Taking over the space of Indigo Blue Kitchen, Koal at Shaw Centre, helmed by a talented young chef Jun Xiang, predominantly serves grilled meats of Asian (Japanese, Korean, Chinese) and Western flavours.
The 3-course set lunch ranges from $22 to $42; it comes with choices of a starter; a rice bowl with Japanese rice, onsen egg, shredded nori (US rib eye $42 / grassfed rib eye $30 / Iberico collar $26 / chicken leg $22 / salmon $30); and a dessert (tiramisu or donut). For dinner, items are a la carte. For this tasting, we had the a la carte items.
For starters, the scallion salad ($6, shredded scallion, carrots, wakame, spicy sesame soy dressing) and the chunky salmon sashimi ($12, salmon cubes, shallots, spicy-and-tangy coriander & green chilli dressing) are what they are. They are good.
But even better is the potato salad ($10). Here, they use redskin potato, 6-minute egg, tossed in mentaiko mayo. It’s creamy and crunchy with tobikko.
But the best of all are the pork riblets ($16) and bread roll ($8). They are must-order, really fantastic. The pork riblets are super crispy and tender despite being coated in a mala honey glaze. They are super moreish.
The bread roll, only available for dinner, is magic. It comes scalding hot and when you peel it off like orange skin, you would see steam rising languidly. It’s packed with bacon and grilled spring onions; and comes with a sour cream-and-chive butter. This Western twist on the Chinese scallion bun hua juan 花卷 is divine, I could have 10 on my own.
For the mains, each meat item comes with 1 sauce of your choice (yakiniku no tare / mustard cream sauce / sesame chimichurri). Actually the meats are great on their own and don’t need any embellishment. Their wide range of meats means that there is something for everyone.
All three meats Iberico collar (180g, $19), hanging tender (180g, $24), and salmon with kimchi butter and kale ($18) are all good. The first two have the aromatic smokey flavour, necessary in grilled meats. The hanging tender is especially flavourful.
Both the hojicha-and-whiskey tiramisu ($12) and freshly fried donuts (1 pc $5, 2 pcs $8) pass muster but the donuts made a deeper impression on me because they are more fun. When you bite into them, the filling squirts. Choice of filling: cheesecake mousse & raspberry or nutella and banana. You should try both fillings but if you need to choose only one, I recommend the cheesecake mousse because it’s more fun, not as boring as nutella.
The casual restaurant Koal is quite outstanding, we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. The food is fantastic and priced reasonably. It’s good for groups, families, and dates. I highly recommend it and would definitely return.
Shaw Centre #03-09/10/11, 1 Scotts Road, Singapore 228208
t: +65 8129 4500
Tue – Sun 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6 – 9.30pm, closed Mon
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Ambience / decor: 7.5/10
You may be interested in…
–Takada Grill & Bar, Tanjong Pagar Centre: Charcoal Grill Restaurant by Japanese Chef
–Barossa Bar & Grill, VivoCity: Australian Dry-aged Beef and Josper Oven-grilled Dishes
–Hot Stones, Clarke Quay: Longstanding Stone Grill Restaurant Revamped Dining Concept to Offer Japanese Steakhouse Dining Experience
–Ryan’s Kitchen, Great World: Guilt-free Grill Restaurant You’ll Most Likely Find Greta Thunberg Patronizing
This was a tasting. Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.