Lucky House Cantonese is a private dining destination that's garnered a fair bit of interest lately, and the recent rave review by the Straits Times food editor may be why. Whereas it used to be a sort of secret supper club exclusively popular through word-of-mouth, its previous 2 months advanced reservations requirement has now burgeoned to a 3-4 month-long waitlist.
Again, it was fortuitous that I got to dine at Lucky House. The Type A planner friend who got us reservations at Chef Kang's had heard about Lucky House through a foodie colleague, got the dates first and then gathered whichever available troops for dinner. I would have never bothered with making such advanced reservations otherwise.
At $80 per head for 5 dishes, Lucky House was notably more economical than the prices at Chef Kang's. But, dinner was inordinately draggy. It was a good half hour before we were served the first dish, and lapses between each course was cause for hangry-ness. According to said friend, as soon as the larger group (those dining right in the kitchen) starts dinner, the ones in the smaller group (which was us in the little room to the side of the kitchen) will get near-zero service of food. Oh well, the chef was constrained by the lack of a properly-staffed kitchen right? I say that now, with the benefit of hindsight, and a properly satiated stomach, of course. But, at that point in time, I was kicking myself for skipping lunch, and someone joked (half-seriously) that we could drive out to Bedok 85 to takeaway a couple packets of minced meat noodles, and still make it back in time for the next course.
Sloth-at-the-Zootopia-DMV speed of service aside, the food was excellent. The self-taught chef doesn't believe in using garlic or ginger in any of his dishes. He says those potent aromatics detract from the natural taste of the ingredients. And because he buys everything from the market that day itself, the food was sparkling fresh. And I liked that homestyled flavour imbued with every dish; it was incredibly comforting. But most of all, I found the chef's passion for his craft endearing. I almost feel bad critiquing the dinner. Would I return? A resounding yes, but with a burger in tow.
Dinner kicked off on a high note with the Crayfish Omelette. Odious coriander leaves and the alien-like appearance of the crayfish shells aside, the wonderfully toasty golden egg was generously laden with bouncy crayfish dice. An exquisite dish of nuanced sweetness.
The Braised Mushrooms & Sea Cucumber inn Homemade Oyster Sauce evoked memories of a relative's rendition of 'ho see fatt choy' contributed at CNY reunion dinners, all that was missing was the 'fatt choy' (or black moss). This was as robust and rich as her version, but just a smidge more delicate. Notwithstanding my hunger then, I confess I licked the plate clean. So so so good.
And then there was the Red Emperor Snapper, caught fresh off the local waters, delicate as can be. This was simply steamed, then drizzled with shallot rings, freshly fried and still sizzling in its oil. This gave the skin a little crisp, while keeping the flesh luscious.
Ah, the piece de resistance, the sumptuous Roasted Duck, a signature and an integral part of every meal at Lucky House. 2 whole days of being steeped in the chef's secret marinade ensured the duck was flavoursome to the bone. While the dark meat veered to the salty (which was easily balanced with copious amounts of white rice), the breast meat was unexpectedly moist. I usually steer clear of breast meat anything, but this was incredible. Best duck breast I've had to date, bar none. Feel free to ask to takeaway the bones, they stew brilliantly for the tastiest bone broth ever.
The Sauteed Kailan was simply burnished with a splash of fish sauce, highlighting the subtle sweetness, and the clean, clear crunch of the greens.
267 Upper East Coast Road
Tel: 9823 7268