The Homemade Kueh Pie Tee Shell, Braised Local Turnip, Pork Belly, Prawns ($12) boasts four exquisitely thin and perfectly shaped pastry shells.
But the attention to detail is not followed through in the seasoning for the turnip filling. It lacks character, something that the prawns and perfectly even strips of pork belly do not help.
Lacklustre seasoning also fails the Crispy Beancurd Skin Ngoh Hiang, Minced Pork, Prawns, Water Chestnut ($12), which is unfortunate as it boasts a good bite.
Drenching it with the accompanying sweet sauce helps improve it though.
The Crispy Pork Belly, Pickled Mustard Greens, Chincalok ($20) is an example of a dish that does not improve through innovation.
The meat has been slow-cooked before being deep-fried. That gets it very tender, but it also loses its juices and flavour. I prefer my meat to have some bite too, rather than some over-boiled pork.
The Buah Keluak Of Braised Local Chicken, Peranakan Signature Black Nut Sambal ($20) has departed from tradition from day one - in a way that I do not understand. Instead of cooking the chicken from scratch in the black nut sambal, it appears to have been poached separately and added to the sambal just before serving. The texture of the chicken is perfect - smooth and firm - but the sambal does not penetrate beyond the skin.
So whether or not you like this version depends on how you like your chicken: smooth or soft. I like the smooth texture, but I would be more impressed if the chef had managed to infuse the meat with buah keluak as well.
Both the desserts I try disappoint.
The Hand Grated Tapioca Kueh Bangkit, Gula Melaka Ice Cream ($12) comes in a teeny-weeny slice. It is also too dense. But the ice cream is delicious.
The Candlenut's Classic Chendol Cream, Pandan Jelly, Gula Melaka ($10) tastes even more watered-down than when I first ate it in Dorsett. Where is the coconut milk richness, the fragrance of pandan or the moreish sweetness of gula melaka? This pallid version hints at them, but fails to deliver.
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•The Sunday Times paid for its meals at the eateries reviewed here.
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