Opened by three very gutsy local chaps, No Milk Bistro offers a combination of good-old dishes and new-found flavours within its 2-storey unit at Padang Street. The Fish Soup Boutique at Level 1 is where a clear fish soup continues its 27 years worth of Teochew-style heritage, and The Rooftop Bistro at Level 2 is where a line up of tongue-tinging dishes awaits you.
Mixed Fish Soup 3.8/5
Upholding the traditional recipe of the Teochew-style fish soup is Chef Hoe Gern who believes that his full-bodied fish broth needs no milk to dress it up, and will have you coming back for it after you have had your third bowl. Mixed Fish Soup ($7) offers both sliced fish (mackerel) and fried fish (seabass), distinctive with a piece of Japanese Nori in place of seaweed. Compared to many highly acclaimed Teochew fish soups which I often find slightly too saltish, No Milk's take on the soup is much well balanced - you could easily finish it till the last drop and not needing a glass of water after that. The homemade sambal is the star too. Served only 2 days after making to allow its flavours to fully develop, it adds characters to a day-to-day dish. Some of the fried fish slices were drier but overall, it is a fish soup to be remembered when you think "what's for lunch?".
Char Siew 3.8/5, Ngor Hiang 3/5
Perhaps it is not just the fish soup alone that will have you consider coming back again. The array of side dishes with homemade sauces to complement your fish soup are great for sharing among friends and colleagues. The most intriguing dish would be the Char Siew ($6.9). Not your usual sweet-glazed loin meat but a very tender slab of pork belly being caramelised to charcoal black, attaining hint of smokey sweetness. The homemade Ngor Hiang ($2) was not too tightly packed with meat but moist and juicy with vegetables bits.
Grilled Pork Belly 3/5
We liked the Grilled Pork Belly ($6.90) too, which was rustic with simple seasoning but could have been better if the salt level could be reduced by half.
Spicy Fragrant Egg Noodles 4/5
Among all the dishes we tried, including those served on Level 2, this Spicy Fragrant Egg Noodles (little spicy) stands out the most with its originality. The freshly handmade egg noodles was relatively lighter than regular noodles and was prefect with the rich homemade mala chilli sauce. I'm definitely not a mala person but that mala chilli sauce won me over with its pleasant sweet undertone, and the smell of the aromatic black vinegar effusing from the sauce got me hooked. Chunky with mushrooms bits, the noodles itself was moreish on its own. Served with fried fish belly (you can opt for pork belly), an effort from the chef of wasting no good ingredients, I would have appreciated the idea more should they taste less of a salt bomb.
Beef Rendang Tagliatelle (tasting portion) 4/5
The Rooftop Bistro at Level 2 operates from 530pm to 12 midnight with fusion cuisines and drinks. Although No Milk does not brand itself as a pasta place, the handmade pastas here are definitely better than some of those who do. The Beef Rendang Tagliatelle ($16.80) features a tender beef stewed for 12 hours. The rendang was robust with its own juices and fats, and so easy on the palate. The tagliatelle was thicker than usual but exceptionally springy, and supported the beef rendang well.
The Thai Red Curry with Tiger Prawns ($18.80) was piquant with a spicy kick.
Tequila-marinated Angus Beef (tasting portion) 3.5/5
Forget about the regular quesadillas when you have this Tequila-marinated Angus Beef ($24). The D.I.Y part was fun, where filling up the tortilla with slabs of the beef, salsa and topping it up with a spoonful of the velvety mashed potatoes built up the anticipation. The buttery and creamy mashed potato is a star in its own right, available at $6 as a side as well.
Every night is Ladies’ Night at No Milk, with discounts ranging from 1 for 1 liquor by the glass to 15% off bottles to Korean soju deals (3 bottles for only $42 with a free yakult mixer).
I like how this concept of 鱼汤 is being executed and I find this Chinese moniker speaks much more than No Milk and has a potential to go even further. Somehow it reminds me of Lucy Liu in Melbourne. Perhaps, No Milk would find itself right at home as an underground bistro.
Words and photos by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.
No Milk Bistro
18 Pahang Street
Tel: +65 62915854
Nearest MRT: Nicoll Highway (CC Line)
Fish Soup Boutique
Mon-Sat: 11am - 10pm
Mon-Sat: 530pm to 12 midnight
(Closed on Sun)
1) Alight at Nicoll Highway MRT station. Take Exit A. Take the overhead walkway to Beach Road. Turn left and walk down Beach Road. Turn right onto Aliwal Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 6 minutes. [Map]