The Malayan Council on Dunlop Street

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

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

Reservations: Facebook message

Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Malayan Wings, The Ultimate Lopez Cake

Hey guys! I’m sorry for the long absence – I’ve been busy running around town accompanied by Rihanna’s and Kanye’s new albums called ANTI and The Life Of Pablo respectively. SO GOOD. Have you guys checked out the new permanent exhibition at the ArtScience museum called Future World: Where Art Meets Science? It’s fascinating and so entertaining for adults and kids alike. Also been busy watching Peep Show on Netflix, it’s hilarious. What a wondrous time we live in today.

So yesterday I checked out a fairly new restaurant called The Malayan Council, located on Dunlop Street right opposite Masjid Abdul Gafoor, and 4 units down from the erstwhile Rouse.

The Malayan Council - Entrance

The outdoor seating has a ceiling fan to mitigate (but not quite eliminate) the suffocating heat and humidity we’ve been facing lately in March ugh

The Malayan Council - Masjid Abdul Gafoor

Abdul Gafoor Mosque on Dunlop St

The Malayan Council opened its doors to hungry diners in December 2015, boasting a fusion menu that marries western fare with the richness and spices of Malayan cuisine. Burgers are topped with spicy sambal ikan bilis (anchovies in chilli sauce), fish and chips are fried in asam pedas (sour and spicy stew sauce), chicken wings are marinated in kicap cili padi (soy sauce with bird’s eye chilli) and the good old kueh lopes (glutinous rice cake coated in grated coconut and drizzled with palm sugar sauce) is given the modern cake treatment — the list goes on.

Here’s a look at The Malayan Council menu:

The Malayan Council Menu - Starters, Pasta and MainsThe Malayan Council Menu - Brunch Dessert and Drinks

I was heartened to learn from the bottom of their menu that The Malayan Council donates a percentage of their sales to the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home, which provides shelter and 24/7 residential care and protection for boys between the ages of 10 and 19 years. (crying face emoji) I love that they are giving back; much respect guys.

The decor is very cosy and quirky, mixing vintage and Islamic elements. There are packs of Old Maid, Snap, and other old-school card games available by the glasses counter (my friend and I briefly considered playing Old Maid but decided against it since we were only two!). Our table was a re-purposed Carrom table with a glass top and an old sewing machine pedal as the table legs:

The Malayan Council - Carrom Table

I legit kept wanting to flick these pieces absent-mindedly while waiting for our food to arrive. Sorry I didn’t get photos of the sewing pedal!

The Malayan Council - interior decor

Sometimes I forget to say the prayer before eating, so this was a good reminder. Also the WiFi snark! Love it.

The Malayan Council - Jawi Arabic Clock

9pm at first glance but 3pm in actual fact because it’s a reverse clock in Jawi/Arabic numerals. Cute, but also distressing for a split second before you remember it’s in reverse.

My friend and I split the Malayan Wings (S$13) for our starter:

The Malayan Council - Chicken Wings

The Malayan Council - Malayan Wings

Mmmmm yummyyyyy

I really liked these wings; I thought it would be pretty fiery and salty judging by all the chilli seeds on top and the pool of soy sauce underneath the chicken. Thankfully, the flavours were very well-balanced. The kicap sauce was fairly spicy, slightly peppery, and not too salty. The chicken itself was lightly crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside. I worked my way through 4 pieces and didn’t feel like it was too spicy/salty, so that was good. 10/10

For mains, I had the Salted Egg Softshell Crab and Mudcrab Linguine (S$28):

The Malayan Council - Salted Egg Crab Pasta

They paired two softshell crabs together to look like a giant fried fish atop the linguine

The Malayan Council - Salted Egg Softshell Crab and Mudcrab Linguine

The mudcrab meat portion is way generous

I loved the linguine. Admittedly it was overcooked and not at all al dente, but as a noodle-lover I subjectively did not have a problem with this. The salted egg sauce was not heavy and in-your-face; rather, the linguine was lightly coated in this mild, subtle sauce which did not make me jelak.

On their own, the numerous lumps of mudcrab meat were pretty tasteless, but if you mix well with the linguine in salted egg sauce, it’s much better. The softshell crab was very crispy and was slightly oilier than I would’ve liked. I wish the portion hadn’t been quite so big too. They could’ve definitely downsized to just one softshell crab, and maybe reduced the pasta by a quarter. Although the portion seems fair for what you’re paying (S$28), it was way too much for me. 7.5/10.

My friend got the March monthly special, Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine (S$28):

The Malayan Council - Lemak Chilli Padi Linguine with Smoked Duck

This was a home-run, guys. The linguine came coated in delicious and reassuringly-familiar lemak cili padi sauce, which was really tasty and decently spicy. The smoked duck was juicy and slightly sweet, which balanced the spiciness of the linguine. Loved this dish, and the novel pairing of lemak cili padi with smoked duck. My only gripes – if you can even call ’em that – again are the oversized portion of the pasta and the overcooked texture. 9.5/10

We couldn’t finish the pasta due to sheer volume,  but naturally we had still some room leftover for dessert. I got the Cempedak Crème Brûlée (S$9.50) just to compare it to Krave’s amazing version:

The Malayan Council - Cempedak Crème Brûlée

Not the best photo, sorry!

So before I even tasted the crème brûlée, I already marked it down for presentation. It came in a narrow glass jar instead of a wider ramekin, which meant that there is less surface area to torch the sugar top, which in turn meant there was less of the hard sugar shell for me to eat. Boo!

The custard itself was a little too dense, and tasted shockingly like blue cheese. I’m not sure if I got a bad batch, but it tasted slightly rancid, like it had gone off. I let my friend have a spoonful to confirm my thoughts on it, and upon tasting it she grimaced and suggested I ordered something else. I had high hopes for this thinking it could give Krave’s version a run for their money, but this was a huge let-down for me. Plus it didn’t have the juicy chunks of cempedak like in Krave’s rendition. 3/10, unfortunately.

My friend, in her infinite wisdom, ordered The Ultimate Lopez Cake (S$9.50), which turned out way, way better:

The Malayan Council - The Lopez Dessert Cake

Tiny triangle of actual lopes on top!

The Malayan Council - The Ultimate Lopez Cake

The cake contains layers of coconut mousse and bits of gula melaka (palm sugar), and is topped with a mini kueh lopes, drizzled with gula melaka syrup. I had a bite of this and really loved it. It’s really like a cake version of kueh lopes. There is nothing quite like the feeling of crunching into solid chunks of gula melaka,YUM. Well-played, TMC. Well-played. 10/10

All in all I had a positive dining experience at The Malayan Council. The crème brûlée was disappointing but everything else was pretty good. The prices are on the high side, but justified by the generous/crazy American-sized portions, and mitigated by the fact that you know a part of it will go to the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home. Service was very friendly – our waters were always topped up without us having to ask, and we were asked by one of the owners mid-meal if everything was alright with the food. They also brought the NETS portable terminal watchamacallit to our table so we didn’t have to go over to the counter to pay. Full-service! (Btw you pay service charge here but no GST, phew).

I had a chat with the other co-owner who was super friendly and happy to answer my questions (How long have you guys been open? 4 months. How’s it been so far! Ups and downs, but so far okay. Is this the old Rouse? No, Rouse is 4 units down but we have the same landlord.) Will definitely be coming back to try the Roti Kirai Beef Ribs (S$39) and Kacang pool with Angus Ribeye Steak (S$37) soon!

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

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

Reservations: Facebook message

Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Malayan Wings, The Ultimate Lopez Cake

 

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Chai Chee Seafood Restaurant on Changi Road

Chai Chee Seafood
359 Changi Road
Singapore 419821
Reservations: +65 6841 2002

Opening Hours
1130am to 1130pm Daily

Halalicious rating: 8.6/10
Average spend per pax: S$49
Recommended dishes: chilli crab, kangkong belacan, salted egg sotong 

***Edited to add: Hey guys, the good folks at Chai Chee Seafood have contacted me to say some of the prices in their menus have changed, so the prices in my review might be outdated, and I’ve also had to take down pictures of the old menu. Please take note, and don’t fret my beautiful readers, price changes are a part of life! 🙂 As long as the food remains worth paying for, it’s all good fam ***

So I was mad craving some seafood the other day, and I don’t mean like fish and chips. I’m talkin’ roll up your sleeves, get ALL your fingers dirty, eating to the point of pain, all-out seafood marathon. So I dragged my loyal lunch buddy to a seafood feast at Chai Chee Seafood, near Eunos.

Here’s a lowdown of the dishes we got, one by one:

  • Kangkong Belacan (S$10 for medium)

Chai Chee Seafood Kangkong

Chai Chee Seafood Kangkong Belacan

Kangkong Belacan Verdict: LOVED IT. It was so perfect you guys. The belacan taste was strong (which I like), and the kangkong was perfectly coated in the slightly spicy sauce. Each bite was super juicy and flavourful. 10/10

  • Thai Style Chicken (S$9 for small)

Chai Chee Seafood Thai Style Chicken

Chai Chee Seafood Thai Chicken

Thai style chicken verdict: This was my least favourite dish of the night. The chicken batter was very dense and uneventful, whereas I prefer my batter light and crispy. The chicken meat itself was a little dry, and to be honest the Thai sauce wasn’t memorable either. Save your stomach space for the seafood, folks! 6/10

  • Salted Egg Sotong/Squid in Small (S$9)

Chai Chee Seafood Salted Egg Yolk Squid

Chai Chee Seafood Salted Egg Sotong

OMGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Salted egg sotong verdict: YOU GUYS. This. I mean, it was so good. Loved it for real. The batter was light and fluffy, with a decent salted egg taste. The curry leaves were DIVINE – crispy, and flavourful. The squid itself also tasted very fresh, which I was slightly surprised by. Most places tend to take the freshness of the seafood not very seriously, especially if it’s going to be coated/camouflaged in batter (think of all the bad calamari you’ve had). Thankfully, Chai Chee seafood isn’t one of those places. The salted egg squid was delicious. My only gripe is that it isn’t a creamy sauce. I love when they do a real, creamy, sinful, salted egg sauce instead of the batter version. 9/10

  • Chilli Crab in Small (S$50)
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OH MYYYYY. CORIANDER I LOVVVVVE.

Chai Chee Seafood Chilli Crab

Drooling all over my desk, you guys.

Chilli crab verdict: The sauce was very spicy, and very shiok! However, it had a lot of “bits” in it, so you’d find yourself crunching on chilli seed or some other unidentifiables when you try to sip the sauce – let’s assume they’re veggies. Also it didn’t have that signature chilli crab sauce taste. I’m not quite cure how to describe it. All I can think of is, while the sauce was very delicious, I don’t necessarily think it’s the usual chilli crab sauce. The crab portion was way generous though, so my friend and I had a field day. 9.5/10

Oh, oh, AND! I think it was a female crab because it had LOADS of that orange roe. I ate it all, folks. All. It was delicious and my cholesterol is probably at 5000 now. (Deliberately chose a large number because frankly I don’t even know what the healthy/unhealthy range is).

Chai Chee Seafood Chilli Crab Mantou

Is that orange thing peeking out the roe? Because if it isn’t I just ate a bunch of nasty innards I wasn’t supposed to eat 😦

Chai Chee Seafood Mantou Buns

The fluffy mantou buns that can be ordered separately from the chilli crab, at a mere S$1.50 for 4 pieces! But we were given 5, so I guess the kitchen loves us.

Chai Chee Seafood Chilli Crab Overview

A hasty #flatlay of the table, taken mid-meal. Note the 5 mantou buns.

All in all, I really had a great time at Chai Chee Seafood, and would definitely come back! For all that we ordered and ate, I think the prices are reasonable. Service was very quick and efficient, without being brusque. At one point my friend ordered another can drink, but her hands were covered in chilli crab sauce, so she meekly asked our waiter if he could help her open the tab. He gave a good natured laugh, proceeded to pull the drink tab and poured it into the cup for her! Service is not dead, people.

We went on a Tuesday evening so it wasn’t very full at all. There were probably only 3 groups of diners. There is plenty of seating though, both indoor (air-conditioned) and outdoor. I reckon it would be a great place for family seafood feasts! Also don’t worry, they have a sink if you want to wash your hands after destroying all the seafood on your plate, plus washrooms too. You’re sorted, guys.

The website’s menu section doesn’t really list out the prices of the items, plus I don’t think it’s a comprehensive listing, but I’m sure you will find the prices are reasonable for the quality of the food that you’re getting!

Chai Chee Seafood
359 Changi Road
Singapore 419821
Reservations: +65 6841 2002

Opening Hours
1130am to 1130pm Daily

Halalicious rating: 8.6/10
Average spend per pax: S$49
Recommended dishes: chilli crab, kangkong belacan, salted egg sotong 

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):

image

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.

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Dates

Fat, squishy dates YUM.

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Ambience

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!

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Halal_Cert

Officially halal!

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Menu_Cover

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.

Rasa_Istimewa_C2K_Prawn_Paste_Chicken2

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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:

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Special Recipe Homemade Crab Cakes – S$12

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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.

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

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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

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Raspberry Mint Lemonade (S$5)

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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