This new restaurant checks off boxes on a foodie’s list for quality fare, ambience, family-friendly factor and affordability.
If you are a fan of classic Chinese comfort zi-char fare, this new place is a must-try; dish prices average an affordable $12 to $24, so don’t let the bling-bling name and décor theme fool you.
Inconspicuously located within the premises of the Laguna Park condominium at Marine Parade, Diamond Kitchen is owned by cousins Josh Chou, 30, and Lambert Chen, 27. If you just raised an eyebrow at their ages, fret not. Your stomachs are in good hands, given that the head chef, Malaysian-born Kevin Lau, has almost as many years of experience in the kitchen as the number of candles on either of their birthday cakes.
The young entrepreneurs started Diamond Kitchen after making Lau’s acquaintance—true to their day job in the jewelry trade (hence the restaurant’s name), they know a gem when they see one.
Lau’s creations capitalize on bringing out the natural flavors of the ingredients, such as the first dish of our media lunch, the Superior Stock Clam Bee Hoon. Cooked with a generous helping of fresh clams, it’s a dish that left us, dare we say, happy as a clam.
Then there’s the Sauna Prawns, a re-presentation of the drunken prawns, where live prawns are given a “sauna bath” atop steaming hot stones in a bamboo basket. A herbal stock laced with Chinese wine, wolfberries and dang gui (Chinese Angelica) is drizzled over the tiger prawns before the lid is slammed shut, infusing the crustaceans with herb-y goodness while maintaining the natural flavors.
We also polished off the Champagne Pork Ribs, which feature caramelized nuggets of tender deboned pork ribs marinated overnight in a secret sauce. A sure favorite with the kids, especially.
For those bored with the usual Black Pepper, Chilli or Butter crab flavors, the intoxicating flavors of the Gan Xiang Crab is a refreshing, albeit pleasantly smoky change, with dry-frying hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimps), curry powder, lemongrass, dried chilli, taucheo (fermented soy bean paste) and other hush-hush ingredients. The Gan Xiang mix then made another appearance at our table, in the form of the Gan Xiang Fried Rice.
Other popular options include the familiar but well-executed Golden Cereal Chicken, Prawn Paste Chicken, Salted Egg Sotong, Sweet Potato Leaf with Salted Fish as well as individual servings ($5-12) for dishes such as Hor Fun, Hong Kong Noodle, Yi Mee and Kong Pao Chicken Rice.
The Pumpkin & Gingko Yam Paste is the last thing a person with any shred of self-control would go for after a full meal (like we had), but the lilac-hued glob sat so invitingly in a pool of coconut milk, glistening temptingly with that sheen of lard-drawn goodness, that we simply could not help ourselves.
It was good—not overly sweet, with some lumps for texture, and that aromatic hint of floral taro notes. Yammy indeed. A bowl and several burps later, I wanted to buy some back for my orh nee-loving colleagues but was sadly informed that the kitchen had just served up its last batch for the day.
5000F Marine Parade Road,
#01-22/23 Laguna Park Condominium,
Tel: 6448 0629