The term 'tai tai' is what the Chinese colloquially call 'ladies who lunch'. And I was ever so pleased to play the role of one of the leisured classes (albeit briefly, as it's back to work on Monday) at South Bank's newly opened Tai Tai restaurant on the weekend.
Tai Tai fuses traditional Cantonese and South East Asian influences across a bold and diverse menu containing dishes which are designed to be shared. The restaurant was inspired by the owner's ancestral great, great grandmother who was fond of experimenting with different flavours and textures - exotic mushrooms, bamboo shoots, lotus roots, medicinal grass, and seeds.
Fill your table with steamed dim sum, honey glazed barbecue pork cheeks, black pepper beef, salted duck egg yolk king prawns, crispy eggplant and gai lan - and be prepared to leave room for desserts including deep fried ice cream, thai milk tea parfait and steamed egg custard lava 'bao'.
The selections above are but a taste of the diverse options on offer at Tai Tai. My companion and I selected the claypot chicken with its sweet sticky glaze, the incredibly tender salt and pepper five-spiced squid, and the char kway teow. Drink options run the full gamut from traditional teas like pu erh and chrysanthemum through to cocktails, wine, beer, cider, and spirits. As the designated driver, I chose the PS Soda blackstrap ginger beer (a delightfully mellow combination of ginger, pimento, blackstrap molasses, lemon zest, and murray river salt) which I can highly recommend.
Tai Tai is part of a bigger family of venues, including The Charming Squire, Pig 'N' Whistle, Phuc Deli-Viet and more. The newest kid on the block is still finding its feet, and management will want to get the promised shadecloth on sooner rather than later, given forecast summer temperatures. In all, though, this is a worthy addition to South Bank's panoply of restaurants.