Saltwater Cafe Buffet at Changi Village Hotel

Saltwater Cafe
1 Netheravon Road
Changi Village Hotel Level 1
Singapore 508502
Phone Reservations: +65 6379 7017
Online Reservations: click here

Opening Hours
630pm to 10pm daily for buffet dinner

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Buffet price: S$39++ per pax for Mon-Thu (without the Chill & Grill), or S$48++ per pax for Fri-Sun (with the Chill & Grill)

Recommended dishes: Snow crab legs, fresh oysters, salmon sashimi, nyonya stingray, salted egg crab, pengat durian, bread pudding

GUYSSSS why has work (and life in general) been so stressful this month?! I swear I legit had several of those moments where I wish I were 5 again with barely any responsibilities. Except for attending K1 classes I guess. I remember once in class we were supposed to draw a bus based on this cartoon picture the teacher gave us. It was a shot of the bus from the front – but at a slight angle – so you could see part of the body off to the side. I absolutely could NOT deal with the spatial aspects of drawing a 3-D bus, so I just drew a 2D bus – a bus profile, if you will. It was the saddest thing ever 😦

Also, this past week has seen the release of six extracts from Malaysian-born billionaire Robert Kuok’s memoirs on South China Morning Post! They’re fascinating – you guys should check it out here.

Finally on to food – have you guys heard of halal-certified Saltwater Cafe at Changi Village Hotel? I hadn’t heard of it but I was recently invited to try out their dinner buffet so off I went!

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I was there to try the Weekend Chill & Grill dinner buffet featuring an international spread as well as a live grill station outside the cafe!

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Chill & Grill Options

So let me take you through the spread that evening.

I) COLD STARTERS

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Mussels and fresh prawns omg look how plump!!

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Giant snow crab legs!!

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A super blurry photo of the oysters because I was way too excited!!

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They have these nifty crab scissors for you to cut through the snow crab legs!! And a bowl of lemon water for you to rinse your hand with – you can get them replaced every time it gets dirty, but also there’s a bathroom right after the entrance of the cafe, on the inside! One needn’t worry about switching from hand-food to cutlery-food and back!

OK so this was my first plate:

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Plump prawns, ONE mussel, fresh oysters, snow crab leg and some pickled ginger peeking out from the bottom of the picture.

Cold starters verdict: I died and went to seafood heaven, basically. The prawns were super plump and juicy, I couldn’t get enough of them. I tried one mussel which was a bit of a non-event. The oysters were a little thin, i.e. not as plump as I would’ve preferred but they were still decent!! I LOVED the snow crab legs – the flesh was slightly salty and really succulent.  9.5/10

II) Salads, Sushi & Sashimi

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So much carrot on the beef salad ugh no. Octopus salad looked interesting though.

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Mozzarella looks enticing!

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Assorted sushi! There was also salmon sashimi but I forgot to take an individual picture of the sashimi 😦 You guys can check out pictures of my first plate tho where there are a few slices of sash.

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Essentials. Also I LOVE pickled ginger!!!

Salads and sushi verdict: OK first of all I’m SO sorry I forgot to take a photo of the salmon sashimi 😭 I was too excited to eat them!! Secondly, I mean, I literally skipped all the salads and even the sushi. I straight up just had like 10 slices of salmon sashimi 😩👅💦 DEF loved the salmon sashimi which were fresh and pretty good!

III) Mains

I found myself quite impressed with how the buffet had a variety of main dishes to cater to different tastes. Literally, there was every kind of protein – mutton, beef, chicken, fish, duck, and of course, CRAB.

OK this is where I confess I ignored absolutely everything else in the mains line up and zeroed in on the crab like it was a Walmart TV set on Black Friday.

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Salted egg crab omg!! DELISHUSSSSSSSS.

It was worth it. The salted egg crab sauce was creamy, salty, and sweet all at once. It’s got bits of curry leaves which of course are the magic ingredient in every salted egg sauce worth… its… salt. (OK you can call the pun police on me for this offence.)

Towards the end of my meal, when I’d had my fill of seafood, I also tried the oxtail stew:

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Oxtail stew yum yum

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Mmmm glistening

The oxtail stew was pretty good!! The carrots were soft and juicy, and the oxtail meat was rather succulent. I did think the stew would’ve been better if it had been more heated up, but that’s me. I love piping hot soup. The higher your chances of going to the A&E with a semi-cooked oesophagus, the better. (Please don’t report me I swear I’m not crazy).

Here’s all the other dishes:

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Oof mutton curry looks legit. It’s like midnight right now as I’m typing this, fully regretting not eating it during the buffet 😭😭

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Baked cajun chicken! I did not realise cajun cooking looked like this.

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This looks crazy tasty.

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Teriyaki fish with so, so many cherry tomatoes

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Braised_Duck_Main

Wow these braised ducks look so taut and shiny

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A closer look at that sheen on them braised ducks

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Why are the broccolis so underrepresented here? I so much prefer them to cauliflower fr.

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Wok-fried bee hoon, but seriously, who can spare the stomach space for this?

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Dried_Shrimp_Rice

OK this looked more appetizing than the bee hoon so I tried literally a spoonful of it. It was aiiight.

Mains Verdict: Great variety for everyone, although the highlight for me definitely was the salted egg crab!!! They really got the sauce right for this one.

IV) The Chill & Grill Station

So every Fri-Sun, the buffet includes a Chill & Grill station outside where fresh meats, seafood, and vegetables are grilled on-site by the restaurant chefs. I LOVE that you get to pick whatever food you want to be grilled at the counter, leave your table number with the staff, and then have the food delivered to your table once they’re cooked. It’s a great system and it’s just the best.

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Items available for grilling

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A truly terrible photo of the beef tomahawk steak, I’m so sorry

Here’s what I had from the Chill & Grill section:

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Clockwise from left: Tomahawk steak, scallops, tiger prawns, lamb chop

So for me, the tiger prawns were the star of the grill station. And okay I think all the non-seafood lovers have long since given up on this review lol. SORRY GUYS. I love seafood so much 😭. For real though the prawns were just really fresh so it doesn’t take much beyond some simple grilling to make them taste good.

The lamb chops were also really juicy and flavourful even without any additional sauce. Special mention also goes to the grilled asparagus (not pictured lol) which still had decent snap while being really tasty.

Although I looked forward to trying the tomahawk steak, I was a little let down. The steak was quite dry! I had ordered it in medium, and while I thought it looked pink enough (ref picture below), it just was not juicy :/ I also couldn’t find mustard anywhere to go with the beef – when I asked one of the staff near the grill, he said “all the sauces are inside.” I couldn’t find it though, which was sad.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Medium_Tomahawk_Steak

The tomahawk steak – even from here you can see it’s a little dry, no?

The scallops here take a major L for tasting as insipid as they looked. Boy they really should’ve grilled them with some butter or something. Butter hotate is for real my fave. To be fair, there are plenty of condiments available for you to flavour your food, but I don’t know I prefer natural jus with basic salt/pepper/butter when it comes to grilling. (Unless you’re talking about satay because that’s a whole other thing).

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Asian_Sauces

Sambal belacan, asian BBQ sauce, Thai chilli sauce and belacan cincalok!

Speaking of cincalok, it’s usually really good with SAMBAL STINGRAY, and guess what at the al fresco Chill & Grill station there was also a platter of nyonya stingray:

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Stingray

The picture is ugly but the stingray is DELICIOUS trust me.

Guys, I mean. The portion was just phenomenal and I took as much as I could while trying not to ruin my appetite for everything else. The sauce wasn’t exactly like the kind you have in sambal stingray – this one was rather spicy and lightly sour thanks to the pineapples. Very, very yummy. The stingray flesh itself was plump, fresh and delightful to bite into.

Chill & Grill Station Verdict: Hits and misses. DEF go for the tiger prawns, lamb chops, grilled asparagus, and the nyonya stingray. Maybe give the scallops a miss.

V) DIY Food Stations

So they had a laksa station, a rojak station, as well as a kueh pie tee station where you can DIY your own serving and put in as much of each ingredient as you want! Out of these three, I only tried the laksa:

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Laksa_Station

I LOVE QUAIL EGGS IN EVERYTHING UGHHHHHH

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LAKSAAAAA

Okay I was a little disappointed with this laksa – the gravy was too thick and not tasty enough. It fell a little flat for me. However I did still enjoy it because I love all laksa and fishcake and quail’s eggs and taupok lol.

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Kueh_Pie_Tee_Info

Nodding while doing this 🤔

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That jar cover was really the one thing standing in the way of making my own kueh pie tee. It’s one effort too many to lift that up and try to put it aside somewhere.

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Rojak Station! Also efforttttttt.

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Ingredients for the rojak

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I actually really love rojak sauce ugh but idk the ingredients did not look too inspiring so I strategically left this out.

DIY Stations verdict: Fun for those who like to feel like they’re cooking, or like they’re in control of whatever they’re eating. Otherwise, I’d give them a miss in favour of other more delicious food! (Like a second helping of the cold seafood dishes, which I totally went for).

VI) Dessert Selection

The dessert selection was quite extensive!! They had lots of mini cakes, nyonya kuehs, asian desserts as well as western offerings like bread pudding! There was also some ice cream but I also did not remember to take a photo :/ I was too distracted and excited by the other desserts!

Saltwater_Cafe_Buffet_Pengat_Durian

Pengat Durian – truly the jewel in the dessert crown at Saltwater

LOVEDDDD the pengat durian so so much!! In case you guys didn’t know, pengat durian is made from simmering durian pulp in coconut milk and fresh milk, together with some pandan leaves and gula melaka thrown in. I’m not usually a big fan of durian derivatives (like durian ice cream eww bye) but thisssss was sooooo so good. WHY AM I TYPING THIS AT MIDNIGHT UGH NOW THIS IS ALL I WANT. It was sweet, a little bitter, and oh so so creamy.

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Assorted mini cakes that I didn’t get to try 😦

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Steamed cake and ang ku kueh which had a great peanutty filling but whose skin was a little tough

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Fruits!! I had a couple of slices just because. Even though I was bursting at the seams by this point.

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Clockwise from left: Caramel cheesecake YUMMMM, pengat durian (SUPER YUMMMM), assorted nyonya kuehs (I love peeling off the kueh lapis layer by layer unffff), and BREAD PUDDING that was really yummy!

Desserts verdict: LOVED IT. Loved the variety (I don’t need a chocolate fondue and other fancy stuff), and I was VERY happy with the pengat durian, the caramel cheesecake, and the bread pudding. Textures and tastes were on point.

Overall Saltwater Cafe buffet verdict: This restaurant is about as far east of Singapore as I am far west, but I had a really good time overall!! The spread is quite extensive, and all my basic buffet needs are met! – terrific cold seafood starters WITH OYSTERS – yassss. Crab of some sort – yasssss. Grilled red meat of some sort – yassss. A variety of dessert options – yassss. Done and done. In fact, I’ve already made plans to go eat with my friends when one of us comes back from London for winter break 😀

Service is good; we had a particularly helpful wait staff who replaced our handwash bowls, got us more napkins, and gave us extra cutlery etc. The place is not too crowded and can be pretty peaceful! It’s def not one of those places where the crab tray is left with only empty claws lol, h8 those.

I’ll leave you guys with pictures of my plates as a summary of my experience at Saltwater Cafe:

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Plate 1: COLD SEAFOOD STARTERS YASSSS

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Plate 2: Shrimp fried rice, nyonya stingray, grilled asparagus & salted egg crab. The latter three were TERRIF.

 

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Plate 3: Grilled stuff!

Plate 4 (not pictured): MORE COLD SEAFOOD STARTERS AND SASHIMI.

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Plate 5: Dessert!

 

Saltwater Cafe
1 Netheravon Road
Changi Village Hotel Level 1
Singapore 508502
Phone Reservations: +65 6379 7017
Online Reservations: click here

Opening Hours
630pm to 10pm daily for buffet dinner

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Buffet price: S$39++ per pax for Mon-Thu (without the Chill & Grill), or S$48++ per pax for Fri-Sun (with the Chill & Grill)

Recommended dishes: Snow crab legs, fresh oysters, salmon sashimi, nyonya stingray, salted egg crab, pengat durian, bread pudding

Chef Wan’s Kitchen at Esplanade Mall (Permanently closed)

** Chef Wan’s Kitchen has permanently closed **

Chef Wan’s Kitchen
#02-14 Esplanade Mall
8 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039802
Reservations: reservations@chefwanskitchen.com

Operating Hours
Lunch: 12pm to 230pm daily
Dinner: 530pm to 1030pm daily

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Recommended dishes: Chef Wan’s Oxtail Soup (S$17.90), Prawn Curry with Pineapple (S$21.90), Steamed Jackfruit Custard (S$5.90), Churros Cheese Tart (S$5.90)

Hey guys! Oof sorry I haven’t updated in a while. I recently finished reading Shoe Dog – it’s the very entertaining autobiography of Nike founder and Oregon native, Phil Knight. I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH!!!! It was such a candid, page-turner of a book and I really dug the conversational tone. His narrative voice was so engaging and so humorous, I found myself laughing out loud many, many times on the train, alone in my room, sitting in a cafe; basically everywhere. Plus you learn all these interesting nuggets of pop culture/historical trivia, like how Puma was a splinter-faction started by one of the Adidas brothers! (OK my mum actually told me that a few years ago and I totally dismissed it like “ok what do you know about Adidas, mommmm?” I’m the worst.) And how Nike was the first brand to introduce air cushions into their shoes! Boy, it sure made me reconsider my #teamadidas stance.

Anyway after Shoe Dog I moved on to Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline, which is a science fiction novel set in dystopian 2044, about this protagonist trying to crack a virtual egg-hunt game designed by an 80’s-obsessed game-maker. It is absolutely riveting as well and I’m about halfway through. UGH SO GOOD. You guys should get on that stat if you’re looking for new reading material.

Alright so unsolicited book recommendations aside, as those of you who watched my Instagram stories would know, I was invited to the new Chef Wan’s Kitchen at the Esplanade last week to try out their menu! Ok quick STORYTIME. When I was in London during Raya 2005, I went to this Hari Raya gathering organised by Malaysia House with my Malaysian friends (Ya I was the only Singaporean Malay in my uni and I felt sad and lonely) and Chef Wan was totally there looking fabulous! I mean, I didn’t go up to him or anything because I was a little starstruck (“my mum watches you on tv!” LOL.) but it was cool nonetheless. Anyway I digress.

The all-new Chef Wan’s Kitchen is located on the second floor of the Esplanade, and it’s really the ideal place for a chill dinner with family, especially as the windows look out to the Esplanade waterfront and the gorgeous Marina. It’s the Chef’s first proper sit-down restaurant in Singapore, after he experimented with buffet-dining at the now-closed 1-Market, so I was pretty excited to check it out.

Here’s a look at the restaurant decor:

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Look you can see MBS from here! Gorge.

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You can also look out upon the Esplanade Waterfront and watch people passing by (like a creep)

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View of the entrance/exit from the inside

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View of the entrance within Esplanade Mall

On to food – check out this super packed full food table comprising all the dishes we got to try that night!

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Clockwise from left: Lawar Salad, Javanese Fried Chicken, Nyonya Laksa, Pineapple Prawns, Oxtail Soup, Lontong, Beef Rendang, Ayam Percik and finally Mee Rebus in the middle!

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I tried to do a flatlay like the other very zai photographers around me but let’s face it I was born to eat, not take photos.

We got to try so many dishes omg so let’s break em down dish by dish!

1. Balinese Vegetable and Chicken Salad (S$17.90)

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Balinese Vegetable and Chicken Salad (S$17.90) – 6/10 (sorry this photo is so overexposed)

This lawar salad is made up of tempeh (which is my favourite superfood ever), jackfruit, chicken, and long beans tossed in coconut milk. I truly, love tempeh. Like I will eat it in every which way except for raw BUT it was not enough to save this salad for me. I am not a salad person (unless presented to me in a poké bowl lol or doused in that terrific Japanese sesame dressing), so I really was not feeling this traditional Balinese. Ergo, through no fault of the restaurant’s, this was a weak start for me. Oh plus, S$17.90 for a chicken salad seems pretty steep don’t you guys think? Sorry salad, you’re not lawa to me (lawa means good-looking in Malay and yes I made a terrible pun sorry!! #carpediem). 6/10

2. Javanese Fried Chicken (S$18.90)

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Javanese Fried Chicken (S$18.90) – 8/10

Oof ok I love fried chicken, and this one comes with a bowl of slightly sweet dipping sauce. I think it was a little like peanutty? Anyway the chicken was really crispy on the outside and really quite moist/juicy on the inside, so that was great! However, as with the salad earlier, I’m not quite sure the pricing is sensible here – knock a few dollars off and I might consider it a fair price. 8/10

3. Bibik Neo’s Laksa Noodles (S$15.90)

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Bibik Neo’s Lemak Noodles (S$15.90) – 8/10

OMG look at how lemak it is, all glistening and thick. The laksa was tasty with a really substantial, creamy broth made from coconut milk and also ground prawns! The actual prawns are really big and fresh, and that egg yolk doused in lemak gravy is just 💯. Also love the taupok in it! Now in all honestly I prefer my laksa just a little less thick, but if you guys love your gravy rich as heck, please go for this one. I’d highly recommend asking for more sambal to spice it up, as it can get a little jelak without the heat. 8/10

4. Prawns in Pineapple Curry (S$21.90)

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Prawns in Pineapple Curry (S$21.90) – 9/10 (ugh sorry my photo is so Bad & Blurrie *DAB*)

OK, 15-year-old me would never imagine I would someday be sitting around blogging about how much she enjoyed eating pineapple curry prawns, but here I am doing it anyway. My god, what an adult I’ve become. Anyway yes it was SO SEDAP! And sneakily pedas (spicy), like when you have that first spoonful of the curry you go ‘oh interesting, this is sweet and fragrant with rose notes. I was expecting more of a prickly pineapple taste!’ and then you feel your tongue tingling and then your mouth is suffused with a warm spicy glow. Mmmmmm. 9/10

5. Chef Wan’s Oxtail Soup (S$17.90)

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Chef Wan’s Oxtail Soup (S$17.90) – 9.5/10

Ahhhh you guys this was my favourite dish of the night! Omg I mean you can tell from the picture just how complex the soup broth is – it was very, very flavourful and savoury. The oxtail was perfectly tender and came off the bone fairly easily, while the potatoes and carrots were a welcome addition to the texture. This definitely could use some roti perancis (french baguette) for dipping, and I wish they’d serve some warm toasted bread to go with the soup. 9.5/10

6. Lontong in Vegetable Curry with Coconut Milk (S$13.90)

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Lontong (S$13.90) – 7/10

OK maybe it’s not even fair to rate this, but honestly guys, I would not go out to eat Lontong. It’s just not my thing – my mum and brother love it, but I’m more of a soto ayam girl when it comes to traditional malay breakfast food. So while I feel like this was objectively a good lontong, I just would never order it, especially at S$13.90 oh boy. But for all you lontong fiends out there, HAVE AT IT. 7/10

7. Selangor Beef Rendang (S$22.90)

(No picture because I am just the worst and seriously forgot to take one, but you can refer to the main photo of all the dishes at the start of this post!)

OMG guys the rendang is SO tender!!! Seriously the beef just melts in your mouth. The rendang gravy is tasty enough, but my rendang palette has been so, so spoilt by the great cooks in my family (mostly my aunts). I felt like it was missing just a little something to make it more fragrant and complex. Sorry Chef! 8.5/10

8. Grilled Chicken in Spicy Gravy (S$18.90)

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Grilled Chicken in Spicy Gravy (Ayam Percik) (S$18.90) – 7/10

Mm i had high hopes for this ayam percik, because I LOVE ME SOME AYAM PERCIK. As advertised, the gravy was spicy and delicious, but I thought the actual chicken was a little bland inside. Now this really should not be the case, because they’re supposed to have marinated the chicken in spices and also the gravy, before grilling it. This one came across more like regular fried chicken that they poured some gravy over – I need the meat inside to be more flavourful please! 7/10

9. Cik Aini’s Mee Rebus with Prawn Fritters (S$15.90)

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Cik Aini’s Mee Rebus with Prawn Fritters (S$15.90) – 8/10

Cik Aini refers to Chef Wan’s mum, who made a living selling mee rebus for 31 years to support her family, so this dish is really a tribute to her (😭 😭😭 OK why am I crying while typing this in bed?)

ANYWAY this was interesting because I’m not usually a mee rebus type of person given (a) see Soto Ayam reference above and (b) my aunt already makes literally the best mee rebus ever, and hers is the only mee rebus I will ever bother eating. HOWEVER. This version was not bad! The mee rebus gravy is thick, flavourful, slightly sweet but also gently spicy (the spice creeps in langorously on your tongue). I hate yellow noodles because of the alkali taste but this one didn’t taste plasticky so that was good. I’d still be REALLY reluctant to part with almost S$16 for a bowl of mee rebus though.

I also didn’t understand the whole prawn fritter addition, because the mee rebus is already so heavy, but luckily the prawn fritter was crispy and light, like an atas vadai. 8/10

FINALLY we were done with the starters and mains. We moved onto dessert:

10a. Steamed Jackfruit Custard (S$5.90)
10b. Kueh Jongkong (I think! It was a bonus off-menu item)  

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Steamed Jackfruit Custard (S$5.90) and the off-menu Kueh Jongkong! UGH that gula melaka syrup is what’s UP.

Ooh the jackfruit (or nangka in Malay!) custard is delicious! I used to think I was firmly #teamcempedak and thought jackfruit was like a low-rent cempedak, but this custard got me re-evaluating my life decisions. It’s reminiscent of Krave’s divine Cempedak Crème Brûlée (again, typing all those accents on a Macbook is torture) – the nangka is sweet but with hints of bitterness so it’s not cloying. Loved it, 9/10.

This other kueh jongkong thing is like ok I’ve never tried it in my life but the tastes are instantly recognizable – it’s creamy and coconutty with an amazing gula melaka flavour. The texture is like panna cotta or pudding, yum! I’m not sure if it’s going to be a permanent menu item but try asking for it if you guys are curious! 8.5/10

We closed with the pièce-de-résistance:

11. Churros Cheese Tart ($5.90)

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Churros Cheese Tart (S$5.90) – 9.5/10

UNFFFFF ok I loved this Churros Cheese Tart omg. Firstly, how pretty does it look? Secondly, the churros tart crust was pretty genius – although I did wish it could be lighter. Thirdly, THE CHEESE WITHINNNNNNN. It’s like Bake cheese tarts but with slightly heavier cream cheese inside. YUMMMM. Definitely worth ordering! If you’re a light eater I’d recommend sharing with one other person because chile you don’t want to eat all that crust after a heavy meal at Chef Wan’s Kitchen lol. 9.5/10

That’s it for my review you guys!! Wasn’t that a long one? Lol in all honesty I think during my next visit here I’d probably be happy with the oxtail soup and maybe 2 other dishes before moving on to dessert. I’d definitely want to come back and bring my family here to try the food. The ambience is lovely – laid-back vibes, warm lighting, wood interiors, a beautiful view of the waterfront outside. As you can see above there were definitely dishes I liked, but also a few I wouldn’t care for. Luckily the menu is extensive enough for you guys to pick whatever you feel like eating most. Give it a try for yourselves; hope you guys have a great time there 🙂

Chef Wan’s Kitchen
#02-14 Esplanade Mall
8 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039802
Reservations: reservations@chefwanskitchen.com

Operating Hours
Lunch: 12pm to 230pm daily
Dinner: 530pm to 1030pm daily

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Recommended dishes: Chef Wan’s Oxtail Soup (S$17.90), Prawn Curry with Pineapple (S$21.90), Steamed Jackfruit Custard (S$5.90), Churros Cheese Tart (S$5.90)

** Chef Wan’s Kitchen has permanently closed **

Iftar Ramadan Seafood Buffet at The Holiday Inn Atrium

Iftar Ramadan Seafood Extravaganza
Atrium Restaurant
Level 4, Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
317 Outram Road
Singapore 169075
Reservations: +65 6731 7172

Remarks: Prayer room available from 630pm onwards!

27 May – 2 July 2017
Sun to Thu: S$90++ per adult | Fri to Sat: S$100++ per adult (before 1-for-1 discount)*
Child (12 years and under): $25++ per person

(*Enjoy 1-for-1 discount for every 2 adult diners! Dine in a group of 10 and receive a complimentary car park coupon!)

Hey guys!! I’m so sorry I haven’t posted anything up in forever 😦 I’ve been travelling quite a bit for both work and leisure so that usually throws my schedule way off. ANYWAY Ramadan kareem to all of you!! Can you believe it’s already Day 7?! Help I’m still not spiritually at my best UGH. But anyway I hope you guys are doing great. I’ve been trying to keep up my prayers, keep up the yoga classes/runs, and eat healthier sahurs (pre-dawn meal) — I try to be all healthy with overnight oats and blueberries but then my family whips out like freshly-fried popcorn chicken and it is GAME OVER. It’s #strugglecity outcheah.

Of course, the only reason I try to eat healthy for sahur is so that I can eat whatever I feel like for iftar – and that is exactly what I did this past Tuesday at the Iftar Ramadan Seafood buffet dinner at the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium!

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Promo_Poster

You guys, in all seriousness, there is SO MUCH seafood you guys will die. I know $90-100++ per adult sounds steep, but there is a 1-for-1 promo for every 2 adult diners so that’s like $45-50++ per diner, which is really a bargain.

Let me take you through what I had that night so you get an idea of what you’re gonna get!

I usually break my fast with a date, and they had a whole salad bowl of ’em:

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Dates

A must. Did you actually iftar if you didn’t eat a date?

After a date I moved on swiftly to the cold seafood starters, namely the half-lobsters, the fresh prawns, and some salmon and tuna sashimi!

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Cold_Seafood_Starters

UGHHHH SO YUMMY I NEED TO GO BACK

So let me just remind you – lobster rolls at other establishments in Singapore can come up to an insolent S$68. Here you eat them fresh and you can have more if you want! I loved it. The prawns were also super juicy with a hint of sweetness and good bite. And seriously tho the sashimi portion is insane – just go up to the sashimi station and they’ll slice it for you!

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Salmon_Sashimi

Can’t resist salmon sashimi plz help

Next I had some oysters which were so painfully delicious, just thinking about them now is making me drool a little UGH. The trick is to squeeze some lemon, add just a drop of tabasco and slurp up that deliciousness!

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Oysters

I’m sorry I know they look gross but they are so yum!

Quick story – I went to France on exchange when I was 16 and my host family very generously bought some fresh oysters for me to try. I put one in my mouth and then had to run to the kitchen to spit it out! What a loser 😦 15 years later I have fully gone over to the other side, and to this day I still look back on that moment with regret ugh.

ANYWAY what I meant to say was – strong start with the cold seafood!

Things got way serious though when we moved on to the chilli crab and salted egg lobster claw!

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Chilli_Crab

UNFFFFFFFFFFF deadddddddd

The juicy, fresh crab meat and the super fluffy mantou buns were really the star of this dish. I felt like the chilli crab sauce lacked a little something, like maybe it wasn’t as tasty as I wanted it to be, but it was still decent. Just remember to make space for the mantou buns guys they are WORTH IT.

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Buffet_Lobster_Claw_Crab

I waited a while before eating my salted egg lobster claw, which resulted in it drying out a little as it sat on the plate. Boo! I would counsel that you guys eat it right away after taking it from the food station! I wish they had more salted egg sauce slathered on those claws though; that would’ve helped.

After stuffing my face with so much seafood I wanted to switch it up so I went to the Atrium Terrace right outside where these 2 guys were in charge of barbecuing whatever you picked out! – lamb chops, chicken thighs, otak-otak, corn (sorry corn ain’t nobody got time for you) – the works.

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Outdoor_BBQ

Argh that view tho!!! It was perfect for sunset.

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Grilled_Meats

I wish they had grilled lobster tho.

The lambchop was juicy but I wish the marinade was a little stronger/tastier. The otak-otak was good but also just a little dry.

No matter, because I moved on to the indoor meat station where they had some lamb marinated in its own jus, and you guys know I love anything with fancy jus in it (it just means juice in French).

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Lamb_Station

This is a terrible photo that does not do the meat justice, I’m so sorry. I’m the worst with photos 😦

OMG loved the lamb!! It was super juicy and tender, and went surprisingly well with the mint sauce, better than the mustard! YUM. I suppose mustard goes better with beef. Don’t skip the lamb guys.

I wanted so much to be greedy and stuff my face with more lobster and oysters and crab, but after all that food before, I was pretty much ready to move on to dessert.

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Dessert

Clockwise from left: Earl grey tea (lol so step), Thai milk tea and cookies & cream ice-cream, fruits in chocolate fondue, marshmallows in chocolate fondue, and chendol which was very poorly made by me

They had SO much to offer for dessert! There was a chendol station with a DIY ice machine and all the ingredients like green chendol jelly, red beans, attap seeds, corn, gula melaka syrup and coconut milk in neat little bowls. Just take whichever ingredients you want, press the machine button and pile on the shaved ice! Then you can drizzle as much sizzurrppppp as you want.

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_More_Dessert

A closer look at my anemic chendol 😦 I should’ve added more syrup

They also had an assortment of mini cakes, fruits (yuck get away from me I have limited stomach space) and a chocolate fondue with marshmallows, dried apricots, and apples. I REALLY liked the chocolate sauce omg it was delicious and I could’ve had literally 3 more bowls of it with marshmallows but I stopped myself ugh.

Oh and there’s also GELATO omg.

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Gelato_Ice_Cream

Thai Milk Tea, Chocolate Rocky Road, Vanilla Pods, Strawberry Cheesecake, Cookies & Cream, Mocha Biscotti and Salted Caramel!

OK I LOVED my Thai Milk Tea ice cream!!! It was creamy and full-bodied and not overly sweet in my opinion (although, to be fair I have a sweet tooth). I didn’t try the rest except for my friend’s Cookies & Cream which is pretty standard, but I’m sure they’d all be equally good.

I left the buffet feeling so, so stuffed and satisfied. It was a very pleasant experience as the layout was pretty well-spaced and it wasn’t crowded. The food was always topped up and the staff were very attentive and always ready to clear plates or see to your request for ice (for the Bandung!) or more napkins etc. I might come back here again if I have time – I’d really like more of those oysters and the chocolate fondue UGH.

I’ll leave you guys with more photos of the buffet offerings – there was so much I really could not try more than half of what was there!

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Salads_Sushi

Yum, assorted salads and sushi!

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Salmon_Oyster

Salmon and squash YUM. Peep the oysters just chillin’ at the back.

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Lobster_Prawns

The best

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Keropok_Crackers

FOUR TYPES OF KEROPOK omg the papadum was my favourite omg it was mad crispy and tasty.

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Noodle_Station

A noodle station with assorted ingredients and condiments! I wish they had other types of noodles though I much prefer rice noodles to yellow noodles

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Lobster_Paella

HI THIS IS LOBSTER PAELLA

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Grilled_Fish

Grilled Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce! In hindsight I should’ve def taken this 😦 I might go back and if I do I WILL.

Holiday_Inn_Atrium_Aloo_Gobi

Aloo gobi, an Indian dish with cauliflower and potatoes in spices!

One last thing – there’s a prayer room called the Foyer Room just a few steps away from the entrance of Atrium Restaurant, for diners to catch Asar/Maghrib. Just ask the front of the house and they will be happy to guide you to it!  The room has both male and female sections, with hotel slippers and prayer mats. Unfortunately there is no adjoining wudhu area, but the restroom is also right opposite the Atrium Restaurant entrance. For ladies who require telekung, please bring your own as the room does not have them!

Iftar Ramadan Seafood Extravaganza
Atrium Restaurant
Level 4, Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium
317 Outram Road
Singapore 169075
Reservations: +65 6731 7172

Remarks: Prayer room available from 630pm onwards!

27 May – 2 July 2017
Sun to Thu: S$90++ per adult | Fri to Sat: S$100++ per adult (before 1-for-1 discount)*
Child (12 years and under): $25++ per person

(*Enjoy 1-for-1 discount for every 2 adult diners! Dine in a group of 10 and receive a complimentary car park coupon!)

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)

So Pho at Novena Square / Paragon

So Pho
B1-20, The Paragon
290 Orchard Road
Singapore 238859
Tel: +65 6235 0414

Opening Hours
Daily 11am to 10pm

Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Halal status: Halal-certified
Average spend per pax: S$16 including drinks
Recommended dishes: Summer roll (S$4.80), Beef Pho (S$8.80)

I was delighted to find out So Pho, a Vietnamese chain in Singapore, had gotten its halal certification a few months ago. There is a branch in Paragon, which is pretty central for those looking for halal food in the area, and also others at NEX, Tampines Mall, JEM, and Novena Square. For branch details, you can check out their website here.  To date, I’ve tried the Paragon and Novena branches so the photos are going to be a mixture of both locations’.

My favourite starter is the Summer Rolls with Prawns and Lemongrass Chicken (S$4.80 for 3), and they cut the 3 rolls into halves so you effectively get 6 mini-bites! Yum!

So Pho Summer Rolls Closeup 2

SO PRETTY!!! We’d eaten 3 halves by this point – too hungry, and too good ❤

I really like this starter since it’s pretty healthy and not fried or overly processed. The rice wrap has a good texture – slightly elastic so it holds the ingredients well, but tender and not dry – and thanks to the vegetables there is a satisfying crunch when you bite into it. The Vietnamese dipping sauce that comes with the rolls is also top notch – I’m guessing some fish sauce in it too, so it is nice and savoury. 9/10

My go-to main at So Pho is the Pho Bo, or Sliced Beef Noodles (S$8.80):

So Pho - Beef Brisket Pho

The hot pho broth is umami and super comforting on days when you just want something soupy and delicious. The pieces of coriander are heaven. HEAVEN! I love coriander. I also find it a must to squeeze as much lime into the broth – it is much more refreshing when there is a great tang contrasting with the soup. Ditto for the cut chilli padi – it gives the soup a slight kick. The beansprouts though, can step to the left.

So Pho - Beef Pho

The beef slices are great too – they’re not overcooked and tough, but slightly pink and tender. I think you get the odd sinewy piece or two if you’re unlucky, but otherwise, can’t complain. 8.5/10

I was delighted to find that So Pho serves the famous Hanoi delicacy, Cha Ca La Vong (S$10.80, pronounced chah-gah-lah-vong). It consists of hotplate fish fillets served with some dill, and a plate of rice vermicelli noodles on the side:

So Pho - Cha Ca Vermicelli Noodles

I was slightly disappointed with this dish because the original version in Hanoi comes with a bowl of fish sauce, which you mix in with the noodles and some peanuts, so you can calibrate the ingredients and tastes to your own liking. However, So Pho’s version did not actually come with the fish sauce – just a bowl of watery chilli sauce (pictured), and the dill is just placed on top of the fish.

The fish tasted a little too oily and slightly soggy for my taste, but I reckon it could have been sitting out on the counter for a little too long. I wish the fish and the sauce could have been tastier and more savoury too, but maybe I’ll give this a go at the Novena branch next time. 7/10 for now.

On another visit, I also tried the Vietnamese Fried Rice with Seafood (S$9.80):

So Pho - Special Seafood Rice

This was a mistake guys; one that would surely teach me for ordering fried rice at an establishment with Pho in its name. It’s not that it was really bad – it was just pretty average. It was a little bland, and there was just not enough flavour or ingredients to keep me satisfied. For this price I could get two plates of amazing fried rice from Cahaya. Or, a plate of ayam penyet and a drink! Bottomline: Stick with the pho! 7/10

Overall I would definitely go back to So Pho because of the simplicity and freshness of the summer rolls, and the comforting pho. The food is pretty affordable (most mains under $$10) and of decent quality. I’ll end off with some extra photos for you guys to enjoy 🙂

So Pho - Mixed Appetizer

The Mixed Appetizer (S$10.80) – Prawn Cakes, Summer Rollsm and Fried Spring Roll

So Pho - Table Spread

The spread during one of the visits

So Pho - Menu PhoSo Pho - Specials menuSo Pho - Fried Noodles Menu

So Pho
B1-20, The Paragon
290 Orchard Road
Singapore 238859
Tel: +65 6235 0414

Opening Hours
Daily 11am to 10pm

Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Halal status: Halal-certified
Average spend per pax: S$16 including drinks
Recommended dishes: Summer roll (S$4.80), Beef Pho (S$8.80)

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

 

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)
image

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