Michelin-starred chefs who open restaurants in Singapore, are typically accompanied with the expected media fanfare and bookings during the opening days.
Mak Hong Kee HK Kitchen 麥康記 has been in operations quite quietly at Keong Saik Road, a stretch known for its hip restaurants and coffee shops – a couple which are Michelin starred or listed.
The chef helming the kitchen is Chef Mak Kip Fu from Hong Kong, who has a lustrous resume of being the ex-Executive Chef at Conrad Macao’s Dynasty 8, and working in the kitchens of famous restaurants such as Lung King Heen 龍景軒 and Fook Lam Moon 福臨門.
This has completely gone under the radar.
So far, reviews have been fairly positive for its authentic Hong Kong fare at inexpensive prices.
The pricing of Mak Hong Kee appear to be mid-range, slightly more affordable that the chains of Crystal Jade, Imperial Treasure and Paradise, yet it still boost of a comfortable environment for group dining occasions.
Its key offerings are the Hong Kong style roast meats, such as Roasted Duck ($12 for portion, $40 for whole), Roasted Crispy Chicken ($18 for half, $36 for whole), BBQ Combination ($20 for two varieties), BBQ Pork with Honey Sauce ($12), Crackling Pork Belly ($12) and Soya Sauce Chicken ($12).
Chef recommended dishes include Steamed Chicken with Lotus Leaf ($16), Stir-Fried Beef Filled with Black Pepper Sauce ($16), Pan-Fried Mashed Tofu with Crab Roe ($14), Prawns with Walnuts ($14), Sliced Fish Steamed with Egg, and Sweet & Sour Chicken ($14).
I guess it would be representative enough to order a “Shuang Pin” – a combination of BBQ Pork and Crackling Pork Belly.
Unfortunately, the former was lean, thick and slightly to the dry side. I couldn’t hide my disappointment as I was longing for that familiar taste of Hong Kong.
To me, the Char Siew is that quintessential item. If a kitchen cannot get the Char Siew right, then half the battle is lost.
Thankfully, the other half was won by the decent “Sio Bak”, of crispy rind and not overly fatty meat.
If I were to order one more item again, it would easily be the Prawn Wanton Noodle ($6.50) – affordably priced in a restaurant setting, boosting five plump succulent dumplings alongside springy egg noodles cooked al dente.
The other dishes ordered were a couple of hits and misses. The Homemade Tofu ($12) had a firm yet smooth texture and delicate beany taste; while the Soya Sauce Chicken could have more succulence throughout.
My friend quipped, ”Hawker Chan better.” In a way, I had to agree.
Once they are able to settle initial teething problems, I think Mak Hong Kee HK Kitchen has the potential to be a constant favourite for those looking for that taste of Hong Kong.
Mak Hong Kee HK Kitchen 麥康記
2 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089110
Tel: +65 6909 0414
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3:00pm, 6:00pm – 10:30pm (Sun – Fri), Closed Sat
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