Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tonny Restaurant ..... a 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' of Joo Chiat

I thought Chef Tonny really got guts to put his photo together with his restaurant signage. He must have confidence in his looks and maybe he hopes to be as successful as Colonel Sanders of KFC? Jokes aside. While Chef Tonny did looked suave with his mustachioed photo hung up there at his restaurant facade, his marketing gimmick did worked on me. While HY and I were prowling the Joo Chiat Road for dinner, the blatant, visually bold, signage caught our attention and Tonny Restaurant became another option for dinner. Chef Tonny was popular since his stint in Sha Tin Restaurant in Geylang Lorong 3 and in Dempsey Hill's Grand Hong Kong. Now he has a restaurant to call his own, 利宝饭店 Tonny Restaurant @ 325 Joo Chiat Road.

With the display of media coverage and his photographs taken with numerous local celebrities, we were sold and here we are! While his 'marketing ploy' at his restaurant front pulled us in, the novel Cantonese cuisine that he served was even more attractive than those that I have eaten recently. Service at the restaurant was prompt and at the end of our dinner, we were even given a complimentary mini hashima dessert served up in shot glasses.

We were recommended 松露油酥脆芋丝 Crispy Yam with Truffle Oil as an appetizer and it's really a dish that can do no wrong. The thinly shredded yam was allowed to cool enough to maintain the absolute crisp. While the drizzle of the truffle oil gave this otherwise mundane dish an air of exquisiteness. Just like truffle fries, the truffle oil just did magic!

We can't help but order one of Chef Tonny's signature just because it has a name that invokes curiosity and one wonders if he was actually inspired by Lee Ang's movie. 卧虎藏龙 Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is a medley of Lobster, Egg White and Dried Scallop. How the lobster was created into a smooth silky white form likened to beancurd was simply amazing. The 'hidden dragon' here was the lobster that was cleverly pureed with egg white and then gently fried to form this tofu like creation.  It's an interesting dish for to challenge your palate. Would you be able to spot the hidden dragon amongst the savoriness of it all?

煎烤无骨盐焗鸡 Pan Fried Salted Boneless Chicken with Five Spices is not one of their signature but I thought it was created with all thoughtfulness. The whole chicken was de-boned, pan fried till a good browning and crisp appear on the chicken skin. Everything can be eaten with a pair of chopsticks without resorting to using hands as when I'm eating chicken wings with bones. This chicken dish tasted best when dipped with chilli sauce that was served with it.

针醉黄油糕蟹滚港式粥 Full Cream Crab Congee is another popular dish of the restaurant. The congee had the obvious sweetness of crab roe. We were told that Chef Tonny wanted to balance the 'heatiness' of the crab roe by adding green beans to the dish. Green beans was thought to be 'cooling' in nature for Chinese cuisine. I thought that this dish was quite good but wasn't quite like the ones that I ate in 池記雲吞麵家 Chi Ji of Causewaybay in Hong Kong and 皇冠小館 Huang Guan Restaurant in Macau. Chef Tonny's version didn't have as much intensity of crab roe when compared to the crab congee I tried in the 2 restaurants in Hong Kong and Macau. Maybe, he wanted his version to be deemed healthier and less overwhelming? I prefer a more zealous amount of crab roe for my crab congee though.

The crab was scooped out of the congee and placed on a plate for us to tear apart. W was able to tell that the crab was fresh. The meat was indeed succulent and sweet.

The congee was served to us in smaller individual bowls ........

Our stir fried Broccoli with wild mushrooms to provide a more 'balanced' diet. It's quite obvious that we are carnivores isn't it :)  

325 Joo Chiat Road
Tel : 6348 9298


adel said...

a great comprehensive cover of the restaurant, was wondering if it's worth a trip, it seems it is!

Unknown said...

Thanks Adel. Chef Tonny's cuisine is quite good!


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