Had intended to try out HK Kim Gary at Vivo City with my gf, but threw the idea out of the window when we saw the ridiculously long queue. Actually there were long queues at most, if not all of the food outlets at Vivo City. Pure madness. So we drove to Orchard and after wandering aimlessly for a bit, settled for Lei Garden at Orchard Shopping Centre. The lift opens up to the reception area of Lei Garden and first looks, it hardly resembled a Chinese restaurant, with the exception of the wooden chairs. The brick linings in the walls were very evident and the low ceiling finished with wooden frames gave the whole place a very cottage feel. Add on a couple of Christmas decorations and lights and viola, you have a very pretty cottage dining area.
Since we got there at about 9pm, alot of stuff were sold out, like the soup of the day and the smoked duck. So we had to settle for some recommendations by the captain. Namely, Double Boiled Fish's Bone with "Tian Ma", Deep Fried Prawns Coated with Salted Egg Yolk and Stewed Chicken with Young Ginger in Honey Sauce. We rounded up the meal with Durian Pudding and Glutinous Rice Balls with sesame filling.
Lei Garden is well known for its double boiled soups and I never fail to order at least a serving every time I patronise. As such, I had high expectations for the Double Boiled Fish's Bone with "Tian Ma" and it didn't disappoint. The soup was sweet and light with a hint of rawness. However, I did get a little sick of drinking the soup after the first bowl mainly because the slight fishy taste made me queasy. So too much of a good thing isn't always good. Just a little nugget of information, this soup is supposed to relieve dizziness and calm the mind. How true? I have no idea.
The Deep Fried Prawns Coated with Salted Egg Yolk was a delicacy in the making. The egg yolk gave the prawns a slight salty taste and the flavours were evident throughout. The prawns were also very fresh and biting into one is akin to eating Cereal Prawns - You just pop the whole thing into your mouth and enjoy the crunching sounds. However, I say that this dish is a delicacy still in the making because there is room for improvement. For one, the frying batter was uneven. Some prawns had more batter on the front, some had more on the back. This made the overall taste non homogeneous, with some parts being saltier than others.
The Stewed Chicken with Young Ginger in Honey Sauce sounded interesting, but it was no more than Sweet and Sour Chicken, at least that was what it tasted like. Yes, the chicken meat was definitely more tender than the usual stuff you get outside and the sauce was decidedly lighter and less pronounced than the normal ones outside that threaten to overpower the taste of everything else. I liked this dish and so did my gf. Funny that there was no ginger taste though.
Desserts have never really been a forte for Lei Garden and their desserts speak for themselves. My Durian Pudding tasted rather artificial although there were significant chunks of Durian meat in it. The Gelatine was in excess and gave the pudding a very creamy yet mashed up texture. My gf's Glutinous Rice Balls with sesame filling was rather tasteless. The rice balls were coated with ground peanuts, which made them fragrant. However, the sesame filling could do with more flavour.
Dinner blew us away at about $110/-. We certainly didn't expect the bill to be so high, especially since our dishes weren't exactly expensive stuff. Nevertheless, the food quality is there and it is certainly quite refined. No one said good food comes cheap right? Service was good as well, so that kind of eased the pain when I saw the bill.
The stuff that was boiled to give the soup flavour
Stewed Chicken with Young Ginger in Honey Sauce
Deep Fried Prawns Coated with Salted Egg Yolk
Can you make out the bits of Durian in the pudding?
Glutinous Rice Balls with sesame filling
The filling inside the balls
Value for money:6.5/10
Address: 321 Orchard Road, #03-00 Orchard Shopping Centre
30 Victoria Street, #01-24 Chijmes
Contact: 67343988 (Orchard)