangoes and sago, was very refreshing, a great end to the meal with its tangy but sweet accents.
Tung Lok Signatures
The Central #02-88
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
Tel: 6336 6022
Lunch: 11.30am to 3.00pm (Mon to Sat); 11.00am to 3.30pm (Sun & PHs)
Dinner: 6.00pm to 10.30pm (Daily)