Located on the 3rd storey of Plaza Singapura is American-Chinese establishment Lokkee that is not just your ordinary Chinese restaurant. It is worth mentioning that the up-and-coming gourmet eatery is successfully pushing the boundaries of traditional Chinese cuisine – without compromising on key oriental ingredients – and introducing a tantalising variety of revamped Asian classics that will impress even the most discerning diners. Expect unique renditions of steamed baos, spicy Sichuan diced chicken and whatnot.
Lending flavours from all over the world, Lokkee exudes a subtle touch of the West, but its interior and food remain inherently Chinese. Our feast at Lokkee surprised us pleasantly from very start to the end, and we would gladly return in a heartbeat for the impressive food and sexy ambience.
If you are running out of ideas on where to dine at for non-mainstream Chinese food, then you have to check Lokkee out – this mind-blowing dining concept that serves extraordinary modern Chinese food at Plaza Singapura will be a meal you won’t soon forget.
With eye-catching decors of auspicious red hues, Lokkee does come across as a typical oriental restaurant at first glance, until we laid our eyes on the kinky packaging of wet tissues and hilarious fortune cookies. Did you also notice the drawings of Chinese-fied superheroes on the wall? We love those!
The branding of the restaurant is truly bold, but behind the façade is a multitalented third-culture culinary team that is redefining traditional notions of Chinese food. You may spot familiar names on the menu, but do not be too quick to conclude anything for the execution may well take you by surprise and redefine Chinese cuisine altogether.
The best appetizer on the menu? Most definitely the Chilli Crab Cakes (S$16++) served in an entree portion of two small pieces. The light and crunchy panko crust instantly reminded us of Japanese croquettes, except that it is filled with Singapore’s national dish in shredded forms, and served with a spicy sauce that well complements the fried goodness.
Succulent and juicy, yet crackling crispy on the outside, we love how the value-for-money 5 Spice Crispy Pork Belly (S$12++) is another appetizer to share. Roasted to perfection and boasting a delightful contrast of textures, this sinful dish will be worth the extra rounds of jog.
The Lokkee Egg Drop Soup is a nourishing broth boiled with chicken, eggs and shredded crabmeat. Available in either small (S$6++) or regular (S$16++), Lokkee’s piping hot soup is also thickened with cornstarch for a viscous body. The egg-based soup is interestingly presented in a ceramic pot that resembles ancient Chinese cauldrons.
There are many interesting looking dishes at Lokkee, and the 3 Egg Pyramid Broccoli (S$16++) tops the list. Like your usual veggies in 3 eggs, this dish uses a romanesque broccoli that has been sculpted to resemble a pyramid. The giant bright green vegetable sits in a bowl of fragrant thick sauce made with three different kinds of eggs – regular chicken eggs, century and salted eggs.
While some may resist unorthodox fusion dishes due to fear of inauthenticity, Lokkee makes it a point to retain the fundamental elements of timeless classics. We had a great time devouring their Firecracker Chicken Nest (S$24++), which is essentially deep-fried diced chicken served with Sichuan-style dried chillies. See those egg yolks? Well, they are actually mango puree encapsulated in molecular gastronomic spheres. These spherical “mango yolks” explode in your mouth and are intended as palate cleansers.
The most attention-grabbing dish award goes to the Flaming Pineapple Beef (S$28++). Watch in awe as the thorny fruit is blowtorched and engulfed in flames, and that adds flavour to the beef stew that sits within the pineapple. The result is fork tender beef slices with a fruity hint, and a table of impressed diners.
We also loved the Lokkee’s Stir-Fried Lamb Pockets (S$23), that was surprisingly free from the overwhelming gamey smell. The marinated lamb loin have been stir-fried in Chu Hou paste and diners are to stuff the tender fillets into the sweet bun pockets as fillings.
Savour the Baked Oysters with Bacon (S$22++), which comprises a plate of six fresh oysters baked au gratin served with a lime and lemon wedge. The bacon bits and cooked cheese along with a dash of lemon and lime juice have actually significantly reduced the overall brininess of oysters.
Revel in the F4 (S$32++) too! No, not the disbanded Taiwanese boy band. This impeccable seafood dish is actually named after the gastronomic technique of Flash Frying Fish Fillets (get it?). The fish fillets are fried briefly in chilli oil and the end result is scrumptiously delicate pieces that reminded us of the classic Sichuan Boiled Fish (shui zhu yu).
The Sichuan ‘Mala’ Grilled Fish (S$58++) is a chef-recommended wholesome delicacy too. The grilled fish is placed in a sizzling hot clear water bath and served with cabbage, dried chillies, green peppercorns and tofu skin. Great for families to share!
Lokkee’s palm-size steamed buns were inspired by celebrity chef Eddie Huang’s Bao Haus, but we reckon they resembled Momofuku’s baos more. The key distinguishing factor lies in the thickness of the buns – Lokkee’s baos are notably thin and are served on a bamboo woven basket.
All baos are served in pairs and the signature baos are Pork Crackling Bao (S$13++) and Colonel San Da’s Chicken Bao (S$12++). The former is a crispy pork crackling with fermented beancurd sauce. The latter, as you might have guessed from the name, is a fried chicken with maple gravy.
By the way, why the name, right? You must be wondering. Remember who Colonel Sanders is? Yes, Lokkee has a Colonel San Da for their version of fried chicken. LOVE IT.
Relish in the sinful Bacon Delight (S$12++) that boasts butterscotch and bacon infused ice-cream sitting in a deep-fried hot crunchy bread bowl drizzled with raspberry and chocolate sauce. If you think that is all, you are wrong. Candied bacon strips and real bacon bits make up a significant part of the exotic dessert and bacon lovers really do have to give this a go.
Trust us when we say that the experimental desserts will have you doing a double take. The Custard Egg Rolls (S$10++) look exactly like deep-fried spring rolls, except that they tasted nothing like it.
The sweet dipping puree served on the side is made from berries and carrot, but could be easily mistaken from chilli or ketchup instead. How brilliant is the presentation! Enjoy a good laugh as your dining companions start questioning about a potential “wrong order”.
From Cantonese to Shandong, it is immensely difficult to categorise the various diverse Chinese cuisines into one category. But one characteristic remains true for almost all Chinese restaurants’ takeaways in global cities such as New York City, London and Sydney.
Yes, it is the famous Chinese takeout box! What piqued our attention is that Lokkee has decided to serve their Chow Mien (S$14++) in those wire handle boxes too. Western expats will find eating the stir-fried noodles with celery, char siew, carrots and shredded chicken awfully nostalgic.
The complex Asian cuisine has transformed dramatically over the years and gained a legacy of fans across the world. Chinese food is no longer synonymous with greasy stores, appalling services and cheap takeouts. We are now seeing an increasing number of celebrated Chinese gourmet restaurants across metropoles.
Lokkee has managed to showcase the evolved genre of Chinese fare through its excellent craftsmanship and it would be an eye-opening experience for Singaporeans who have yet to sample the different variations of Chinese food abroad.
#03-01, 68 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 6884 4566
Daily: 11.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 10pm
Nearest Station: Dhoby Ghaut
This post is brought to you by TungLok Group.