Seated at a table facing the window, the overall atmosphere is comfortable, with good space between tables, a luxurious yet friendly ambiance, plenty of calligraphy and porcelain decorating the dining area. The staff were all very friendly and courteous, checking in with us on the choice, in which we decided to go for the Forum Abalone & Lobster Set Menu ($2,180 each).
The first course was Superior Shark Fin with Crab Meat and Bamboo Fungus Soup. Served steaming hot, there were a wealth of aromas coming to nostrils even before eating. The soup was very delicious, with the flavors of ham, chicken clearly identified, intense on taste though not salty at all. The shark fin was thick, with a lot of crab meat too added, along with the bamboo fungus. A great soup, though nowadays with many people stop eating shark fin maybe the restaurant should consider changing this to another soup.
The second course was the signature dish, Braised Ah Yat Abalone with Goose Web and Vegetable. The abalone was from Japan Yoshihama, 28 'heads'. Although it looks a bit small, the flavors were so good that it was certainly one of the best abalone I had ever tasted. With a sweet interior, tender on texture, the flavors would simply stay in the mouth for a long while. The sauce was also fantastic, which had the braised goose web fully absorbing the flavors. The lettuce also became so tasty with the sauce along. The fame Ah Yat Abalone really was well deserved.
The third course was Steamed Lobster with Soy Sauce. The live local lobster was meaty, of a good size, with the chef steaming it to perfection. The taste was delicate, and to avoid the soy sauce masking it, the staff had deliberately poured only a tiny bit on the side, leaving the rest for us to add in case we want more. Another great dish.
The fourth course was another signature dish, Deep-fried Crispy Chicken. The chicken certainly delivers the promise, with a crispy skin, tender meat which has marinated well, full of flavors. I found that dipping in the lemon juice provided helped to reduce a bit of the heaviness and the acidity in fact also highlighted better the flavors, a much better dipping sauce than the traditional garlic salt. Another interesting element was the prawn crackers on the side, which were cut to look at french fries. Wonderful!
The fifth course was Poached Seasonal Vegetable in Supreme Soup. Looks simple, this dish was another of my favorites in the evening. The supreme soup was again some amazingly prepared, rich and concentrated, infusing the tender choi sum with the flavors coming from the chicken, ham and other ingredients used to prepare for the supreme soup. Even for a person like me who is not a big fan of vegetable, I could easily finish several dishes of them, and in fact I was thinking of consuming the soup too after eating the vegetable!
The sixth course was Ah Yat Fried Rice, with plenty of ingredients added including egg, shrimp, BBQ pork and spring onion. Taste good, it was a nice wrap up of the meal before dessert. My only comment was that the rice was a bit oily for me, and that also was related to my high expectation given all the good food we had on the evening. Not a big deal honestly, but if it can be improved this will make the whole meal even better.
The seventh course was dessert, including Forum Special Sweet Soup, which was Double-boiled Peach Gum, with some dates, dried longan added. Delicate and fragrant, not particularly sweet, it was a nice dessert to cleanse the palate and also a healthy choice as peach gum had a lot of nutritional values. The other dessert was Forum Traditional Dessert, which was a Sesame Roll. A reminder to us for this childhood memory, the sesame roll was also appropriate in sweetness and served as the great finale to the wonderful meal.
The service was impeccable, but you can observe that most of the customers are frequent comers, so for us the first-timers sometimes you might feel a bit left out. But the staff did take the initiatives to come check in on us, and at the end speaking our names when we were leaving. That still gave me a warm feeling and overall it was a pleasant meal which also explains why they acquired the 3-star status. The bill was $4,928 which was quite reasonable considering the premium foodstuff we had.