I knew that Lee Lounge had opened up recently and I became a little confused as I was reading online about Lee Restaurant and Lee Lounge, so I called to inquire if they were the same restaurant. I was told that after Susur’s old restaurant (Madeline) closed down, they turned the space into Lee Lounge and connected it to Lee restaurant. Although the atmospheres in the two rooms are different, I was informed that the menus are the same.
Upon entering the restaurant, I noticed that Lee Restaurant was pretty much the same space it was about four years ago, when I was last here. However, they created a doorway in the wall which used to separate the two restaurants. My roommate and I were seated on a two-top in the restaurant side. The two-tops were placed really close together. When a couple was seated next to us, it kind of felt like we were dining with them…
I had called Lee for a reservation several days prior to my dinner here. I was informed they only had a spot for me and my roommate at either 6:30 or 8:45, so I took the 8:45. On the day of my reservation I gave them a call to see if I could still get the earlier time slot and they seemed to have many available so I was able to bump up my reservation to 7. It was also on the empty side during our whole dinner here, so I’m not quite sure why they told me they only had reservations available at either of those two times… I just assumed it was fully booked.Anyways, after we were seated, the server came by to explain the specials to us. There were about four or five specials and she described them in such detail that we couldn’t remember them all, so we had to get her to repeat them again. The one that caught my attention was the Peking-style char-siu duck, which we ended up ordering. The server also mentioned that since they’re a tapas-style restaurant, they recommend two to two-and-a-half dishes per person. We decided to go with four dishes for the two of us, in case we wanted room for dessert later!
Last time I was here, I remember the Singaporean style slaw ($19) being really tasty, so we decided to order that. We also added tuna sashimi to it for an extra $6. The menu indicated that this dish serves two. When they served it to us, I was surprised by how large this dish was, given that it’s a tapas-style restaurant. We still had about 1/3 of it left over after our meal.
The server mixed the slaw up for us at the table. It had a ton of ingredients in it, including taro crisps, bean sprouts, vermicelli, edible flours and micro greens, just to name a few. All the ingredients worked together extremely well and I loved all the different textures in it. The dressing just brought the dish together very nicely. I can certainly see why this is still on the menu, four years later. This is definitely a must-order dish, but I’d skip the sashimi. There were already so many ingredients in it, and the sashimi really didn’t add anything to it.
The next dish they served was the Chickpea Sweet Onion Fritter – with ginger mango, minted yogurt ($13). It consisted of thin strips which resembled onion straws. They tasted pretty good, and although I wasn’t a huge fan of the minted yogurt, I really enjoyed the ginger mango with the fritter. I guess they called it a fritter because all the thin strips were entangled into one big “fritter”. Although I enjoyed this dish, the serving was a bit too much deep-fried goodness for the two of us. Similar to the slaw, it would have been better if there were more of us to share this.We wanted to order a fish dish, so we decided on the Caramelized Black Cod – with Cantonese preserves, miso mustard with a grilled turnip cake ($27). The black cod was perfectly cooked and tasted delicious. I just love the buttery texture of black cod. If you can’t tell from all my previous blog posts, this is definitely my fish of choice. As for the turnip cake the black cod was served on, it was just too mushy for my liking. It didn’t hold up well and fell apart quite easily.
Our last dish was one of the specials our server mentioned – the Duck char siu ($29), which was served Peking-duck style. It came served on two plates; the first consisting of duck breast, a duck stir-fry (with veggies), a foie gras mousse and garnishes; the second plate consisting of the wraps and hoisin sauce.
There were 6 wraps, and when I picked them up, they all seemed to be slit in the middle. I’m not sure why this was the case, as it didn’t hold the filling in very well, so the hoisin sauce and the juices from the duck just leaked down my hands. Not impressed. However, the duck breast was moist and juicy – perfectly cooked! I’m always a little worried about ordering duck breast since it can easily be done quite dry. My favourite part of the dish was the foie gras mousse. I could taste the hint of foie gras in it, and the buttery mousse was simply delicious! On the whole, a pretty good dish (minus the broken wraps).By the time we finished this dish, it was almost two hours into our meal. They serve all their dishes staggered, so it was a pretty slow meal. We were both stuffed and didn’t really have much room for dessert, but we took a peek at the menu anyways. If there’s something worth getting, you can always make room, right? But there wasn’t really anything that caught our eyes, so we just skipped dessert.
Overall, I had a pretty solid experience here. The food was certainly as good as I had remembered. Our servers were very knowledgeable. I liked how they described all the components of the dishes they served to us, which was certainly a stark contrast to my experience at Raa, where a server told us she had “no clue” what the dish was. Anyways, back to Lee…my only regret was not bringing along more people! It certainly would’ve been nice to have tried a few more dishes.At a glance:
• Tapas style restaurant
• Two different rooms: the main restaurant and the lounge
• The food was served staggered, so the dinner took about two hours
• Very knowledgeable staff
• The Singaporean style slaw is a must-order!
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars