Sunday, May 15, 2011

Singapore - Oversea Restaurant

Make no mistake, this is not Cantonese food.  This is Malaysian Chinese food (of which Cantonese forms a sub-group), cooked the way that a mere 3 to 4 generations ago, was the stuff of weekend family dinners, weddings and other happy occasions. But it is sanitized, in a good way.  This is a lot less greasy than it used to be.  Still tasty and more importantly, delivers the distinct nostalgia we've been craving.

And Oversea has delivered it right to the shores of Singapore.  While I've not tried their original shop in Kuala Lumpur, fans rave about that one and that the one in Singapore is a lesser cousin.  But little to nothing takes me to KL, so who's complaining?

Char Siu or Honey glazed roast pork
This is their piece de resistance.  This is what the kind person who takes your reservations on the phone will remind you to reserve.  They don't seem to be able to make enough of this.  Unlike the Hong Kong versions, this is sweeter, more caramelly in taste, with edges roasted till it's charcoal fragrant and crisp.  A delightful way to start especially since it's served warm.

Siu Yoke or Roast belly pork with crackling
While some rave about this also, I was less than impressed.  If you're used to having this in every other Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong, Oversea's version is a tougher cut, with disproportionate ratios of meat to fat, and the crackling was not as crisp or aromatic as it should have been.

Double boiled chicken soup with Abalone
This was much tastier than it looked.  The clarity is not to be mistaken for bland.  The soup was flavorful from the chicken and abalone but surprisingly the chicken was still tender to the bite.

Scrambled eggs with fish maw
This was another winner for me.  Eggs were well scrambled in a style reminiscent of the old days, when banquets offering a cold dish combo platter used to have this as one of the items.  Fish maw is used in place of politically incorrect sharks' fin but there was no detraction from taste.  Great with the lettuce leaves that are served together as receptacles for the eggs.

Steamed Tofu with dried shrimps and soy
Home-style tofu, period.  A good quality soy that was slightly sweet made for a good sauce.  Otherwise ordinary, since it is a piece of cake to reproduce this at home, especially since the imprinted edges suggested that all you have to do is lift it out of the box in which it was packed.

Eggplant and fish cake in claypot
This was just plain tasty and perfect to down a bowl of steamed rice with.  The addition of little rounds of fish cake was an interesting twist to the classic version but the bouncy pieces made for an interesting crunch to the dish.  

Tofu with Shrimps
We lamented the use of such big prawns in this dish since they were tasteless and failed to impress as a result.  The sauce was created from shrimp roe, and a fair bit of it at that, but lacked a shrimpy robustness about it.  A far cry from Joo Heng's version.  The only element which won here were the tofu pieces.  Very smooth, and encased in what tasted like an egg-based casing, that was well deep fried.

Steamed Patin (Catfish) with minced ginger
This is a great fish to eat, if you like fatty fishes.  The Omega 3 content is probably sky high and makes for an easy fish to steam since you don't have to worry about overcooking it.  The only unfortunate part of execution was that all you can taste is the ginger.  Granted, if you like ginger, you will love this.  However, I'm not a huge fan, and would have preferred a little more fish to come through.

Stir fried Kailan in ginger and chinese wine
Vegetables used were good quality.  A teenage Kailan that made for perfect crunch and sweetness where florets meet leaves.  A light ginger and Huadiao wine sauce enhanced.

Chilled honeyed sea coconut and longans
Dessert was quite blah.  It was refreshing, but again something you can create out of a couple of cans of honeyed sea coconut and longans.  The lemon wedge was the twist that cut through the cloying canned syrups.

While some comment that Oversea is pricey for what it is, and they're not far off, but in this day, where this style of food preparation is few and far between in Singapore, it is probably still a steal since it's all about instant gratification and not having to speed down the North-South highway for 3 hours to get the same thing for less.

100 Beach Road
Shaw Leisure Gallery
Shaw Towers
Tel: +65-6294 2638

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