When I was told that there is a new Lai Huat Signatures restaurant near the central business district (CBD) at China Street, I could not hold my joy to know that their signature Sambal Promfret since 1951 will be easily available to diners now with the restaurant conveniently located near Telok Ayer MRT station.
The signature sambal belachan was created by the late Mr Lim Song Lai in his humble coffeeshop along Ophir Road back in the 1950s. Now there are five different restaurants around the island at Jalan Besar, Guillemard, Upper East Coast, Rangoon Road and China Street. Each of them bears slightly a different name but retained the Lai Huat brand name. All of them seem to inherit the recipe of the late Mr Lai. While the five restaurants are owned by different members in the family trees, they are all run individually which seems to suggest that there are different views and directions for the business. Anyway, let us focus on the food.
Crab Beehoon 3/5
At Lai Huat Signatures, besides the signature Sambal Promfret the restaurant also woks up a eclectic selection of cooked dishes on the menu. One of them is the Crab Beehoon ($58/kg) which we tried. There will hits and misses in their execution. The beehoon was cooked to a good slurping bite complemented by the freshness and sweetness of the crustacean. However the beehoon failed to absorb the essence of the crab, lacking the oomph factor.
Fish Maw Soup 3.5/5
The Fish Maw Soup ($18/$35/$48) with dried Scallop and crabmeat came across has hearty and comforting, flavourful but yet not too starchy.
Roasted Chicken Two Ways 3.5/5
The Roasted Chicken Two Ways ($30) actually comes in the form of roasted chicken and strips of chicken meat tossed in a Thai chilli sauce. The exterior of the roasted chicken is crispy while the interior is still tender and juicy. Pair with strips of cucumber and carrot in a sweet Thai chilli sauce, the other version is more light and refreshing as if having a salad dish.
Sambal Promfret 4.2/5
Lastly the signature item on the menu, The Sambal Promfret (Market Price) which comes with a generous topping of the sambal. I am told that there is a slight difference in how Lai Huat Signatures prepared the sambal compared to the other restaurants. Traditionally the sambal is wok fried until fragrant but risk of getting burnt. Over here, it is oven roasted for consistency. If you like spicy food, the sambal promfret is not to be missed. The sambal is so good that you can just have it with a bowl of rice.
Lai Huat Signatures
23 China Street
Tel: +65 66363828
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer (DT Line)
Daily: 11am - 11pm
Alight at Telok Ayer MRT station. Take Exit B. Walk down Cross Street towards Far East Square. Turn right onto China Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]