I've mentioned before that I actually like dining solo or only with one other friend. It allows me to better concentrate on the food. I also find that places that cater to big groups often result in "meh" dining experiences (eg. Carmine's). It's also quite difficult to organize a meal with food to everyone's liking and cater to everyone's budget constraints.
So when I read about the Sunday Nonya dinner at Double Crown, I was intrigued. We went for dinner last week as a belated celebration of my birthday. After all, aren't birthdays just another excuse to go out at our age? Two members of our group cancelled late, so we only ended up with 3 people when we got there. The decor and vibe is interesting. I don't know how to describe it, you kind of have to see it for yourself. The food is served family-style with a background of Southeast Asian flavors.
We start off with the coconut laksa. A coconut curry soup with crab meat, rice noodles, and bean sprouts. Some places eat this for breakfast, so I guess it makes sense as a starter. The flavors are all there and I like the sweetness added by the crab meat.
A gravy boat of the curry soup in case we wanted to add more. It was fragrant yet light. I actually would have preferred a bit of a kick, but then again, this was the first course.
The bread selection included jalapeno chive bread and fennel raisin bread. I only had the jalapeno chive bread and it wasn't flavorful enough for me.
Yellowtail sashimi dressed in a soy-based sauce with some crisp lotus root slices. We each got two pieces and the fish was pretty good. The sauce was just slightly past the line to overpowering the fish for me, but the flavors were nice. There was a good combination of texture with the lotus root. I don't remember all the details but that happens to me when I dine in a group.
Salt and pepper squid with green chili dipping sauce. This was quite good overall although again I would have preferred more kick from the chili sauce. It's hard for me to get too excited about this dish when I'm not having it fresh off a boat in Hong Kong.
Molasses-cured pork shoulder, served with bread and apple chutney. Pork and apple really do go well together. It had a faint sweet taste probably from the molasses curing, but I would have enjoyed a nice bit of saltiness to go along with it.
Mussels and lobster meat with lo mein cooked in lobster broth. There was a nice solid flavor to the broth and we did find the occasional pieces of lobster meat. A good dish to start filling up on.
The last serving of food had several dishes come at the same time. There was shrimp, tuna, asparagus, and a bowl of jasmine rice that tasted like it was cooked in a broth and had some raisins in it.
Grilled asparagus with scallions and sesame had a nice sweet sauce and was delicately grilled.
Oatmeal fried shrimp had a nice crust, but it's one of those where you can't really tell how big the original shrimp was. I liked that they included the head though.
Seared tuna with mushroom salad was a winner for me. Warm, inviting flavors served in a slightly sweet sauce.
There were two parts to dessert. This was some kind of chocolate cake I think.
This was a caramel apple tart.
Again, sorry for the incomplete descriptions but this happens when I eat with a group and they also happened to just recently change their online menu. The quality, variety, and amount of food was quite a bargain at $35+t/t per person, especially for the neighborhood. It's a good family-style dining experience and it's actually a shame they only do it on Sunday nights.