[SG] Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant | satisfying dim sum fare

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Wah Lok at Carlton Hotel is a familiar name for most food connoisseurs given its sterling track record and list of accolades to its name. Consistently ranked by Singapore Tatler Magazine within the list of "Singapore's Best Restaurants" and Wine & Dine for "Singapore's Top Restaurants", can it continue to impress its fine diners after all these years?

While most restaurants offer their dim sum in portions of three, Wah Lok was able to prepare four portions for each of the dim sum dishes. Personally, I felt that was nice gesture especially if you are playing host to business associates or simply a lunch gathering with a few friends.

Baked barbecued pork polo bun (polo char siew bao) | S$6++/4pcs

On hindsight, this was one of my favourite dim sum dishes at Wah Lok. If you are a fan of baked char siew buns and polo buns, be sure to give this a shot. The crust of the polo bun was a beautiful crisp layer which complemented the overlying soft and fluffy bun. A subtle hint of sweetness stood out from the fragrant diced char siew, leaving us to crave for the next bite.

Baked barbecued pork pastry (char siew sou) | S$8++/4pcs

The true test to a dim sum chef lies in perfecting the classic dishes such as this or more commonly known as char siew sou. Beautifully baked with a coat of golden brown, the flaky pastry crumbled upon the first bite and the aroma of the char siew took centerstage almost immediately. Surely a must-try in my personal opinion.

Steamed prawn dumpling (har gao) | S$6.80/4pcs

We enjoyed the juiciness and burst of freshness wrapped within the thin layer of dumpling skin. What I also liked was that subtle hint of natural sweetness that lingered. This was one of those classics done right that would instantly bring a smile to your face.

Steamed pork dumpling (siew mai) | S$6++/4pcs

All that needs to be done with the siew mai is to pop it into your mouth and enjoy the succulence of the pork dumpling coming through in a palatable manner. Like the har gao, there was a hint of natural sweetness from the fresh minced pork and reminiscing the flavours while writing was enough to make me salivate once more!

Carrot cake (stir-fried style) | S$8/++

When the dish was served, it was not quite what I had in mind but the large chunks of finely-grated radish made it one a palatable dish. Stir-fried and tossed with crunchy bean sprouts and fried shallots, we enjoyed the complementing layers of texture when tasted together with the soft and moist radish.

Barbecued combination of char siew and roast duck (siew mei) | S$22/++

Quite frankly, this was one of the few lacklustre dishes on the table. While the barbecued and honey-glazed char siew was prepared in a truly Cantonese fashion, I felt that it was too lean for me and as such failed to shine. The roast duck on the other hand tasted pedestrian as I would have preferred the skin to have a nice crisp while the meat to remain tender and moist. On this occasion, I felt that the duck breast was slightly too stiff for my liking.

Baked mini egg tarts | S$6++/4pcs

Always on the hunt for the best egg tart in Singapore, I felt that this certainly made it to our "must-try" list as the flaky pastry was almost melt-in-your-mouth while the fragrant egg custard sitting in the middle carried a desired level of sweetness to please.

Steamed custard bun | S$6.40/4pcs

Leaving the best to the last, the steamed custard bun is almost a dessert itself with a rich and creamy filling. Like most of the other dishes, the sweetness that cut across my palate was comforting with its mildness. While I enjoyed the fluff of the bun, the layer was too thick for my liking.

Despite the focus on dim sum, we also had a plate of greens, stir-fried kailan with garlic (S$16/++) which was cooked perfectly, allowing the kailan to retain succulence and crunch. Ending off on a sweet note, we had the herbal jelly (S$9/++) and cream of pomelo & mango (SS6/++) to share and both desserts hit the right notes to a sumptuous dim sum lunch.

Photo credit: Carlton Hotel

We enjoyed the ambience at Wah Lok as it reminded me fondly of a few classic Chinese restaurants such as Fook Lam Moon or Luk Yu Tea House in Hong Kong. Hearing the service crew converse in Cantonese always gave that extra homely feeling and with the quality classic dim sum dishes served, it is a place which makes customers return.

Overall Verdict: 8.0/10

Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant
Carlton Hotel Singapore, Bras Brasah Road,
Singapore 189558
Tel: (+65) 6311 8188(+65) 6311 8188

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