Following the surge of accessible commercial space in Kwun Tong, an increasing number of small eateries have been cropping up in the area. The future looks bright for this particular neighbourhood, and it’s highly likely that many more dining venues will mark their territory here – with WBL Catering being one of them.
WBL may not be big, with tables crammed close to one another, but on weekday afternoons the space tends to get packed well after lunch hour. Most post-lunch diners linger around for the tea set menu, which offers more or less the same sort of fare doled out during lunch itself (noodles and Shanghainese dim sum), albeit at a cheaper price.
Aside from the value factor, WBL also has another ace up its sleeve. The restaurant’s chef used to work at another famous noodle chain, Xia Mian Guan, so naturally the noodles should be the first thing to try. The noodles are all made fresh to order and have an al dente texture and light, starchy flavour, which are both good signs. We tried varieties of the “dry noodles” (mixed with ingredients and sauces) and the “wet noodles” (stewed in soup) and found both to be at a satisfactory standard. The traditional Shanghainese noodles in dried shrimp and spring onion oil sauce ($38) were the real standout; the spring onions were first deep-fried to unlock the aroma of the oil, and then mixed with bits of dried shrimp that enhanced the flavours of the whole dish.
The noodles in stewed soup with yellow fish ($58) benefited from the tasty fish broth, Chinese wine and shredded ginger (added to balance out the fishiness of the soup). A little different from the chewy texture found in the dry noodles, the soup variety was thoroughly boiled to make it absorb as much soup as it could, resulting in strands of noodles that were softer in texture, but no less delectable. Our only gripe was that the yellow fish was a bit rubbery and tasteless – a sign of being over-cooked in soup. Nevertheless, it is still a dish that is worth trying here.
|The xiao long bao steamed pork dumplings ($28) were another signature item. Arriving in a small bamboo steamer lined with wax paper at the bottom, the dumplings were small, bite-size portions and when you held them with chopsticks you could see clearly the meat broth inside. The skin on each was thin and sticky but sturdy enough not to break apart. There was quite an explosion of delicious and juicy meat fillings when the dumpling was devoured, making it another must-try item. We also tried the peppered pastry with pork and spring onions ($28), which is a Taiwanese dim sum classic. The pastry was too dry and the pork and spring onion fillings nearly tasteless, except for a bit of spicy kick from the minced pepper. The small portion was probably the only good thing about this dish.
For dessert we chose the sticky rice dumpling with sweet Chinese wine soup ($22). It was expertly cooked with only the sweet flavour remaining in the soup without any sour trace, which can sometimes surface when Chinese wine is even slightly over-cooked. The dumplings inside were freshly made and were starchy and chewy in texture. All in all it was a perfect ending to a good Shanghainese meal.
Shop 1-2, 2/F, E Plaza, 7 Shing Yip St, Kwun Tong, 2668 9133. Daily 10am-11pm. Meal for two: around $200.
|Venue name:||WBL Catering|
Shop 1-2, 2/F, E Plaza, 7 Shing Yip St, Kwun Tong