I must confess that when I saw photos of Andrew’s lunch at Diamond Kitchen about 2-3 weeks back, I was salivating. That man sure can take good photos of a pork rib.
Being veteran makankaki, we are ever ready to spring into action at the sound of a SMS delivery.
Deep-fried Salted Egg Sotong
Diamond Kitchen is located inside an ex-HUDC estate that’s probably too large or the residents too old to have an enbloc sale. But it’s a good thing because it means reliable and secure parking space for Diamond Kitchen customers.
The decor is pretty much your typical neighborhood Chinese restaurant but with dangly diamond-shaped pellets hanging on the ceiling to justify the name. Navigating the restaurant interior can be difficult because of the abundance of pillars and the scarcity of space between tables. And the empty boxes of French Cognac on shelves complete the picture. It is only a matter of time before Cognac bottles filled with tea appear.
Kam Heong Crab
We arrived but because of a confusion of times, we were early, so we partook the braised peanuts.
You might discount the braised peanuts as unimportant but I would draw your attention to the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors and the perfect doneness of the braising. Like a fancy restaurant’s amuse bouche, it sets the expectation of the standard of food to come.
We were not disappointed when the recommended Salted-Egg Sotong (squid) arrived. It was demolished within minutes and a second, larger, order was dispatched.
Dinner proper started with an order of “Sauna Prawns” that was brought to our table which much fanfare and smoke. The fumes were sweetly perfumed with herbs like wolfberries and from all accounts (except mine because I don’t eat prawns), it was very good.
Superior Stock Clam Bee Hoon
There was a brief discussion on which carb dish we should order. I was dismayed when the Pork Trotter Bee Hoon was dismissed because it was canned Pork Trotters. The Superior Stock Clam Bee Hoon was ordered instead.
To be very clear, the Superior Stock Clam Bee Hoon was good. It had wok-hei, it was peppery and it was generous. It was a good Superior Stock Bee Hoon but fell very short of a Clam Bee Hoon. It was asserted that the clams did nothing for the Bee Hoon and no one would miss it if you didn’t add the clams. We’ve had very good clam noodles in superior stock where we could taste the sweetness of the clams, and this wasn’t it.
As an interlude, the “Salt Chicken” was flavorful with a good salt. It was served warm but I can’t help thinking of how much better it would be served cold as a midnight snack.
The Beef in Shacha sauce was a whisker over-tenderized but the generous slices of spicy moreish flavor had me going for more and more and more.
Beef in Shacha sauce
I did not partake of the Kam Heong Crabs but from all accounts it was very good. Personally, I thought that it was a little too much Shacha sauce for one night.
By this time I was good and properly drunk from many fine wines. I belong to a group of friends who’ve been eating out at tze char restaurants with wines since 2000. The original vision was to pair interesting wines with Chinese food (a nice challenge, given the variety) but along the way I think we got lost: “drinking interesting wines” became “label-drinking” and “interesting” equated to “price”. It’s not really sustainable. However, the wines we had that night represented a return to the original vision. Awesome.
Pork Trotter Bee Hoon
In the alcoholic mist, I was pleasantly surprised that someone ordered the Braised Pork Trotter Bee Hoon. I had secretly made plans to order it to-go but there you are.
It was slightly different from the moist braised pork trotter bee hoon in that it was dry and slightly charred. There’s a difference between burnt noodles and charred noodles with a good smoky wok-hei flavor. This was the latter and gosh, it was very good.
As a bonus, the service staff recommended that we also try the Kam Heong Fried Rice. It was good fried rice but did I detect a hint of the Shacha sauce again? I hope not but I could be wrong.
Kam Heong Fried Rice
Diamond Kitchen in Laguna Park on Marine Parade Road defines itself as a Cantonese restaurant. I guess it can be called so if you look at the richness of the flavors and generosity of the servings. But it does include other dishes from other schools like the Hakka Tofu, neighbors to be sure, but I’m being pedantic here. However, some dishes do defy logic like “Boneless” Pork Ribs where the rib bone is separated from the pork before cooking (robbing the dish of some flavor) and the Superior Stock Clam Bee Hoon.
But simply put, Diamond Kitchen serves Chinese food that’s very much above average from your usual neighborhood eating place. It is comfortable and they, unlike other jaded places, don’t close early. Service is very good with a surprising eagerness to please. Prices reflect the suburban location. And I believe I’ve found a regular eating place in the East Coast. Shame about the corkage though.
Diamond Kitchen is at 5000F Marine Parade Road, Laguna Park, 01-22/23, Singapore 449289, Tel: 6338 6131, 6448 0629, Open: 11.30am to 2.30pm and 5.30 to 11pm daily. Corkage: $20/btl, proper stemware provided.
Boneless Pork Ribs
Thank you for your kind patronage and generous review! We hope to serve you again soon.
Management of Diamond Kitchen
hi. What is the price range like?
@Josh Chou: The pleasure was all mine. But we do wish you’d do away with the corkage though.
@EastSiders: It’s not expensive.
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