(surprisingly) rather good cantonese-teochew-chinese food in the slightly-abandoned centrepoint shopping mall. this isn’t a real review, since I was here for my partner’s sister’s wedding dinner – so this is more useful as a guide to a chinese wedding dinner (if you’re new to this sort of thing), if you’re considering venues for your own celebration dinner, and as a reference to the skills of the kitchen.
they fared really well, actually. reasonably priced, generous portions of food that we couldn’t finish, and really rather impressive cooking – especially at such volumes.
so if you’re new to the chinese-wedding-phenomena, let’s start with a brief explanation: most dinners consist of eight courses (a lucky number), and luxurious ingredients (as expensive as you can afford). the traditional chinese mentality is that the more exquisite and expensive the banquet, the larger the celebration – and that everyone you know or have interaction with must be invited in order to not offend, which often means that the dinner is a large event with nearly thirty tables (or 300 people), many of which you (the bride and groom) don’t necessarily know.
typically, the courses include a cold appetiser platter, a soup, a fish, a seafood, a meat, a vegetable, noodles, and then dessert; the dinner we had this time basically ran in this order. the appetisers here included my favourite seasoned jellyfish, japanese-marinated red baby octopi, fried spring rolls and ngoh hiang (stuffed beancurd skin rolls), as well as some sort of duck – these were bog-standard and tasty. quickly followed by the shark’s fin, which was also as expected – I don’t much like cornflour-thickened soups, and shark’s fin has always seemed to me as sort of flavourless – even if nothing spectacular.
a stirfry of scallops with celery and mushrooms was very tasty, and generous on the seafood. I’ve recently grown to love the taste of celery – much to my partner’s distaste – and I liked how they were crunchy here and only lightly-coated with seasoning so their sweetness shone through with that of the scallops. the steamed fish appeared after that, and was prepared teochew-style with pickled greens and a light broth – firm, fresh flesh and a huge portion, I wanted more than the portion I was served. the fried prawns came topped with salad cream (I think), and were alright – not my sort of dish but really good in itself with springy prawns and crisp batter.
sliced abalone followed, with large dried shitakes and lettuce in a savoury sauce – this was alright, if not the most exciting dish. neither was the roast chicken, which came a little dry.
by the time the eefu noodles came – my favourite preparation of noodles – we were really stuffed to throat-level and could do no more, so we only managed a couple of mouthfuls. my partner had no problem at all scoffing down the orh nee though, a thick yam paste dessert served with sweet pumpkin.
so in short, the food varies from average to good preparation, and more than exceeded my expectations for the dinner. I walked away both satisfied and full, which you don’t necessarily expect after attending a wedding dinner. the service was quick – dishes were brought quickly and dished up at the table efficiently (I think I slowed her down with my photo taking) – and it was truly impressive how the other tables seemed to be receiving the same quality of cooking and service. I think this is a good place to look at if you’re planning your own dinner – the location means that parking is ample and the mall isn’t too crowded, and the restaurant charges a decent price for this level and quantity of cooking.
the restaurant itself is done up in a sort of mod manner (much like bosses), with a bit too much overt opulence for me: it has brocade-type wallpaper and the furnishings veer on the darker side, perhaps trying for a more romantic and modern experience? still, if this is your sort of thing – or even if it isn’t, the food and service more than complement/make up for the venue.
p.s. let me know what you think if you get here for a regular meal!
Teochew City Seafood Restaurant
#05-16 The Centrepoint
176 Orchard Road
tel +65 6733 3338