Mouth Restaurant 地茂馆 @ China Square
Originally one of the first Cantonese teahouses established here in Singapore, Mouth Restaurant is a household name with the older generation when it comes to freshly made Hong Kong dim sum and authentic Cantonese cuisines. I asked my parents if they had heard of Mouth Restaurant and they both said yes without hesitation and were in fact surprised that it was still around.
Yes, Mouth Restaurant is still thriving till today and have been for the past 25 years in the heart of Chinatown, not only because of the high benchmarks they have set for their food but also because of their willingness to evolve with the times. Brothers Daniel and Stevie Wu, who play a key role in constantly striving to maintain and improve the standards here at Mouth, have recently launched a spanking new menu featuring many mouth-watering (no pun intended) and creative dishes which I am absolutely sure will be a hit.
A key ingredient used during this innovative culinary journey that the Wu brothers had set on is Squid Ink. Squid Ink is believed to have many health benefits, one of which is the ability to slow down tumor growths. And being advocates of healthy eating, the brothers sought to include this wholesome dark pigment into their new menu. Read on to find out the different ways Squid Ink has been ingeniously used by Mouth Restaurant in Chinese cuisine.
Steamed Colourful Har Gao
Ever since Paradise Dynasty started the colourful xiaolongbao craze, it has become a norm to see steamed baskets of coloured dumplings. But the hype has since died down and colourful xiaolongbaos have become a thing of the past. Colourful Har Gao on the other hand? Definitely a novelty.
These brightly coloured prawn dumplings are one of Mouth Restaurant’s newest addition to their Dim Sum menu. Using only natural ingredients of Spinach, Pumpkin, Carrot, Sweet Potato and of course Squid Ink to colour and flavour the thin starchy and usually translucent skin, these are not your regular dim sum har gao. The flavours are subtle as Daniel explains that they wanted to avoid overpowering the true sweetness and juiciness of the fresh succulent prawn encased inside. This dish is eye-catching and a great table conversation starter and I would certainly recommend it.
Steamed Squid Ink BBQ Honey Pork Bun
Another Squid Ink infused dim sum delight, I really enjoyed how the addition of the Squid Ink to the dough mixture had made the overall texture of the bun a little more dense and substantial. The rustic grey colour was a nice change from the usual white fluffy exterior that we are so often used to. And the honey marinated pork pieces wrapped inside was so tender, sweet and simply delicious. For someone who does not usually eat cha siu bao, this won me over and I am craving for one of these even as I am writing about it right now.
Squid Ink Chee Cheong Fun
You would think that by the third course, I would already be getting used to the jet-black appearance that the Squid Ink infusion had lent to the overall dish but I was almost taken aback when this third course was served because its appearance was definitely unconventional.
Covered with a generous amount of sweet sauce, sesame seeds, pork floss, spring onions and the secret ingredient that I found most important in tying this wonderful Chee Cheong Fun dish together- extra smooth peanut butter. An ingenious idea of adding creamy peanut butter into the mix brought a whole new dimension to the regular plain white chee cheong fan. It was only too easy to polish off this bowl and I take credit for finishing it, right to slurping down the very last silky smooth flat rice noodle roll.
Squid Ink Seafood Soup
When the waitresses first brought in a tray of these plastic ‘tea cups’, I thought that it was already dessert time! But no, this was yet another novel idea from the Mouth Restaurant kitchen of Squid Ink soup sitting atop a layer of egg whites. This Squid Ink soup is actually a very tasty superior broth and I loved how I found bits of prawns and seafood while drinking the soup. And not to worry, your teeth will not get stained from drinking this soup. Tested, tasted and proven.
Lobster Bisque and Spinach with Crab Meat Soup
These were the other soup flavours offered. Nutritionists will definitely approve of this healthy Spinach Soup and I personally enjoyed the shredded crab meat in between spoonfuls. The Lobster Bisque too was rich, smooth and sufficiently concentrated with a good extraction of Lobster flavour.
Asian Four Delights Platter
A combination of four signature dishes- Deep-Fried Silverfish with Truffle Oil, Wu Xiang with Foie Gras, Drunken Chicken and Sashimi-Style Dessert Prawns, this platter uses only premium and healthy ingredients, a reflection of the high quality standards that Mouth Restaurant prides itself at having.
The Deep-Fried Silverfish had a lovely truffle oil scent and was simply addictive with that crisp and crunch. Wu Xiang with Foie Gras was a decadent twist to the usual Ngoh Hiang and Foie Gras fans will enjoy this fried prawn fritter-goose liver combination. The Drunken Chicken makes use of antibiotic free Sakura Chicken for that added health factor while the Dessert Prawns, imported directly from the Red Sea is also free from antibiotics and is so fresh that it can be eaten sashimi-style. Dont forget to dip these ultra fresh prawns into the Pomelo-infused Soya Sauce with Wasabi for that WOW factor!
Prawn Balls in Japanese Sesame Mayo with Mango and Spicy Chardonnay Sauce
The same antibiotic-free prawns used in the Dessert Prawns above were used to make these golden brown fried prawn balls that were dressed in two very different types of sauces. The Japanese Sesame Mayo with its creamy texture and acidity complemented these tasty prawn balls that were even made sweeter with the fresh mango cut outs that they were sitting on while those in the Spicy Chardonnay Sauce had a hint of heat without being too overwhelming.
Fried Soon Hock Peacock Fish
Simply a work of art, the creative culinary chefs of Mouth Restaurant had deep fried some egg white and specially crafted a beautiful meshwork, made to resemble the plumage of the peacock. Using a favourite fish with the Chinese, this Soon Hock was fried to perfection in that tasty superior soy sauce broth and almost every part of it can be eaten.
Carrot Cake with Salted Egg Yolk and Pork
Another unique presentation of yet another dim sum favourite- the pan fried carrot cake. This combination was interesting though I still think that my salted egg yolk still tastes best with crabs.
Carrot Cake with Fruits and Rojak Sauce
The use of Rojak Sauce in this dish was enjoyable. Hints of sweetness, spiciness and and nuttiness from the sauce matched the carrot cake surprisingly well while the fruits were a refreshing topping.
Lion Head Stewed Rice
While I was definitely starting to feel full after all those delectable dishes above, I could not resist this ‘rice-in-a-cup’ when it arrived. The use of the broccoli flower, cut carrot and stewed pork ball was too cute and was supposed to resemble a lion’s head. The rice on the other hand, a tad like mui fan had thoroughly soaked up the stock it was stewed in and this overall combination was a winner for me.
Trio Dessert Platter
(L-R) Snowskin Durian Ball, Japanese Sweet Potato Paste with Vanilla Ice-cream and Baked Cream of Salted Egg Yolk Bun
Loved loved loved the snowskin durian ball that had an amazingly creamy and smooth durian filling which certainly packed a punch. The Japanese Sweet Potato Paste had me with its pretty shade of purple and we were told that this dessert was also low G.I, low in fats and high in complex carbs and antioxidants! Delicious and healthy- an ideal combination. And the baked cream of salted egg yolk bun was a welcoming change from the soft steamed version. I really enjoyed how the crisp pastry on the outside contrasted so well with the flowing salted creamy egg yolk that was oh so sinful and irresistible.
And as I leave you with a mandatory liu sha bao ‘flow’ shot, I simply cannot emphasize enough how you have to drop by Mouth Restaurant to give these lovely new and healthy dishes a try because they are delicious and really good.
There are currently two Mouth Restaurant branches at the moment, at City Square and China Square, with the third opening in Plaza Singapura really soon so dont forget to make a date especially if you are a dim sum fan!
Thank you Derrick for inviting me along and to Daniel & Stevie for being such great and entertaining hosts!
22 Cross Street #01-61
China Square Central
South Bridge Court Shop House
Tel: 6438 5798
Weekdays: 11.30am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm
Public Holiday & Weekends: 10am to 10pm