Located on the fifth floor of Ngee Ann City is where you’ll find Kai Duck, a casual Cantonese restaurant boasting modern interpretations of your favourites dishes.
Modelled after the cha chaan teng restaurants of colonial Hong Kong, Kai Duck is decked out in elegant gold and emerald accents complete with retro geometric floors.
The main dining hall of Kai Duck boasts up to 124 seats, furnished with charming rattan chairs and old-school ceiling fans that certainly transports one to Hong Kong in the 60s.
As the name of the restaurant suggests, the main focus of Kai Duck is undoubtedly their duck. Foodies will be pleased to know that Kai Duck uses Irish duck or better known as the wagyu of duck for their dishes.
Irish ducks are no ordinary ducks, these birds are raised with stringent specifications to ensure a succulent and tender bird. Just like a well-marbled piece of wagyu steak, these Irish ducks possess that same delectable distribution of fat that promises a buttery mouthfeel.
Already salivating at the thought of all the Irish duck, I couldn’t wait to see what Kai Duck had to offer.
Besides the usual Cantonese classics, you can expect some of the dishes from Kai Duck to be a little more experimental and creative. Just like this Sliced Peking Duck With Crackers (S$4.80 each, minimum four pieces), which feature crispy slivers of Peking duck skin over a homemade sauce sat atop house-made corn crackers.
While I appreciate the play on different textures, I found this cracker a little underwhelming. The cucumber slice was a little too thick which made it slightly difficult to eat.
While I would never say no to crispy duck skin, in this instance I would have liked a fattier, meatier portion of duck. The corn cracker was fragrant and light but unfortunately, a little forgettable as well.
Next up on Kai Duck’s list of duck specialities was their Mini Burger with Peking Duck Salad (S$4.80 each, minimum four pieces).
A take on the classic burger; instead of those good ol’ sesame buns you get perfect golden rounds of mantou sandwiching a sizeable portion of duck along with some lettuce. The day is always a little better when you have a serving of fried mantou. Not to mention, this mantou is specially made in-house as well.
A little thicker and bigger than your average mantou, this golden bun had that satisfying crunchy exterior and a soft pillowy centre. Accompanied by a succulent piece of duck that served as the patty of the burger.
While the duck was juicy and certainly did not disappoint, I would have liked just a smidge more duck when I got to the end I was just nibbling on mantou and lettuce.
One of Kai Duck’s specialities is their Peking Duck Salad Hand Roll (S$5.80), which features Peking duck wrapped in crispy spring roll paper and drizzled with Japanese sesame sauce and seaweed flakes.
While I liked the texture of the fried spring roll paper, I have to say I only enjoyed the first half the handroll. The tender and juicy duck does make an excellent companion the light and crunchy spring roll, but once you finish the duck all you left with is a pool of Japanese sesame sauce and seaweed.
As much as I would like to applaud the inventiveness of this dish, Kai Duck’s hand rolls were a miss for me.
After trying Kai Duck’s new-fangled duck creations, I felt it would be remiss if I didn’t sample their signature Roasted Duck (S$28 per half duck). When the plate was presented to us, it was truly glorious. It was a classic Cantonese roasted duck neatly arranged and glistening under the spotlights, just waiting to savoured.
The duck was everything it promised to be, expertly roasted such that the skin was crisp but not dry, and the meat was tender and juicy. It was well-seasoned, with an excellent marinade that guaranteed a gratifying mouthful.
It came as no surprise as Kai Duck is helmed by award-winning, Group Executive Chef Fung Chi Keung. Kai Duck means business when it comes to duck.
An appetiser that would surely be a crowd favourite has to be Crisp-fried Fish, Prawn And Crab With Black Truffle Sauce (S$16).
These crab legs come generously stuffed with finely minced fish, crab and prawn before being covered in corn flakes and deep-fried. Springy and flavourful, and topped off with the truffle sauce, it made for a pretty tasty mouthful.
A true test of any Cantonese restaurant has to be their fried rice. Instead of the usual fried rice, Kai Duck was a little more creative in their rendition. Their Signature Fried Rice With Black Truffle Mushroom And Beetroot (S$16.80) comes in exciting hues of fuschia and coral—not your run-of-the-mill fried rice for sure.
As soon as the waitress set the bowl down, the delectable aroma from those truffles started tickling my nose. For a fun textual element, Chef Fung has even added deep-fried rice crackers as a topping. Another tidbit: this fried rice is vegan, so there are no eggs used in this.
No prizes for guessing how the rice gets its deep fuschia hue; besides using beetroot to colour the rice you’ll also find little chunks of red and golden beetroot scatted throughout the rice.
The rice was flavourful and had good wok hei, along with the truffle oil, which did a good job at elevating this bowl of fried rice. A luxe option for lunch for sure.
Aside from fried rice, any good visit to a Cantonese restaurant isn’t complete without a hearty bowl of soup. Good for four people, we had Poached Patin Fish Soup With Chinese Wine (S$38).
Any good foodie knows the soup is a pretty accurate indicator of a chef’s expertise, so I definitely had high expectations.
With a soup base of chicken soup and doubled-boiled secrets (wink), each spoonful was sweet, rich and complex. There was that characteristic savoury lip-smacking finish that good soups have.
The meat from the patin was fresh and sweet; I’m usually not a huge fan of fish but this was good enough for me to have seconds.
This bowl was loaded with generous portions of yam and tender stewed vegetables. A must-try for when you make your visit down to Kai Duck.
Kai Duck does present itself as a much more accessible and trendy establishment for millenials to enjoy Cantonese dining.
While I don’t doubt the quality of their duck and Kai Duck’s preparation techniques, there were, unfortunately, more misses than hits in their duck speciality menu. Perhaps a couple more tweaks would be helpful to better showcase the calibre of Kai Duck’s Chefs and ingredients.
Expected Damage: S$15 – S$30 per pax
Price: $ $
Our Rating: 3 / 5
391 Orchard Road, Ngee Ann City, #05-10/11, Singapore 238873
391 Orchard Road, Ngee Ann City, #05-10/11, Singapore 238873