The Place Located in Lavender along Cavan Road, The Chinese Kitchen is a relatively new dining concept to open in this enclave. I was expecting a traditional looking Chinese restaurant, to which I was surprised that the space is so modern. The interior is somewhat incongruent for a typical Chinese restaurant – high ceiling, industrial finishings like the raw brick walls and bulbs and cement lookalike floor. Helmed by Chef Austen Ong who is renowned in the Chinese culinary world in Singapore, the restaurant runs like a private kitchen with no corkage fees.
The Food The dishes here are all curated by Chef Austen himself, with an emphasis on techniques and ingredients from the days of the 50s and 60s. Some starters to kickoff our meal were the Organic Orka, Pickle Chilli (S$8), Crosby Baby Squid & Pomelo Salad (S$10) and Pork Trotter Jelly, Passionfruit Infused Cucumber (S$10). The pork trotter jelly is a Teochew delicacy, where the pork is encased in soft gelatine cubes along with chilled cucumber slices, finished off with a drizzled of passion fruit sauce.
The Charcoal Grilled Orange Sea Perch with Sea Salt & Spices (S$62) is delicious. The New Zealand fish was very fresh, with a moist texture within and goes very well with the accompanying green chilli sauce.
One of the more memorable dishes I tried was the Charcoal Grilled Garlic Spring Chicken (S$15). The tender chicken was really juicy, with a nice slightly charred and smoky texture on its skin. One of the well executed dish for the night.
One of the highlights here is the Signature Old Fifty Collagen Broth (S$40/standard, S$58/upsize) with 3 flavours – spicy, original and miso. We tried the spicy broth which is prepared using Thai green chilli. The broth is prepared for more than 10 hours over charcoal using fish skin, duck, pork and chicken, giving it a very rich and thick texture. I enjoyed the spiciness of the broth, which is just right for me for the ‘shiokness’ to kick in. This dish reminds me of the fish soup at the One-Michelin starred Chef Kang’s kitchen, though the flavours are toned down for sure.
An off the menu item I tried was the Wok Fried Jumbo Fresh Water Prawn with Assam Basil Sauce (S$13/piece). The huge prawn was quite fresh, though the Assam sauce wasn’t intense enough which was a pity. This dish requires one day advance order.
Similar to the wok fried prawn, the Steamed Organic Eggplant with Black Garlic Sauce (S$3.50) is also an off the menu dish which require advance order. The eggplant is rested on yam which gives it the additional crunchy texture. The black garlic sauce is probably my favourite element here as it really elevates the overall flavour of the dish.
One noodle dish I recommend is the Braised La La “Ying Yang” Noodle (S$16). Cooked with both Korean glass noodles and bee hoon, it is served generously with seafood and clams. The broth is a comforting mix of the natural sweetness of the clams as well as fish stock.
Dessert wise, I tried the Charcoal Grilled Banana, Sea Salt, Caramel and Ice Cream (S$4.50).
Rants Nothing quite stood out during the dinner, although the dishes were rather satisfying. Perhaps some signatures to encourage a return visit?
Will I Return Again? In most aspects, the dishes at The Chinese Kitchen are quite unique in its own way, specially curated by Chef Austen. If you are looking for a modern and private kitchen dining concept, this is worth a try.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
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Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Monday to Sunday: 11.30am to 3pm; 6pm to 11pm
Closed on Wednesdays
Ranted by The Ranter