(THE NEW PAPER) - When Joyden Canton opened its first unit at HillV2 in 2014, I was so in love with the food there.
It was comfort food haven. Dish after dish made me want to snuggle up under a blanket and be fed by my mother's hand.
Its "Sha-Keong" Salt Poached Farm Chicken ($20) remains one of my favourite dishes from anywhere.
The location was an issue for me (the Hillview MRT station wasn't open then), and the long queues and the "walk-in only" rule there (unless it's more than eight diners) didn't help either.
So I let out a cry for joy when I found out Joyden Canton is now in Orchard Road because comfort has come closer to me.
This new outlet has exclusive dishes too, such as the Black Bean, Black-Eyed Pea and Peanut with Pig Tail Soup ($8). Any Cantonese person with a soup-obsessed mother would have had this.
I think my mother's version is superior. But this comes really close.
There is that tinge of orange peel and a hint of herbal notes, with the fatty tail. It's all good, and something I'll order when I go back. Just without my mother, of course.
Also exclusive to Orchard is the Twice-Baked Golden Egg Gratin with Caramelised You Tiao ($18). It's a sweet dish (the youtiao was glazed with honey), but the texture of the gratin didn't appeal.
I also found the Almond and Salted Egg Prawns with Lemon Sauce ($21) too dry and salty. The lemon sauce mellowed it out a little but it wasn't enough.
The "Hak Gam" Olive Fried Rice with Minced Pork and Prawn ($18) was too sweet for me too. But it can be rescued - just remove the pork floss. The olives and dark soya sauce added so much flavour, and the smokiness made this an incredible dish.
I didn't think I was going to like the Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Homemade Dang-Gui Barbecue Sauce ($19), but the bitterness of the angelica root gave the dish dimensions. The bittersweet sauce should be poured over rice.