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Saturday, 4 July 2015

Dinner at Oasis Bay Restaurant (海京楼台湾粥) @ Toa Payoh Pavilion

303 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh Town Park, Singapore 319393
Tel: 6346 4418

This was another family dinner, celebrating the Mom's birthday as well as Mother's Day, since both occasions coincide in the same month. It would always be a dinner for 6 - always and forever....the number could only go up and not down :)

Anyway, why Oasis Bay Restaurant? I had already made reservations with both Li Bai (Sheraton Towers) and Hai Tien Lo (Pan Pacific), truth be told.   The Bro suggested here because the food was not bad. And this restaurant has replaced another Chinese seafood restaurant we used to visit as a family when younger - located at the same circular building, with no air-conditioning, but served very good seafood and zichar dishes.

Before and after dinner, we would take walks around the lovely garden pavilion, admiring the pond as well as trees dipping low like willows. We would also snap plenty of photographs as a family, before heading into the restaurant for live seafood feast. Oh well, those were the days - that was what, nearly two decades back?

So, we decided to come back to new-yet-familiar grounds to reminisce, and check out the changes.    Oasis Bay (Taiwanese Porridge) Restaurant is a good-looking restaurant with comfortable settings and very good service - I took a lot of recommendations from one of the male staff, and they were all very good recommendations.    Yes, I brought one of my Rubis chocolate wine here to celebrate (corkage fees of SGD$10.00 applies), and yes, the Beau and I were late so when we got here, the appetizer of ikan bilis (SGD$5.00) was gone.

We started with the Herbal Kampong Chicken (SGD$16.00 for small) - tender, well-moisturized and tofu-smooth chicken pieces infused deeply with the aroma of Chinese herbs, every bite contained a "swish" that instantly filled the palate with the delicious herbal flavour.

The Spinach with 3 Eggs (SGD$10.00 for small) was made up of fresh spinach in clear broth, egg, salted egg and century egg. It was light on the palate and made for a great balance amongst our meaty indulgence tonight.

We also had a Giant Garoupa with Leeks in Claypot (SGD$45.00).  Fresh fish is always distinctive in flavour and texture, from the luscious taste of the flesh to the tautness of the texture that gives way upon a gentle bite or cut. This giant garoupa has all the above properties, and tinges of the leek and gravy it has soaked up, making for a superb recommendation.

I wanted a serving of these Fried Sotong (SGD$13.00 for small), thinking that it was the tiny deep-fried sotong heads we used to eat. You know, the ones they fry till dark brown? It turned out to be calamari - I do love them, but just a little odd to be ordering it here. Nonetheless, the battered exterior was crackling and the chewy flesh was lovely.

Honeyed Pork Ribs S(DG$12.00) graced the table next, sweetening the palatte with its saccharine taste, penetrating deep into the succulent pork. There was a sleekness to the texture that was very pleasurable, making it a favorite amongst us.

Next, Crayfish with Spring Onions (SGD$24.00) and Deep-fried Buns (SGD$3.00) came to us for exaltation. Looking at this dish was appetite-whetting enough , the egg sauce, the tantalising looking crayfish, and the crispy buns. Fresh with bouncy texture and dose of seaworthy sweetness, the crayfish sealed the clatter of the teeth beautifully; paired with gravy-dipped buns, one could easily hope for more, even after the plates have been wiped clean.

The Congee (SGD$1.50) was a bowl of velvety sweet-potato porridge, going well with most dishes. The best thing is that there is free-flow of this porridge for every bowl ordered, hence it was a common sight to see one pot of this situated at nearly every table.

Time for desserts! Mango Pudding (SGD$5.00) was silky enough and not cloyingly sweet, retaining a subtle mango aroma to it.

Then we had Jelly & Longan (SGD$5.00), very refreshing and jolts the senses awake with its cooling touch. The jelly was so smooth it slid past the throat easily, leaving the aftertaste of its flavour lingering long after.

Finally, some Water Chestnut Cakes (SGD$5.00) which is basically diamond-shaped pieces of mochi-textured cakes filled with juicy, crunchy bits of water chestnut within. The sticky texture of the cake was delightful - I love sinking my teeth into these textures - while savouring the hints of nectarous water chestnut slowly.

Overall, it was an enjoyable meal with a warm and hospitable ambience to boost of. I would love to be back!

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