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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ban Heng Restaurant 萬興大酒樓

It was a busy day, December 22, 2009, Wednesday.

After the movie, my Darling No 1 and I went to Funan, enjoyed our Burmese lunch (or was it Vietnamese? *scratch head*) before we headed for home. Nope, this entry is not about the Burmese lunch but it was quite good.

The afternoon passed unremarkably before he ordered me to get ready for dinner. Earlier I had booked us seats in this famous restaurant. Famous as it were in my parents days (trying to distance myself).

I have never been there but the reviews have been good at Hungrygowhere and a few other links. My Darling No 1 was also quite impressed with the menu from his previous visit. I felt that I simply have to force him to bring me to this place where he was giving a treat to his friends. Plus it was really near his place; we simply walked from his house to this nice restaurant.

The spread was Hongkong and Teochew dishes for the price of $16.80 (it came up to about $20 per pax with the service charge, appetizers and napkins). Darling No 1 loved the 'cerealed' prawns (while I adored the black pepper prawns which I found sweet with only a slight taste of black pepper. I hate black pepper to be honest, so I found this dish incredibly suited to my taste). He was impressed with the Eefu noodles (which I told him is a dish he has to try in all Chinese restaurants). His friends were speechless (when they were stuffing themselves), when these came (in the order the food was presented): Fruits with Prawns Salad, Top Shell in Sweet and Sour Sauce, Fried Baby Kailan with Oyster Sauce, Fried Parwns with Cereals Hot Mashed Taro with Gingko Nuts dessert.

Of course we ordered more dishes than I listed since it was an A-La-Carte Menu we took. But these were the dishes that impressed most of us (5 guys and 1 gal).

The phone service was prompt (picked up within 3 rings) and the staff took the reservations very efficiently. (Call +65 6291 0407 to reserve your seats.) However when asked to elaborate more on the menu, I was prompted to browse through their website. I had to ask for the website address too! (I must have sounded very IT-savvy over the phone?). Felt they did not have time/patience to take questions over the phone but I was a customer-to-be and I demanded to know if they serve porridge (oh, no, they don't. haha).

I took sometime to call back before booking the table. It was worth the effort because they really do reserve the better seats for you. There were 3 dining halls (with one that can be enclosed). We were at the 3rd best seats in my opinion (and nearest to the kitchen). To me, the seating place is really important because I do not want to be located near the loo (where the enclosed dining hall was), I want to have sufficient lighting to see my food (not some dark 'romantic' places and the part of the restaurant did not have the really bright lighting that I like) and I do not like sitting near the entrance to be the guard dogs. Though our table were near the kitchen, I was not too concerned with the food coming out from the kitchen because I could see how they cook and what were the most popular dishes.

The waitress all spoke Chinese that I could hardly understand. They also wrote the orders in Chinese (after all this IS a Chinese restaurant). However they were friendly and understood English too. They were very fast to refill our Oolong Tea and the appetizers too.

While we placed our first orders, the waitress kindly advised us to order a few more dishes as the waiting time may be lengthened when more diners flow in. And I warmed to her immediately. It was a good advice and most of the dishes we ordered did came quite promptly. Some dishes we ordered later simply were not delivered as the kitchen ran out of the raw ingredients! (like chicken? and pork?)

Towards the closing time (last orders at 2130hrs) they did line up the chairs and cleared the empty tables. I did not like this packing up thing but it seems to be a practice in modern Singapore. I must emphasize that this is considered to be very rude for the older generation. (Am I part of the OG?)

Overall it was an enjoyable dinner, partly because of the free flow of conversation, the cosy ambience and the traditional chinese food that reminds me of 1980s Chinese restaurants, where every dish was tasty and remarkable.

Go to 22 Boon Keng Road to try or relive authentic chinese food in Ban Heng Restaurant.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, can replace authentic chinese food in my heart.

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thQnk :)


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