Showing posts with label Sambal Prawn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sambal Prawn. Show all posts

Sunday, June 9, 2024

VK Mess South Indian Feast @ Race Course Road - Bringing the Flavours and Lively Vibes of Traditional South Indian Mess to Singapore


VK MESS South Indian Feast, located on Race Course Road, is a newly opened restaurant serving authentic South Indian cuisine. Chef-owner Titus, who has a background honed in fine-dining restaurants both locally and abroad, has returned to his roots. After a pilgrimage to India to immerse himself in regional dishes, Chef Titus aims to bring the flavours and lively vibes of a traditional South Indian mess to Singapore.

The Ultimate Virundhu 5/5

The menu at VK Mess is carefully curated to highlight its specialities. To get an idea of their offerings, we tried the Deluxe Set ($55/2 pax) of The Ultimate Virundhu. This set includes more than 12 dishes: White Rice, Lamb Chukka/Curry, Chicken Uppukari/Curry, Prawn Sambal, Spanish Mackerel Fry, Chicken/Fish 65, Egg, Samba, Rasam, Mooru, Papadam, and three vegetables. We also sampled a few additional items.


Our deluxe set was elevated with coconut ghee rice, available only on selected days. The rice, infused with lamb stock and rose water, had a fluffy texture with delightful bites from crushed cashews. Slightly coconutty and accented with spices, especially cardamom, the plump raisins added a burst of sweetness that countered the savoury flavours of the surrounding dishes.

Shredded Shark Stir-fry

The dishes are on a rotational basis. One standout was the Shredded Shark Stir-fry. It had a flossy texture, and as exotic as it sounds, it had a bite reminiscent of Hei Bi Ham - moreish but more spice-forward rather than heat; it was definitely a memorable experience for me.

Lamb Chukka

Chicken Uppukari

The Lamb Chukka and Chicken Uppukari were also noteworthy. Lamb Chukka was a dry curry with morsels stir-fried until dry with spices and aromatics, allowing the curry to cling to each piece. The chicken uppukari was delectable with tender meat.

Prawn Sambal with Quail Eggs

A favourite was the Prawn Sambal with Quail Eggs. The prawns were succulent and finger-licking good with a nice amount of spice, and the quail eggs were perfectly cooked. Another notable item was the Fish Curry. Infused with tamarind, it added an appetising acidity to the meal.


Balancing the platter's flavours were the lightness and sweetness of the vegetables, comprising stewed cabbage, pumpkins, and long beans. The Dahl was delicious too. The vegetarian set offered here is also worth checking out.

Chicken 65 4.5/5

The set includes a side bite, Chicken 65. Despite its deep colour, the meat was surprisingly tender and not overly seasoned, allowing the spices and aromatics to shine.

Whole Lamb Shank Masala 4.5/5

VK Mess prides itself on its signature Whole Lamb Shank Masala ($18 ala carte/ $13 with set). Brined for 72 hours and then cooked in a pressure cooker, the meat easily fell off the bone and was succulent. The robust masala gravy made it even more satisfying.

Black Moon 5/5

The quality of the spices is crucial in determining the flavours of the dishes. The owner sources his spices from the mountains of Kolli Hills. Cardamom is commonly used both in coconut ghee rice and desserts. Be sure to try the Black Moon, which is made with black rice imported from India. Served with a sago crisp dotted with rose gel, reflecting the chef's fine dining background, this dessert showcased the art of flavour balance. Interestingly, the first taste was delightfully salty, enhancing both the coconut and black rice flavours. Shredded coconut mixed into the rice pudding added a delectable bite. It concluded my meal perfectly.

Photos and words 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.

VK MESS South Indian Feast
42 Race Course Road
Singapore 218557
Tel: +65 94711706
Nearest MRT: Little India (DT, NE Line)

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 1130am - 10pm
(Closed on Mon)

1) Alight at Little India MRT station. Take Exit E. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Surrey Hills Grocer @ Woodleigh Mall - Exclusive Month-long Collaboration Menu by Chef Damian D’Silva, Founder of Rempapa


Surrey Hills Grocer at Woodleigh Mall is introducing a fresh dining experience this April with a curated menu by Chef Damian D'Silva. Known for his multicultural cuisine at Rempapa, Chef Damian presents six specially crafted dishes exclusively for one month until 30 April 2024.


Located along The Woodleigh Mall's Heritage Walk, the Woodleigh outlet of Surrey Hills Grocer may require some navigation for first-time visitors. The air-conditioned environment accommodates up to 90 diners, making it an ideal gathering spot. Furry companions are welcome, too, with a dedicated menu tailored just for them.


Each Surrey Hills Grocer outlet offers a differentiated menu, ensuring diners experience new takes on familiar favourites. For instance, while the Woodleigh outlet serves Tom Yum Tater Tots, the ION outlet offers Mentaiko Tater Tots - a creative concept that adds variety to the dining experience.

Surrey's Homemade Iced Lemon Tea

I ordered the mildly sweet Surrey's Homemade Iced Lemon Tea ($8) from its extensive beverage list, which was made in-house using cold-brewed premium black tea dust and fresh lemons.

Berry Dragonfruit Smoothie

My dining companions went with the Berry Dragonfruit Smoothie ($13), Appily Ever After ($10) and Berrylicious Lemonade ($9).


Signature Nasi Lemak with Opor Ayam 3.8/5

We started with a few of Chef Damian's specialities first. Among what we had, we preferred the Signature Nasi Lemak with Opor Ayam ($25) - a classic nasi lemak ensemble featuring coconut rice, fried silver fish, sambal, a fried Nuyolk egg, and a side of opor ayam. The nasi lemak, with its fluffy and aromatic rice, was the biggest highlight. However, we found the opor ayam lacking the richness we anticipated. The traditional spiced coconut gravy was milder than expected, missing the aromatic notes of cumin and coriander. Nonetheless, the chicken remained tender.

Kerabu Ikan Tenggiri 3.8/5

I've not had Kerabu Ikan Tenggiri ($22) before, but the refreshing crunch and mildly spiced dressing were enticing. This traditional salad comprises barred Spanish mackerel, wing beans, cherry tomatoes, long beans, herbs and salted eggs. Considering the price tag, we were hoping for more significant portions of mackerel.

Peranakan Prawn Sambal 2.8/5

The Peranakan Prawn Sambal ($26) left us disappointed. Our prawns were dry and difficult to extract from their shells. Despite its sambal and shrimp paste base, intended to appeal to spice fans, the dish lacked the expected heat and flavour profile.


Skillet Squid Ink Pasta 4.5/5

The standout dish of the evening was unanimously the Skillet Squid Ink Pasta ($28), topped with creamy kewpie mayo. The briny and umami hints in the mouthfuls of broken squid ink pasta were addictive, and the addition of squid and shrimp further enhanced the experience.


Triple Truffle Fries 4.2/5

The Triple Truffle Fries ($19) is one of the few dishes available across the Surrey Hills Grocer outlets. Tossed in fragrant truffle olive oil and dusted with truffle powder, they are adorned with generous parmesan shavings. While they may not be the crispiest fries, their satisfying crunch and accompanying homemade truffle mayo dip made for a delightful sharing snack.


Matcha Udon 3.8/5

We were initially sceptical when we spotted the Matcha Udon ($26) on the menu, but with assurances from the staff, we decided to give it a try. The soft udon was cooked in a creamy white wine matcha sauce, accompanied by smoked pork belly, ramen egg, Korean seaweed flakes and grated parmesan cheese. Surprisingly, it was a pleasant combination, with the carbonara flavour taking the lead. We appreciated the balance that avoided being overly rich, but matcha lovers should note that the matcha bitterness was very subtle for what it's named. You'll find carbonara-based dishes prepared differently if you visit other Surrey Hills Grocer outlets.

The Signature Stack 4.2/5

The highly recommended Melburnian Pancake Parlour pancakes lived up to their reputation. Opting for The Signature Stack ($24) as our dessert, we were treated to two pieces of old-school style buttermilk pancakes, generously topped with vanilla crème chantilly, seasonal fruit compote, fresh berries, and sea salt butterscotch. The pancakes were worth a try, being somewhat fluffy and buttery. The additional crumbles littered on top added good texture contrast. For those with a sweet tooth, this also came with extra maple syrup and caramel sauce for drizzling. I recommend sharing this with a friend or two, as it gets heavy quickly.


While the prices are steep, we were fans of the restaurant's ambience and pet-friendly space. We enjoyed its main menu more than the seasonal offerings and look forward to trying the unique variations across its outlets.

Photos and words by Jo. A girl who loves her Mala (麻辣) at Da La (大辣), discovering hidden food gems and a good cup of matcha latte. Note: This is an invited tasting.

Surrey Hills Grocer
The Woodleigh Mall
11 Bidadari Park Drive
Singapore 367803
Nearest MRT: Woodleigh (NE Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am - 10pm

1. Alight at Woodleigh MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]

Monday, October 23, 2023

Linda's Table Private Dining @ Pandan Valley - Impressive Peranakan-Cantonese Cuisine that Showcases a Level of Finesse


Linda's Table, a private dining experience blending Peranakan and Cantonese influences, has become one of the most sought-after private dining spots in town. The long wait over six months to secure a reservation at Linda's Table indicates its popularity. Linda's reputation for exceptional cooking and her unique fusion of flavours make her fully booked until next year. She is not currently accepting any more bookings, as it's become overwhelming for her to manage.

Kerabu Jambu 4.2/5

Our meal began with the Kerabu Jambu. For the visit, Linda thoughtfully replaced the jambu with pineapple, offering a refreshing starter that perfectly paired the sweet tang of pineapple with the satisfying crunch of winged beans.

Kueh Pie Tee and Ngoh Hiang 4.5/5

The Kueh Pie Tee and Ngoh Hiang presented delightful bites, made even more enjoyable with a tantalisingly spicy sambal.

Hu Pioh Tng (Fish Maw Soup) 4.8/5

The Hu Pioh Tng, a traditional Fish Maw Soup, was hearty and comforting. It exuded robust flavours enriched with the deep essence of crustaceans, elevating it to a whole new level.

Pork Lard Rice 4.8/5

The simple yet much-loved Pork Lard Rice stole the show. Fragrant and fluffy rice, infused with freshly fried pork lard, was bound together by a dark soy sauce hailing from Ipoh.

Nonya Chap Chai 4.8/5

Nonya Chap Chai, a staple in Peranakan cuisine, showcased perfectly cooked vegetables with a slight crunch, all harmoniously infused with rich soybean paste. Linda possibly incorporated prawn stock to elevate the dish further, adding depth and flavour.

Babi Tohay 4.2/5

Babi Tohay, an almost forgotten dish rarely found in restaurants, was a revelation. This unique pork dish was prepared with red rice yeast, fermented shrimp, and brandy, resulting in a complex and rich flavour that was both unfamiliar and utterly delicious.

Sambal Prawns with Belimbing 5/5

The Sambal Prawns with Belimbing had a real kick. The spicy and fragrant prawns were beautifully complemented by the tang and sourness of the belimbing, and the sauce paired wonderfully with rice.

Beef Rendang 4.8/5

Beef Rendang was a standout, with its fragrant and delightful rempah seasoning that enhanced the tenderness of the beef. The flavours were beautifully absorbed into the succulent meat, creating a dish that was a perfect companion for rice.

Sago Gula Melaka 4/5


To conclude this remarkable culinary journey at Linda's Table, the Sago Gula Melaka presented a harmonious blend of fragrant and creamy coconut milk, sweet and savoury gula melaka, and chewy sago pearls.


Having visited various Peranakan private dining experiences, Linda's cooking left a lasting impression. Her dishes not only brimmed with flavour but also showcased a level of finesse that set her apart from the others.

Linda's Table Private Dining
Pandan Valley

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Restaurant Kin @ Straits Clan - A Selection Of New Singaporean Food Classics, Many Cultures, One Singapore Cuisine


Restaurant Kin at Straits Clan is helmed by Head Chef Damian D'Silva, affectionately known as "The Grandfather of Heritage Cuisine". I am a big fan of his ethnic cuisines cooked with heirloom recipes, using time-honoured methods and authentic local ingredients. Though straits clan is a club, the lobby level where the restaurant is located is accessible to public.

Pop/s Easter Beef Murtabak 4.5/5

For the upcoming Easter celebration, Chef Damian re-created one of his favourite childhood dish he craves every Easter - Pop's Easter Beef Murtabak ($22). The grounded beef cooked with aromatics are wrapped in soft egg crepe, served with house-made chilli sauce and a raita of yogurt, lime juice, tomatoes, onions and green chilli. The dish will only be available for a limited period from 26 March to 4 April 2021.

Cuttlefish Kang Kong 4.2/5

The Cuttlefish Kang Kong ($20) is a vanishing hawker dish which comes with a medley of cuttlefish, kang kong, pineapple, and deep-fried dough fritters tossed in fermented shrimp paste, sugar and calamansi. Chef Damian has added pineapple to it, just like how his granddad liked it.

Namgka Rendang 3.8/5

Do you know unripen jackfruit can be cooked into a dish? The unripen jackfruit is slowed cooked for 7 hours in a rich and fragrant 15-spice masala coconut gravy. Nangka Rendang ($28) is a gluten-free and vegetarian dish. While I enjoyed the dish, I feel that its soft texture may not be well received by everyone. Similar to how some people does not like brinjal.

Ayam Kalasan 4.8/5

One of my favourite dishes is the Ayam Kalasan ($38). The very instant I bite into the tender chicken thigh, my eyes brightened up. It reminds me of my favourite KFC original flavoured chicken. There is some similarity in the spices used. The whole chicken thigh is slow-simmered in coconut water, candlenut, lemongrass, blue ginger, and then deep-fried. No wonder the ayam kalasan is so aromatic.

Daging Sambal Hijau 4.2/5

Another beautiful Malay dish of Indonesian heritage is the Daging Sambal Hijau ($42). The thinly-sliced beef striploin is marinated overnight with cumin, coriander and fennel. It is stir-fried in green chilli sambal before servicing. Worry not, it is not a spicy dish. In fact, the green chilli sambal accentuated the enjoyment of the tender beef slices.

Wok Fried Dragon Tooth Cabbage 4.5/5

Always remember to have your vegetable for a balance diet. The Wok Fried Dragon Tooth Cabbage ($12) wok fried with oil, garlic and artisanal soy sauce. Though simple, it showcases the sweetness of the cabbage while retaining a delectable texture.

King Prawn with Dry Sambal 4.8/5

The King Prawn with Dry Sambal ($48) is plump, huge and crunchy. The fresh prawn is cooked in a rich and piquant sambal made entirely from stone-ground dried chillis finished with assam.

Pork Knuckle Debai 4.5/5

A classic dish on the new menu is the Pork Knuckle Debai ($68). It is a festive dish in Chef Damian household during Christmas. The classic Eurasian dish comprises of roasted pork, smoked pork knuckle and potatoes. The homely and hearty dish is definitely one of the crowd's favourite, it is wiped clean to the last drop.

Assortment of Kueh 4.2/5

Wrapping up the meal, we have the Assortment of Kueh ($25) which may change daily. During our visit we have the Apom Berkuah, Serang Semut and Pulat Tai Tai. The Serang Semut is an unique Malaysia cake made with burnt sugar, condensed milk and flour. For the Pulat Tai Tai, freshly made kaya is spread on top of the glutinous rice cake to be eaten together.


Apom Berkuah is a nonya-style pancake that is served with banana or durian sauce. The soft and fluffy Peranakan kueh is made with rice flour, coconut milk, gula melaka and yeast. 


A must have is Chef Damian's Kueh Kasui. It is the best steamed tapioca kueh with gula melaka I ever eaten. The melt in the mouth mochi texture is coated with grated coconut for a lifted enjoyment.

Besides the new dishes, Kin has also launches new cocktails featuring classic ingredients found in local heritage cuisine, elevated with modern bartending techniques by the Straits Clan beverage team.

Note: This is an invited tastng.

Restaurant Kin
Straits Clan
31 Bukit Pasoh Road
Singapore 089845
Tel: +65 63209180
Nearest MRT: Outram Park (NE Line, EW Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12pm - 230pm, 6pm - 930pm
(Closed on Sun)

1) Alight at Outram Park MRT station. Take Exit 4. Turn left onto Teo Hong Road. At the end of Teo Hong Road turn left and continue on Bukit Pasoh Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]