Sherman's Food Adventures: Western Lake

Western Lake

OMG. We had to go for dinner with my Mother-in-Law again...  The last time, she was dissing everyone in the room even though her form of whispering would make a jackhammer sound quiet.  Embarassing.  That's how Viv felt through the entire ordeal.  But there was no escaping this time as she invited MY parents to dinner.  Oh great.  Now they have to listen to her grandstanding and boasting about things when she clearly doesn't have a clue.  At the very least, we were going to Western Lake (a solid pick for Chinese food).

Much like last time we were here, we started with the first course of the Peking Duck.  Super attractive with a dark red hue, the skin was completely on point.  It was lightly crispy with minimal fat.  Some pieces retained some meat and it was tender and flavourful.  The freshly steamed crepes were a little doughy for us though.  The second course was the usual Duck Lettuce Wrap which sported a considerable amount of wok heat and caramelization.  It showed in its appearance and taste.  There was no excess saltiness though as the dark soy was only a colouring agent rather than to flavour.  As a result, the well-seasoned duck was able to stand on its own.  I wasn't a huge fan of the lettuce as the pieces were too large and overly wet.

Served on a bed of egg noodles (extra charge), the large Lobster in Consomme was expertly prepared.  Although the colour was a bit off, the meat itself was just cooked exhibiting a sweet bounce texture.  There was plenty of moisture left as each nugget of meat was not dry in any shape or form.  The consume sauce was a touch on the salty side, but not overly so.  They didn't skimp on the noodles, which were appealingly chewy.  We also got the 2 courses of Sturgeon starting with the Fish Soup consisting of tofu, mustard greens, straw mushrooms and ginger.  This was a well-balanced broth with the sweetness of fish, brightness of ginger and bitterness of the mustard greens.  In addition, there was just enough sodium that it didn't get too salty.

The second course was the Fish Fillets with Choy Sum.  This exhibited good wok heat where there was little moisture on the plate.  The choy sum was crunchy and vibrant in colour while the fish was slightly over-fried, yet still flaky and moist.  Seasoning was pretty aggressive though bordering on salty.  Moreover, they were heavy handed with the grease as I had to wipe my mouth after every bite.  Continuing with veggies, we had the Pea Shoots with Crab and egg white sauce.  I found the pea shoots to be just a tad overdone where it lost some of its crunch.  The silky starch-thickened sauce was just salty enough to season the pea shoots.  The ample amount of crab was a bit disappointing though as it was no longer fluffy.

Our last dish was rather interesting with Shrimp Mousse Stuffed Sea Cucumber atop boiled lettuce.  The sea cucumber itself was a bit too soft for my liking, but it hadn't melted.  The shrimp mousse was very good with a nice rebound texture as well as a sweet flavour.  Somehow, we all agreed the use of lettuce was inappropriate for this dish as it was both aesthetically not pleasing as well as becoming a watery mess. For dessert, we had one of my faves being the Baked Tapioca Pudding with lotus paste and sweet buttery topping.  This was pretty good where was just enough lotus paste for effect that didn't make things overly sweet.  The topping was crumbly and slightly crispy.  This was a fine way to end a pretty good meal overall.  It was remarkably better than the one we had a year ago which was a relief (as we thought WL had gone downhill).

The Good:
- Reasonably-priced for the quality
- Large portions
- All-around good food

The Bad:
- Not the most comfortable seating arrangements
- Service is so-so   

Western Lake Chinese Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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