Kay Lee 琪利珠江烧腊 (Tanjong Katong) Review - [Media Invite]

Kay Lee can be said to be a household name for stalwarts of roasted meat. I was only aware of the name a few years back when the shop's owners made the news for putting the traditional roasted meat recipes and name up for sale for $4 million dollars. Fast forward and now Kay Lee has 7 outlets island-wide. 

On the menu of drinks of drinks. Roselle, barley, ice citrus and honey plum. My preference went to the fruity citrus. 

Savoury Meat Roll 'Ngoh hiang' ($6.90)
We started off with the savoury meat roll. This is alike the ngoh hiang (Chinese five-spiced minced meat roll wrapped in beancurd skin). The filling was well-seasoned and served piping hot - nothing to pick about.

No. of Forks: 3.5/5

Mixed Platter - 3 Combination Meats ($44)

The star platter of roast meats is made up of roast pork, char siew (roasted glazed pork) and roasted duck. The specialty is their char Siew and little wonder why. It came in a gorgeous charred, caramelised exterior, unlike the artificially-dyed-red kinds that we see often. This platter is meant for 6, but I think 4 people can easily polish this off. 

Mixed Platter - Roast Pork, Roast Duck, Char Siew ($44)
The meat carried the caramelised sweet-savoury aroma, which is what makes good char siew so addictive. A pity the cuts served were lean as the best parts (that comes with some fats) were sold out. We chanced upon a remaining few slices of good cuts of the char siew that was served with the noodle dishes. These pieces had that fine layer of luscious fat accompanying the lean meat - the char siew immediately got an upgrade on my list. This is the reason why artificially-dyed versions won't do. Worth. every. calorie.

Tip: Ask for char siew with a good fat-lean ratio.  

The roast pork had a crispy skin - pretty good while the roasted duck didn't make an impression, probably because the char siew outshone it all.

No. of Forks: 4.5/5 (for the char siew with the right fat-lean ratio - otherwise 4), 4 (roast pork), 3.5 (roast duck)

Noodles - Shrimp Dumpling/Wanton

Wanton Noodles ($5)
Apart from the meats with rice, the menu also serves wanton noodles and shrimp dumpling noodles. Unexpectedly, I enjoyed the springy egg noodles in the dark savoury soy-sauce mixture. The shrimp dumpling in particular, was succulent to the bite as the whole prawn was encased within, though the dumpling skin was just that slightly on the thick side.

Wanton/Shrimp Dumpling Noodles ($5)
One can also opt to have the roast meats with the noodles, instead of rice. They also have double-boiled soups. If the salted vegetable and duck soup that we tried was anything to go by though, just getting the meats/noodles will do. 
One of the remaining few good-cut pieces of char siew with a right fat-lean ratio was found here, instead of the platter we had. Salted Vegetable and Duck Soup ($4.50)
No. of Forks: 4/5 (springy egg noodles got me)

Dessert - Ginger soup, red bean paste, yam paste

     Ginger soup with glutinous rice ball ($4.50)
Red Bean Paste with glutinous rice ball ($4.50)

Of the three desserts, my pick would be the ginger soup, which had that ginger-fiery punch. The red bean paste tasted slightly odd while the yam paste consistency was a little puzzling as there seemed to be a layer (gelatin or oil?), which disappeared only when we stirred it further.  

Yam Paste ($5.90)
No. of Forks: 2.5/5

Prices at Kay Lee are a premium compared to other roast meat places, so shelling out for the char siew, in my opinion, gets the most bang for your buck. The rest would be optional - though I wouldn't mind the noodles. Be sure to make your way slightly earlier too, or risk the good cuts getting sold out.

*This review is for the Tanjong Katong branch, so standards may vary across outlets. 

Kay Lee Roast Meat 
283 Tanjong Katong Road
Singapore 437066
Weekdays 12pm-9pm; weekends 11am-9pm
Tel: 6594 2204