Swatow Garden Seafood Restaurant, which opened in April at Serangoon Gardens Country Club, is the second factory outlet under the Swatow brand. Swatow Seafood Restaurant, the first, opened in 2010 in Toa Payoh.
Compared with its older sibling, the new eatery is cramped there are two broad and comfortable private rooms and as the dining room has a high ceiling.
What it lacks are the Friday night Teochew opera performances the Toa Payoh factory outlet stages. Its menu, nevertheless, is mostly much like the original, except for a couple of dishes that are distinctive to the new factory outlet.
It seems strange, but my first misgivings the duck will turn out tough and dry vanish instantly when I bite into the soft meat that is shredded.
The omelette is a great choice for those people sensitive to or don’t like oysters and tasty. Otherwise, another great choice is the eatery’s trademark Crispy Oyster Omelette ($15).
Unlike conventional variations of the dish, where the oysters are fried with the egg, they are served by Swatow individually in a little bowl of savoury-sweet sauce.
22 Kensington Park Road, tel: 6343 1717
Service: 3/5 stars
Ambience: 3/5 stars
Cost: Funds from $70 a man
The first two times I purchase the dish, uncooked oysters are softly cooked in the sauce.
Yet, at the dinner of last week, the recipe had been tweaked and the shellfish was coated in starch and deep fried before being added – which I don’t find an advancement.
Maybe the additional measure would be to stop the oysters from going bad, but the shellfish gets overcooked and the flavour is diluted by the jacket of starch.
Supporters of traditional Teochew cooking will be pleased to locate two old fashioned dishes among the appetizers – Cooled Jelly Pork Knuckle ($8) and Teochew Cooled Piece Braised Pig’s Head ($8).
Both are rarely served in restaurants because they demand an excessive amount of time and effort to prepare, but I love the mix of gelatin, crunchy skin and soft meat that melts in the mouth.
They’re refreshing on a hot day also.
Another chilly dish I love is Teochew Cold Crab (seasonal cost). The little crab I get costs $45, but it’s packaged with sweet meat and roe that is abundant.
Another must-try dish is the Swatow Signature Crayfish (seasonal cost; I pay $60 for 1kg). It’s fried with onions and egg with a touch of chilli and boasts great wok hei.
More common Teochew dishes like Steamed Pomfret In Teochew Design (seasonal cost; I pay $80 for 800grams) and Teochew Braised Duck Meat With Bean Curd ($15) pass muster also. I shall not say they’re stand-outs, but they taste as great as those served in other Teochew eateries here.
The pomfret is steamed and fresh just right in a pool of tasty stock flavoured with salted vegetable, tomatoes, mushroom and sour plum. And the duck is soft and flavourful – though, for me, it lacks the scent of braised goose, which Swatow will not offer.
Many other eateries mince the vegetable, which is a better notion in more equally with the flat rice noodles because its salty flavour blends.
The paste is not overly sweet and smooth and it’s covered in a layer of aromatic shallot oil that smells wonderful.
The portion is not large, but that means I can complete it without feeling guilty. Don’t think of sharing.