Full of Luck Restaurant: Gone with the Fortune Cat

It's 2pm on a Saturday. Full of Luck restaurant in Holland Village is far from doing a roaring trade. Perhaps it's due to the lack of knowledge that the restaurant has opened its doors once again, after recently pulling up the hoardings to mask renovation works. Gone are the heavy doors, sensible automated doors put in place; the second floor ditching its kitschy hipster image in favour of a more serious Chinese restaurant. Change isn't just physical, the menu has been overhauled with more traditional dishes reinstated and the voguish Baos displaced together with the expulsion of the word 'club' from its name.

Efforts to sell familiar comfort updated with a modern flair have been kept to a minimal, and when it does, it surfaces in chic forms that steer clear of the cliché. An example would be the Crabmeat Chili Cheese Tart with Pomelo ($10 for 3) - the beautifully blistered surface of the cheese tart below tangy chili crab sauce providing a nice charred juxtaposition to the rich bechamel filling. While I would have liked the representation of chili to have been ramped up, this luscious treat gives the ubiquitous cheese tart a good run for its money.

The hallmark of any good Cantonese restaurant would have to be its barbecued pork or Char Siew. Full of Luck's Chef's Signature Honey Glazed Char Siew ($16) was average at best, the pork, not lavished with enough seasoning and five spice to allow for the meat to shine underneath its honey glazed, sugar-coated exterior.

Before we even made a dent on our starters, a bubbling claypot of Braised Garoupa with beancurd ($24) makes its grand entrance. It's a tad overwhelming for the grim blazing afternoon, but we embraced it like the proud Chinese that we were. And while the claypot appears almost bottomless after your first serve, the flavorful garoupa chunks (first deep fried then braised) and those plump and flavorsome beancurd squares made it dangerously easy for us to tackle the entire dish.

"Like handing mallets and a xylophone to a child", the gentrification of Full of Luck continues into the music rapport and I liken the music selection here to the dire play lists of old school Chinese restaurants in the 80s or the passion project of a minimalist and a fervent meditator.

The Braised Homemade Spinach Egg Tofu with mushrooms and Dried Scallops ($12) may sound like a commonplace dish, but execution at Full of Luck restaurant is sound. The layer of spinach pressed into the bottom of the pillows of egg tofu, seasoning the dish with a refreshing hint of bitterness that boosts the full sweet richness of the seafood gravy. Definitely a dish that I would revisit again and again.

A dish of Poached Seafood Rice ($23) is served tableside. 泡饭 blessed with a smorgasbord of seafood from scallop to prawn and squid even. My only gripe would be the sliced up seafood that would occasionally trifle with the crisp-smooth textural play of the poached rice. Unnecessary flourishes.

Lunch concludes with the dessert of Osmanthus Raindrop Cake ($6). Jiggly dollops of joy that were hell bent on tickling me with their placid oscillatory behaviour. It's a clever play on the regular Chinese dessert Osmanthus jelly, lavished with brown sugar syrup on one side and a heaping serve of peanut powder on the other. A great way to end the meal on a just-sweet-enough note.

So, while you won't have any gustatory revelations at Full of Luck Restaurant, you will have a relatively pleasant experience, from the modern aesthetics and marbled counter tops to the hawk-eye standards of the stuff who seem to be watching your every move with intent. Good thing: at least your tea cup will never be empty.

Full of Luck Restaurant
243 Holland Avenue, S(278977)
t: 6208 6845
Reservation: CHOPE

Operating Hours:
Daily: 11am - 11pm

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