This was a place that my parents brought me to, and I still think the name is really odd considering that it sells tze char. It was very crowded when we stepped in after 7 pm on a Monday night; I believe the selling point of this place is its central location, variety of dishes and affordability.
Variety aside, not all dishes are good. To be safe, order the claypot rice ($9 for a small, which feeds 2 people) and the soups (we had the black bean soup; not sure how much it cost though). The chef-owner is Cantonese, and his soups are pretty tasty. The claypot rice was also a best-seller, evident from the sheer number of people ordering it. It comes with a lovely smokey fragrance, with chunks of tender chicken pieces, Chinese sausage and salted fish to flavour. The bottom of the claypot may even hold those crispy burnt-rice bits if you are lucky!
The rest of the dishes disappointed me however. The coffee pork ribs that was ordered came in 5 slabs of ribs; unfortunately I took the one that was tough and dry, and I couldn't even get the meat off the bone. The butter oatmeal beancurd was dry and tough, as though it hadn't been cooked properly (first time eating beancurd that is dry and tough; I couldn't imagine it either until I tried it!). That dish felt like a waste of my time. The sambal lady's fingers was average.
Desserts however, are pretty good as well. The home made tau suan with you tiao ($2.50) is something that I would order again should I come back here. Sweetened with gula melaka, the tau suan has a good amount of mung beans (as compared to some places where it's 70% starch and 30% beans), and the you tiao serving is crispy and generous. But as the tau suan is made upon request, it needs to be ordered in advance to avoid a longer waiting time. The black fungus dessert also deserves a mention.
Undoubtedly the Chinese name 乐食轩 suits this eatery better than it's erm... French one that translates into "The Hunter". I can understand if it's a Western restaurant specializing in game meat but Chinese home-cooked food?!?! However, there's a saying that goes "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet", so as long as the food is good they can call themselves whatever they like :)
It was our first time dining here and we played safe by ordering only their signature dishes. All except the claypot chicken rice reminded me of food that I used to eat at home.
We were prepared to wait around 20 minutes as the claypot chicken rice (炭烧砂煲鸡饭 - $8.50) was cooked from scratch upon order. As it slow-cooked over charcoal fire, I started perusing their walls, which were plastered with photos of all their drinks and food. It was then that I made a mental note of some familiar ones that I grew up with.
Finally, the wait was over and a server presented us with a sizzling claypot with a tantalizing aroma wafting from it. He helped to mix all the ingredients before leaving us to enjoy the dish. There were chicken chunks, chinese sausages, mushrooms, salted fish and some greens while the basmati rice was nicely charred, crispy and flavorful. Every mouthful was sufficiently tasty that I didn't even need the dark soya sauce though K preferred to douse the rice with it.
We also had the pig trotters in black vinegar (猪脚醋 - $8.50) which got me excited and fond memories came flooding back. The rich gravy was a complexity of flavors, at once sweet, sour and spicy, but was well-balanced and complemented the tender pig trotters. The egg was best eaten with lots of gravy since it was hard and dry. This dish made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside not only because of the generous use of ginger!
At this point I was already smiling from ear to ear and was expecting desserts to end the wonderful meal on some sweet notes. The tau suan with dough fritters (豆爽 + 炭烤油条 - $2.50) was just the right consistency and sweetness. Definitely not the thick and starchy kind with hardly any split mung beans that I usually find in food courts. The crunchy dough fritters were charcoal-grilled so the smokiness rendered the dessert even more delicious.
Lastly, the black fungus (黑木耳 - $2.80) was delectably soft and sweet. Served chilled, this refreshing dessert came with plenty of wolfberries and Southern Chinese almonds which lent an interesting contrast of texture and taste.
We arrived early so the eatery was largely empty but it was filling up fast as dinner-time approached. Service was efficient but a tad distant as staff were mostly deadpan. The owner, on the other hand, was friendlier and chatted to some about his dishes.
Note: Iced or warm water cost $0.20 but I'm not complaining since they don't charge for service and GST.
i was reading through the reviews here and there and this place popped up to my mind.
i am always there after a tiring workout and the food just warm me up.
usually with a company of 2-3 people, we would order the following:
stir fried veg
ice coffee (darn good!!)
hei mu er
sometime the boss, who attend to customers as well.will proceed to ask if you like to have fish, and bring out a fish and do some explainations. more than once we agreed on and the fish is always the best on the table.!!
quiet and cosy, i find this place a good hangout place if you want some home cooked meal
...and at most the soups.
Patronized this makan place twice, one good and the other not that good. :/
My first visit was simple. Only had the speciality claypot chicken rice ($7.80) and black bean soup ($5) with a friend. The claypot chicken was fragrant and yummy. Chicken pieces were substantial and tender. Rice was loose-grained and well-coated with sufficient black sauce (poured and mixed by the wait staff upon serving). Sausages used were taiwanese chinese sausages, so its a bit different from the usual ones. Salted fish bits were present too but my friend and I found it a tad insufficient for our personal tastes. Overall, it was still great.
The black bean soup was good too. It's rare that I will like such soups served outside of home. But the version here was yummy. Their claims of zero msg,artificial seasoning aside, I liked that the black bean soup was 'thick' with the bean and pork bones flavour from the long slow brewing. Somewhat very much like what I get at home. The black beans were very substantial in the one-pax serving and soft enough.
No-frills makan place with numerous food choices plastered all over the wall and glass panels. Pricing doesn't look too dear and my 1st visit experience was very encouraging.
Sadly, my 2nd visit was disappointing. Possibly 'cos we went for the zi-char options in a large group of 11 pax. 1st, all the food items were small (one-size only). So need to do double order for large groups. 2nd, we were 'pressured' into ordering expensive stuff. I HATE ppl doing that to me. Lucky I am not one to give in. 3rd, the zi-char dishes were really average and nothing outstanding. I can get much better standards elsewhere easily.
We had yu sheng, assam fish head, 2 stir-fried vegs, hotplate tofu, har cheong gai (prawn paste chix) and claypot chicken rice. We had to do double servings for all items, except the yu sheng, fish head and hotplate tofu (we just did not want a 2nd serving for this). With exception for the claypot chicken rice, the other food items were really forgettable. Total damage was about $100 plus, inclusive of drinks.
Luckily my colleagues did not 'ham-tam' me for the average food and that the claypot chicken rice saved the day. :)
In brief, only recommended for the claypot rice and at best, the soups.
PS: No GST and service charge. All prices stated are the nett prices to pay.