A Decent Family dinner at ' Fung Lam Court ' ( 7220 Kennedy Rd, #18 - 905 947 8988 )
Located at the address of the now defunct 'Brilliant Chinese Restaurant' the chef/owner of this relatively new Cantonese Restaurant has been around for years!
First, at the restaurant with the same name inside the Sheraton on Hwy #7, Chef Lai later moved his place to Ngau Kee in First Markham place and then Cheuk Tung Teen on 16th Avenue. Taught at George Brown and famous for his Dungeness Crab in Rum Sauce, he was also known for charging exorbitant price for some of his specialty seafood dishes!
Told that, due to sign of the times, Chef Lai has made an 180º turn and started charging great food at a more reasonable price, I decided to give it a try. The outcome of yesterday meal was an enjoyable feast with some hard to find dishes. Because of our small number, we decided not to try out their more expensive and exotic dishes, leaving them for a bigger party, at a later date.
The three of us had the following:
- Complimentary Soup of the Day.
Turnips with Beef Briskets. The slight infusion of Star Anise made it
very 'Vietnamese Pho tasting'! Delicate and delicious!
- Shrimp on Toast.
A rare, labor intensive dish, this is becoming even hard to find in places like Hong Kong. Grease-less, crunchy and topped with sweet chewy prawn Pattie. These morsels were very addictive!
- Poached Baby Chinese Mustard Greens in Fish Broth.
Swimming in a delicate, milky and delicious fish soup, the greens were
perfectly cooked and tasted sweet.
- Stirred fry 'Goose Intestines' with preserved Mustard Green, pepper
medley and Black Bean Sauce.
This is the first time I've seen this exotic ingredients available in
Toronto. Available on the menu only as a soya poached item. I made a
special request to the kitchen to have them 'stirred fry'.( just like the
version I had in Hong Kong last month - for comparison ). The result
was not as satisfactory as I hoped. The Mustard greens were way too
salty, the 'Wok-Hay' smokiness missing. However, the intestine was as
crisp and crunchy as should be. Hopefully, with a bit of tweaking, they
will come out with a more enjoyable version?!
- Stewed Duck and Taro Roots with Chinese Preserved Plum Sauce.
Delightful! The sauce was tangy, sweet and spot on! Duck was chewy
yet tender. Taro was cooked tender so as to allow them to be smashed
up with a fork. The result, when mixed with the sauce, a Chinese
Mash and Gravy
An array of complimentary Chinese desserts were offered. We selected the Herb Jello, Sweet Cashew and Almond Soups!
Total price came to $61 inclusive of tax.
Hey Charles, we tried this place out for dinner last night and we were all disappointed with the meal. We got there at 5:30pm on a soon to be busy Saturday night, and they were nice enough to let us order some of the speciality items that were written on the front door board (as it was father's day weekend, once it got busy they would only do set menu dishes). So we ordered the following:
Free soup - peanuts and chicken feet. A bit watery.
Shrimp toast - same as yours. While the toast part was nice and crispy and well deep fried, the shrimp wasn't overly fresh.
Large steamed scallops - at $9 a piece, we had it cooked 2 ways. The problem was that it was not fresh at all and was almost inedible due to the rancid smell (not to mention some sandy grit). We did complain to the owner and he was nice enough to give us 10% off the entire meal.
Stir fried pea shoots veggies - way to sweet. Someone must've switched the chef's salt with a sugar bowl. The chef's gotta learn to taste his own dish before sending it out!
Crunchy pork belly - meat was a bit on the dry side, sweet dipping sauce was watery. Nothing better than what you could buy at any chinese BBQ meat shop.
Specialty fish tail w/ mushrooms, pork and spinach - just a sloppy mess, fish was way overcooked and again not fresh.
Free range chicken w/ splash of alcohol seared. Sauce was way too salty, otherwise a very mediocre dish.
Desserts we had the sesame pudding, almond pudding, and the grass jelly (was too medicinal). I usually love chinese desserts, but I couldn't bring myself to have more than a spoon full of each.
The head chef was certainly there that night, since he did come out to greet this one other large table that was busy sampling various wines that they brought. Maybe the chef was too busy cooking up their dishes and got his apprentice to cook our table's dishes.
Despite many decent sized water tanks at the front of the resturant, our seafood choices were all of the unfresh variety.
Final bill came to $112 w/ the discount, no booze. I wasn't crazy of our one and only meal at his previous Ngau Kee @ FMP, but after this meal, I'm certainly not a fan of his style of cooking.
Wow!!! What a big surprise!!! Totally unexpected!!
In fact, my brother-in-law ( Caneast ) were planning to go visit the chef and have a special dinner plan for a group of us. Now, may be we'll have second thoughts!! ( Fisherman Club House instead???!! )
His signature dish - Dungeness Crab in Rum cream sauce used to be very good but I heard comment that its very 'watery' nowadays too!! Wonder if the chef is getting old and tired?
BTW, the black grass jelly is supposed to taste medicinal due to its herbal de-tox property. Personally, I love the stuff when eaten with some sugar syrup. However, their 'Freshly grind Sweet Cashew nut soup' was supposed to be amazing?! Another a normally?!
Returned to FLC for another dinner. This time with some out- of-town Chinese foodies. Ordered a pot pourri of traditional Canto and 'pseudo-fusion' dishes including the following:
- Dungeness Crab in Rum Cream Sauce and French Bread ( a must )
- Steamed Free Range Chicken with Preserve salted Threadfin fish
- Steamed live whole 'Black Goddess Garoupa' with ginger, scallions and premium top soy.
- Wok roasted aromatic garlic rack of lamb
- Stirred fry Water Spinach with salted shrimp paste
The Crab with Rum cream sauce was sensational. Served in a Corning ware on top of a burner. The secret was to wait for the sauce to evaporate, thicken up and amalgamating all the various taste components into one super 'Umamai Bomb'!! ( Think crab and its essence combined with sauteed garlic and shallots in butter, cream and finally flambee with Rum and Brandy! ). Thats the reason we ordered a French Baguette to mop up the sauce!! Yes! Baguette in a Cantonese restaurant!! How things have changed!!:)
For those who are not familiar with Chinese preserved salted fish, the smell could be repulsive ( think Stilton or BlueCheese ). However, to some, the smell and aroma can be heaven. Fortunately, I belong to the second camp and as a result loved every bit of this dish.
As for the Garoupa. What can one say about steaming a 'live' whole fish to perfection and augment it with simple yet delicious premium soya sauce that brought out the sweetness of the meat?!
Lastly, the real surprise of the evening - Rack of lamb in a Cantonese seafood restaurant?!! The individual chop was gorgeously caramelized with a smokey and mildly burnt crust and covered with a garlicky slightly sweet 'house spcret sauce' glaze. Very addictive and surprisingly good when paired with a late harvest German Riesling!! Who said red meat cannot be paired with white wine?!!!
All in all, a very enjoyable dinner. One with a few dishes I will not hesitate to recommend to others!