Classic Lao Di Fang branches were a popular hangout places for vegetarians during the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, during the mid 2000s, Classic Lao Di Fang consolidated its business into a single branch at Queens Street and then finally settled down at Park Mall.
Classic Lao Di Fang is now a full fledged restaurant at Park Mall which served a variety of ala cart and noodles dishes. The restaurant can accommodate about 10 tables and is suitable for small group and family gatherings. The 4 seater tables situated by the side of the restaurant exudes a cosy traditional Chinese inn atmosphere. Together with the bright and quiet ambiance, we think patrons will feel comfortable to stay for a chit chat. Though it is a shadow of its past, the crucial question remains whether the restaurant still served good vegetarian food.
We have previously visited Classic Lao Di Fang and disappointed to find out that the Dim Sum is not available during the time of our visit. Hence, to our pleasant surprise, the waitress confirms the availability of the Dim Sum during a recent visit with a friend. As vegetarian Dim Sum is a rarity among local vegetarian eateries, we quickly jumped into the opportunity to sample the Dim Sum.
Deep Fried Cuttlefish Balls
There is nothing special about mock cuttlefish balls which are probably brought off the shelf. They taste stiffer than the usual mock fish balls. You will probably get better value by buying them off the shelf and deep frying them yourself.
Steamed Braised Pork Bun
Instead of thick pieces of mock braised soy meat, we only find plenty of braised seaweed and little mock pork inside the buns leaving us totally unsatisfied.
Deep Fried Beancurd
The beancurd indeed tastes as good as it looks in the photo. However, the beancurd is so oily that the oil literally spills onto the table after your first bite. We advice health buffs to stay away from the deep fried beancurd.
You can clearly see the oil on the fried dumplings. The fillings are pitifully little and not memorable. It is really not worth the price.
Steamed and Xiao Long Dumplings
There is really not much difference between the steamed and Xiao Long dumplings. The skin of the dumplings is firm. However, the vegetable and mock meat fillings are the same as the deep fried dumplings.
The fries are essentially deep fried beancurd skin and tastes quite good!
Pan Fried Carrot Cake
This is by far the best among the Dim Sum we have eaten at Classic Lao Di Fang. The carrot cake is crispy on the outside and has a soft inner texture.
We find plenty of mock mushroom meat and mushroom in the soup. The herbal soup has a strong Lycium (枸杞子) taste. Though the noodles are slightly soggy, I still like the noodles though my wife observed that it used to be much better.
Sweet and Sour Prawn Rice
We are amazed at how Classic Lao Di Fang manages to pack so much rice into the Bento set. The mock fried prawn tastes great. However, the rice tastes dry. In addition, the rice serving is much more than the mock prawns and vegetables, leaving us underwhelmed and unsatisfied.
We strongly recommend the pan fried carrot cake and fried beancurd fries in the Dim Sum category. The braised noodles is also worth considering.
You should know that the above mentioned prices will be charged with a 10% service charge. We seriously think that the 10% service charge is not justifiable. The service staff all seem distracted and needs several hand waves to catch their attention.
Situated at the fringe of Orchard Road, its location is really hard to beat. You just need to come prepared to pay a premium for the ambiance of the restaurant and just only above average food. Lastly, the restaurant has an ongoing offer that a group of four persons and more needs only pay about $16 each for ordering any number of dishes. This will make the expensive Dim Sum a much better deal.