Chef Kang's Cantonese

I've wanted to try Chef Kang's even before the furore over its Michelin star. It's just that its teeny tiny 4-table shop space was extremely prohibitive of any last-minute dinner plans. And as one who only decides where I wanna eat at 15 minutes before actually arriving at the restaurant, there was no way jose I could make reservations advanced enough to get dinner at Chef Kang's.

Until our awesome, hyper-organized planner-friends secured a reservation (over a month in advance no less!) and invited us to fill out their modest table of six.

Dinner was a slow, languid affair, and service at the exclusively private rooms restaurant was attentive and unintrusive. I wouldn't say the food's ultra refined or particularly well-priced (a friend thought it was exceedingly overpriced), and I'm not sure I'd wait a whole month for a repeat dinner here, but it was homey and comforting and the meal equivalent of a warm familial embrace.

I'd venture, its month-long waiting list (and now the Michelin star) has an adverse effect: hype is unnecessarily generated over that timelapse, so much so that the relatively decent food fails to live up to the heightened expectations. So, if you manage your expectations accordingly, tag it to an above-average restaurant and discount the waiting list, you should enjoy your meal at Chef Kang's.

You'd think the star of the Steamed Crab with Glutinous Rice ($138) was the crustacean, but noooo, the highlight of this dish was the rice. Sticky, chewy, and infused with the sweet essence of the crab and minced garlic a-plenty, the rice was scrumptious. So good we found ourselves licking the shells clean off every last grain of rice. The crab paled in comparison. Note that you'll have to pre-order this.

The Marble Goby Soup ($98), milky with the collagen leeched from hours of stewing fish bones, was excellent. The fish, fried first for a crisp textural contrast, was generous in portion, while lashings of roasted garlic bulbs lent a buttery nuttiness. Cabbage added sweetness and tomatoes provided a piquant lift. You'll also need to pre-order this when confirming your reservation.

The staff will dredge the soup and dish up the solids for you to nibble on.

The Stir-Fried HK Kailan Vegetable ($28) was heady with oodles of fried mini shrimp and garlic mince.

A must-try, the Prawn Paste Fried Pork Belly ($28) was totally addictive, with an intensely umami flavour to it that was delicious. This would be an excellent side dish with beer, for a marathon binge-watching of Westworld.

The Hokkien Noodles ($28) wasn't as heart-stoppingly lard laden as the ones whipped up by the roadside stalls in Kuala Lumpur, but this was decent. The flavour profile was just so; and the thick inky sauce was redolent with chunks of fried pig fat, fried sole fish, garlic and sweet soy.

Chef Kang's Cantonese Kitchen
25 Mackenzie Road
Tel: 6238 6263
Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11.30am to 2pm for lunch; 5.45pm to 10pm for dinners

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