Dessert: (L to R): Snow Pear juice; three sweet potato; Coconut jelly. All were light and refreshing. I especially like the snow pear juice because it was sweet. But nothing outstanding.
Closed – Restaurant Ten, Purvis St
After visiting the resturant’s website, I didn’t expect the place to be so classy! It’s white but not glaringly white, which is something I like. Very quiet on a Friday night. There are three floors, on the first is for big families; on the second is for smaller families and on the third floor is a private room to accommodate 12 people. although the restaurant is catered to families, sitting beside us were a punk and his girlfriend. He has mohawk hair and piercing and everything. See, never judge people by their appearances. I bet deep down they love the Chinese culture, and are very conservative. I bet they are still virgins.
Besides the quiet and nice decor, another attraction of the place is that it uses less oil and salt. On HGW, a reviewer said there is no MSG but I’ve scoured the restaurant’s website and found no such truth. So i’ll assume there is MSG. (Read this entry on soup on the science of MSG.) The restaurant focuses on healthy eating. They are called Restaurant Ten because they use ten ingredients very often. But honestly, I think it’s bullshit. These are normal ingredients found in other Chinese dishes. I just want to know if it’s ho chiak!
There are several sets ranging from $38 to $88. The birthday boy picked the $68 set:
Appetizer: House Special Triple Platter. From the left to right: avocado salad with fish floss; japanese yam with wolfberry and honey; fish skin with dang gui powder. I thought the presentation would look better with the honey was poured into the yam, instead of having them separate like this:
That’s wolfberry-honey, not chili. It brightens the white yam. The white yam itself was crispy but tasteless so you definitely have to pour the honey over. Only the fish skin stood out. Not as oily as salmon skin, I could imagine eating this fish skin (not oily at all!) as a snack while watching TV.
Second dish: egg white with bird’s nest, dried shredded scallop in potato nest. The Chinese name is much more poetic. The way to eat this–and I saw some patrons eating wrongly–is to mix everything together throughly including the deep-fried potato. Taste it first, and if you find it bland, add white pepper and apple vinegar (on the table). This is very unique to me; I’ve never eaten something like this. Cooking this dish takes lots of skill because egg white is usually bland, so to come up with such a unique taste–with different textures of egg jelly and crispy potato–is quite a test of the chef’s skills. A very pleasing dish.
Third course, lotus and apple wrapped in cabbage. (includes pumpkin seed, sesame, ginseng, wolfberry and pine nut.) Again, the best way to eat this is to wrap it up in the cabbage and eat it. We were all surprised by this dish because it looked so ordinary yet when we ate it, it tasted like the chinese stir-fried chye chai (mixed vegetables). If you notice all the ingredients, they are all crunchy, so I wonder if the texture could have been layered. But no complaints here. It tasted very “Chinese.”
Buddha jumps over the wall. The origin of the name is very funny. In Qing dynasty, a traveling scholar was preserving all his food in a wine jar. When he reached Fujian province, he was making the dish beside a monastery. And on smelling the aroma, a vegetarian monk leaped out of the temple walls to eat this meat dish. So it’s thus named because Buddha would jump over the wall to eat this delicious dish.
It was a very, very huge bowl of soup, the bowl the shape of an ingot, full of wholesome cartilage infused in the soup itself. A modicum of rice wine was provided, which made the soup more fragrant. It has Shitake mushroom, chicken, dried scallop, sharks fin, abalone, shark’s lips, sea cucumber, etc. But the Birthday Boy said the chicken had a frozen taste to it and Sister said the sea cucumber was too tiny. Sea cucumbers aren’t that expensive.
Penultimate dish: Smoked duck with deep-fried beancurd-seaweed with buns. I wish this is more like peking duck. Birthday Boy said you could buy smoked duck from NTUC and taste exactly the same as this. I’d like to think this tasted better. The bun looks suspiciously like the one at Old Hong Kong Legend. I don’t think they make their own buns? Quite a pity. If I have a restaurant, I’d have everything made, even the ketchup.
The service was good, and the waiters had a good knowledge of the food they served and they remember our names. But they kept serving the food. The food kept coming. A classy restaurant should wait till all of us have finished, but the waiters, on seeing two of us finishing, had already cleared the plates, and served the next dish, pressurizing the third to eat quickly.
I also find it strange that the restaurant was playing music from a local Chinese station instead of proper music from CDs.
One last thing I want to note is that there is no rice or noodle dish in this 6-course meal. Very strange because there usually is. I note this because the portions are very small and I was still hungry after the meal. I thought the soup could be a smaller bowl (but retaining the original ingredients) and include a fried rice or noodle dish.
Overall, I like this restaurant, quiet, good service, and good food. I don’t quite like the price tag. it’s about $85 a person after the GST, and with that amount, you can go to an equally good place for more food. But after eating, you won’t feel bloated, unlike in normal Chinese dinners.
7 Purvis St
T: 6333 9901
Rating: 3.751/5 stars