The Hubs and I generally don't plan our meals in advance. Most of the time, we let our stomachs decide, barely 15 minutes before we eventually arrive at the restaurant of choice. That's why we're not in the habit of making reservations. There's just not enough time to place one! Usually, our spontaneity (and lack of planning) isn't a problem, because it's just the 2 of us, and most restaurants (even if packed) are able to accommodate just another 2 persons without much fuss. Not this weekend at Long Beach though.
Trying to get to Long Beach's salted egg yolk crabs turned out to be an hour-long hunt of those elusive crabs. Our usual haunt, the Long Beach King outlet at Kallang had shockingly run out of Sri Lanka mud crabs. At 8.15 pm, no less! So, we called the main branch at East Coast Park, and were told that the waiting time for just 2 persons was over an hour. Even takeaways attracted a waiting time of at least an hour because the dine-in patrons took priority. As a last resort, we called the one down the road, at East Coast Seafood Centre, and we finally got a table.
Thing is, we don't particularly like the seafood restaurants at East Coast Seafood Centre. They're very much like production-line factories, soulless, faceless and lacking in any warmth or character. I'm referring to both the food and service. Worst of all, I've found that the quality of the food at these touristy seafood restaurants are generally a notch below their flagship branches. Notwithstanding my personal reservations, after that hour-long hunt for salted egg yolk crabs, we were defeated, famished and just grateful for a open table.
The Crabmeat Fish Maw Thick Soup ($20) was overtly starchy; there were globs of cornstarch balls laced among the slices of mushroom, julienned black fungus and bamboo shoots and miserly chunks of crabmeat. The shredded crabmeat was fresh out of the shell, but the fish maw wasn't prepared well. It wasn't braised thoroughly, there were raw tasteless bits. The golden-hued one at Long Beach King well surpassed this mediocre version.
The deceptively plain-Jane Enoki & Baby White Cabbage ($14) was a nice surprise, and possibly the only dish of some standard. The broth, once it'd lost its starchiness, boasted a mellow roasted garlicky element that was beautifully complemented by the delicate oyster sauce base.
The Salted Egg Yolk Crabs ($110 for 1.7kg), despite its grand plating, didn't quite measure up to its counterpart at the Long Beach King outlet. The crab was fresh and flesh sweet, but the salted egg yolk coating was just too one-dimensional, without the lively spice of the fried curry leaves at the Kallang King outlet.
Long Beach Seafood Restaurant UDMC
#01-04 East Coast Seafood Centre
1202 East Coast Parkway
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 2pm to 12.15am;
Fridays from 1.30pm to 12.15am;
Saturdays from 11.30am to 1.15am;
Sundays and PH from 11.30am to 12.15am