Hong Kong has a few funky modern Chinese restaurant and bars which do well – Little Bao and Ho Lee Fook at Central come to mind.
Somehow they just got the whole package. It is not just about the food anything, but the vibes, the surroundings, the décor, the cool clientele. (And Little Bao has ultra charismatic May Chow.)
Emm…. From a marketing angle, it is challenging to position these restaurants, much more difficult than the typical Chinese restaurants.
Is it supposed to attract the locals or expats, or both?
Full of Luck Club 福乐 has opened at Holland Village, from the same team behind Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant, offering a “progressive and contemporary take on authentic Cantonese cuisine”.
I think Holland Village has enough international diners to venture to this establishment, but talking about a more authentic Chinese dining experience, competitor of sorts Crystal Jade is right next door.
Its menu will incorporate Li Bai classics, and offerings of dim sum ($5.40 – $7.20), Hakka Crispy Kurobuta Pork Belly ($18), Crispy Aromatic Duck ($35 for half, $70 for whole), King Prawn Crispy Noodles ($24), Sweet Mint and Lime Cod ($24).
A notch on the expensive side.
During the soft launch phase, it will just offer steamed bao such as Salted Egg Yolk Prawn Bao, Braised Pork Belly Bao, Kung Pao Fried Chicken Bao, Portuguese Pork Chop Bao and Panko-crusted Portobello Bao (any 2 for $9.80).
These baos made their debut at the CRAFT Singapore Festival and were sold out 2 days consecutively. (Though ‘festival food’ and sit-down meals are really quite different.)
One of Full of Luck Club’s highlights is a Bao Bar window concept, where passer-bys can have a view of the bao-making process.
Well, the risky thing is, any fumble is also in full-sight.
“What sauce to add to the Kung Pao Bao ah?”
I sincerely hope it is just opening week jitters, and perhaps the very first thing would be to standard the bao-making process. Some had too much sauce, some not enough.
I liked the texture of the bun. It is not mantou, not char-siew-bao ‘bao’, a style of its own, like the hamburger bun but white and fluffier.
The best tasting item was the Braised Pork Belly, indeed soft, fatty and melted in the mouth. I did wonder about the crushed peanuts, which was quite out of place with the entire package.
In fact, crushed peanuts appeared in 3 out of the 4 baos ordered.
The Salted Egg Yolk Prawn which we looked forward to, was perhaps over-salty – both the sauce and the prawn. So not quite Little Bao yet, but there is potential.
Full of Luck Club
243 Holland Ave Singapore 278977 (Holland MRT)
Tel: +65 6208 6845
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm (Sun – Thurs), 11am – 1am (Fri – Sat)