Oven & Fried Chicken, affectionately known as OFC, at Telok Ayer has been around since 2014. On weekends, they don’t take reservation so be there at about 6pm or be prepared to queue. Usually CBD area is quiet on weekends, so people travel here purposefully to eat here.
It is quite astonishing that a 6 year-old restaurant maintains great popularity. They now have three outlets, the other two at Bukit Timah and Tanjong Pagar.
The menu is a simple one. It’s all about chimek (fried chicken and beer pairing) although when we were there, they ran out of the popular Korean beer, Hite, so we settled for another Korean brand, Cass, which is awful. It has a pungent aftertaste.
For the chicken, there are four options: roasted, crunch (baked without oil), fried, and yang nyeom (sweet-spicy sauce). Their chicken is fried with rice flour, a patented recipe in Korea. Their powders and sauces covering the chicken are manufactured in Korea and imported to Singapore, so that “you can enjoy the same taste as eating in Korea,” the menu says.
Since there were only two of us, we couldn’t order much. We got the yang nyeom chicken (whole $36 / half $21, choice of mild or spicy), which is fried chicken covered in a sticky sweet-and-spicy sauce, the signature Korean fried chicken.
It is passable but it isn’t good. It is not crunchy and when it gets cold, the sauce enamelises around the chicken, creating a too-tough crust. We ordered “mild” and the spice level was just right for us, but the sauce itself is problematic. There is a strong aftertaste of—what we thought was—maple syrup, far too sweet.
My dining companion said, “I prefer the chicken at Twins Korean Restaurant. They serve fresh chicken there.” It’s true, the chicken at OFC doesn’t taste fresh. Cooking is about fresh ingredients, and when the ingredient is inferior, it is difficult to cook up a good dish.
I had the brilliant seafood pancake at Wang Dae Bak just a day before the OFC visit so OFC’s version has big shoes to fill. OFC offers three styles of pancakes: kimchi ($18), seafood and leeks ($25), and seafood and green onion ($25). Since the last option is their most popular, we got it.
When it arrived at our table, it had a seafood squid stench. Like the fried chicken, the freshness of ingredients is an issue. Regardless, we put it in our mouths and it was okay and we didn’t have diarrhoea the next day. It is the crispy sort.
We paid about $70 for two persons, rather costly for just fried chicken and flour (pancake). Given the inferior ingredients, we won’t be back. We don’t understand why people like this restaurant, why there was a queue. Perhaps it was good when it first started, but the standards are not maintained today.
Oven and Fried Chicken OFC
182 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068630
M – F: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 12.00am
Weekends and PH: 4pm – 12am
You may be interested in…
–Pizza Maru, Bugis+: Korea’s Largest Pizza Chain is Better for Their Fried Chicken
–Pujim Korean BBQ, Amoy St: Excellent But Exorbitant
–Chir Chir 치르치르, 313@Somerset: Korean Fried Chicken for the S(e)oul
–SBCD Korean Tofu House, Tanjong Pagar: Korean Tofu Stew, Comforting and Homely
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.