Situated at the corner of Kam Leng Hotel lobby (formerly Sin Hoe Huat Café), Enjoy Eating House & Bar is serving up local dishes from noon till late night daily. The restaurant is opened by Chef Joel Ong who is known for his popular Thai cuisine at Rochor Thai.
Instead of Thai food, Chef Joel is now more focused on Singaporean cuisine this time; this is apparent from the food menu that contains the likes of har jeong kai (prawn paste chicken), hor fun (flat rice noodles), chilli crab, and many more. These items are quintessentially tze char (cook and fry), the restaurant offers a wide selection of Chinese dishes and several old favourites from his previous Thai restaurant.
Rich and comforting, a bowl of Chef Joel’s Brandy White Fish Soup ($11.80) is bound to keep you asking for more. No carnation milk nonsense. The soup is boiled with fish bones for hours to reach that thick consistency. The flavour is further enhanced by generous amounts of wolfberries, spring onions and of course, brandy. Intoxicating.
Chef Joel’s BBQ Pork Cheeks ($14.80) comes with a special piquant sauce, made up of tamarind, palm sugar and chilli. (Note: All sauces are concocted in-house and every dish is cooked upon order.) The grilled pork cheek is lean yet moist, nicely charred yet tender for chewing. It is good eaten on its own but with the sauce, the taste elevates twofold in complexity of flavours. This dish was an old favourite at Rochor Thai and it is not hard to see why.
If you want Singapore Style Chilli Crabs (seasonal price) at the restaurant, you have to order them two days in advance. If you do not have the foresight to make advance orders, Singapore Style Chilli Prawns ($17.80) are just as satisfactory. The prawns are fresh and succulent, and they still provide the sweet brininess of the ocean. I appreciate that the viscous chilli sauce is spicy enough and not too sweet. There are people who live purely for the chilli sauce as a dip for fried mantous ($2 for four), never mind what seafood it comes with.
Next comes a dish that many Chinese grow up with – Grandma’s “Te Kah” Bee Hoon ($11.80). Thus, we have a very specific impression of how this homemade dish should taste like, thanks to our mothers and grandmothers. This restaurant’s version has a wetter consistency from what I am used to. The excess gravy is evident, surrounding the generous pile of wok-fried rice vermicelli. Some of the gravy does get absorbed into the noodles after a while. In any case, it is way too salty for my liking. Flavourful, yes but I need to drink some water after every mouthful. The thick cuts of pig trotters are marvellous though. The fatty meat is braised so well, it almost melts in your mouth.
After all the meat dishes, some vegetables would be nice. I just did not expect it to be so nice. Ugly Cabbage in Fish Sauce ($9.80) is the star of the night. Although it is not my favourite vegetable, this stir-fried cabbage is so crunchy and sweet, well-doused with fish sauce and topped up with deep-fried garlic. It is exceptional.
Chendol Panna Cotta ($6.80) comes in a layer of coconut-flavoured panna cotta, laced with gula melaka syrup and covered with a heap of ‘wormlike’ pandan jelly. The jelly is very smooth and soft, as compared to the traditional chendol that has firmer strips made by green rice flour jelly. I am usually doubtful of fusion food but this one is pretty decent.
Enjoy Eating House & Bar
383 Jalan Besar Road (Kam Leng Hotel) Singapore 209001
Tel: +65 9299 1601
11am – 1am, daily
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Written by Cheang Shwu Peng.