Restaurant Review: We Dined At Celebrity Chef Alvin Leung’s Newly-Opened Forbidden Duck
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It is his first culinary venture in Singapore
Through his blue-tinted glasses, ‘Demon Chef’ Alvin Leung eyed the approaching roasted duck as it swivelled on the lazy Susan. Once within grasp, he snatched up a meaty slice with a pair of chopsticks, before jamming it between the soft pillows of calamansi-flavoured steamed buns. A spoon of clamansi-infused hoesin sauce was then dribbled on the meat, followed by a sprinkle of smoked salt and the insertion of cucumber and spring onion stalks.
“Where’s the garlic?” Chef Leung enquired, cocking his head towards a waitstaff. The blue-greenish streaks in his hair glinted angrily under the light.
A saucer of chopped garlic later, Chef Leung carefully placed the white bits on the edge of the duck-stuffed bun, before waving it around as a declaration of culinary completion.
The man behind three Michelin-starred Hong Kong-based Bo Innovation has made his first culinary venture in Singapore with Forbidden Duck. And it seems people have already caught wind of the new opening, filling the entire abode on our weekday afternoon visit. The demand was high enough for business to proceed over the past Sunday of Mother’s Day, even though the outlet is not opened on weekends yet.
Slow Roasted Duck ($88)
While our fingers were not as nimble as Chef Leung’s, we recreated the aforementioned Canton dish, using the meat from the Signature Slow Roasted Duck ($88) that was slow-cooked in the oven for three hours, before roasted in high temperatures for 30 minutes to make skin crispy. Unlike the traditional way of eating just the skin of a Peking duck, Chef Leung prefers chowing down on a meaty offering, with the cripsy skin intact. So, of course, he’s going to make something that he likes, and succeeds doing so. The slow-roasted duck came out exactly like how Chef Leung would enjoy it – a hunk of sliced-up fowl, generously meaty, flavourful, and beyond tender that it easily falls out apart after gentle chews. Even though the duck is good eaten on its own, we can appreciate having the complimentary bells and whistles of the steamed buns and hoesin sauce that Chef Leung wants you to indulge it with.
Duck cooked laksa style
The meat of the same signature slow-roasted duck was further repurposed and made to embody Chef Leung’s favourite local delight, the laska. Served on a leaf of a crunchy lettuce, diced duck meat is mixed with suspects of tau pok and bacon strips, before seasoned with laksa powder and leaves. A noted effort of Chef Leung’s part to give Singapore’s hawker fare a nod – a culinary attempt we actually didn’t mind at all, seeing how we finished it quickly. Still, the laksa reimagination was missing something, which Chef Leung pointed out by wistfully thinking out loud of adding cockles into the mix. Yes, please!
However, it was the Seafood Rice in Aromatic Duck Soup ($32) that emerged our favourite among all the duck dishes we have eaten. With a broth so comforting that it hugs your soul, the duck soup was laden not only with the poultry, but also oceanic treasures such as scallops and prawns for sweetness. The best part was when copious amounts of crispy rice pops were added, giving a whole new level of dimension and texture to the soup.
Giant Egg Tart ($6)
Other culinary highlights that scored on our list are the fatty Iberico Pork Char Siu ($30) that retains the beloved charred notes, the crowd-pleasing Sweet and Sour Prok with Lychee, Rose and Hawthorn ($23) and from the dim sum section, the Crispy Taro Pastry ($6), elevated with stuffings of duck and preserved vegetables.
Our time at Forbidden Duck ended on the high when Chef Leung busted out his Giant Egg Tart ($6). Like its name suggests, the Giant Egg Tart, while noticeably bigger, is seemingly the makeup of any other classic egg tart. But here’s the kicker: Slicing the larger-than-life pastry open sparked a stream of yuzu glaze, dotted with yuzu peel, that flows out from its centre. The glaze provided a welcome tanginess to the sweet, eggy custard, which we lapped both, coupled with the crunch of its pastry, up like liquid gold.
Address: 8A Marina Boulevard, #02-02 Marina Bay Link Mall, Singapore 018984
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm (Daily)
Contact No.: 65098767
A Chinese version of the article appeared here.