This is the first time we've been to Lei Garden since Chijmes underwent major renovations. While the carpark still smells like pee, especially the area closest to the lifts, it's definitely less noticeable.
The outstanding Braised Beef with Homemade Sauce ($8) was chopstick-tender, highlighted by that mellow oyster sauce-based gravy. I particularly loved the daikon, braised till denture-soft.
The Deepfried Mushroom with Beancurd Skin ($6) was one of those addictive dishes that you can't stop at just one. The moist strips shitake crisps were blanketed in crisp beancurd skin and enlivened with the delicate spice of fried curry leaves.
A staple here, the Crisp Fried Silver Fish ($7) was toothsome and tasty.
The roasted meats here are a must-try, and the Barbecued Honey Pork ($16), meltingly tender and moist, was brushed with a beautiful honeyed marinade that complemented its smoky accents.
The Roasted Pork ($16.80), with its perfect ratio of cracking skin, decadent fat slivers and meaty layers, never disappoints here.
A seasonal dish, the Beef Porridge ($10.80) wasn't quite well-received. The beef, while tender, was very full-bodied; a jarring contrast against the delicate rice gruel.
We much preferred our usual order of Rainbow Egg with Shredded Pork Porridge ($4.80), light, smooth, and so comforting in the current rainy weather.
The Steamed Rice Roll with Shrimp ($5.20), also a mainstay, was stuffed generously with sparkling fresh prawns.
Another seasonal option, the Steamed Crystal Dumpling ($4.80) with hairy melon, mushrooms and pork was light, clear and flavoursome. Too bad it was laced with coriander bits.
Ditto for the Steamed Dumpling with Chicken & Mushroom ($4.80), although this consisted the added whammy of diced celery.
The fluffy, airy Steamed Buns with Barbecued Pork ($4.80), yet another must-try with its perfect balance between the plain bun and the sweet pork, was superb as well.
Lei Garden does the best rendition of Steamed Custard Buns with Salted Egg Yolk ($4.30), primarily because of that sweet chocolate swirl.
No dim sum is ever complete without the ubiquitous duo of har gow and siew mai. Here at Lei Garden, the Steamed Pork Dumpling ($4.80) with mushrooms is impossibly fresh, with a delightful bouncy texture and delectably juicy.
The Steamed Shrimp Dumpling ($5.20) was outstanding as well, thin chewy translucent skin enveloping a whole fresh prawn.
Chijmes Lei Garden Restaurant
30 Victoria Street
Tel: 6339 3822
Open daily from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch and from 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner