Quality duck dishes made affordable
Kai Garden is one of the most underrated restaurants in Singapore. Its elevated comfort food hits the spot with authentic flavours and a confident touch.
For those who love the food but are perhaps hesitant about the price point, Kai Duck is the cheaper, casual town-side answer.
Duck, a popular item at Kai Garden, is the highlight here. Any dish that it is featured in will be good to order.
In terms of decor, there is not much distinction between it and the many other causal Chinese restaurants around.
But what makes Kai Duck stand apart is the quality of the food, thanks to Hong Kong-born owner and group executive chef Fung Chi Keung, who has been at it for 30 years.
Another pleasant surprise is the price.
It is not cheap by any means, but for the quality of the food you are getting, it is certainly affordable.
Naturally, the star item on the menu is the Signature Peking Duck ($68).
Kai Duck, like many other places, uses Irish ducks, which are known for their fattiness and tender meat. These two qualities are on full display here.
The shiny crispy skin tops a thin layer of fat that melts away, keeping the meat tender and fragrant.
Sprinkle just a touch of sugar onto the skin, and it will be a heavenly experience.
There are other great duck dishes too.
The Sauteed Diced Duck Meat with Sweet Corn and Pine Nuts ($16.80) is diced duck fried with sweet corn. The sweet/salty combo is appealing, while also highlighting the buttery flavour of the pine nuts.
To be honest, the thought of cheese and duck turns me off. But once you taste the Crispy Bun with Sliced Peking Duck ($9.80), you will probably change your mind.
On top of a house-made flat bun is a chunk of cream cheese (also made in-house), and over that, a slice of Peking duck. The creaminess and the umami of the cheese work perfectly with the duck. I did not think rich on rich would work, but it does.
Texturally, the Claypot Rice with Diced Meat and Assorted Mushroom ($26, serves four) is delightful. The crispness of the rice, diced duck and softness of the mushrooms form a perfect party in the mouth.
However, Kai Duck's updated Pan-fried Carrot Cake ($13.80) bombs.
It is a contemporary take on the traditional carrot cake, in the style of a pizza. It is great to look at, but that is all.
Perhaps duck really is the item the restaurant works best with, as this lacks nuance or charm. It is slightly soggy outside, and nearly damp inside.
The younger crowd may like it, but this foodie oldie does not.
#05-10/11 Ngee Ann City
Tel: 6235 5419
Open weekdays 11.30am to 10pm, weekend 11am to 10pm