Photos by Chong Yap of Make Your Calories Count
TUNGLOK HEEN is helmed by internationally acclaimed celebrity Chef Susur Lee and his colleague, Chef Ken Ling. Following our fine dining experience at its sister restaurant, Tong Le Private Dining, we have always been looking forward to its Sentosa outlet.
Chef Lee has introduced a contemporary touch to his signature Chinese creations. Expect the menu to be inter-twined with Teochew and Hunan cuisines executed by Chef Ling and his team of chefs. While the entrance might seem slightly daunting with its location at Hotel Michael in Resorts World Sentosa, stepping in to the restaurant was rather assuring and we felt comfortable almost instantaneously.
With a la carte and set menus to choose from, we decided to pamper ourselves and indulge with their Triumph Menu (财源广进). At S$100++/pax, it offers six-courses which we believe would be a good testament of the chef's culinary skills! Set menus start at S$38++/pax, and require a minimum of two persons.
As we were given some moments to look through the menu, we were served a plate of caramelised walnuts as snacks (S$8/++) which is a mandatory appetiser to whet one's appetite. Absolutely loved the crunch and the sweetness from the caramelisation, not forgetting the fragrance from the white sesame added!
The broth was simply sublime as the double-boiled broth was simmered to a rich decadence of Chinese sea treasures which included diced sea cucumber. It gave a much desired varied texture to the perfectly braised abalone that retained its elasticity, just enough to please one's demanding palate.
Quite easily my favourite dish of the meal, the freshness of the wild caught fish was unparalleled and it was cooked just right, retaining a slight tinge of pinkness in the flesh and balanced by the slightly saline broth. The generous spread of black garlic that layered the fish gave a lovely aroma and bold flavours which complemented the light taste of the protein.
As we move into the main courses of the set, you could experience the contemporary twist that the chef intended in his cuisine as we transitioned from a classic Cantonese dish such as the braised abalone and fish to a more Western style of cooking with the pan-fried Australian beef served with black peppercorn sauce. The combination was just lovely with a pleasant thin slice of scallop underneath the red meat. Elegantly supported by the asparagus, the beef was cooked medium well though I would have preferred more pink in my beef. Nonetheless, you would soon find yourself scouring every single drop of that gorgeous brown gravy as the balance in sweetness, savouriness and unaminess made it absolutely addictive.
When I saw that this was the carbohydrate dish of the set, I simply chuckled to myself at how ridiculous it would fit in terms of flavours and appropriateness to the rest of the dishes tried, especially after a savoury beef main.
To my pleasant surprise, this was in fact one of the more memorable courses and if I may extend, one of the best ramen I ever had. Yes, it is noway conventional but the kimchi-based broth had a ton of flavours and the heat was manageable for most. Chunks of crabmeat were also found in the broth and there was a slight element of natural sweetness in the crabmeat which however was not the star for the dish. The ramen was cooked al dente and overall, it was a dish that I would enjoy repeatedly over.
There were plenty of elements in the final course, dessert. While I often lament about the lack of good desserts in Chinese cuisine, I was half-hearted about being impressed. Starting with the fried sesame and salted egg yolk, I was left slightly disappointed as I was expecting some liu sha. While the textures were brilliant, lovely crispy batter and soft on the inside, it tasted somewhat similar to lotus paste in mooncakes for some odd reason.
The aloe vera gelo was definitely a lot better with a refreshing lime sorbet to cleanse our palate and ended the elaborate six-course meal on a high.
The stone and wood accents provided a Mediterranean and Zen ambience while the interior is complemented with dark red tones, presenting a sophisticated look.
There are also three private rooms at TungLok Heen which can seat four to 12 persons. Apart from an elegant setting, the service was attentive and intimate. When the lady who took our orders heard us conversing in Cantonese, she spoke to us in Cantonese and maintained a friendly disposition while managing a casual conversation. In between dishes, she would ask us for feedback on the served dishes and paid close attention to ensure that our Chinese tea cup was constantly filled.
Having tried both of TungLok higher end restaurants, it is certainly one of our go-to places when we are in the mood to enjoy some fine Chinese culinary cooking. Overall, we left impressed with the quality of food, be it presentation or standard, and also the dedicated customer service.
Overall Verdict: 8.0/10
Resorts World Sentosa
Hotel Michael, Lobby Level
26 Sentosa Gateway
Tel: (+65) 6884 7888