Tung Lok Xihe Restaurant, The Grandstand

Now that all of our favourite tv shows are on hiatus, we find ourselves going out A LOT. Instead of bagging dinner home to veg out in front of the telly, we actually get out, dine out, date each other, date our friends.

So I haven't seen Lips in a while (our monthly girls' night out having lapsed due to life's constrains), and we thought we'd do a double date with our husbands in tow. And we thought we'd go to their neck of the woods, away from town where it's nauseatingly congested, for dinner. So she'd suggested Tung Lok Xihe at The Grandstand, a frequent haunt of hers.

Tung Lok Xihe Restaurant is the peking duck specialist under the Tung Lok empire, and I think their Xihe concept is on par with the Imperial Treasure Group's Super Peking Duck entity. The Tung Lok empire restaurants may be less illustrious than the regularly celebrated Imperial Treasure Group, but I like their consistent reliability in churning out good solid food. Aside from the fantastic peking duck, the rest of the dishes we ordered that night were delightful as well.

A special note must be made of the flawless service, which was attentive and efficient and smiley throughout. But what most impressed us was that the staff didn't try to shoo us away even though it was 11pm before we realised the restaurant was closed. We'd stayed 30 minutes past its closing time of 10.30pm, and the staff were still around to refill our water. In fact, they'd actually told us not to rush, and to "eat slowly". I mean, that's seriously obliging service.

Using the famed Silver Hill ducks from Ireland, the Peking Duck ($66) at Tung Lok was faultless. Meats were carved and sectioned to the premium skin-only, breast meat, and thigh portions for easy picking. I particularly liked the Beijing-style accompaniments: candied pop rocks, leek, mustard, julienned cucumbers, sweet hoisin-based sauce and blueberry sauce.

So apparently, the skin (left) pairs best with the pop rocks and blueberry sauce. The lean breast (middle) goes better with the mustard, while the fat-lined thigh meat (right) goes well with the standard leek, cucumber, sweet sauce swaddled in a flour crepe.

The table-side carving, which we completely ignored as we were busy yakking away.

The rest of the duck, we opted to have the kitchen do a fry-up with Salt & Pepper ($12) and lashings of golden garlic, which was scrumptious.

The Deep Fried Salmon Skin ($10) burnished with salted egg yolk and spiked with the subtle heat of crispy curry leaves, was like crack. If crack was legal. So.Freaking.Addictive.

The Wok-Fried French Beans ($16) tossed with bacon bits, itsy bitsy clams and chilli, was heady and unctuous and imbued with the lovely char of a smoky wok.

The Curry King Prawns ($48) was a potent blend of rich creaminess, oily spiciness and shrimpy umaminess. The gravy was like a beautiful child of laksa and chilli crab, so we ordered extra fried buns to mop up all of that gloriousness. And then were shameless enough to lick the claypot clean.

Tung Lok Xihe Restaurant
200 Turf Club Road
The Grandstand #01-23
Tel: 6466 3363
Open daily from 11.30am to 3pm; 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Website: www.tunglok-xihe.com

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