'Demon chef' Alvin Leung's Forbidden Duck opens in Singapore and fronts the experiential side of Cantonese cuisine
The dark side
There's a reason why Chef Alvin Leung is well-feared. His infamous nickname is after all, the demon chef — and we can see why. The man is unapologetic for his extreme culinary style and even his wardrobe; nothing scares or fazes him when it comes to stepping out of the traditional fixtures of Chinese cuisine. Some of his greatest hits include foie gras 'mui choy' and molecular xiao long bao where the iconic Shanghainese pork dumpling take on a spherical form.
Of course, with that confidence comes a string of successful establishments to back that psyche up. The renowned chef owns three-Michelin starred restaurant Bo Innovation, as well as several other notable ones in Hong Kong. Now, he has set up shop here in Singapore, with Forbidden Duck infiltrating the busy CBD precinct.
As the name suggests — and with anything Chef Leung touches — you'd expect something extreme and unconventional. You can't expect the same, old classics at any of his restaurants. The main star, the duck, is dished out two ways. Either have it as a traditional Peking roast duck or in a slow-roasted form. The latter is slow-cooked in an oven for three hours, resulting in a tender, juicy, pink-in-the-middle payoff. No sort of marinade is used, as Chef Leung believes in bringing out the natural flavours purely through roasting. The best way to enjoy it? Wrapped in a steamed calamansi bun, alongside condiments like smoked sea salt, fresh leek, sesame oil, and hoi sin calamansi sauce.
Resembling Chef Leung's newfound love for calamansi during his previous travels to Singapore is another locally inspired standout, the Sri Lanka crab in white pepper broth. Think of it as a cheeky hybrid between black pepper crab and bak kut teh; a whole crab steeped in a piping hot pepper broth — serving up a mouthwatering bowl of goodness that we polished off within seconds.
If you're looking for comfort, make sure to call for the seafood rice in aromatic duck soup. A sweet amalagation of flavours transpired from duck meat, fresh scallops and prawns. This one-pot wonder also comes with crispy rice pops for that perfect crunch.
Care to venture to the strange end of the spectrum? Our local favourite of cereal prawns finds itself toying with Froot Loops, wasabi mayo and diced fruits. We'll be perfectly honest, you will either love or hate this rendition.
Other must-order dim sum dishes (which is only available for lunch) include a steamed black truffle and duck tongue dumpling as well as pesto duck spring rolls, embellished with the refreshing Italian sauce, to cut through the greasiness of the deep-fried pastry.
As far as extreme creations go, there truly isn't anything to be afraid of, as Chef Leung has audaciously demonstrated. Some family favourite dishes still remain untouched here, while others take on a bold new direction, tempering with the unchartered limits of cooking. So leave your stifling beliefs at the door, it's all about keeping an open mind at Forbidden Duck. Take it from us, it's the best way to enjoy it.
#02-02, Marina Bay Link Mall, Tel: 6509 8767
Opening hours: 11am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm