Monday, September 23, 2013

Singapore Food Blog - TungLok Signatures @ Vivocity 同樂經典

Location: Harborfront, Singapore

Note: This piece was written base on the dining experience in Vivocity branch. Experience may differ from those in another branch.
* Lokkee is operated by Tunglok Group. Other reviewed eateries from the same group include Lokkee and TungLok Signatures.

This review will start with a sincere and heartfelt thanks to my friends for treating us to a dinner for celebrating us newlyweds. It was unexpected and definitely very much appreciated. This is written fully dedicated to their thoughtfulness and undying friendship.

Tung Lok Signatures in Vivocity was chosen as the venue for our celebration. I was aware of Tung Lok Group having a range of restaurants under its management, but I was not familiar with what the Signatures brand offers. A quick surf into their website shed some light on this particular chain - its main business is in serving traditional Chinese cuisines, particularly dishes of Cantonese, Sichuan and Shanghainese variety and taste.

This celebration by my friends gave me a chance to sample their offers and compare that to their equally famous competitor which I had experienced before - Paradise Inn (樂天客棧) (read more on my Paradise Inn experience in the review here).

Tung Lok Signatures in Vivocity is situated on the ground floor, right beside one of the exits to the boardwalk facing Sentosa Island.

A well-lit and well decorated interior greeted and beckoned us into the restaurant in Vivocity. The dazzle and sparkles of the restaurant is only surpassed by the full length glass walls with nearly seamless joint between them, spoiling diners with a view of the harbor front. A well chosen table and dinnertime may afford diners a spectacular view of fireworks from Sentosa Island, enjoying dinner and a heavenly show at the same time. Such would be reason enough to patronize Tung Lok Signatures.

My most vivid recollection of the decorations there was, funnily, a lamp. The peculiarity of the lamp was what drawn me to it - its outlook was reminiscent of eggshells being adhered together and lit up. It was undeniably eerie yet mesmerizing.

Tung Lok Signatures has a spectacular view across the harbor front to Sentosa Island, and diners may choose their dinner time to coincide with the fireworks over the resort island. Well decorated and well-lit, the restaurant combines a beckoning interior with an incomparable view for an irresistible reason for diners to choose them. The lamp which reminded me of eggshells joined together and lit up was placed near our table, so I took a couple of shots of the eerie yet mesmerizing lamp.

Beautiful as it may be, diners flock to Tung Lok Signatures to dine, not solely to enjoy the scenery. And the offer from the restaurant was truly pampering. It was rather difficult for us to decide what we should get for ourselves, and we let the helpful waitress guide and recommend dishes for us to be combined into a set.

And out came a wonderful set comprising of various Chinese cuisine. The most traditionally Chinese dish had to be the Peking Roast Duck, allowing us a glimpse into Imperial Chinese cuisine without having to fly all the way to the Middle Kingdom. Truly a dish to dine like a king.

Peking Roast Duck (北京烤鸭) is undoubtedly one of the most famous dish in China. To have it served the way it is done in its original place is priceless. Instead of serving the whole roast duck to patrons, the chef sliced off pieces of the crispy duck skin to be partially wrapped in a soft and thin dough skin. The carving of the duck was done near the diners, following time honored tradition. Having a crispy skin dipped in thick sour bean sauce and crunchy cucumber stick in your mouth is an experience to be savored. The rest of the duck meat is later served in sweet soy sauce.

All meat and no greens would make the course an unhealthy one. So in came a dish prepared with kailan, carrots and mushrooms. Not exactly a special dish, but it does win points for being tasty and healthy.

That Crispy Prawn Noodles was not exactly crispy, but I shall not be upset with the adjective because this dish is no less better minus that. Chopped onion added the crunchiness to the slurpy noodles, the latter a smooth and chewy sensation in the mouth. Add a bite of the fresh prawn in between slurps to disturb the sweetness of soy from the noodle with the sweetness of seafood.

The rest of the meal was no less better than Peking Roast Duck although the latter really stole the limelight from the others. Oh wait, not really so... There was a dessert which may give the dish a run for its money - vials of green juice served like test tubes. We were quite impressed and excited by this creative way of serving apple juice! In one thirsty gulp we all downed our vials, leaving us wishing there were more.

Clean off your palate with a chilled test tube! This peculiar green vial of liquid is green apple juice served vertically erect in a bowl of crushed ice. The juice grants you a nutritious and refreshing boost after a full meal, and the way it is presented earns major points for it.

Chilled Beancurd Pudding with Purple Rice Puree Topped with Ice Cream (雪山紫米豆花布丁) sounds better in Mandarin than in English. Whichever language you choose to name this, the dessert is a well deserved ending for finishing a set of meal. Mix the ice cream with the purple rice puree to get a creamer pudding dessert.

For a large group, which comprised of 10 people for our case, this would be a great place to gather together for a dinner though it is highly advisable to make a reservation as it is not unusual for the restaurant to be full. For our 8 course meal, it costed us about SGD700, a rather whooping amount but worth it with a full tummy back home. By the end of the course, we could barely handle the desserts and would have to abandon ship if not for their enticing and intriguing appearance.

The fact that the restaurant is usually full is an evident to its popularity and diners' confidence in Tung Lok Signatures' ability to deliver delicious food. Couple that with a spectacular view, well-adorned interior and my dining experience, I could find no reason not to recommend this restaurant to potential diners.

Suitable for:            for family or friends, and especially celebration friendly
Cost:                             This is a branded restaurant, so it makes sense that it is costly, but the offered dishes are well worth it.

Website:                    Official homepage
Contact:                     +65 - 6376 9555 (phone)/+65 - 6376 9559 (fax) (Vivocity branch)
Address:                     Vivocity, #01-57, 1 HarbourFront Walk, Singapore 098585.

Operating hours:   Lunch
                                           Mon - Sat (11.30 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.)
                                           Sun & PH (11.00 a.m. - 3.30 p.m.)
                                       Dinner daily (6.00 p.m. - 10.30 p.m.)
Directions:                Disembark at Harborfront MRT and proceed to Level 1. The layout of the mall is not straightforward, so look for the directory to locate the restaurant.

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