The Eastern Restaurant, a restaurant located in the heart of Orchard specialises in serving authentic Northern Chinese cuisine. It is tucked away in a deep quiet corner of Centrepoint. It has been located at the same spot for many years. With virtually no signs to guide anyone here, most people would have probably missed or not know of this place. Even we ourselves who had been here before got lost while trying to recall how to get to the restaurant.
I first got to know of this restaurant more than five years ago, way before I started FoodieFC. I remember that the food here was not bad and its Xiao Long Bao was worth a try. So here I am, back here again for its Xiao Long Bao! Visited on a Saturday evening.
The seating capacity at the restaurant seemed to considerably reduced. Previously, the tables and chairs extend all the way out and there were also tables and chairs under the escalator next to the restaurant. This time, the tables and chairs have been removed.
You may noticed in the above photos that it has a open kitchen concept. You can scrutinise view how your food is being prepared. Moreover, it also assure customers that their food are prepared diligently and hygiene is well taken care of.
Despite the reduced seating capacity, the Eastern Restaurant was full! Quite surprising, considering the location and lack of signs.
Clean, air conditioned environment. Even though there was such a crowd, our food was served fairly quickly within 10 minutes upon ordering.
The Wanton with Hot Chilli Sauce (5 Pcs) $6 an authentic Sichuan cuisine was very well executed. The use of vinegar and spicy oil caused a distinct difference in taste that made it hard for me to stop at one. The skin of the wanton seemed slightly thicker than the other wantons else where helped hold the fillings in place and adsorb the immense flavours of the sauce. Very spicy and sour, yet addictive. If you are can't take spicy food, you should refrain from ordering this.
The Xiao Long Bao (4 Pcs) $4, one of their signature items did not disappoint. The skin was slightly thicker in comparison to the other Xiao Long Baos I have tried. Each Xiao Long Bao contained alot more hot soup in it (more than those in Crystal Jade/Ding Tai Fung). Most probably, the thicker skin was required to hold the soup in place. The hot soup was tasty and well flavoured while the meat was well marinated. The only issue I had was that the skin at the top was too thick. This may not be the best Xiao Long Bao I had, but it was certainly one of the better ones.
I ordered the Noodle in Hot & Sour Soup $8, which is another Sichuan Cuisine - spicy and sour. Luckily the sauce used was different from the Wanton with Hot Chilli Sauce. The sauce this time was more sourish and less spicy. It came with diced mushrooms, peas, black fungus, shredded beancurd and meat. The noodles were too hard and could have been cooked for a long period of time. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this dish despite feeling the spiciness towards the end. Kudos to the chef as he got the difficult part right - balancing the taste of the hot & sour soup.
The partner ordered the Stewed Beef Brisket Noodle Soup $8.80 which was one of the recommended items in the menu. The soup was light, clear and flavourful - very forgiving and not salty. Generous serving of beef chunks were given and the meat was stewed till they were incredibly soft and tender. It would have been perfect if the noodles were cooked longer as we felt that it was a tad too hard.
Overall, the dining experience at The Eastern Restaurant was good. It's a hidden gem. There's no need to queue even during weekend peak hours. The food that we ordered was delicious. Despite being at full capacity the service was prompt and efficient. Price wise, it was reasonable. In fact, I would say affordable considering that this is in the heart of Orchard.