When it opened 2 years ago, we had tried out Fraser Court's Dim Sum service and it was pretty decent. However, we never had a chance to sample their dinner menu. Normally, we'd do that pretty soon after but fellow blogger (I mean absent blogger) Jessica had a pretty disappointing experience. So we never had a real good reason to eat there. However, my mother-in-law booked a whole table as part of an association dinner, which meant we were literally forced to go. Yah, forced to go for dinner - #firstworldproblems. As we arrived, they were doing Karaoke on stage and lemme put this out there - if you are tone deaf, please do not subject people to pain. They continued to do this throughout dinner. The horror! At least they did a rendition of Shanghai Beach... Love that song!
So onto the food, the dinner was a set menu which started with the usual Appetizer Platter consisting of marinated jellyfish, honey garlic spareribs, jellied pork hock and sliced five spice beef shank. This was a well-composed dish where the jellyfish was crunchy, washed thoroughly (no fishy taste) and seasoned nicely with plenty of sesame oil, white pepper, chili flakes and soy. The honey garlic spareribs were meaty and crisp. There was a good amount of flavouring which was quite sweet with a touch of spice. The pork hock was sliced thin and aggressively salted. As for the beef shank, texture was fine yet it was on the sweeter side. Next up was the Stir-Fried Chicken and Scallops with snap peas and flowering chives. The snap peas were cooked perfectly. They were crunchy and sweet. The scallops were a touch overcooked which made them rubbery. The chicken, which was thigh meat, was moist and tender. The dish was quite mild and slightly greasy.
In place of the usual crab or lobster dish was the Stir-Fried Prawns with black vinegar. Normally, the prawns are deep-fried first for a couple of reasons. First, it is to quickly flash cook them evenly. Secondly, the frying makes the shell edible. In this case, the shell was tough to eat which meant we lost most of the flavour de-shelling them. Other than that issue, the prawns were meaty and naturally sweet. The seasoning was very strong and there was obvious hits of MSG. We liked the depth of flavour provided by the black vinegar. Right on cue, the soup arrived next. It ended up to be the Dried Fish Maw Soup with dried scallop, chicken, enoki mushroom and flowering chives. I loved how there was a massive amount of ingredients within the silky broth, however, it was far too salty. I needed to add some vinegar to cut the saltiness.
In place of the abalone, we had the Sliced King Mushrooms with baby bak choy. Naturally, the texture of king mushrooms would never be able to replicate abalone, so we could only think of it as cooked mushroom. In that respect, it was done right where it was not overcooked. The bak choy was just barely done retaining a crunch and vibrant colour. The oyster sauce was neither salty nor bland and it had a nice consistency (there was no pool of water at the bottom of the plate). Arriving with the head prominently displayed on the plate, the Free Range Chicken looked menacing to my son. I stuck the head in his bowl and he chucked it back onto the plate. Guess he wasn't eating this dish... Well, due to the nature of free range chicken, the meat can be chewy and lean. Hence, not everyone's cup of tea. For me, I'm indifferent. As long as it is prepared right, I have no problem with it. It was more or less done properly with a nice layer of gelatin between the skin and meat. We liked how there was a large serving of grated ginger on the side since the chicken was quite mild.
For our meat dish, we had a large plate of Peking Pork Chops. Depending on which piece we picked up, the texture ranged from dry and chewy to moist and fatty. There was just enough sauce to coat each piece. It had a nice consistency where the flavour was quite pronounced while being predominantly sweet. For our fish course, we had the Steamed Whole Live Tilapia. Okay, I'm just going to be frank here - I personally can't stand tilapia. Something about the texture - so mushy. Therefore, due to my biases, I can't say I enjoyed the steamed tilapia. Well, the fact it was slightly over-cooked didn't help things. After so many dishes of food came the filler items. Yah, the carbs when nobody really has any interest in eating anymore. I suppose it is better than at the start because one would be full too early. For me, I'd like to change it up a little and have it arrive in the middle of the meal. Too radical? Not traditional? Whatever, if they can serve egg tarts at the start of Dim Sum, we can most certainly have rice and noodles mid-meal! I digress...
So... To our surprise, the Yee Mein was pretty darn good. It was the right balance between being wet and dry. It was not oily and had plenty of flavour without being salty. Moreover, it was served steaming hot. Lastly, we had the Fried Rice which was an interesting mix of shrimp, baby scallops, ham, carrot, sliced gai lan stalks and egg. The rice was clumpy in spots. It wasn't wet, in fact, it was plenty dry. Hence, the texture was nicely chewy and a touch nutty from the
stir-fry. There was a good amount of ingredients which kept each bite interesting while providing texture and flavour. Overall, the dinner was not bad despite our initial thoughts. They must've done something to improve their dinner service recently which is quite important, considering that their seating capacity is very large. They need to fill the restaurant to make money! I wouldn't make Fraser Court my first destination for Cantonese food, but I wouldn't say no if someone suggested it either.
- Big dining room, good for banquets
- Service is actually not bad
- Food has a few inconsistencies here and there
- For a big dining hall, it is sure cramped