Restaurant Home Tasting Session

November 04, 2014 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Restaurant Home Tasting Session
392 Upper Bukit Timah Road
The Rail Mall


Opening Hours:
Daily: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 11pm



http://www.restauranthome.com.sg/

This was an invited media review. I did not pay for the meal during the free hosted tasting session, but I did pay the standard price during subsequent visits.
Attended with representatives from Chubby Botak Koala, Amie Hu, Little Tiny Sun, Calvin Timo, Johor Kaki, Dairy & Cream, The Silver Chef, and SG Food On Foot.



A Taste Of Home, Truely

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 8
Food & Beverage: 9
Service: 9
Value for Money: 7
Budget about SGD $65 ++ per person.


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Helmed by award-winning Singaporean celebrity chef Tan Yong Hua, Restaurant Home in The Rail Mall promises a homely, comfortable communal dining experience, with tasty, classic Chinese and Singaporean zi char dishes prepared using traditional methods. Founded in September 2013, at Restaurant Home, the philosophy of “家”, or "Jiā", represents more than just "Home", it also represents "Family", where the staff are welcoming and friendly, and the deeply personal zi char dishes from Chef Tan are like Chinese soul food.

Restaurant Home Signage



Ambience at Restaurant Home, as befits the name, is homely and comfortable. Walking in, you'll feel like you've stepped into a relative's house! Clean, brightly lit, with rosewood furnishings in mahogany and pearl, the open dining room with its high ceiling lends a sense of space. Displayed along the wall are the various accolades of Chef Tan Yong Hua, while succulent roast ducks and strips of roast pork are hung in the glass kitchen display. Fine Chinese cutlery adorned with elegant floral motifs are arranged precisely on tables. The ambience at Restaurant Home allows diners the opportunity to linger over a hearty meal with family and friends!

Restaurant Home Exterior


Restaurant Home Interior



Service at Restaurant Home is professional and efficient. I find staff to be welcoming and friendly, offering greetings and farewells. They're also quick at seating guests, and clearing away dirty plates. I commend their proactiveness in offering to change plates for diners, their unobtrusiveness at topping up tea, and their ability to not only portion dishes evenly, but present it beautifully even after portioning as well. All round efficient service, the staff at Restaurant Home take good care of diners, ensuring the experience is memorable. Our visit was during a non peak period though, so it remains to be seen how staff will manage a full house.

Table Setting



Food at Restaurant Home revolves primarily around classic dishes from the cuisine of China, specifically, the regions of Beijing and Guangzhou, as well as classic Singapore Zi Char style dishes. Executive Chef and Restaurant Home co-founder Tan Yong Hua has 2 decades of culinary experience under his belt, having previously headed reowned Chinese restaurants such as Peach Blossom (in Marina Mandarin Singapore), Sze Chuan Court (in Raffles the Plaza), LingZhi Vegetarian Restaurant (by Tung Lok Group), and Pearl River Palace (in Suntec City Mall). Chef Tan is perhaps best known for clinching the gold medal at the 6th World Championship of Chinese Cuisine in 2008, as well as being the 1st Singaporean chef to triumph in the Iron Chef Thailand challenge in 2013.

Not surprising then, that each dish at Restaurant Home is tasty, packed with flavour, and beautifully presented. Restaurant Home encourages communal dining, so portion sizes are much too large for just 1 person, and a minimum of 2 diners is recommended, although 4 or more diners is better value for money. I think the biggest drawback of dining at Restaurant Home is their high price, due to the use of premium ingredients, and traditional cooking methods that are both painstaking and time-consuming. Slightly more expensive than other Chinese fine dining restaurants, budget SGD $30 or more per person for lunch, and budget SGD $65 or more per person for dinner here, especially if you order fish or seafood.

Chef Tan Yong Hua


Chef Tan Yong Hua



The Barbecued Peking Duck with Lychee Wood (SGD $68 Whole Duck) is Chef Tan's signature dish. Having studied the art of roasting a perfect Bejing roast duck from chefs in China, Chef Tan has added his own unique spin on this classic favourite. Firstly, the wood fired oven used for roasting is custom designed to trap heat, thus producing very crisp duck skin. Secondly, he imports lychee wood, which imparts a delicate, subtle flavour and aroma to the duck meat.

If you order a whole duck, it's presented in 3 stages. First, the Crispy Skin, cut from the duck breast, is served with a zesty sugar. I find the skin to be very crisp and flavourful, not oily at all, extremely satisfiying. Secondly, the sliced Duck Meat is served with wraps / crepes, leeks, cucumbers, and a sweet hoisin sauce. I like the contrast of textures, with the crunch of the vegetables against the tender, tasty duck meat, cut through with a balance of savoury and sweet. However, because the ducks here have little fat under the skin, the meat tends to be on the dry side. I also find the wraps / crepes to be slightly thick. Thirdly, for an additional SGD $10, the remainder of the odd cuts of the duck meat can be prepared in your choice of a stew / soup, a stir fry with ginger and onion, or deep fried with garlic and chili.

Barbecued Peking Duck with Lychee Wood (SGD $68 Whole Duck) - Crispy Skin


Barbecued Peking Duck with Lychee Wood - Duck Meat


Barbecued Peking Duck with Lychee Wood - Ingredients


Barbecued Peking Duck with Lychee Wood - Wrap



The Baked Marble Goby in Claypot with Chef Tan in-house Recipe (SGD $9 / 100gm) is another signature dish, derived from a classic Guangzhou Cantonese dish, but again with Chef Tan's unique spin. A mix of local spices like lemongrass, galangal, and spring onions are stir fried, then heaped on a large, fresh marble goby fish, along with ginger and parsely, then baked in a claypot. This results in a very tender, fragrant fish, with a mind-blowing, savoury sauce, infused through with the aromatics. Excellent and delicious, but be prepared to pay upwards of SGD $55 or so for this... but still, I would say this is highly recommended!

Baked Marble Goby in Claypot with Chef Tan in-house Recipe (SGD $9 / 100gm)


Baked Marble Goby in Claypot with Chef Tan in-house Recipe



I have high regard for the Homemade Egg Bean Curd with Shrimp Paste, Crabmeat and Roe in Pi Pa Style (SGD $36). Not just because the sefood is fresh, and painstakingly deshelled. It's because the tofu itself is freshly made daily, using premium quality soybeans, and the process of hand making the tofu is both time-consuming and labourious. But this imparts the tofu a wonderful fragrance, packed with flavour, and renders the texture very smooth, light, and airy. Just one bite, and you'll be able to taste the difference! So smooth, so soft, so tasty... yum.

Homemade Egg Bean Curd with Shrimp Paste, Crabmeat and Roe in Pi Pa Style (SGD $36)


Homemade Egg Bean Curd with Shrimp Paste, Crabmeat and Roe in Pi Pa Style



The Wok-Fried Three Kinds of Vegetables in X.O. Chili Sauce (SGD $18) features a trio of fresh and crunchy broccoli, snow peas, and asparagus, in a tangy, spicy chili that isn't too overwhelming, but balanced enough to lift the flavour of the vegetables. Clean tasting and not too oily, I think this would go great with white rice! Very good!

Wok-Fried Three Kinds of Vegetables in X.O. Chili Sauce (SGD $18)


Wok-Fried Three Kinds of Vegetables in X.O. Chili Sauce



We selected Deep-Fried Duck with Dried Chili, Roasted Minced Garlic and Capsicum Pepper Fine Salt (SGD $10 Pecking Duck Second Serving) for the 2nd serving of the duck. The remaining spare parts near the duck bones are were deep fried till extremely crisp, and tossed in a a mix of roasted garlic, chili, and salt. The result is crunchy duck meat that peels off the bone easily, with a fragrant aroma, and a spicy, punchy kick from the chili and salt. Liked this better than I thought I would!

Deep-Fried Duck with Dried Chili, Roasted Minced Garlic and Capsicum Pepper Fine Salt (SGD $10 Pecking Duck Second Serving)


Deep-Fried Duck with Dried Chili, Roasted Minced Garlic and Capsicum Pepper Fine Salt



The Stewed Golden Noodles with Lobster and Spring Onions wrapped in O Ba Leaf (SGD $12.50 / 100 gm) was my least favourite dish, and while it was tasty, I'm not quite used to the flavour here. The noodles are stir fried with a soya sauce, have a springy, bouncy texture, and are plated separately from the seafood. The lobster is very fresh, in a savoury seafood gravy infused with an earthy, almost nutty essence being steamed in the o ba leaf. This combination is messy to consume, as you'll have to go after the lobster with your hands, and the noodles with your cutlery.

Stewed Golden Noodles with Lobster and Spring Onions wrapped in O Ba Leaf (SGD $12.50 / 100 gm)


Stewed Golden Noodles with Lobster and Spring Onions wrapped in O Ba Leaf


Stewed Golden Noodles with Lobster and Spring Onions wrapped in O Ba Leaf



A hearty, comforting, classic Cantonese Old Cucumber Soup (SGD $20), with mature cucumbers stewed till soft and tender. Instead of pork ribs, the soup / broth has tender pieces of chicken, along with sweet red dates. Completely satisfiying, albeit not so traditional.

Old Cucumber Soup (SGD $20)


Old Cucumber Soup



We sampled a tasting portion of the Homemade Ramen with 8 Head Quality Amidori Abalone (SGD $26), the actual portion is about twice this size. The noodles are thick and filling, but holds the sticky, savoury abalone gravy very well. The 8 Head Quality Amidori Abalone is as premium as its name, very fresh, stewed for over 8 hours till tender with a slight chew.

Homemade Ramen with 8 Head Quality Amidori Abalone (SGD $26) - Tasting Portion


Homemade Ramen with 8 Head Quality Amidori Abalone - Tasting Portion



The tasting portion of the Barbecued Duck with Lychee Wood served with Homemade Yellow Noodle (SGD $24) for me was a slight let down, after the amazing peking duck we had earlier, this was decent in comparision. The noodles are thin, spingy, and flavourful, with the sauce tasting slighly akin to a Hong Kong style Wanton Noodles. The duck meat here is more moist, and meaty, but the delicate flavour of the lychee wood is somewhat lost admist the much stronger soy sauce. Still, a very good dish on its own.

Barbecued Duck with Lychee Wood served with Homemade Yellow Noodle (SGD $24) - Tasting Portion


Barbecued Duck with Lychee Wood served with Homemade Yellow Noodle - Tasting Portion



I loved the tasting portion of the Crispy Roast Pork with Homemade Yellow Noodle (SGD $24)! The roast pork is excellent, with a crisp skin that crackles satisfyingly when bit, giving way to a tender, meaty, slice of pork. The flavour of the pork is slightly intense, and I found myself wishing for a sweet sauce or mustard to go with this!

Crispy Roast Pork with Homemade Yellow Noodle (SGD $24) - Tasting Portion


Crispy Roast Pork with Homemade Yellow Noodle - Tasting Portion



I haven't had a unique, memorable dessert like the Chilled Rosella Flower Jelly with Diced Mango (SGD $6) in a long time, totally outstanding! Refreshing, fragrant, rosella flower jelly, with a beautiful red purple hue, slighlty sour, slightly sweet, and so smooth that it slides down the throat. Balanced with fresh cubes of diced mango, each mouthful awakens the sensations in your mouth. Absolutely delicious and yummy, highly recommended!

Chilled Rosella Flower Jelly with Diced Mango (SGD $6)


Chilled Rosella Flower Jelly with Diced Mango



The Chilled Japanese Pumpkin Puree with Black Glutinous Rice Served in Pumpkin (SGD $10) was presented beautifully, served in a hollowed out pumpkin! It's so cute! Within is a smooth, slightly sweet, very fragrant pumpkin puree, flavoured with sticky sweet black glutinous rice. This modern dessert may not go down too well with those of a traditional palate, but is evident of Chef Tan Yong Hua's creativity and passion for innovation. Worth a try!

Chilled Japanese Pumpkin Puree with Black Glutinous Rice Served in Pumpkin (SGD $10)


Chilled Japanese Pumpkin Puree with Black Glutinous Rice Served in Pumpkin


Chilled Japanese Pumpkin Puree with Black Glutinous Rice Served in Pumpkin



Overall, Restaurant Home is a great place for a Chinese fine dining meal, provided you're willing to splurge. With great tasting, classic Chinese dishes, friendly service, and a bunch of family and friends, you'll have a great time at Restaurant Home. On 22 November 2014, Chef Tan Yong Hua is also taking part in the Ultimate Hawker Challenge 2014, held at Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre Hall 401 & 402, from 11am to 5pm, in support of the needy and disadvantaged, where he will showcase his Lychee Wood Roasted Duck!





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