Kaw Kaw SG II

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$31 including drinks!
Recommended dishes: Smokey Beef Bacon burger (S$16.30)

Hey guys! So who is obsessed with Game of Thrones right now? Are you guys up to date? Please go watch if you haven’t, it’s really one of the best things on TV right now (in addition to Veep, It’s Always Sunny and so many others!) Anyway GoT is consuming my life and it’s the only thing that makes me look forward to Mondays LOL.

On to the matter at hand – I’d been jonesing for a good burger lately so I decided to go back to Kaw Kaw SG and give them a second try. If you guys haven’t already read it, click here for my first review of this burger joint from when I first went in Dec 2015!

So I’m glad I went back because the menu had been updated so much, and had so many more items compared to the old menu! Here’s a look at the new menu:

 

The ambience and interior still look mostly the same, although I imagine some pieces of furniture have been updated here and there, since all the furniture in the restaurant is up for sale!

Kaw Kaw SG - Ambience

I love the high ceilings for real

Kaw Kaw SG - Decor

Check out the giant Surat Yasin there on the left lol

Kaw Kaw SG has more starters on the menu now so my 2 friends and I opted to share two of them. The first was the Chilli Cheese Fries (S$11.90), featuring fries drizzled in mildly spicy beef bolognaise and grated parmesan:

Kaw Kaw SG - Chilli Cheese Fries 1

Chilli Cheese Fries (S$11.90) – 7.5/10

Kaw Kaw SG - Chilli Cheese Fries

Mmmm fries meat and cheeeeese the trifecta of a good meal

My first reaction to this starter was to exclaim “Omg why so little sauce?!” to my friends.I think that was the crux of the problem I had with this dish. I’m not looking for *fries* with a meat dip. I want my fries to be bathed in beef bolognaise sauce, I want the whole thing to be sloppy and I want each fry to be coated in sauce. Is that too much to ask?

We ate the fries with our hands, and it was SO difficult to get the bolognaise sauce and cheese onto the fries so what happened was we would just use our fingers to scoop up the beef bolognaise together with the fries and shovel it into our mouths. So as an executive summary, the bolognaise sauce was tasty enough, but there needed to be more of it, and it should have been runnier. The dryness of the sauce was a big part of the problem. 7/10

OK now that you guys know I’m a crazy Chilli Cheese Fries Nazi, let’s take you to the next starter that we had, the Castro Chicken Wings (S$10.90). I’m SO SORRY but the wings came late (after all our burgers!!) so I totally forgot to take a photo and anyway my hands were totally messy from the burger I was having. So here is a photo from their instagram page (@KawKawSG):

Kaw Kaw SG - Castro Wings

Castro Chicken WIngs (S$10.90) – 7.5/10 (photo credit: @KawKawSG’s instagram page)

So these bad boys have been baked in Castro Sauce, which to this day remains a mystery to me. A google search for “Castro Sauce” yields mixed results, none of which come even close to actual sauce (except Carbonara Sauce recipe from someone named Castro). All I can say is it tastes like honey-lemon sauce. My reaction after a couple of bites was “oh ok I think I prefer Pizza Hut’s Sweet and Spicy Drumlets” haha so rude. It’s true though – as far as baked chicken wings go, I think the flavours really need to come through to make up for the nothing-texture. In the case of these Castro wings, I thought the flavour was a little insipid. I can’t resist chicken wings in general though so I think I’d still order them the next time I’m here. 7.5/10  

On to mains! I decided to revisit the Smokey Beef Bacon Burger (S$16.30) which consists of their standard beef burger with slices of beef bacon and their signature smokey sauce:

Kaw Kaw SG - Snokey Beef Bacon Burger 1

Smokey Beef Bacon Burger (S$16.30) – 8/10

Remember in my first review how shocked I was by the absence of fries? Well it’s still viscerally upsetting to me that they would force us to eat these nacho chips with salsa that is served in a tiny cup that would not fit the actual chip unless you broke it in two. Thankfully though we had the chilli cheese fries as our starter so that helped satisfy my fundamental need to have my burgers with a side of fries.

This time around I thought the burger was slightly juicier than the first time, and the beef bacon slices were generous and had good bite, imparting a salty deliciousness to the burger. The patty was thick and generous. Could be a little juicier, but it’s still fairly juicy on its own. I thought the burger could have used more of the smokey sauce too, but oh well. The jalapeños were delightful and refreshing, adding crunch and tang to the mouthful. 8/10

One of my friends had the Permaisuri Burger (S$16.30), which is the classic chicken burger upgraded to include turkey ham, chicken floss and the permaisuri sauce which is basically some sort of yellow gingery sauce.

Kaw Kaw SG - The Permaisuri Burger

The Permaisuri Burger (S$16.30) – 7/10

Once again I thought this was exceedingly dry – if the burger was going to have a fried chicken patty with no sauce on it, then they have to make sure the patty is really juicy. To be fair they did have a small cup of sauce accompanying the burger, but I didn’t really understand if we were supposed to dip the burger into the sauce (logistically impossible, because of size mismatch) or if we were supposed to spread the sauce onto the burger ourselves (too much work, and the sauce is too potent to spread too much of it onto the burger, which then does not help with the dryness issue.) Still disappointing. 7/10

My other friend opted for the Spicy Bolo Burger (S$15.50) which consists of spicy beef bolognese topped with an egg à la McMuffin:

Kaw Kaw SG - Spicy Bolo Burger 1

Spicy Bolo Burger (S$15.50) – 7.10

Kaw Kaw SG - Spicy Bolo Burger

Mmmmm bolognaisssseeee

OK so my friend ordered it fully expecting it to come with a patty, sort of like a regular burger but doused with a healthy ladleful of beef bolognaise sauce, you know? We thought they didn’t mention beef patty in the decription on the menu because it was already going to be on it by default. But NOOOO ~~~, so it’s on us for assuming. (You know what they say when you assume. You make an ass out of u & me LOL that never gets old. So cheesy I love it!)

Anyway so we ordered a S$5 beef patty as an add-on, because we just could not understand how to eat burger with only bolognaise sauce and no real patty. With the additional patty it was ok, especially since the bolognaise sauce was tasty enough. The egg was ok for me – not entirely necessary, but not terrible to have. 7/10

So there you go, my burger ended up being the best of the 3 – I felt so bad for polishing off half of it before offering it to my friends :/ I still think they could majorly majorly improve the burgers by (a) making the patties juicier and more succulent (b) serving actual fries instead of that nacho chips substitute, and lastly (c) having better buns, that are softer and chewier. That being said, I think I would probably still come back and try to stack both the chicken and beef patties together next time and see how THAT goes LOL. I love the build-a-burger concept 🙂 Service is warm and friendly, they accept only cash and credit cards; no NETS. OOH also the prices are nett all-in prices, so no GST and no service charge!

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$31 including drinks!
Recommended dishes: Smokey Beef Bacon burger (S$16.30)

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Penang Culture At Changi Airport T2 II

Penang Culture 
Changi Airport Terminal 2 Departure
Viewing Mall Level 3,
#036-087-01,
Singapore 819643

Operating Hours
Daily: 10.30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(Last order at 9.30 p.m.)
Tel: +65 6546 7793

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Recommended dishes: Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55)

First things first, how are you guys? Belated Nisfu Syaaban to my fellow Muslims! I cannot believe Ramadan is coming so soon. Second of all, have you guys watched Drake’s guest spot on SNL?! SO FUNNY. I love that he can laugh at himself. Check out the Beef music video, wherein he has a ‘beef’ with everyone at SNL.

Back to reality though – last week I was invited to try Penang Culture’s new menu, which will make its début 1 June 2016. Longtime fans of the casual dining restaurant (yours truly included) will be pleased to know that in addition to most of the old menu items, we will be getting new dishes which consist of all-time classics reinterpreted with a twist.

Penang Culture - Tasting Spread

The table they prepared for us to take photos. Super helpful for super terrible photographers like me! 

We opened the feast with the humble Penang Rojak (S$5.95), which features cubed pineapples, cucumbers and turnips, unlike the thinner slices that feature in the local Singaporean rendition. In addition, the Penang-style rojak has you tiao that is a little soggy and not as crispy as our Singaporean version.

Penang Culture - Penang Rojak

Penang Rojak (S$5.95) – 6.5/10

Verdict: The black sauce was really tasty, and we learned that the fermented prawn paste  was specially imported from Penang, so it’s legit. I have to say I prefer the Singaporean rojak because of the crispy texture of the you tiao, which gives you a satisfying crunch when you bite it. I thought the cubing of the fruits and vegetables did not make a big difference for me.  6.5/10

Next up we had another appetizer, the Penang Curry Fish Balls (S$4.95), which feature fish balls steeped in Penang chicken curry.

Penang Culture - Penang Curry Fish Balls

Penang Curry Fish Balls (S$4.95) – 9/10

I suspect this dish was probably targeted towards kids and other younger diners, but to be frank I really liked it myself. The curry was SO rich and flavourful, with some shreds of chicken if you’re lucky. I could also taste the bits of grated coconut in the curry, which added body and texture to the curry. It isn’t altogether that spicy, although after having all of the curry I did feel a very light buzz on my lips. I think the next time I’m craving some good old curry, I would probably head here.

Verdict: I love curry and I love fishballs, but given a choice, I would probably go with the regular Chicken Curry instead for more protein! Goes very well with plain white rice. 9/10

The Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55) were next in line – the base for this is their signature Belacan Wings (which I LOVE and have reviewed here and here) , which are then further coated with sweet plum and Thai chilli sauce.

Penang Culture - Penang Fire Wings

Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55) – 9.5/10

Verdict: These tasted like Korean fried chicken, with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy sauce. Although the name suggests otherwise, I did not think it was all too fiery. For perspective, this was nothing compared to Badoque’s punishing Kepak Bing Bing devil wings. Loved the slightly crispy chicken skin with the sauce. 9.5/10

Our 4th course was the BBQ Salmon (S$11.95), which features two slices of grilled Norwegian salmon fillet, topped off with Chef’s sweet, spicy sambal paste made from chilli, lemongrass, onions, ginger flower, tamarind and sugar.

Penang Culture - BBQ Salmon

BBQ Salmon (S$11.95) – 8/10

Verdict: You guys. I love the sambal so much, I wish I could order a giant vat of it. This is the exact same sambal from the BBQ Lala dish that I always order at Penang Culture. It’s so unbelievably fragrant and tasty and appetizing, I almost cannot even. The salmon was fresh and exceptionally tender, which was a good thing. However, I did not think the sambal goes well with a fatty fish like salmon, and the whole thing was a little too rich for me. I would have much preferred the sambal with a leaner white fish. 8/10

The next dish was my absolute favourite of the night – the Premium Crab Meat & Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), which comprises fried kway teow with mashed salted egg (both yolk and whites!), stir fried together with prawns, squid, fish cake and cockles, and topped with chunks of mud crab and salted egg crumbs:

Penang Culture - Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow

Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95) – 10/10

Penang Culture - Salted Egg Char Kway Teow

All stirred together! YUM

Now some of you guys might have read my previous review of this item, so this is not a new-new item, but a mid-season item that was experimentally introduced just a few months ago. I LOVE this dish always and forever, I have to break it down into the reasons why.

  1. The amount of salted egg in it is perfectly balanced so it does not overwhelm the dish, and you get subtle waves of salted egg with every bite or two.
  2. Did I mention there are curry leaves peppering the kway teow? YUMMM I love curry leaves in salted egg dishes!!
  3. The entire thing is just bursting with ingredients. BURSTING. It felt like a really opulent char kway teow that done got an upgrade.
  4. There is a great char taste to the noodles which prevents you from getting jelak of it after a while – much R&D and numerous taste tests have gone into making an authentic-tasting but still halal char kway teow, and you can taste the results.

Verdict: Always order this unless you hate Char Kway Teow, or salted egg, or seafood. 10/10

Our penultimate course that night was the Salmon Assam Laksa (S$11.95), which features the regular assam laksa with slices of Norwegian salmon and a drizzling of hae kor, or fermented shrimp paste.

Penang Culture - Salmon Assam Laksa

Salmon Assam Laksa (S$11.95) – 8/10

I honestly loved the fat laksa noodles which were specially imported from Penang. I thought the salmon slices were lovely, but the oil from it did pare down the sourness of the broth which I find a key element in assam laksa. However, the strips of cucumber, pineapple and onions throughout the bowl did compensate for the dialed down sourness, by adding a refreshing twist with every bite.

Verdict: Stick to regular Assam Laksa unless you want a milder assam taste and you need to up your omega 3 fatty acids intake. 8/10

In our last main dish, we were treated to Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), which is a pimped up adaptation of their regular Penang Hokkien Prawn Noodles, with scallops, chicken slices, fish cake, kang kong, beansprouts, a hard-boiled egg and a whole slipper lobster (oy vey, what a mouthful literally and textually).

Penang Culture - Lobster and scallop noodles

Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95) – 9/10

Can I just say, there is just so much ingredients in this bowl of goodness? A common theme running through all the dishes here at Penang Culture is that they are not stingy with their premium ingredients, despite the very reasonable price tags of each dish.

I absolutely loved the broth. The stock was created by slow-boiling a bounty of prawns, crabs and chicken bones for several hours, and this is well-reflected in the flavourful broth. What a delight! The slipper lobster was a little mushy, I wish it could have been a little springier. Otherwise, everything worked beautifully together and fans of Penang hokkien prawn noodles would do well to give this a try.

Verdict: Definitely a must-try, especially at that reasonable price tag. 9/10

All in all I had a great time stuffing my face at Penang Culture. Always have, always will! It’s a great family-friendly place that serves really good quality Penang hawker food in air-conditioned comfort, at prices that won’t break the bank. The menu is really extensive so personally I find that it’s better to try new items a couple of times before determining which ones will be your go-to staples 🙂

I’ll end off with a short note on drinks – please try the Ampla Ice Blended Drink with sour plum! It makes for a refreshing palate-cleanser with all the rich Penang food you’ll be eating! Also the Chempedak Milk Shake is just heavenly, so give it a go!

 

Penang Culture 
Changi Airport Terminal 2 Departure
Viewing Mall Level 3,
#036-087-01,
Singapore 819643

Operating Hours
Daily: 10.30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(Last order at 9.30 p.m.)
Tel: +65 6546 7793

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Recommended dishes: Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55)

WORD. at Upper Thomson Road (Permanently Closed)

**Word Cafe has permanently closed**

WORD.
906 Upper Thomson Road
Singapore 787110
Reservations: Text 96858468 and state the number of pax, date and time, and a confirmation text will follow
Remarks: No GST

Opening hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1030pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~$40 for 1 app, 1 main, and 1 drink each
Recommended dishes: Cut the Crab crabcakes (S$15), Cow’ch Potato steak (S$24)

I first heard about WORD. a couple of weeks ago from a friend of mine who is ever the intrepid food-explorer with her husband.  Not to be outdone by this Magellan of halal dining, I made the trek out to this new container-style bistro/café yesterday, dragging my endlessly patient BFF with me.

Tucked away among a row of shops on Upper Thomson Road, and further obscured by major construction works for the future Springleaf MRT station, WORD. is definitely not easy to find without directions from Google Maps, so keep your phones handy, people.

By the time I got there right around 230pm, the place was almost full and buzzed with conversation.

Word Café - Ambience 2

I really loved the decor of the place – it had elements of industrial-chic but managed to feel very cosy at the same time.

Word Café - Decor

The very Instagram-worthy main wall of the container

Word Café - Ambience

How do you not love the stylized lion poster?

Word Café - Wall

The wall behind the counter – how delightful!

So given that this place is only some 2+ months old, their menu is still a work in progress as they continue to experiment and streamline it. This explains all the blacked out bits and the manual additions. Take a look here:

Word Café - Menu 1

Salmon Khan!!! I love it, and can’t believe I hadn’t come across this pun before.

Word Café - Menu 2

Confession: “Between the Buns” makes me quite uncomfortable HAHA

The first starter we had was Magic Mushrooms (S$10), which consisted of fleshy white mushrooms coated in savoury batter, served with an aioli dip:

Word Café - Magic Mushrooms

Yum – I’m more of a stir-fried mushrooms type of eater, but I have to say these were pretty good. The batter was light and crunchy, with some sort of salty seasoning that I liked. However, the seasoning was not quite even, so you got some mushrooms that are a little saltier than others. Apart from that, all good – the aioli was decent too. 8.5/10

We also shared the Cut the Crab (S$15), which are mozzarella cheese crabcakes served with a spicy belado dip:

Word Café - Cut the Crab

OK immediate cons: As you can see, this looked almost identical to the battered mushrooms. Same platter, same dip, same side salad, same coating. I was a little disappointed. Also, where is this spicy belado dip? It looked and tasted like regular old aioli to me – not that I don’t like aioli, but I wish they hadn’t set up that expectation for an imaginary belado dip.

Pros: Bells and whistles aside, the crab cake itself tasted really good! It was fairly savoury and packed with crab meat!  9/10

For my main, I chose to go big and got myself the Cow’ch Potato (S$24), which is the beef fillet steak with potato purée and a side of mesclun greens.

Word Café - Cow-ch Potato Steak

Now, again I encountered some mismatch in the menu description and the platter that arrived – this was supposed to have come with the grilled spinach onion, and a choice of hollandaise or brown sauce, but all I got was the steak, the salad, and the potato purée. Where the grilled spinach onion and sauces at, bruh?

The absence of sauce was problematic because the potato purée was so finely puréed that it was more like a dense paste, whereas I prefer a light, fluffy mash. I asked one of the servers if I could get the sauce and it seemed she was not aware the steak should come with any sauce at all. In the end I did manage to get a steaming hot cup of brown sauce though, so that made the puree quite nice and runny, and the meat very juicy.

I requested for my steak to be medium, and I think it came perfectly cooked:

Word Café - Steak cut

Mmmm so juicy and pink ❤

The meat was tender and succulent, especially when you cut up a chunk of it and drag it through a pool of saucy potato purée. I thought the done-ness was perfect. There were no sinewy or tough parts, except for the one strip of (is it tendon? I want to say tendon.) running lengthwise on one side of the fillet, which was easy enough to remove. I did wish the steak had come with fries or actual mash potatoes, instead of the purée though! 9/10

My friend got the cheekily-named Mother Cluckers (S$14), comprising of a whole chicken leg with grilled garlic potatoes, poached asparagus and pimiento with béarnaise sauce. Unfortunately, neither of us remembered to take a photo of it! I was too busy digging into my steak when the chicken leg came, sorry guys. I’ll update you once I find a photo of it online ok!

My friend liked the lemony béarnaise sauce, but found the chicken meat too dry and a little stringy, if you know what I mean. I eyeballed the chunk of chicken leg and had to agree with him. Until they can make us moister, juicier chicken, 7/10 for the Mother Cluckers.

I had no room for dessert, thanks to the Coconut Shake (S$7) I got, which was thick as thieves (incorrect use of the simile, but you know what I mean):

Word Café - Coconut Shake

The Coconut Shake (S$7) was a little too thick and tasted like melted Paddle Pop ice cream with a hint of coconut. Get the Iced tea next time if you’re looking for something more refreshing! 7/10

Word Café - Latte

My friend got the Latte (S$5), which came on this adorable red saucer shaped like a paint palette! Loved it. Can’t comment about the coffee though!

All in all, I felt there was some promise with the menu items, and I do want to come back and try more dishes soon (like the Salmon Khan! And the Ikea Made Us Do It beef balls!). However, the location is a little out of the way for me. I know they have a 3-year lease on the place, so I figure if they stick it out a little longer until the new Springleaf MRT station opens up in 2020, they’ll definitely be set then.

Because of the container shape of the place, the acoustics are not the greatest. There are several tables with kids around us, and so the place became really quite noisy at times, making us feel a little harried during our meal. I suppose it will be much better on quieter days instead of Saturday peak.

I’ll leave you guys with some photos of the place:

Word Café - Crate tables

Crate tables and seats for those who just want snacks and drinks!

Word Café - Dessert display

The counter/dessert display area

Word Café - Mirrored ceilings

Check out the mirrored ceilings and the crazy wired lights all over

Word Café - Mirrored ceilings 2

Word Café - Kitchen View

A window into the “open” kitchen

 

Word Café - Tyre plants

I don’t know what to make of this, but points for recycling old tires

Word Café - HDB Door Table

An old HDB door as a long tabletop!!! I LOVE IT <3<3

WORD.
906 Upper Thomson Road
Singapore 787110
Reservations: Text 96858468 and state the number of pax, date and time, and a confirmation text will follow
Remarks: No GST

Opening hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1030pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~$40 for 1 app, 1 main, and 1 drink each
Recommended dishes: Cut the Crab crabcakes (S$15), Cow’ch Potato steak (S$24)

**Word Cafe has permanently closed**

The Malayan Council II

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

Opening Hours
Mon to Sat: 11am to 11pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm

Reservations: Facebook message

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Roti Kirai Beef Ribs (S$39), Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine (S$28)

So very quickly after my first visit to The Malayan Council (you guys can check out my review here!), I went back again to try out the other items on the menu.

It was a scorching Saturday noon, and I had skipped breakfast in lieu of a tennis session with my coach earlier in the morning. You can imagine just how famished and weak I was by the time I got to The Malayan Council. Although we knew better than to load up on appetisers due to the American-sized portions at the café, I truly could not refrain from ordering the Wild Mushroom Truffle Soup (S$9):

The Malayan Council Wild Mushroom Truffle Soup

Eww the oil looks like slime

I will be honest – I was so hungry, this tasted really good. Objectively though, it really was like a fancy Campbell’s mushroom soup, with better ingredients added. I would not be surprised if they had indeed used Campbell’s as the base. I found this quite problematic. At $9 a bowl, I would expect a from-scratch base, or something more home-made. Not entirely offensive, but definitely a little disappointing. 7/10

My friends and I were unanimous in our mission to try the Roti Kirai Beef Ribs (S$39), which consists of beef short rib glazed in the TMC secret sauce, and roti kirai (net pancake) with lettuce and quail egg salad:

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 2

I MEAN…

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 4

OMGGGGGGGGGGG

UGH YOU GUYS THIS WAS SO GOOD!!!! I really just could not even, with this. The meat was just falling right off the bone!! So, so tender and so juicy. It wasn’t doused in curry sauce like regular roti kirai – instead, the beef ribs rauce tasted a little like rendang – spicy, and with a hint of coconut. It was seriously so rich and tasty.

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 1

LOOK AT HOW SHREDDY AND DELICIOUS

The accompanying roti kirai had the perfect texture – slightly elastic, not too tough and not too soft. I also love quail eggs so having them in the side salad was a bonus. Here’s a final picture of the masterpiece, which I rate 10/10:

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 3

The second untested main we ordered was the Kacang Pool with Angus Ribeye Steak (S$37), in the medium doneness we had requested for:

The Malayan Council Kacang Pool Angus Ribeye Steak

Mm all that wholegrain bread!

The Malayan Council Kacang Pool Steak Close Up

Look at that coddled egg sitting pretty atop the steak!

My first reaction was horror – horror at the  tremendous size of the onion chunks crowding around the ribeye 😱. Is that a thing, guys? Does Kacang Pool usually come teeming with just absolute bulbs of onion?! Kacang Pool is not something I eat regularly, but the rare few times I did I don’t recall quite so much onion.

Onion nightmare aside, I quite liked this dish. Sure, the pool was a little subtle and could stand to have been tastier, but boy it was pretty satisfying to dunk pieces of bread in the thick sauce, and following through with a bite of juicy steak.

The Angus ribeye steak had some tough sinewy parts, but the other unaffected parts were really tender! Medium – or medium rare if the cut is of high quality – is really the way to go with red meat you guys! 8/10

Of course, for the third main we just HAD to get the off-menu item, Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine (S$28) again:

The Malayan Council Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine 1

SO MANY SLICES OF SMOKED DUCK YUMMM

The Malayan Council Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine 2

Faint. Look at the sheen on the duck skin, and the pink of the meat. SO DELICIOUS. 

In my first review of The Malayan Council I said that everything was perfect but the portion was too big, and the linguine overcooked. This time around, the portion was just as American, but the linguine was a little more al dente. Perf!!! The lemak chili padi taste is still as delicious, and the duck ever so juicy. slightly sweet, and very tender. I had a friend who tried it recently and did NOT like the odd combination of pasta with the lemak cili padi sauce, so I guess it’s a question of personal preference and expectations. *I* loved it, so I’m giving this a 10/10.

According to the owners they are probably keeping the Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine around for the month of April, although I’m hoping it becomes a permanent menu item.

I’ll leave you guys with some photos of the decor of the cafe, both interior and exterior:

The Malayan Council Interior

Records on the wall, that table with the sewing machine base, and the two school desks on the left!

The Malayan Council Magazines

(Sentiasa Manjaaaa!) – Some newspapers and magazines for you to browse. I hope they stock more publications, although it’s cool that they even offer any at all.

The Malayan Council Games

A smorgasbord of traditional games like Congkak!! And 5 stones, card packs like Snap and Donkey, and capteh feathers. 

The Malayan Council Talk Makan Chill

The outside seating is SO colourful and instagrammable. With all the cushions it’s really a place to talk, makan and chill with your friends. 

The Malayan Council Alfresco

Look at these crazy tables. There are another two tables that are perfectly combinable, making it perfect if you’re going with a larger group of friends.

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

Opening Hours
Mon to Sat: 11am to 11pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm

Reservations: Facebook message

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 8/10

Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Malayan Wings, The Ultimate Lopez Cake

Kaw Kaw SG at Aliwal St

***Edited to add: The menu has been considerably updated since this first visit, so please check out my more recent Kaw Kaw SG post! Thank you 🙂 ***

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating:7.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$26
Recommended dishes: Fried Portobello Fingers (S$9.90)

I love burgers, it ain’t no lie, so when I heard about the new halal-certified burger joint in Singapore called Kaw Kaw, opened by the folks at Makanstate group (purveyors of “good food lifestyle”), I knew I had to check it out post haste!

Located on Aliwal Street near the Arab Street district, Kaw Kaw SG occupies a spacious dining spot where the erstwhile A For Arbite once stood. It’s so big, there are literally two different entrances to the restaurant. Love it, and love the interior:

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How spacious and charming! The long tables are perfect for larger catch-up sessions 🙂

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Quirky art adorning the faux-brick walls. Did you know that the art pieces and furniture at this café are all for sale? One of the co-founders of Makanstate, Ainil, told me this when I was paying later that night. Great marriage of lifestyle/dining concepts.

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Even these “lonely hearts” bar seats looked cosy

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They also have a mini stage with a lovely National Education-style mural as the backdrop! And notice the felled-timber tabletops on stage! Cute.

I’d like to add here that since the place is quite spacious and there is some recess area at where the stage is, it is actually rather child-friendly. There were some kids playing together at the stage, either propping themselves up on the tabletops, or just generally running around chasing each other in that corner of the café. Bring your kids here, people! But please make sure they don’t make too much noise, thank you!

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Is that an antique bicycle I spy, next to those old-school suitcases? So hipster it hurts.

The menu is pretty standard – some burgers and some mains. I wish they had more appetizers for us to try, but I suppose the specialty is really the burgers.

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Omg it’s impossible to read because of the printed background, sorry

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I love Thai Milk Tea ice cream!! Will definitely want to try that the next time I’m here.

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As mentioned in an earlier photo caption, their furniture and art pieces on display at the café are up for sale too!

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Can I really forgive them for naming one of their tea coolers “The Cu-Tea”? LOL yes I can. It’s adorable.

For starters, we went for the Fried Portobello Fingers (S$9.90):

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I loved these portobello bites!! They were really yummy – fat, juicy strips of giant portobello mushrooms with a very light and crunchy breading that was not excessively oily. I can’t comment on the mayo dip because I hate mayo, but I can reassure you eating them on their own was good enough. 9/10

Burger-wise I opted for the Smokey Bacon Beef Burger (S$14.80), which featured a 175g beef patty topped with beef bacon, jalapeños, smoky sauce and melted cheese.

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OMG TORTILLA CHIPS?!?! WHERE THEM FRIES AT!!! 😡

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A cross-section of the burger. Patty looks a bit dry, eh?

The burger bun was really good – soft and slightly chewy, with good bite. I’m glad they didn’t skimp on the bun and go for those nonsense aerated/styrofoamy ones. The beef patty itself was tasty, substantial, and did not come apart like the one at The Lab, which is good, BUT. I thought it was a little dry, and wished it had been juicier.

MOST EGREGIOUSLY THOUGH, the burger did not come with a side of fries. Instead, it came with some healthy flippin’ tortilla chips and dip!!! What! Duuuuude I need my burger with friessss. What is this tortilla chips business? Did I order a buckwheat pita with vegetarian stuffing, or did I order a big fat juicy beef burger? Tortilla chips go with one but not the other. I was very sad. I also thought that the salsa dip that came with the chips were excessively watery – the tomato juice ran down my hands after I dipped the chips into it, not good. The other spicy aioli-ish sauce was delicious though! 7.5/10 for the burger overall, with points docked for the tortilla chips and slightly dry patty.

My friend ordered Kaw Kaw’s signature burger, The Permaisuri Burger (S$16.70) which consists of fried chicken thigh with turkey ham, chicken floss, and lemongrass sauce topped with melted cheese. For info, Permaisuri means Queen in Malay, so really what my friend had was the queen of burgers:

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Eee onion.

I had a bite of this and thought it was decent, but not life-changing. The chicken patty was crispy and tasty, but I found it all a little dry still. The sauce that came with the burger tasted very strongly of ginger, to the point were it was a little biting. My friend wasn’t terribly impressed either, whoops. I would give the Permaisuri around 7/10.

We didn’t have any space left for dessert, so the meal ended with the burgers. Overall I thought the burgers were not as good as they’d been made out to be in the blogosphere, but I reckon I had a good-enough experience to warrant a repeat visit to give them a second chance. Who knows, maybe I caught them on a bad night. I will definitely report back here again after my next visit to Kaw Kaw.

Aside from the food, I really loved the ambience of the café, and service was attentive and friendly. Waiting time for the burgers was admittedly quite excessive, but it was a very busy night, so I guess the kitchen was just backed up. I hope the quality of the burgers improve, and they consider having a fries option instead of the sacrilegious tortilla chips.

Some random pictures to end off the post:

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The pretty decorative board over the entrance doors

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Totally legit, you guys. I love halal.

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Random drinks picture. The iced chocolate was rather pedestrian. The cu-tea my friend had was excessively sweet, so perhaps less syrup next time please!

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Kiblat (prayer direction) provided at the café for those looking to do a quick prayer while waiting for their food! Alhamdulillah.

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating:7.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$26
Recommended dishes: Fried Portobello Fingers (S$9.90)

Rasa Istimewa C2K at SAFRA Jurong

**Please note that Rasa Istimewa has shifted out of Choa Chu Kang Park to SAFRA Jurong!**

Rasa Istimewa SAFRA Jurong
333 Boon Lay Way
Singapore 649848
Reservations: +65 6877 9339

Opening Hours
Sun-Thu: 12 noon to 11pm
Fri-Sat: 12 noon to 12 midnight

Rasa Istimewa C2K
Choa Chu Kang Park
Choa Chu Kang Drive
Reservations (highly recommended): +65 6877 1913

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8.7/10

Average spend per pax: ~S$28.50

First of all, Selamat Hari Raya to all of y’all! I hope your Ramadan went well, insyaaAllah. My stomach can’t take all the ketupat/rendang/satay assault for the past 2 days you guys. Thankfully Ramadan is over and we can start exercising normally again!

During one of the Ramadan weekends my family and I had our iftar at the zi char place Rasa Istimewa C2K, which is located at Choa Chu Kang Park. I actually really love the place because the food is always really good and it’s kind of perfect for a low-key, satisfying dinner with the fam.

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Fat, squishy dates YUM.

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The decor is kind of kitschy and eclectic, but I am grateful for the ubiquity of ceiling fans.

Halal zi char/seafood places are kind of few and far between in the West, particularly compared to areas like Chai Chee, teeming with competing halal seafood restaurants, so I am really grateful this place exists!

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Officially halal!

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Where good halal food congregates…in my mouth and belly, maybe.

We like to start off with some Satay ($0.60 a stick for beef/chicken/babat, and $0.70 a stick for mutton).

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Satay

We ordered 20 mutton and 10 chicken this time. I LOVE mutton satay; they’re just so juicy and satisfying; much more so than chicken, which my younger brother prefers. So my family will drive up to JB once in a while to have some cheap seafood; the satay there somehow is at best on par with the ones at Rasa Istimewa, and I find the sticks here much meatier than the anemic onces across the causeway. I suppose those places in JB cater almost exclusively to Singaporean tourists and don’t feel the need to improve their satay. But really, the satay at Rasa Istimewa is savoury, sweet, juicy, and super flavourful. LOVE. The peanut sauce is also surprisingly decent – spicy, and rich. 9/10 for the satay here!

I forgot to take a photo of the Fish Otak-Otak ($0.60 per piece) but it merits special mention. They serve the otak-otak piping hot, and the flesh within is moist, juicy, spicy, and SO GOOD. It doesn’t have that compact, smooth, too-processed taste and texture you get with some vendors. Love these, and will keep coming back for them. 9.5/10

The bulk of our order here is made of the Set Menu 1 for 4-6 pax ($88 excluding 7% GST).

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Set_Menu1

The first dish of the set is the fish; you can choose between Grouper or Siakap fish, and my family always picks the Grouper Fish in Tiga Rasa (tri-flavour) Sauce. I think they must mean sweet, sour, and spicy? Who even knows.

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Ikan_Grouper_TigaRasa Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Ikan_Grouper

It’s actually really delicious. The sauce is savoury, sweet, and sour, and garnished with these amazing strips of what I think is mango. Because of that the taste is rather Thai. Totally delicious. The fish is fried just right; crispy exterior (I personally love crunching on the crispy bones) and tender, rich fish meat within. 9/10

Item number two is prawns with a choice of 5 different cooking styles – cereal butter, black pepper, nyonya style, sambal chili, and sweet & sour. Our choice is the Cereal Butter Prawns.

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Cereal_Prawn2Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Cereal_Prawn3

YUMMM. These are also divine. The cereal bits are buttery and sweet; in short, super tasty. The bits of coriander are a great complement to the dish! The prawns are usually really fresh, and I confess there’s nothing I love more than to savour the heads (I know some people find it a little disgusting). 10/10

The third dish of the set is chicken with a choice of 5 styles. I’m not even going to talk about the others – the Prawn Paste Chicken is Rasa Istimewa’s specialty and I LOVE IT.

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Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Prawn_Paste_Chicken

YUMMMM. Look at how crispy and un-oily it looks.

The chicken is always so crispy yet juicy. The prawn paste taste is moderate so that it doesn’t overwhelm the senses, but you can taste enough of it. Perfect all the time. 10/10

The fourth dish is the vegetable course – I always go for the Kangkong Belacan because that’s really my favourite dish at every seafood/zi char place.

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Sambal_Kangkong

Rasa Istimewa usually does them pretty well, but on this particular visit I found the kangkong to be a little dry and bland. I think they didn’t cook it in enough belacan sauce, which is a huge pity. Subjectively I loved it anyway and ate almost all of it, but I know objectively it could be better if the kangkong were coated in more sauce and if the taste had been stronger. 7/10 this time around.

The fifth and final item on Set Menu 1 is the soup course. My family always goes for the Seafood Tom Yum Soup since we figure it is probably the tastiest of the lot:

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Tom_Yam_Soup

Not too inspiring, I must say. Plus those crabsticks are just not ideal.

The soup contains prawns, fish slices, cabbage, oyster mushrooms (which I LOVE LOVE) and -gasp- crabsticks. Hate seeing them – they make the dish feel really cheap in a bad way. That being said, the taste of the soup is decent; it’s flavourful and spicy. The ingredients could stand a bit of an upgrade but I guess it’s not the star attraction of the menu, or of the restaurant for that matter. 6.5/10

On top of the set menu, I’ll usually add a plate of Fried Sotong With Salted Egg (S$18 for a small portion):

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Salted_Egg_Squid

I LOVE salted egg dishes!! They’re really so, SO good. Rasa Istimewa’s rendition of the salted egg squid is laudable; they don’t skimp on the salted egg taste; plus, they garnish with – what else – coriander! My absolute favourite garnish. A respectable 8.5/10 for this dish.

All in all, I think it’s a great place to bring your family – the setting is casual. Service can sometimes be a little elusive, particularly on busy nights. The trick is to attach yourself to one particular server that looks industrious (there are a few; we’ve definitely singled them out with great success). Try to stick to one server to avoid frustration and disappointment. My experience here has been mostly positive. You just need to have a little patience 🙂

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Night_View

A night view of the restaurant from afar.

Below is a gallery of the full menu so you guys can decide in advance what you’d like to eat there. Happy selecting! Oh I almost forgot – please try the sour plum ice blended drink here! It’s SO yummmmm and provides a refreshing counterpoint to all of the food you’ll be eating!

 

**Please note that Rasa Istimewa has shifted out of Choa Chu Kang Park to SAFRA Jurong!**

Rasa Istimewa SAFRA Jurong
333 Boon Lay Way
Singapore 649848
Reservations: +65 6877 9339

Opening Hours
Sun-Thu: 12 noon to 11pm
Fri-Sat: 12 noon to 12 midnight

Rasa Istimewa C2K
Choa Chu Kang Park
Choa Chu Kang Drive
Reservations (highly recommended): +65 6877 1913

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8.7/10

Average spend per pax: ~S$28.50

The Royals Steakhouse on Jalan Pisang

The Royals Steakhouse
10 Jalan Pisang
Reservations: +65 6291 3326
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 10pm daily

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Average Spend: ~S$30 per pax

During the Vesak day holiday, my friends and I decided to have a girly lunch together and check out The Royals Steakhouse, a relatively new halal café/steakhouse on Jalan Pisang, near Arab Street.

It’s a pretty small space; I dare say just slightly smaller than The Lab SG (its hipster neighbour along Jalan Pisang), and perhaps roughly the same size as the old Royz et Vous, which used to be on Bali Lane but has now moved to 137 Telok Ayer Street. The decor is pretty simple and breezy, with some old-school themed wall decorations.

The_Royals_SG_Wallpaper

An anthropomorphized steak called Sir Loin!!! ADORBS.

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I genuinely am not acquainted with the different textures (and tastes?!) of the various cuts, but this tutorial is a good first step.

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We shall see, shan’t we.

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Open kitchen concept with bonus fire.

The restaurant is styled as a steakhouse, so most of the options comprise burgers and steak. Check out the simple menu here:

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I’m not a huge breakfast person so by the time I got to the restaurant I was ravenous and ordered two starters; the Homemade Pumpkin Soup (S$6) and the Crispy Fries (S$6). Out of sheer politeness I invited my friends to “feel free to have some!” but in my greedy heart of hearts I knew I’d want to have them ALL TO MYSELF 😦 Little did I know, I needn’t have worried, as the portions are way generous!

Royals_Pumpkin_Soup

The pumpkin soup was SO GOOD! It’s got just the right consistency – rich, creamy, and of perfect thickness so you can savour it in your mouth before swallowing. The taste was also spot on, slightly sweet and salty at the same time. UGH perfect. I’m not a fan of croutons in my soups, but my friends had them and said they tasted good, so I guess that’s a bonus too. 10/10 for the pumpkin soup!

Royals_Fries

I had my doubts about the fries – I was worried ‘crispy fries’ would mean skinny, unjuicy fries but what came was a large bowl of fat fries that were crispy on the outside but perfectly mushy on the inside. Tremendous. 10/10

For my main, I had the Australian Striploin (S$22) in medium, served with a side salad, grilled Roma tomato, and your choice of either caramelised onion sauce, black pepper sauce, or mushroom sauce. Superb! I went with the reliable black pepper sauce, although next time I would like to try the other sauces.

Royals_Sirloin

The meat had some parts that were tough, but the rest was perfectly done – I had requested for a medium, on a scale of rare, medium rare, medium, medium done, and well done. The meat was fresh, tender, and savoury enough with its own juices (and what I assume was maybe butter). There were also bits of fat that were just SO tasty and nicely charred. The salad though, I did not touch, so no thoughts on that, apart from that I would have preferred a side of fries or mash, instead of them greens! #roadtoheartdisease Overall, 8.5/10 for the steak!

Interestingly enough, the meat dish also came with a trio of condiments – fresh cut chilli padi, freshly milled black pepper, and some rock salt.

The_Royals_SG_Condiments

According to our waiter, they serve these condiments on the side because they want us to (a) really taste the freshness and the quality of the meat, and (b) be able to adjust the taste of the meat to our liking. Definitely a plus point for me!

I took some photos of the other items my friends ordered so you can have an idea of what they look like:

The_Royals_SG_Crabcakes

Special Recipe Homemade Crab Cakes – S$12

The_Royals_SG_Crab_Cakes

Delicious, with a savoury actual-crab meat filling. 9/10

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Baked Potato (S$3.50), served with sour cream and beef bacon bits! I didn’t taste this but my friends said it was decent.

The_Royals_SG_Caesar_Salad

Caesar Salad With Herb Croutons, Egg, & Smoked Salmon (S$8). I didn’t taste this either but the portion looks generous!

The_Royals_SG_Lamburghini_Burger

The Lamburghini (S$20) – juicy lamb patty burger with caramelised onions and melted cheese. I had a bite and it was quite good, although I wish the patty were less ball-like. 8/10

The_Royals_SG_Raspberry_Mint_Lemonade

Raspberry Mint Lemonade (S$5)

The_Royals_SG_Green_Apple_Mint_Lemonade

Green Apple Mint Lemonade (S$5)

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The cake display! With slices ranging from S$6.50 to the odd S$7.60 (looking at you, Opera Cake!)

All in all I’d say this place is definitely worth repeat visits. Service was very attentive and patient, although I have to say we were one of two parties present at the time. The food is hearty, tasty, and served in decent portions. A bonus feature is that you don’t have to order and pay at the counter like at some places in the neighbourhood like The Lab SG and Working Title. It’s full-service so you can bring friends and family for a good time!

Speaking of family; my friend brought her 1-year-old daughter to the restaurant and they provided her with a cute frisbee-like plate made of plastic, along with a plastic spoon, for her to play with so she could feel like one of the adults at the table! It was adorable. So feel free to bring your kids here, guys! It’s a family-friendly establishment!

The Royals Steakhouse
10 Jalan Pisang
Reservations: +65 6291 3326
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 10pm daily

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Average Spend: ~S$30 per pax