Sherman's Food Adventures: Joyful Seafood Restaurant (Dinner)

Joyful Seafood Restaurant (Dinner)

Here we are again visiting the same Chinese restaurant within the same month (Joyful in this case).  Why?  If you follow this blog, you will know I like to do this because Dim Sum and dinner can be two completely different animals.  One may be better than the other while the optimum is that both are equally good.  I guess we don't really want to bother with places that have neither!  One thing that is pretty evident about the place is their relatively good service compared to many other Chinese restaurants.  Let's not even try to remember the long gone Po King that used to reside here several restaurants ago!  We ended up getting a set meal and adding an extra dish.

Starting off, we had the Combo Plate of marinated jellyfish and fried pork chops.  More tender than chewy, the jellyfish still had a minor snap texture.  I would've liked it a bit more firm, but it was fine nonetheless.  It was lightly dressed with the usual sesame oil, white pepper, soy and chili flakes.  I found that the flavour was on the milder side.  As for the pork chops, they resembled the Taiwanese version due to the use of red fermented tofu as the main flavouring agent.  Hence, there was an aromatic fermented saltiness.  I thought the pork itself could've been crispier.  We ended up getting the Peking Duck and we loved how it was carved table side.  This ensured that we were getting the entire duck.  The skin was crispy and in an appealing hue.  The layer of fat wasn't too thick while the meat was tender.  Best of all, the crepes were paper thin.

Majestically plated, in a bamboo steamer lined with lotus leaves, the Lobster with Sticky Rice was really good.  Was it better than the popular version served at Ho Yuen Kee or the equally impressive one at Shoom?  I would say pretty close but different.  The lobster was of a good size and prepared perfectly with bouncy sweet meat.  The sauce was paler but still full of briny sweet saltiness.  Unlike some other spots, the wok-fried sticky rice was mostly sticky rice.  Some places blend too much long grain rice into it.  The second course of the Peking duck was the Duck Lettuce Wrap.  This was full of duck meat with crunchy vegetables.  There was more than enough caramelization and seasoning.  We liked how they trimmed the iceberg lettuce into big pieces that wasn't soaking wet with water.

Our vegetable dish was the Water Spinach with Beef wok fried in fermented tofu and garlic.  There was plenty of sliced beef in the mix, but they ranged from chewy to tender.  I think they didn't tenderize it evenly.  I also thought there could've been more fermented tofu as the flavour was somewhat weak.  On the other hand, there was plenty of chilis which created quite the kick.  The spinach itself was prepared nicely where the stalks were still crunchy while the leaves were cooked through.  For the kiddies, they wanted the Stir-Fried Shrimp and Eggs.  As you can see, there was a bevy of shrimp in the dish.  They were cooked just enough where there was a meaty snap.  As for the eggs, most of it was still silky, however, so parts were overdone.  In general, the meal was a bit hit and miss. 

We came back for another visit shortly after and let's just say the food was good, but the overall experience was not.  More on that later.  We ended up having the Peking duck again as well as lobster.  New dishes included the Fish Maw & Crab Meat Soup.  This was okay with a mild broth and plenty of fish maw.  Quality of the fish maw was mediocre being less silky and chewier.  There wasn't a whole lot of crab though.  When we were here for Dim Sum a few months ago, they were touting their Soy Sauce Chicken.  We tried it out for this dinner and it was pretty good.  I wouldn't put it on the same level as Sanbo because the chicken itself was less juicy (most likely because it was free-range).  In terms of appearance and flavour, it was on point with a salty-sweetness.  This skin was nicely gelatinized too.

Presented as a large portion, the Fried Bean Curd Skin with broccoli and enoki mushrooms was something that I enjoyed.  Normally, this dish is overloaded with sauce and hence, the bean curd skin becomes far too soft.  The bean curd skin here was still chewy and somewhat dry (which I like) since the sauce was thick enough to not drown it.  Underneath, the broccoli was crunchy and vibrant.  We also had the Preserved Plum Sauce Pork Chops which was also in a generous portion size.  The pork had been tenderized so that it was juicy and tender.  There was a bit too much sauce which made things a bit mushy though.  In terms of impact, the sauce was a good balance between sweet, tangy and salty.  Loved the bits of preserved plum as it added pops of tartness.

For dessert, we were pleased to see something a bit different in the Black Sticky Rice Red Bean Soup as well as Almond Cookies.  I liked how both weren't very sweet and in fact, maybe more sugar was needed.  Texturally, the black sticky rice was chewy and added body to a normally boring red bean soup.  Cookies were light and crumbly.  Okay, so from these 2 visits, the food was pretty good and well-portioned.  Service in general is decent, but the second visit was rather disappointing.  For some strange reason, all of our dishes came out within a 5-minute window where our table literally couldn't fit all of the food.  The complaints about this was met with indifference.  Personally, I think they should be careful about this since no one at the table was interested in experiencing this again despite the good food.

The Good:
- Large portions
- Proteins on point
- Service "can" be good

The Bad:
- Dishes come out too fast and out-of-order
- Staff did not address it properly


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