Full Dian Xiao Er review here: http://ivanteh-runningman.blogspot.sg/2014/09/dian-xiao-er.html
Since its founding in 2005, Dian Xiao Er has stayed true to its niche; providing rustic, tastefully prepared Chinese comfort food in a homely setting, at slightly above Zi Char pricing. And while it does feature Chinese style Zi Char dishes, the star highlights at Dian Xiao Er are its lovingly roasted ducks, served in a variety of flavourful herbal broths.
Ambience at Dian Xiao Er is styled after a traditional Imperial Chinese rest house / inn, complete with dark wooden furniture and flooring, normally packed quite closely together. Depending on which Dian Xiao Er outlet you visit, decor can range from farm house to stone cliff. Atmosphere is lively and bustling, yet not noisy as to disrupt conversation. I also like that Dian Xiao Er has a display of its roast duck hanging near the entrance.
Service at Dian Xiao Er seems to have actually improved over the last 5 years that I've visited. Order are taken and fulfilled quickly, and staff are polite, offering greetings upon entry / exit. Empty plates are cleared quickly, and staff are also efficient are topping up tea without being asked. Only drawback I note is that not all staff can converse in English, thus, Mandarin / Chinese is the preferred method of communication here.
Food at Dian Xiao Er is mainly focused on their signature roast duck in herbal broths, as well as double boiled soups Cantonese style, alongside a small selection of Chinese style Zi Char dishes. Potions are usually sufficient for 2 people to share, and pricing is slightly more expensive than a coffee shop Zi Char, but cheaper than a Chinese fine dining restaurant, averaging about SGD $25 - $40 per person.
Quality of food at Dian Xiao Er is very good, ingredients are fresh due to their high turnover, and dishes are well prepared. Plating and presentation is decent. Overall, a good place for a homely, comfort Chinese meal!
The signature Roast Duck With 10 Wonder Herbs (SGD $14.60 Small, SGD $27.30 Medium, SGD $46.60 Whole) features duck roasted to perfection, in a dark herbal gravy of 10 Chinese herbs which include condonopsis root, foxglove root, and licorice root. It supposedly has a calming effect, while relieving mental stress and revitalizing energy.
The duck meat is tender, moist, and yields easily, not an easy feat to achieve with duck! The duck skin retains a slightly crisp crunch, and a tinge of salty, savoury flavour. The gravy is yummy and drinkable, and while strong with the flavour of Chinese herbs, isn't overpowering or medicinal in taste. Excellent! Ask for it to be deboned for a more satisfiying meal!