This is the first time I've been back to Wah Lok since the venerable Cantonese fine dining institution underwent a facelift a year ago. The restaurant looks spiffier and refreshed, sporting a modern sheen while still retaining its chinoiserie sensibilities.
A favourite with fussy grandmother types and Asian businessmen, I love that the restaurant, while elegant and luxurious, boasts a pleasantly down-to-earth ambience. You'd think a place like this would be stuffy, but it so isn't. It's got this familiar, comforting, welcoming feel to it that's so nice. This downtempo feel can probably be attributed to the long-time wait staff, who are so genuinely warm.
A signature here, the Roasted Crispy Chicken ($20 for half) should only be regretfully missed. Beautifully browned and crisp skin and juicy meat so thoroughly marinated even the breast meat didn't need any of the obligatory accompanying salt. This was delicious even after it'd gone cold when I doggy-bagged this home for the Hubs.
The Stewed Beancurd with Mushrooms ($16) was homestyled simplicity at its most exquisite, with baby soft beancurd seared an appetizing brown, plump fleshy Chinese black mushrooms, and wilted spinach slathered in a luscious oyster sauce gravy.
The Fried Hor Fan with Shrimps and Scrambled Eggs ($24) is something even picky kids would love, mostly because of that velvety eggy gravy and silky smooth thin strips of flat rice noodles that went down like a dream. I would have loved this even without the gargantuan prawns, which were bouncy and sweet.
Another item that I love here is the Thick Soup with Crabmeat and, Beancurd and Sweet Corn ($10), something that I've loved since young and still do. Here, unbelievably fresh crabmeat is generously laced with sweet corn, plain beancurd and egg drops. Very light, very delicate.
The Appetizer ($4) of fishcake tofu, green beans and peppers served to perk up our tastebuds and quieten our rumbling tummies.
Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant
76 Bras Basah Road
Carlton Hotel Level 2
Tel: 6311 8188
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch; 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Sundays and PHs from 11am to 2.30pm for lunch; 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner