Makan Session with Dr Leslie Tay @ Westlake

Posted on December 4, 2011

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I am not going to hide this from you – I am getting lazier to blog. There seems to be endless reviews to write on and the piling collection of SD cards is horrifying. Yes; I am that lazy to even transfer the photographs to my external hard disk. Well, that’s who I really am.
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Sometime back, I participated in a makan event organised by Nuffnang and SMRT to promote the new Circle Line with a series of food journeys accompanied by several reputable bloggers.

Guess whose I went for.. Drum rolls..
The humble restaurant is within walking distance from SMRT’s newest extension to the already convenient train routes; The Circle Line’s Farrer Road station.

(To all of you curious kiddies out there, the OK sign – according to the Nuffnang peeps; represents the SMRT circle line.)
Recommended by the most recognised food critic on the island; Dr Leslie Tay or better know as ieatishootipost, is this established Bruised pork belly Pau aka Kong Ba Pau expert, WestLake.

The old hand who also specialises in many other scrumptious Zi Char fares which will be featured in the later part of this post, has been a locals’ favourite since the early 70s.
The session was not exactly a cosy one with more than a dozen others showing up. We occupied two huge tables for ten each and got all comfortable for the rounds to start.

Popiah was up first. A hungry girl could not wait and a portion of the slightly flimsy wrapped spring roll was popped into the ever-ready mouth.

The filling of bruised shredded turnips, carrots and several other necessary condiments were tasty with a good punch of the spiciness from the garlic and chili. If you are not a garlic fan, do inform the chef to go easy on the spice.

Sze Chuan Hot and Sour soup/Suan La Tang ($8-$20).

Westlake’s rendition was a tad disappointing for someone who has more robust taste buds like myself, though so the acidity of the dish was ideal. I like mine spicy and sour with lots of vinegar and pepper, so I guess it might be more appeasing to anyone else other than me.

They were generous with the ingredients that goes into the soup, every scoop was accompanied by bits of tender tofu and strips of fungus; it was actually rather delightful.
Guo Tie/Fried Dumplings ($6.50).

Wrapped with some substantial dumpling skins, the content could have been more succulent and flavoursome.

I don’t deny that these were pretty well-prepared and we did woof them down relatively quickly, okay fine; they were decent. But wouldn’t it be nice if the tasty could be even tastier?

Leslie was kind enough to teach us some basic food photography skills that could help hike up your appetite while looking at my photographs and there you are, the first photo of the Guo Tie was taken by me while the one above was shot with guidance by him.

I have so much more to learn when it comes to photography, it takes time I tell you; give me more time!

Ngor Hiang or Wu Xiang.

This sausage-esque roll is enfolded by a thin layer of beancurd skin and within, some wholesome seasoned minced pork meat, prawns and finely diced vegetables.

Dipped with the sweet sauce provided, these perfectly fried babies were lovely.

Yam Ring with a heap of goodies in the center.

Digging into the loop and gouge it down with the stir-fried vegetables, there was a kind of nostalgic feeling I just cannot explain. It reminds me of family reunion dinners where this would be mandatory to order and as a matter of fact, I am fussy when it comes to this particular entree.

Mashed yam moulded into a shape of a hollow circle and deep fried till golden brown, crusty but dry. I would have enjoyed it way better, if they had been more generous with the gravy.

Kong Ba Pau/Bruised Pork Belly ($23).

Westlake is known for their signature Kong Ba Pau and this is what everyone would go for whenever they are here for their meals. It was impressive when you get to see sparkles in the eyes of others when the servings of the Bruised pork and pau were laid before us.

The method of cooking the pork belly is no child’s play and does make a huge difference. Going through the process of poaching, frying; to lock in the natural juices and finally simmering in their secret recipe sauce, there are definitely reasons why the mouth-water pork pieces can remain sturdy to hold yet tender when sent into the mouth.
Red Bean paste Pancake.

The Chinese version of crepes; was candied bean filled, fried and sprinkled with sesame seeds. However, I was not satisfied as I like mine ample with mouthful of gooey paste with every single bite. Well, I guess I would only be contented if I had made one myself, scrap a good ladel-full and spread it across the crepe.

I admit that I wasn’t being partial enough; for one that was sold in a restaurant, it was good.
It was a pleasant day, meeting many enthusiastic peers and having a satiated lunch. Most of all, we met Leslie and had a great time. Here’s him introducing his published document – End of Char Kway Teow and other Hawker Mysteries. He also has a newest achievement – the iEat Hawker iphone App, which is designed to help you find Singapore’s Best Hawker fares at the flick of a finger. Check them out on his personal website which I am sure some of you would have already bookmarked long ago.

Thanks to the Nuffnang team who made it all possible.

Last but not least, a group photograph with the ‘OK’ sign; of course. It was a fun-filled afternoon along with lots of laughters and a stomach in denial of dinner.

Maybe one day, I could organise a personal AiMakan food outing as well? Would that even be possible? Dreaming~

*This was an invitation makan session initiated by SMRT and Nuffnang.*

Address: Blk 4 Queens Road, #02-139 Singapore

Tel: +65 6474 7283

Opening Hours
Daily: 11am–2.30pm, 6pm–10pm
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