Taste serves up comforting Chinese fare
Let me be honest. Taste, the latest concept by TungLok, is barely a concept.
It is yet another Chinese restaurant featuring comfort dishes. This has been done repeatedly, a few times by the group itself.
Still, there is no need to dismiss it because comfort is alluring. The menu is filled with dishes that will taste familiar, even if you have never eaten them before. And when the food is affordable and tasty and the restaurant is filled with friendly staff, you will feel like a king.
While the prices are not mass restaurant-level cheap, it is friendly enough for monthly indulgences.
The TungLok group has had success with ducks - Duckland is one of my favourites - so it is safe to assume that any duck dish from it should at least be above average.
Needless to say, the Crispy Aromatic Duck ($38, half a duck) is very good. Frying it to this consistency would not have been my ideal way to treat the duck, but the meat from the Silver Hill Farm duck is good enough to withstand it.
It remains flavourful, with an addictive crispy skin. You eat this like a wrap but it is good on its own.
It is not the prettiest dish, but I was impressed with the Double-boiled Fish Maw with Kampung Chicken (from $55). There is a subtle sweetness to the Santori MD2 Kampung Chicken because these chickens are fed premium pineapples.
The chicken and the fish maw are double-boiled for five hours, ensuring a stock that is robust and soulful.
Pork lard can be one of the healthiest foods around it seems, and it was layered on liberally over the Steamed Australian Barramundi Fish Head with Garden Pea Sauce ($48).
That coat of lard elevated this dish. I am biased of course, because I love anything lard, but its crunchy oiliness works well with the sturdy fish meat.
However, I did not enjoy the Crisp-fried Tiger Prawn with Sichuan Spice ($38). The rice cracker bits were a nice touch, adding a crunchy texture, but it was otherwise forgettable.
On the other hand, something I thought would be blah turned out rather memorable.
The Braised Organic Cabbage with Beancurd Roll ($28) looks like a wedding meal filler but tastes like the star. The cabbage is sweet and fresh, the bean curd is almost buttery, with a savoury sauce to balance it out.
It is a simple dish that stays on your mind.
At its present location at Park Regis Singapore, it may be a challenge for those outside the Central Business District to get to Taste.
As much as I like some dishes, I am too lazy to make the effort. Let us hope the group works its magic and starts to expand the brand across the island.