Generally considered one of the top Chinese restaurants in Singapore, Wah Lok at Carlton Hotel has been delighting diners for the past 30 years. The restaurant industry is one of the most competitive in the city and it is already considered remarkable when a restaurant makes it to the 5 year mark. To still be around after 30 years is a sign of excellence – one that goes well beyond any passing fad. In celebration of 30 years in the business, Wah Lok has recently rolled out a limited time menu available from 1st July to 31st August 2018. These dishes has at one point or another graced the menu of the iconic restaurant and has been revived thanks to the memory of loyal staff who have been working in the restaurant for decades.
The Chilled Slice Roasted Duck with Water Chestnut & Dough Fritter (S$16) serves as an apt palate teaser with its delightful sour flavor that went well with the crunchy fritters. Parts of it remind me a bit of yu sheng though the seafood element here is clearly nonexistent.
Theatrically presented, the Braised Bamboo Fungus stuffed with Asparagus and Crab Claw with Golden Crown ($18 per person) is comprised of varied ingredients that you can’t simply classify it as crab nor as a veggie dish. At the center is a golden crown which is made of pumpkin while the succulent crab claw and asparagus wrapped in bamboo fungus sit at the center. Perhaps the most visually appealing dish in the limited time menu, this course is best eaten piece by piece in order to truly enjoy its complexity.
Sitting prettily on a cocktail glass, the Deep Fried Prawns with Rose Sauce ($30 for a small serving – pictured here is tasting size) is a modern take on the popular prawn ball dish. Instead of the usual wasabi or even salted egg yolk, sweet rose sauce is used. It took a while for me to get used to the taste as I really wasn’t expecting to find rose flavor used in a savory dish.
The Braised Broccoli topped with Minced Shrimps, Ham and Bird’s Nest Sauce ($12 per person) is notable for its thick layer of gravy – the highlight of the dish in my opinion. You’d want to slather each piece of the minced shrimps on the sauce wantonly to enhance the flavor.
Undoubtedly the highlight of the limited time menu and one of the more compelling crab dishes I’ve tried in recent times, the Alaskan Crab at Wah Lok ($18 per 100 grams) is prepared 2 ways, first with the crab meat sauteed with egg white and second with its crab claws deep-fried with Salt and Chili. The latter is especially comforting with black vinegar. Exceptionally flavorful, make sure to eat it while the skin is still crunchy.
We ended the meal with Wah Lok’s own take on the Braised Pork Knuckle ($48) by including black pepper sauce for that extra kick. The pork was tender with the fibers collapsing easily upon my first scoop. It is also notable that the meat here carried a slight sour taste to balance out the black peppers.
Wah Lok’s special 30th anniversary classics revival is available only in the months of July and August 2018. Reservations are recommended.
Carlton Hotel Singapore
76 Bras Basah Road