upmarket good home-style cooking at this small, but nicely-furnished restaurant in maude road. this place is located just next to ming chung restaurant, but seems more out of place than the latter: the neighborhood is pretty old – and shall we say, slightly run down – but wanhelou is air-conditioned, done up in a modern chinese style, and rather classy in a homely sort of way.
the kitchen churns out a good mix of dishes that are best described as classics done right (and with a twist), and is famous for lobster porridge, flavored with that crustacean you see peeking out there above.
I almost wanted to describe this place as a cze-char* diner – but that’s not quite fair to it, seeing as how the dishes are a little more exquisite than you’d normally get, and quality is very much restaurant-type. you’d be surprised by the variety of dishes on offer – a mix of both recognizable items and exotic-seeming stuff, like a glass of green vegetable juice, which was tangy and pretty well-balanced (although I would have preferred slightly less sweetness).
*cze char refers to a homely, sort of casual type of dining rather intrinsic to chinese culture – it’s home-cooked dishes without the need to actually cook at home.
the lobster porridge is of the watery teochew sort, with tender grains of rice laying in the bottom of a claypot filled high with lobster consomme, a medium-sized lobster perched atop. the lobster meat is a little shrunk and makes for unimpressive eating, but all the goodness manifests in the soup, which is clear and light and well-seasoned.
but I’m not one for excessive carbs, and the dishes do a lot more for me – like thin, moreish, lotus chips fried and coated with salted egg yolk, and this fresh plate of sauteed greens known impressively as the “green dragon vegetable”.
we also had tender slices of pork cooked in a tangy, sweet-sour sauce, and soft, silky beancurd squares in a gravy that went beautifully over rice.
it’s very good cooking with reasonable prices (I didn’t say cheap-cheap), and reservations are a must on weekend dinners. bring the family here.
Wanhelou Chinese Restaurant
65 Maude Road
tel +65 6294 8057
$$: 25-30 per person