Steamboat rules the day, with a mind boggling array of soup bases and sauces to choose from.
As it was our first visit there, my kaki and I opted for the lunch buffet (SGD23.80+++ per pax) so that we could try a little of everything. There are also optional add-ons (like SGD4 for free flow plum drink or barley)
We eventually settled on 2 soup bases- the restaurant's "signature" Sichuan peppercorn soup and a tomato fish broth. We paid an additional SGD8.80 for the "signature" peppercorn soup.
We were so taken aback by the thick layer of chili oil lining the surface of the fiery sichuan broth that we scooped most of it out
Here's what we had for starters:
Cold bean jelly- Underwhelming, akin to biting into tasteless konnkayu jelly
Saliva chicken- the sichuan peppercorn sauce was wickedly spicy and the chicken meat was sufficiently tender
Fried fish skin- deliciously crunchy and savoury- we just couldn't resist pinching on these throughout the meal
Before the main steamboat items arrived, my kaki and I scurried over to the sauce counter to concoct our favorite combinations.
Being the boring person that I am, this is the best I could conjure up:
The mains arrived in quick succession
A single serving of fresh medium sized prawns.
Beef and chicken slices. Decadently tender, best eaten with sesame sauce
Fish fillet- Sorry. These were gobbled up before I could whisk out my camera. They were extremely fresh and carried a hint of delicate sweetness, with no fishy aftertaste whatsoever. Apparently the restaurant takes lots of pride in its fish.
Lotus root slices- I didn't really like this. They were crunchy and highly starchy.
Beancurd skin ribbons- Eye candy which unfortunately didn't deliver in the taste department.
Homemade chicken balls, pork balls and beef balls. Temperature and timing are of the essence here. Quickly scoop the balls up once they surface to enjoy them at their best. The balls taste strangely rubbery when overcooked.
Mushrooms and vegetables- We had tons of these. The golden mushrooms go exceptionally well with the numbing hot soup base. Be prepared to cry lots.
By the time we were ready for dessert, it was already 140pm and we were starting to wish that we were tai tais who didn't have to rush back to work.
We quickly caught the attention of a service staff and asked for 2 bowls of aloe vera with honey. These came in pretty little bowls scattered with osmanthus flowers that made our hearts flutter. My kaki was so blown away that she proclaimed this as the highlight of her meal.
Although the restaurant is not very crowded, don't expect tip top service. The staff seem to cluster in corners and do not exercise much initiative. Decor is however tastefully modern, with classy fish murals and dark wood furnishings.
Great for business dining- if your client enjoys steamboat. There are even private rooms on the second level for big parties.
In conjunction with their anniversary celebration, the restaurant presented us with return food vouchers amounting to 50% of our total bill. Being a sucker for freebies, I was quick to make a return visit with yet another unsuspecting makan kaki. This time, we went ala carte and thoroughly enjoyed a medley of vegetables, mushrooms, sweet clams and fish slices. Our accompanying soup bases of tomato and spicy sichuan peppercorn were divine. After factoring in the discount from the vouchers, we ended up paying around SGD25 each, which is excellent value.
Unlike the Chinese Feasts, this is not a steamboat joint that I can afford to come to every week for lunch. However, I will definitely save this place in my "must-go" list for special luncheons.
177 River Valley Road
#01-25/25A, Liang Court Shopping Centre
Tel: 6836 6839