Peking duck fails to fly high – TungLok Xihe Peking Duck, Orchard Central, Singapore

When I heard that TungLok XiHe Peking Duck has opened a new branch at the quiet Orchard Central Mall, I was taken aback. This mall, with a questionable tenant mix, never seems to attract a good traffic flow. It is practically deserted on any weekday. Hence, I was rather surprised that TungLok XiHe Peking Duck was rather crowded when I visited the restaurant last Sunday.

TungLok XiHe Peking Duck is a collaboration between TungLok Group, one of Singapore’s leading F&B group, and Beijing’s renowned XiHe Group. Without having to say, this restaurant is famous for its crispy Peking duck.

Unfortunately, on my most recent trip, I didn’t get to enjoy the signature dish simply because there were only two of us. One whole duck is just too much for us. Instead we ordered one of the two TungLok XiHe tasting menus. Even then, we were not served all the dishes in the menu. Just before we arrived at the restaurant, we were told that they ran out of many ingredients and they would have to replace three out of the six items in the tasting menu.

For those who enjoy lots of crab meat in their shark’s fin soup will love the Paper-wrapped Braised Shark’s Fin with Crab Meat. Served in a hot stone pot, there is a generous amount of crab meat in this shark’s fin soup.

Paper-wrapped Braised Shark's Fin with Crab Meat

Besides the duck, TungLok XiHe is also well-known for its Lion’s Head Meatball. I have mixed feelings about the Stewed Spring Onion and Dried Fish Maw with Braised Lion’s Head Meatball. The fish maw is thick and chewy, which I like very much. However, the star ingredient, Lion’s Head Meatball, is rather disappointing. It is way too soft and sometimes, mushy. At some point, it felt like minced raw meat.

Stewed Spring Onion and dried Fish Maw with Braised Lion's Head Meatball

The Steamed Marble Goby is a tone down version of the original Steamed Marble Goby with Black Fungus and Dried Lily Bubs. The kitchen ran out of black fungus and dried lily bubs. Although we had the less elaborated dish, the fish still tasted good when steamed with light soya sauce.

Steamed Marble Goby

I like the Stir-fried ‘Kai Lan’ with Silver Bait and Preserved Vegetables. The crispy silver bait and crunchy ‘Kai Lan’ complement each other very well. The preserved vegetables is not overly salty and it smoothens out the slightly bitter taste in the ‘Kai Lan’.

Stir-fried 'Kai Lan' with Silver Bait and Preserved Vegetables

Another dish that was replaced is the Japanese ‘Mee Sua’ Soup with Alaskan Crab Meat. This time, the kitchen ran out the Alaskan Crab Meat. They replaced this noodle dish with Fried ‘Mee Sua’ with scallops. The ‘Mee Sua’ has lots of wok-hei which definitely saves it from being a disaster. The heat from the wok added more flavour into the fried noodles. Even though the scallops were small, they were succulent.

Seafood 'Mee Sua'

The Jelly with Fruits dessert definitely fell short of expectations. I felt that it was an inferior replacement to the original item, which is the Double-boiled Almond Cream with Egg White in Young Coconut. No doubt, the dessert is refreshing. But it is no way close to the almond cream in terms of quality.

Jelly with Fruits

The tasting menu on that night was certainly not worth it. At $188++ for two persons, the replacement dishes were no way close to the quality of the advertised items. The environment, especially in the glass house, is not pleasant too. It was very warm even at 8pm. Despite turning the speed of the ceiling fans to the max, in addition to the air conditioning, the temperature didn’t come down much.

When I was there, the ordering system also malfunctioned and some of the guests’ orders weren’t entered into the system. The guests seated next to my table were very upset that their food didn’t come.

I would avoid going to the restaurant now until they have sorted out the teething problems. Hopefully, that will be soon.

TungLok XiHe Peking Duck
Orchard Central
181 Orchard Road, #07-07/09
Singapore 238896
Tel: +65 6736 0006

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