Last Saturday, we finally tried Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie at the SM Mega Fashion Hall. We had been meaning to try it but it was always full and we thought it was expensive because the place looked expensive.
So I was happy and pleasantly surprised when J suggested we have lunch there.
The interiors are very pretty, like an East meets West thing, but it works! The chandeliers are eye-catching, yet the vibe is very casual, like you’re just in a Chinese dimsum place, and it’s as noisy as a regular Chinese restaurant. I’m not saying that as a negative, it just adds to the experience. This is not the place for intimate, romantic dinners, is all – but for happy, perky meals like breakfast, second breakfast, and brunch!
The restaurant is bright and the tables spacious, thank the food gods! There’s a beverage counter on one side:
I like how they made the menu seem like a newspaper and clipped it in the old style newspaper holder! The early 19th century feel just makes one want to sit a little bit straighter and act a little bit more elegantly.
Utensils and tissue are in a holder off to the side of the table. The design is pretty and in accordance with the ambiance the restaurant is trying to evoke. I however, have one complaint about it – the sharp edges on the spoons & forks. It’s petty, I know, but it’s one of my pet peeves. You know how some spoons and forks look like they were just stamp-cut at the factory, and the edges have not been smoothed out? The rough edges should be smoothed out, but lately, many factories have been skipping that final step. So, please pay attention to this next time you buy utensils. You shouldn’t be able to see the sharp edge of where the metal was cut to make the fork / spoon / knife. It’s uncomfortable for your lips when you’re eating, and could be dangerous for kids especially if the edges are sharp enough to scrape off thin skin.
Anyway, that was the only disappointing thing during our meal. I guess I just expected better from this level of establishment.
One of the Tuan Tuan highlights is their Nai Cha, which they make using the premium Black & White brand milk from Holland. The Nai Cha is very creamy, which only highlights the excellent black tea used, although I would have preferred a bit of sweetness. It was just good black tea + good milk. No sugar that I could taste, and I know some people like it that way. The Nai Cha (hot) is P98.00. J’s Cantonese Lemon Tea (cold) is included in his Chao Chou Set.
There were so many interesting things on the menu that we had a difficult time deciding what to get. You can even make your own noodle set combo!
As you can see, the servings are actually quite big. And even with the two of us hungry big eaters, we just barely managed to finish it all. Each dish is possibly good for 2 people if you’re not a big eater.
J decided to get the Chao Chou Set (P518.00) that includes: Chao Chou Style Dried Fish and Minced Pork, Sliced Fatty Beef, Beancurd (Tao Bao), Rice Vermicelli + House Special Wings with Ginger + Choice of Free Drink.
J thought his noodle order was really good. I also tried a small bowl of it. I found the flavors robust but delicate – I mean the flavor was light but not bland. There were also a lot of toppings. The noodles reminded me of spaghetti, but these were a bit more springy than regular spaghetti.
The wings finally arrived! They were actually pretty good, crispy and tasty, but bitin!
I eventually decided on the US Premium Beef Rib Curry (P498.00), which already included rice.
This beef curry has won numerous awards, according to the information on the menu, and it’s absolutely fantastic! It’s just the way I like my beef curry. Oh, I do miss this kind of Chinese-style beef curry, so similar to the one I grew up with made with McCormick Curry Powder.
The beef had hints of star anise, the potatoes were waxy (malagkit), just the way I like ’em, and the curry sauce! The curry sauce was strong but not overpowering, slightly hot and very creamy! The whole dish just felt like such familiar comfort food and was so perfect. J found the curry too creamy and a bit nakakaumay, but I didn’t and I really liked it.
We also ordered Crispy Pineapple Snow Buns (P128.00) for appetizer/dessert. These were also very good. The skin is thin and sweet and flaky, and I didn’t expect a custard-like pineapple filling to work so well but it does.
All in all, it was a very good meal. We ended up with a P1,300+ bill only because we ordered signature dishes but for the quality & quantity of the food, the ambience, etc… I thought it was a good deal.
The Crispy Barbecue Pork Snow Buns are just P128 for 3 pcs, which is less expensive than other restaurants serving the same dish for about P150. It’s one of my regrets that we didn’t try the BBQ pork buns this time, so now we have an excuse to go back!
The congees are around P148-168, which I thought compared favorably in pricing to North Park, and this really made me think that Tuan Tuan wasn’t as expensive as I expected it to be.
I look forward to going back to Tuan Tuan to try the other dishes, probably the House Special Trio (P398) or the Fish Fillet with Pumpkin and Crabstick with Creamy Sauce on Rice, which is only P288 (I expect a similar dish at UCC would be nearing P400)!
Read about my second visit to Tuan Tuan!
Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie
3rd Level, SM Mega Fashion Hall
Contact Numbers: 6327483 or 0915-5008026
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!