Owner-chef Ken Chia used to work at Ritz-Carlton, Fullerton and Crowne Plaza (where he was the head chef). Now, he has opened his own restaurant, conveniently located a stone’s throw from Kembangan MRT, because he can spend more time with his family and children. His philosophy is that of a kampung spirit: to provide good food in a homely, friendly setting. Therefore, there are no GST and no service charge and it’s an affordable place suitable for families, students and young adults.
What we liked was that the food came quickly, was piping hot and presented prettily. The starter, soft shell crab (pictured above, $7.80), was gorgeous and played off the curry mayonnaise well. But the forest mushroom cappuccino soup ($4.80) could be creamier, thicker and more concentrated.
Skip the miso salmon alfredo ($12.80) which was dry and the salmon wasn’t quite fresh.
Instead try the gigantic lamb shank ($24.80), topped with mushroom ragout and accompanied by mash. Very tender, it had a slight lamb smell which I didn’t appreciate but which Chiobu liked. She said, “What’s the point of eating lamb if there is no smell?” However we both agreed that the sauce didn’t penetrate the meat.
The rosemary chicken in red wine jus ($9.80) was my favorite, tender, fragrant and so well-marinated that the usually-bland chicken meat was very savory. Chiobu, on the other hand, thought it was too herby for her, reminding her of old houses.
Considering how affordable the mains are, the waffle ($5.8) seems a little overpriced, with only two thin slices. Two slices, but extremely good. It was the crispy sort and lemon was added to the batter so it was slightly sourish. Eaten with ice cream, the tastes–sourish and sweet–and the textures–crispy and moist–were superior. Definitely one of the better waffles we have eaten. Don’t order only 2 slices; add $2 to order the entire waffle and have it on your own. Don’t share.
While we didn’t find the food spectacular, they are priced reasonably and the restaurant provides a diversity to the neighborhood for the East-siders.
Rice & Fries
484 Changi Road
T: 9738 6648
Rating: 2.908/ 5 stars
ps: Thank you, Xin Yi, Xin Hui and Ken, for the invite.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.