If you’ve never heard of the eponymous Tonny Chan, you’ll realize he’s a bit of a culinary superstar the moment you’re outside his restaurant. Chef Tonny tries his utmost to show off the spoils of his career in every square inch of his shopfront with credentials, testimonials, rave reviews and photos with satisfied celebs—it’s all there. A bright, pleasant air-conditioned (a rarity in Geylang) mid-range eatery, must-tries include the smoked duck, fried yam strips with truffle oil, scallops in XO sauce and creamy crab congee. Warm, efficient and courteous staff is just the icing on the cake.
If you’ve never heard of the eponymous Tonny Chan, you’ll realize he’s a bit of a culinary superstar the moment you’re outside his new joint. Chef Tonny tries his utmost to show off the spoils of his career in every square inch of his shopfront. Credentials, testimonials, rave reviews and photos with satisfied celebs—it’s all there. Hey, he’s even got his mustachioed mug beaming down from the signboard. While we usually poo-poo such displays of self-love, in this instance, it’s more than justified. Competition is rife on this street; many fine restaurants have met their demise simply because patrons didn’t know better. Previously of Sha Tin in Geylang and Dempsey’s Grand Hong Kong, Chef Tonny quit the latter after a mere few months to start his very first venture. So you can understand the OTT ode to self to reel in the crowds. And the crowds are flocking. On a weeknight, the place was packed. This is a bright, pleasant air-conditioned (a rarity in Joo Chiat) mid-range eatery with a good, tight menu and all the favorites you’d expect from a Cantonese kitchen. To kick things off, we had the smoked duck ($12) and the fried yam strips with truffle oil ($10). We so loved the duck: Light, utterly flavorful and perfect with freshly ground chili and a bowl of steamed rice. The yam was stunning, too. Crunchy on the bite, its earthy taste was intensified by the flavor and aroma of the truffle oil. The mains continued in the same impressive vein. The scallops in XO sauce ($28) came with a generous amount of broccoli and tasted sublime with nuggets of dried shrimp. Equally hearty was the beancurd with mushrooms ($12); the bean curd was soft and tasty with a rich bean-based mushroom sauce. But the star of the night was undoubtedly the creamy crab in congee ($8/100 grams). The sweet, fresh meat and yellow roe and the congee with silken tofu skin and mushroom were incredible. Sweet yet savory, this is pure late-night comfort food at its best. With free-flowing pu-er tea (a good antidote to the cholesterol-heavy crab roe), this was a fantastic meal. Warm, efficient and courteous staff took what was already a superb dining experience and raised it to truly memorable one.
Tonny Restaurant was reviewed at its original Joo Chiat location. It has since relocated to Geylang.