In slightly more than a week, it will be Chinese New Year, the time of the year where families reunite and relatives gather for a good meal to catch up with one another. What are your plans?
Although my family and relatives prefer home celebrations, my fiance's family and relatives usually get together in a Chinese restaurant. I also know of friends and colleagues who are constantly on the lookout for eateries that have good food and can accommodate large group settings for reunion meals.
I hereby introduce East Bistro, a Chinese restaurant located at myVillage in Serangoon Gardens.
The restaurant serves authentic dishes from Hong Kong and is known for its Chinese and Teochew cuisine. If Serangoon Gardens is too far for you, they have another outlet serving the same dishes at Sembawang. I'll include their addresses at the end of the entry.
Do you know that East Bistro is helmed by Head Chef Tony Wong who have more than 40 years of Michelin-winning culinary experience?
In fact, he's the man behind the exquisite delicacies from Cantonese Restaurant, Lei Garden @ Chijmes. I've visited Lei Garden long ago for a family celebration. The food was divine but the price was so scarily high that we ended up ordering the cheapest dishes on the menu. Since both restaurants are helmed by the same chef, I'm glad to know that we could enjoy high quality food at East Bistro at a more affordable price!
To start off our food tasting, we ordered East Bistro's recommended Hong Kong Style Mixed Coffee & Milk Tea ($3.80) and Hong Kong Style Milk Tea ($3.80).
Both drinks were not too sweet and tasted just right for us. You can also have them hot or cold, so YX had his drink cold while I chose to have mine hot.
Let's start with the dishes from the regular menu, shall we?
Our first dish was the Rice Rolls in Dark Sauce.
If you thought this dish looked familiar, that's because it's Chee Cheong Fun, but sir-fried with bean sprouts. We love the flavourful, smoky aftertaste!
Sweet and Sour Pork on Ice ($18 to $36 from S to L size) was delectable and unique, mainly because it uses Hawthorne sauce instead of the typical tomato-based sauce.
In fact, I felt that it tasted more sweet than sour. No wonder this dish was more well-liked among the ladies. I also liked the cool texture, which went well with the crispy exterior of the pork. Yums indeed!
One of Chef Tony's most acclaimed dishes is the Crispy Rice with Crab in Soup ($55 seasonal price).
Chef Tony only uses Sri Lankan crabs because they are particularly tender and sweet. I was also super in love with the broth because it was fragrant, tasty and warmed my stomach. Totally reminded me of home! The broth was made of chicken and pork bone, and was simmered for up to 5 hours before serving. Definitely good stuff!
It was an interesting sight to behold when the golden fried rice crisps were added to the broth because they crackled and sizzled pretty loudly. I liked the combination of rice crisps with porridge as it was easy to eat. However, if porridge is not your thing, you can always change the base to noodles.
Likewise, if you do not want crab, you can also change your seafood to clams or prawns.
As part of East Bistro's Chinese New Year menu, they will be serving the Smoked Chicken in Ginger Taste, which is based off a traditional Hong Kong recipe.
Chef Tony uses only Kampung chicken and steams it to retain its moisture and natural flavour. We loved how well marinated the chicken was; and even the chicken breast parts (which I normally avoid due to its toughness) were surprisingly tender.
Another dish that is part of the CNY menu is the Steamed Garoupa Fish in Hong Kong Style.
The flesh was exceptionally soft and tender, and the light soy sauce drizzled over the fish helped to elevate its taste. It was no doubt that the people around me had nothing but compliments for this dish.
Time for the desserts!
What you see above is called Jin Deui ($4.80 for 3 pcs), otherwise known as fried sesame balls. They usually come with fillings such as red bean and black bean pastes, but Chef Tony's Jin Deui comes hollow.
You need a lot of skill and precision to prepare a sesame ball that is crispy on the outside and airy in the middle. Despite having zero filling, it still remained delicious. Just don't get too addicted to it!
For someone who detests red dates, I was surprised at how inviting the Red Date Cakes ($28.80 for 1kg) were and how open I was to trying them.
Red Dates Cake is a traditional delicacy that is enjoyed during CNY. Large red dates were boiled and mashed into puree to form the red layers of the cake. The white layer in the middle is coconut, which complements the mild sweetness of the red dates. The cake is a little sticky in texture, but overall, still yummy!
You can buy a 1kg tub and cut the cake into slices for sharing with family and friends. Do order in advance so that Chef Tony can make sure that the cake is prepared fresh for your collection.
Chilled Double Boiled Snow Lotus Seed was super comforting for my stomach. Apparently, the Snow Lotus Seed is rarely found in Singapore and has to be specially imported from Hong Kong. Whoa!
Rich in collagen, the Snow Lotus Seed is added into the dessert made of dried longans and large red dates. I skipped the red dates (coz I'm honestly not a fan) but I made sure to finish the premium Snow Lotus Seeds. I want good skin!
I've been waiting to try Chef Tony's famous Chilled Mango Sago Cream with Pomelo ($5) and was ecstatic when this dessert was served. Totally saving the best for the last, yah?
The pomelo and mango bits were generous; the taste was refreshing and not overly sweet and it was just a real delight to savour. I was so tempted to request for another bowl but had to remind myself that 'thou shalt not be greedy'.
Couldn't leave without having a photo with Chef Tony, the man behind the sumptuous food in this blog entry. Thank you for preparing the food and for having us!
If you're interested to check out East Bistro, you need not wait till Chinese New Year. Do visit their outlets at Serangoon Gardens and Sembawang at the addresses below. I heard that they serve good all-day dim sum too. I shall try next time!
Thank you for reading!
East Bistro @ myVillage
1 Maju Avenue, #02-01
East Bistro @ Sembawang
10 Jln Tampang
Disclaimer: This post is done in collaboration with East Bistro and Antics @ Play. Review is based on personal experiences. Dishes without prices stated are part of the Chinese New Year Set Menu; so individual prices are not available.