It was raining cats and dogs, however we still managed to get to Mr. Sheng Jian at Liang Seah Street which is right across Bugis Junction. The service was courteous and helpful as the service staff welcomed us in. The decor of the restaurant is pretty well-done, with good lightings and non ‘cheapo’ furniture, which reflects the effort of the owner when they set up the restaurant.
While we were both struggling to their menu which is written in Chinese, we slowly figured that the menu is rather confusing as their set menus are not clear about what they serve. Maybe it is due to the language… *totally need to brush up our mother tongue*
The restaurant serves Shanghainese food, ranging from $5.50 to $12.50, and consisting of their signature sheng jian bao (pan-fried bun with meat fillings) and noodles.
Eventually, we managed to order with the help of the service staff. The deluxe set meal ($36.50) for 2 pax includes a bowl of ribs noodles, rice noodles with marrow bone, 2 drinks of your choice, pickled radish, stewed beef and lastly their signature Mr Sheng Jian aka 3 different flavours of pan-fried buns. (Subsequent prices listed here are based on their a la carte prices.)
The delicious radish ($4) is pickled, flavourful and does not have any funny taste to it (sometimes it can be too sour for my liking). The stewed beef ($6.50) reminds me of beef jerky snacks that are popular in China. The smell is gamy but pleasant, however it could be more tender as I felt like I was biting through a chunk of meat. The beef is on the dry side and doesn’t give an umami magic.
At first glance, the rice noodles with marrow bone ($6.50) looks like yong tau foo with some sliced meat and rice noodle (tunghoon) but when it came to the taste, I was disappointed as it was bland. My partner agreed that the dish was mild. He did a slight modification and added chilli to make it taste better.
The ribs noodles ($7.50) has a slight ma la taste, and it seems as if they are re-using their appetiser, stewed beef, which we also had. The beef, like the appetiser, is tough and does not fall off the bones. I would say that their strength is not in their noodles; the execution can be improved in the flavour department.
Mr Shengjian ($12.50) consists of pan-fried buns with 3 different flavours: the Original (pork), the ‘Nice To Meet You’ (cheese), and Prawns and Kimchi.
I like that all of their buns come crispy and hot. The cheese sheng jian bao is okay, not great; there is no soup or juiciness inside of it. The original pork bun on the other hand is superb; it is crispy and juicy. The kimchi with prawns combination tastes odd: the strong kimchi invades the mouth with no subtlety. Prawns and kimchi do not work in a pan-fried bun.
If I could turn back time, I would have ordered 3 or 4 plates of the original sheng jian, coupled with their pickled radish. Overall, I would come back for their original pork sheng jian if I’m around the area. We paid $36.50 for two persons.
Mr Sheng Jian
8 Liang Seah St #01-10, Singapore 189029
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Written by Brandon Tan. He strives to be a honest food writer and hopes to share his reviews to benefit restaurants and customers. You can contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.