There is little better for a non-Chinese-speaking foodie like myself than dining with a group of Chinese-speaking foodies who not only know the good spots I probably wouldn’t have otherwise known about, but also know the best things to order. Such was the case on a recent trip to Manor Seafood Restaurant on Jaffe Road.
This very local restaurant where English is not widely spoken has been around forever and is known for its late night dining; it serves food until 4am – perfect for a feast after a night on Lockhart doh.
For our group of nine, we were offered a private room at the back of the restaurant. We were then told mid-way through our meal that there was a minimum spend of $5,500 for the use of this room and we were therefore expected to order more. Needless to say there was many an argument with the grumpy staff, giving the otherwise wonderful meal a slightly sour taste.
Grumbles about service and cost aside, the food is what really matters, and thankfully on this front Manor certainly delivers. We began our feast with the best suckling pig I have ever eaten. The whole pig was brought out with beautiful golden skin scored into squares ready to be eaten with a dollop of hoisin sauce and spring onions on a miniature pancake. The skin was incredibly crispy and somehow not greasy in the slightest. Whilst I usually discard fatty skin, on this occasion I gobbled down three slices!
After the skin had been devoured, the pig was taken away and carved into pieces of juicy, tender and delicious meat. Note, the suckling pig needs to be ordered at least a day in advance.
Following this, we were served a plate of gold coin chicken: a heart attack sandwich. Slices of char siu, chicken liver, pork fat and taro were stacked up between two of the same miniature pancakes. If you can handle intense, seriously rich food then these are absolutely divine, just as long as you do some hardcore exercise the following day.
It seems that Manor also serves the best char siu I have ever eaten. Again it wasn’t oily in the slightest and, having been slow cooked for hours, the meat was incredibly tender and full of that amazing honey flavour that implores you to have another piece, and then another…
Manor is technically a ‘seafood’ restaurant, so of course we had to add some seafood to the mix. The steamed crab with shao xing wine received mixed comments. Whilst the crab itself was wonderfully tender and meaty (at over $1000 for this dish, you’d bloomin’ well hope so!), the sauce, made with sweet Chinese wine, egg yolk and chicken fat (yes, chicken fat), was insanely rich. Nevertheless, there was something about the sauce (perhaps my new found addiction to fat) that made me keep going back for more. Served alongside the crab are crispy vermicelli cakes, designed to mop up the rich sauce.
The oysters with ginger and spring onion tossed and served in a clay pot were also incredible and beat the raw version hands down.
The fried tofu with chilli and garlic was not the best I’ve ever had, and neither was the Chinese lettuce in a clay pot, but thankfully (and surprisingly) there was still room for dessert, something I had been looking forward to since I first heard the words ‘baked almond bun’. The soft, warm buns, coated in a crispy sugary outer layer give way to a creamy almond paste that is decadently sweet and moreish.
I have already commented on the service, which remained negative throughout the meal. When the bill came, we were actually not far off the minimum spend anyway, paying around $570 per head, without any drinks. There was I thinking Cantonese food is supposed to be cheap, but then again it was worth it for the suckling pig alone…
Manor Seafood Restaurant
G/F, 440 Jaffe Road
Tel: +852 2836 9999