Friday, October 9, 2009
Golden Spoon - Oct '09 Makansutra Dinner
Yes, back-to-back posts on Makansutra forum dinners. I am enjoying these not just for the food, but the company. There are lots of veteran foodies there who happily and generously share their knowledge of food and drink. For the Oct session held at Golden Spoon Seafood Restaurant at Tiong Bahru, Keropokman, Momo, and I were lucky to be seated at TTC's table again, along with Ivan this time (poor HungryCow got exiled to another table, due to last minute table-shuffling).
The amount you learn from just one dinner listening to these connoisseurs is amazing. This time, for example, we had fun with the wine-guessing game - they each bring a mystery bottle of wine and everyone tries to figure out the type, vintage, its geographical origin (Old vs New World) and even the type of grapes/blends used. The non-drinkers (K-man, Momo and I) joined in for fun - without tasting the wines, just looking at and smelling the bouquet.
The wine drinkers were savvy and could pin down almost all the details. With a few tips from Ivan, I could start guessing vintage correctly (2 out of 3 wines, missed the 3rd one by one year). I think his Aura of Wine Divination +6 helped. Put me out there alone, and I may not fare so well!
But I digress, let's get back to the food. Like many of the makan venues, Golden Spoon is an air-conditioned Chinese cze-char (cook and fry) shop that focuses more on food than decor. We had a nine-course dinner, starting with one of my favourite things - the cold platter.
1] Cold Platter with 5 varieties - 冷盘
a)Homemade Seaweed Rolls with Salted Egg (紫菜咸蛋卷, lower right): so-so, fried stuff is better piping hot than cold
b)Pig Trotter Aspic (猪脚冻, upper left): very savoury and delicious
c)Fried Gui Hua Fish Maw (桂花鱼鳔, upper right): I love egg and fish maw, so I had no complaints
d)Thai Style Jellyfish (泰式海蜇, center): one of the more unusual and captivating marinades for jellyfish. There's a strong kaffir lime-like scent to it.
e)Sesame Prawn Salad (沙律鲜虾, lower left): decent, with tiny cubes of fruit underneath
2] Sharksfin Soup with Scallop & Crab Meat - 蟹肉干贝扒翅
Very huge bowl - probably enough for 15 small bowls, but the seafood in here is pretty scant. The soup was also very salty, almost like a shoyu broth. But I appreciated how it warmed the belly. We were hungry!
3] Eight Treasures Vegetarian Dish - 八宝素菜
Lots of vegetables (I'm sure there are eight), including cabbage, carrots, mushrooms and white radish, all wrapped inside beancurd skin, and stewed in a rich gravy. Thankfully not until overcooked and mushy. The medlar seeds added a subtle but welcome tinge of sweetness.
4] Steamed Live Patin Fish - 菜脯蒸山果鱼
I'm always a little wary of patin fish, because it can taste muddy if not well-prepared. But thank goodness it wasn't so here. Golden Spoon obviously took some effort, possibly by keeping the fish alive for a few days in clear water to expunge muddy elements. The fish was sweet and fresh. We all loved the chye poh (salty preserved radish) scattered on top too.
5] Roast Chicken Cantonese Style - 南乳吊烧鸡
Chicken roasted with red fermented beancurd. Also pretty decent. All gone in a matter of minutes! The skin is the best part.
6] Braised Pork Ribs Traditional Style - 京烤肉排
Here's TTC doing the honours of cutting the whole slab of pork ribs. It was amazingly tender and very thoroughly braised (we suspect they must have used a pressure cooker, to get everything, including the bones so soft).
7] Panfried Black Pepper Beef - 黑椒牛肉
Wow, fish, chicken, pork and now beef - that's a lot of meat for one dinner. The beef is competently done, but as with many Chinese restaurants, it's got that spongy, soft texture that only tenderizer can achieve. The sauce is pretty good on the vegetable pieces like onion and chili.
8] Glutinous Rice with Ham in Lotus Leaf - 腊味荷叶饭
Until now, most of the dishes were fairly high on the sodium scale (and hey, my salt tolerance is not exactly low). The glutinous rice, however, was quite bland in comparison, even with the generous amount of Chinese waxed and liver sausages. Or could it be that our tastebuds had been over-salted by that time? I think it needed some dried shrimp or other for more dimensions of flavour.
9] Double-boiled Hasma with Pear & Red Dates - 红枣炖雪蛤
Hashima for dessert! The crunchy cubes of pear added texture contrast to the soft hashima. Even though it was a warm dessert, it was quite refreshing and helped cleanse the palate.
I did wonder how the restaurant could make any profit with this line-up of dishes. Each of us only paid $40 nett. No corkage charges either. On top of that, they gave each diner a $20 voucher for return visits.
Let me know if any of you would like the voucher (min spend of $100 required; a la carte orders only; no expiry date). I'll mail it to you. Just ask for it in the comments. If you'd like to see more photos and dishes from Golden Spoon, here's a thread on it in Makansutra.
GOLDEN SPOON SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
62 Seng Poh Lane (opposite Por Kee)
Open daily 11.30am - 2.30pm; 6.30pm - 11pm
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