Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mouth @ Work, Shaw Towers


Mouth restaurant is a pretty well known chinese restaurant in Singapore - having two branches in the Chinatown area serving Dim Sum and Cantonese / Hong Kong food. A lesser known version - Mouth @ Work at Shaw Towers, intends to bring Mouth restaurant's level of cuisine to an 'office' environment, catering cheaper, set lunch style menus to the working crowd.

I have to say, the first time I heard of Mouth @ Work, it's hard not to think that the name simply refers to chewing. Only after I finally went in did Bunny enlighten me about how it's a cheaper version of Mouth restaurant, literally, at the work place. Double entendré! Pretty smart - regardless we were a little wary when we waltzed in and there was not a single soul on a Thursday night (next day was Good Friday too). Lord please don't let this be a sign of things to come.

They had an executive set meal, which ranges between $8.50 - $9.90 depending on choice of main. Each set comes with a starter - from around 10 types of dim sums or small portion of Cantonese style dishes - and a dessert. We both had an meal and also ordered the well reviewed custard bun and a har gao to share.

Well the custard bun came first, and it was a strange sight - we were used to seeing the white bouncy ones, and here came these small, flat, baked crispy buns. Bunny was a little disappointed and lamented how strange they were, but anyway we decided to bite into it. And once we did, oh my god, whattttt theeeee helllllll. Like the last 30 seconds of Death is the Road to Awe, the custard bun literally KABLOOMED in my mouth, the butter and salted egg exploded, such copiousness, such deliciousness, it was unbelievable.

The crust was crispy, almost like a thin crust Po lo bun, and while the custard inside was not custardy (viscous) enough, you can literally taste so much salted egg yolk bits, and the BUTTER. My god. Heavenly.

I had the shredded meat and century egg congee (皮蛋瘦肉粥). It came in a cauldron-sized bowl and was so full of.. things! Every time the spoon dipped in, out comes chunky shreds of pork and liberal pieces of century egg. The congee itself was smooth and well-mushed and the flavour was enhanced by a wee bit of sesame oil. Wish there was more bits of yew char kuey though. Otherwise there is little fault in this dish! Recommended to share between two persons, actually.

My side dish had the manliest and most disgusting name ever - Tyrant's Saliva Chicken (霸王口水鸡) - I had reservations but I manned up and ordered it anyhoo. And when it came, let's just say it matches the name. Cold chicken steamed in presumably Mr. Tyrant's saliva (or some sauce), with LOTS of chilli oil, spring onions and sesame seeds. And wow, it was good. Chicken was very very flavourful, sweet and not too salty with an immense spicy kick.

My main was the rice with pork belly and mei cai (梅菜卤肉饭) - generous portions of well roasted then braised pork belly, mei cai, and a single strand of leafy green veg - as though that would counter the imminent treat to my aorta. The pork was HEAVENLY-ly soft, pork fat so melty and so bad for you (I ... ate some). The pork chunks seemed to self replenish in the massive bowl, but the soft fluffy pork and rice steeped in sauce just kept me going and going.

Maker help us.

Bunny's side dish was the Wild Bacteria Crystal Bun (野菌水晶包), and this interesting little gem (... heh) was packed with wild mushrooms and various forms of fungi and vegetables.
The flour skin is a bit gelatinous and starchy, providing that chewy/sticky-ness. It got a bit too sticky as it was cooling in the tray and we had trouble rolling it around ( like Katamari Damacy) to pick up on chopsticks. Still a unique and yummy dish.

Har gao was interesting too - each were stuffed with crab meat instead of regular ole prawns.

While there isn't that 'crunch' from prawns, the crab meat offered a unique, softer bite. I actually do prefer the prawn rendition better.

Dessert of the day was mango pudding. Perfectly wobbly, it was soft and sweet and sufficiently mango-ey, a perfect ending to an epic meal.

In summary this place was surprisingly fantastic, we overcame the initial scare of empty seats and strange custard buns and were treated to awesome Cantonese cuisine and Dim Sum - and again did I mention the set meals are $8.50++ for one side one main one dessert? Though a chat with the waiter revealed that they do get busy during lunch time, this place deserves more publicity.

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