A rainy Thursday evening saw me South of the river catching up with Kirsty and finally getting round to trying out Hawker Hall. We hoped and hoped there wouldn't be a queue and the rain would have kept eaters away. Sadly traffic from the city and those pesky eaters finished off that dream as we rocked up at 7pm and advised it'd be an hour to an hour and 15 wait.
We were shown to a table towards the back of the dining area and we had to wait a while before water and a drinks order taken. So I caught the eye of waiter who seemed a but confused when I said I wanted to order drinks. Maybe we weren't in his section or something. Not the most reassuring start. But not long after our actual waiter came along in braces and high waisted check trousers and a cheery smile and it was pretty plain sailing after that as we left it in his hands in terms of food. The menu is vast so it seemed easier for someone else to make the decisions but there was plenty we didn't get to try and should come back for.
- PRAWN & GINGER DUMPLING W. SOY & BLACK VINEGAR CARAMEL (unpictured)
- MALAY VEGETABLE SPRING ROLLS W. GREEN CHILLI SOY
- TOASTED COCONUT MEATBALLS W. LIME & SWEET SOY
The little toasted meatballs did impress though and we were pleasantly surprised as we probably wouldn't have ordered these. The toasty coconut flavour really came through as did the fresh flavour of lemongrass. Delicious bite sized meaty morsels.
- MALAY SHREDDED CHICKEN SALAD W. TOASTED COCONUT SAMBAL
- STEAMED BARRAMUNDI W. RICE NOODLE (unpictured)
- GRILLED BEEF SHORT RIB, OYSTER SAUCE, RED CHILLI & CORIANDER
The steamed barramundi comes with about 3 little rolls of rice noodles so it's not quite the noodle dish I though but the fish is steamed perfectly - clean, fresh and light with soy sauce, spring onions, coriander. Again a very traditional and classic Chinese dish.
From the muted clean flavours of salad and steamed fish, in came the spice factor and a dish with more oomph and richness. The short rib came on rice and was rich and tender with a little stickiness. I thought the rice was a touch underdone and a little hard and brittle not helped by a lack of sauce. A touch more juiciness would have elevated this dish.
- PENANG DUCK CURRY W. PEANUTS & EGGPLANT
- CAULIFLOWER ROASTED W. TUMERIC, COCONUT & RASINS
- GREEN BEANS, SWEET SOY & TOASTED COCONUT CASHEW
- MILO DINOSAUR SUNDAE W. CHOCOLATE BISCUIT
I found the flavours and cooking style of Hawker Hall, although similar to big sister Chin Chin, were less complex and perhaps more authentic to the hawker hall style of Asian food. I loved the speed at which the food arrived and the vast choice of the menu. Understandably not every dish on there will float everyone's boat but feasting on some of them will certainly result in some treasures and I'd go treasure hunting there again for sure.