TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie is collaboration by the Lugang Group and Mui Garden /Deer Garden restaurants of Canada. Their menu will consist of Hong Kong and Macau dishes done in a modern way with French flair.
I had to chance to attend a private tasting event a few days before they open to the public on October 25, 2014. Irene and I have actually been wondering what food the place will be serving ever since we saw their board up in SM Mega Fashion Hall.
The very first thing we noticed when we entered their doors was a mural with Black and White Milk as well as cans all around the drink prep area. Our excitement level shot through the roof, this is what we bring home from Hong Kong to get the taste of HK Milk Tea and Coffee done in our house. I also saw them serving the hot drinks in Black and White branded cups that you can’t buy
Chandeliers, black open ceiling and trendy looking server uniforms give the space a chic French brasserie feel. There’s even a faux garden wall at the back of the restaurant with a table good for 10.
Swing your eyes over to the walls and look at the mix of knick knacks and old photos of a bygone era and you’ll definitely feel transported to a different time until you look outside and realize you are still in SM Mega Fashion Hall.
Here is where the place the newspaper… ooops more like their menu styled to look like a newspaper. A beautiful piece of work with excellent pictures of some of the dishes but I don’t think this will survive long with page flipping people will be doing.
Here are the dishes that we had that night.
Crispy Barbecued Pork Snow Buns (P128/3). By now, Manila is well acquainted with baked pork buns but TuanTuan takes the no. 1 spot for me. This bun has a nice toasted bottom (think fried siopao) with a fluffy and crumbly dome that is light and airy filled with meaty pieces of pork asado with a balance of sweet and savory.
Irene and I shared a cup of hot Nai Cha (P98 hot/P108 cold) or Cantonese Milk Tea and a cold Yin Yang (P98 hot /P108 cold) of Half Coffee and Half Tea. We were actually tempted to squirrel home that nostalgic cup but common sense got the better of us. The cold drinks are served in a stainless steel mug to keep it cooler for a longer time. In Hong Kong some establishments serve them in a bowl of ice with the cup of caffeine sitting in the middle so it won’t get diluted (see Tai Hing).
Honey Garlic Chicken Wings (P248). The chef (based in Canada for 16 years already) came out and answered some of our questions and asked if we wanted to try the chicken wings. They had served the honey garlic spareribs that was a sweet, sticky that had Irene giddy because it was the bony parts bits of meat. I enjoyed the chicken more, so much that I did not realize that was licking my fingers already.
US Premium Beef Rib and Tendon Curry (P488). TuanTuan has brought in Mui Garden’s special curry, a dish that has captivated diners in Richmond, Canada for almost 2 decades. They serve this with a cup of rice which I guarantee will be wiped out in the blink of an eye so get to ordering more. The sauce is a concoction that is light on the heat but captures you with its creamy coconut flavor. Pieces of cubed beef potatoes and tendon pepper the bowl, I would have just dumped the whole bowl of rice into it if I was eating by myself.
House Special Trio Baked Rice (P398). A baked rice dish with seafood, wild mushroom and porkchop toppings, great for those who can’t decide. If you’ve ever eaten in Tsui Wah or any other neighborhood cha chaan teng in HK, you’ll be familiar with these kinds of dishes. A complete meal in a hot plate, I had a bit of this but I found the baked seafood part a little bland or maybe because I had just eaten some of the tastier spareribs.
Macau Style Cajun Chicken Fillet (P328). A spice crusted piece of boneless chicken thigh fillet on top of greens and rice with sauce and corn on the side. A quick and easy plate for people on the go but the it was too spicy for my taste buds.
The heart of their menu is the Make you own noodle soup featuring the Deer Garden signature Halibut fish bone soup. They have 10 kinds of soups including original fish soup plus 35 toppings (2 per bowl, additional is P88 per item) and 8 noodle choices. Each bowl comes with a free drink, your choice of Hot HK style coffee or Hot/Cold HK Lemon Tea. 7 side dishes can also be added to make it a heftier meal.
While reading the menu, I realized that I had eaten in Deer Garden last year but we had so much food them everything seemed like a daze. Irene and I decided to share a bowl of their Original Fish Soup (P388) with Minute Noodles (imported instant noodles) and topped with pork stomach, sliced cuttlefish, pork balls, bean curd skin and vegetables.
This is not your ordinary miniscule bowl of noodles, slurped away in 5 seconds flat, this is BIG, meant to be shared with your appetite or with someone. At first sip, it brought back memories of the wonderful bowl in chilly weather we had in Vancouver, the experience was even better here because we made a better noodle choice and we were not as confused about the choices.
Malay Laksa Soup (P428). A coconut based soup with just the right blend of creaminess and spice. I got a little taste from my eating mates orders since Irene does not eat laksa.
For dessert, we tried the Fried Black and White Milk Bread (P168). Cubed pieces of mantou, deep fried and sprinkled with crushed peanut and served with a container of Black and White milk for dipping. The mantou is fried but not oil and the insides are still soft and fluffy. I guarantee this will be a hit with the kids and kids at heart.
I spotted these two chefs working hard on making snow bun after snow bun through a little window by the side of the entrance, partially hidden by flower arrangements sent by well wishers. I’m thinking this is going to be some sort of take out counter for the snow buns.
Tuantuan Chinese Brasserie packs their take away Snow Buns in these brown boxes that comes with reheating instructions as well as a handy carrier.
TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie has the makings of another winning addition to the roster of concepts at SM Mega Fashion Hall with their modern interpretation of the cha chaan teng . The ambiance is wonderful and food is comforting and a reminder of Hong Kong. I guarantee we’ll be there often to feed our longing for the Fragrant Harbor especially for a cup of Nai Cha or Yin Yang or Iced Coffee (tong kafe).
TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie3/F, SM MegaMall Fashion Hall Edsa cor. Julia Vargas Ave.,
Ortigas, Mandaluyong City,
Metro Manila Contact No.: (02) 570-9011
Facebook Page: TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie
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