Cajun On Wheels, Plaza Singapura

No.

Cajun On Wheels (C.O.W for short) is a relatively new eatery situated at the extended wing of Plaza Singapura. The bright sign boards and abbreviated alphabets below made it easy to spot from miles away. I was intrigued by the word “cow” and thought it was a place specialising in beef.


I was wrong. While there are burgers with beef patty available, C.O.W’s main focus is seafood. Crabs, lobsters, shrimp, fish and the usual shellfish fare. 

The menu is messy and hard to read. After awhile you’ll be confused and unsure why you stepped into this eatery in the first place.

I took a long time deciding what to order. Wanted to get the Naughty Platter, which came with either rice or aglio olio. I was then told that the aglio olio was out of stock, so I asked if I could swop the rice for fries as I didn’t fancy rice. To my disappointment, they said I couldn’t. 

Sailor’s Feast ($29.90)

Finally settled for Sailor’s feast, which comes with prawns, fish fillet, spam fries and french fries. Also comes with two house sauces, sambal mayo and chilli tomato salsa.

Disappointing “feast”. 

There were only 5 pieces of spam fries. And the fish? Tiny. I was under the impression that it was going to be a fillet (the menu stated fish fillet what!) as in, a long piece of fish like what you’ll get at Manhattan or Fish and Co or Long John’s Silver. The prawns were overly battered as well.

Let’s play spot the prawn.

The only great thing about this place was the two house sauces, especially the chilli tomato salsa. Went well with all the fried stuff. I slurped the tomato salsa till the very last drop. Yums.

Overall, C.O.W was a disappointing experience. It’s a very overpriced atas version of Long John’s Silver. For the price, I think I’m better off having LJS.

68 Orchard Road, #03-92, S(238839)

+65 63419665

Daily 11am to 10pm

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The Coconut Club, Ann Siang Hill

Go!!!

Two words – Nasi Lemak. Wait, make that three – Delicious Nasi Lemak. 

The Coconut Club sits along the hippie hangout of Ann Siang Hill. They serve only one main course here, which is, Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng Berempah. Trust me, you wouldn’t want them to have more than one main course for choice because their nasi lemak is the best! 

Fun fact: our PM Lee hosted Philippine President Duterte here in December 2016.

Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng Berempah ($12.80)

Okay before you judge and say “eee why so ex?” I guarantee you it’s worth your every cent. The chicken was nicely seasoned with hints of lemongrass and the skin was so crispy! The meat itself was silky and tender, and you get the best parts of the chicken. The ikan bilis, oh my, the ikan bilis. Super crunchy as if they were made fresh on the spot as you order. The sambal was fragrant and wasn’t too spicy, so please feel free to ask for more sambal to go with the fluffy rice. The whole dish is an art itself. Excellent!

Sambal Lala as side dish of the day. 

The Coconut Club also comes up with side dish specials that changes every now and then so you don’t go back pairing the same old dishes with your nasi lemak every time. As you can see, the portion is generous. The flavour and spicyness level was to my liking as well. I hope they’ll weave it into their permanent menu.

Cendol ($3.80)

Ended my meal with their legendary cendol. The brown stuff is gooey goodness of gula melaka! Because it’s so gooey, you’ll end up licking your spoon with every mouth that you take. Super sinful but so worth it!

I feel that The Coconut Club treats their food with pride, giving you nothing but the best. They were bold enough to go ahead with just one main course, and they hit the jackpot. Definitely coming back again to get my nasi lemak fix.

6 Ann Siang Hill, S(069787)

+65 6635 2999

Tuesdays to Sundays: 11am to 3pm

Tuesdays to Saturdays: 6pm to 930pm

Website here

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Kogane Yama, Bugis Junction

Go!

Slowly but surely, tempura bowls are taking over Singapore. I remember the first tempura bowl I ate was Tendon Ginza Itsuki at Tanjong Pagar and it has since become my Singapore benchmark for all tempura bowls in Singapore.

I’ve read reviews on Kogane Yama and many of them focused on the customisation of the tempura bowl. It got me excited because many of the tempura bowls around only have about three or four variations of the bowl – seafood, non-seafood, vegetables. I thought that I could finally pick my favourite ingredients! (or rather, just not pick the bell peppers).

But… chey. Customisation here refers to choosing which type bowl you want, choosing your carb (which honestly is also offered in some tendon shops), and choosing your spiciness level. Erm okay. 

Here at Kogane Yama, you’ll have to pay for chawanmushi and miso soup. To have either udon or soba, it’s a dollar more. And they don’t serve water as well so… you get it. Top up, top up, top up. Urgh.

Prawn bowl. They serve it with the prawn heads.

Vegetable bowl.

Putting my annoyance aside, the food is delicious! The tempura batter is light, fluffy, crispy, and well seasoned. It can definitely fight with Tendon Ginza Itsuki tastewise. I tried spicy level 1 and really loved the extra kick. I did think that it was already quite spicy for a level 1, so for those who would be trying for the first time, start with level 1.

What disappointed me was the variety for the vegetable bowl. They didn’t even have eggplant! Heyyyy, I’ve been to a lot of Tendon shops, and even in those family Japanese restaurants that don’t specialise in Tendons, the eggplant is a must-have vegetable for all vegetable tempura. Where’s the pumpkin? The oyster mushroom? The lotus root? 

The rice was also barely enough. My partner isn’t a big eater, but halfway through the bowl he had already finished his rice, so I had to give him part of mine. I then had to ration my portion very carefully. The reason why I brought this up is because I feel that Tendons are slightly saltier because of the sauce, so having sufficient rice is a must. Again, we are not big eaters and we never had troubles with other Tendon shops so this really jumped at us.

All in all, I really liked the taste of Kogane Yama but my experience wasn’t the best so I might drop by only if I’m at Bugis and craving for Tendon bowls.

200 Victoria Street, #02-50, S(188021)

Mondays to Thursdays 11am to 10pm

Fridays and Saturdays 11am to 11pm

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PoCha, Tanjong Pagar Road

Worth a try.


PoCha Korean restaurant along Tanjong Pagar Road doesn’t look inviting at all. Throw a stone at any direction along Tanjong Pagar Road and you’ll find a yummy Korean treat easily. So is PoCha worth a try?

Yes. PoCha is an abbreviation for “street food” in Korean. Street food is unpretentious, so I guess that’s where the restaurant was heading for when they designed this layout. To be seated, you’ll have to walk up the stairs to the second floor.

Ah, so much more comforting up here.

If you don’t like the lively ambience, you can request to have your own private room!


Upon seated, we were served with some sides and a seaweed soup. The seaweed soup was warm and yummy. Sides are free flow here so don’t hesitate to ask for a refill. The peanuts looked tasty but they were quite bland. 


We placed our orders and more side dishes came (left and right). Am not sure if these extra side dishes are because of our orders, or that they just took a wee bit longer to come. Suspect it’s the former though. Anyway, they weren’t out of the ordinary so no damage done if you missed them.

Army stew!

Their army stew was delicious! Adequately seasoned, the soup packs a good punch of spiciness and flavour. Could take on another pot anytime.

BBQ beef and pork set. 

This was really disappointing. The meat were tough and dry, and although they claimed it was marinated, I definitely couldn’t discern any sort of flavour. 

Leek pancake.

Okay I have to admit that this is the prettiest Korean pancake I’ve eaten thus far. No other restaurants bother to decorate their pancake so this was a pleasant surprise. Taste wise, not bad, but I would have appreciated it more if it were crispier. 

Overall, I guess I wouldn’t be visiting PoCha again. The army stew was great, but the rest of the food wasn’t satisfying, and to be honest, there are other army stews out there that are equally as good. 

60 Tanjong Pagar Road, S(088481) 

p/s I don’t know why Google will tell you it’s 35 Tanjong Pagar Road. It’s wrong!

+65 8163 6570

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Beauty in the Pot, The Centrepoint

Go!

Opened by the brains behind your colourful multi flavoured Xiao Long Bao, Paradise Group has once again expanded its fan base with Beauty in the Pot. To give a quick summary, my friend referred to this as “an alternative to Hai Di Lao” — great food, great service standards. I haven’t tried HDL before because I really don’t fancy the idea of queuing indefinitely but I’ve definitely heard raving reviews about the service and quality of food. So when I heard that this was an alternative, I was hopeful! Best thing about this place is that they have two seatings for the dinner crowd so you can make a reservation for either 530pm or 8pm. 

Look ma, no more tapping toes and waiting endlessly for your turn (I.e., you can go gai gai until 8pm). I got my table at 8pm sharp.

Long table of sauces.

Let’s start with the sauces. You’ll be charged a condiment charge of $3.50 per head so why not make the most out of it right? Before you go on and say “huh so ridiculous to be charging for sauces pfffft”, I want to let you know that Beauty in the Pot takes their sauce business seriously. 

Instructions on the board that will teach you how to make the best combination sauces. I liked their crispy garlic! 

Spoilt for choice? Not confident that you’ll be mixing correctly? Their service staff will volunteer to concoct one for you. 

(Left to right) Spicy pork broth, tomato with sweet corn, cooling coconut, shark’s cartilage (also known as the famous collagen broth).

Beauty in the Pot allows you to choose up to four soup bases. Of course, each soup base is priced differently, and whether you choose 1/4 portion or 1/2 portion, the pricing is proportionate. 

On first sip, the cooling coconut was most mediocre but by the end of the meal, my friends were all going for the cooling coconut. They felt that the rest of the broth were too thick after boiling for so long. I personally preferred the tomato with sweet corn. 

Meat platter. Pork and beef slices with beef cubes.

An assortment of pastes. 

I liked the one with the fish roe one the most. It’s chewy and “Q”. Do ask the service staff for help to scoop these into your soup.

Dumplings, meatball with cheese, Chinese cabbage.

No idea what this is, but it was so good! The trick is to dip this into the pipping hot soup for just three seconds. What you’ll get is a soft yet crunchy texture with a souperlicious mouthful of soup. So awesome we ordered another helping to share.

Mushroom platter.

 Don’t forget to eat your fruits!

Yuzu crushed ice, complement of Beauty in the Pot.

I was told they rotate their desserts. I really like yuzu so I’m going to count myself lucky. Don’t be shy to ask for more than one serving!

My experience at Beauty in the Pot was great. For the amount of food above, we paid in total about $200. Slightly pricey, but for the quality and service, I would say it’s worth it.

Beauty in the Pot is currently running a promotion. You’ll get a 20% discount on all food orders if you order after 1030pm every night. Be sure to make your reservations in advanced though, I called at 9pm on a Saturday night to make reservations but was told that the next available table was only at 1230am. Haha, my friend remarked that I had until 6am to try… (the Centerpoint branch is open until 6am whut.)

176 Orchard Road, #05-16, S(238843)

Daily 1130am to 630am

+65 62353557

Website here

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Himawari, Alexandra Road

Worth a try.

Himawari is one of the better quality ala carte Japanese buffets in Singapore. Its menu variety is extensive, but there are little pockets here and there which I thought could have been done better.

Sashimi platter. Large chunks of fish.

Natto Maguro. Remember to season it with lots of soy sauce!

Agedashi Toufu. Very light batter, but the sauce could be more flavourful.

Teriyaki Salmon. This was good! I think they added something to their teriyaki sauce. It’s not the commercial teriyaki that you can find outside.

Chicken Katsu Toji. This was good too.

Mixed Tempura. Lightly battered which made it really crunchy and not jelat at all.

Beef fillet. Skip this. It was too beefy and cold when served.

Amaebi. All time favourite.

California Roll.

Crab Patty.

Sukiyaki. The sweetness was not too overwhelming, which kept us asking for more beef.

Sukiyaki beef. Yums!

They offer sushi as well and I know what you’re thinking. Why eat sushi at a buffet right? I forgot to take a picture but their sushi is done Japanese style, meaning, toppings are more than the rice. I get super frustrated with Singapore sushi because the rice is always more than the topping so I was quite pleased with Himawari’s sushi.

Himawari at Alexandra also serves Shabu-Shabu and Teppanyaki but we were too full to try their Shabu-Shabu. As for the Teppanyaki, you have to proceed to an outdoor seating area and dine there. Visiting for lunch, it was scorching hot and not a single soul went outside for the Teppanyaki. Time for Himawari to rethink their Teppanyaki?

For the lunch time price of $57 after taxes and service charge, I felt that Himawari lacked that premium feel to its buffet. Though the variety was arguably excellent, the whole buffet felt very basic. The sashimi variety was very limited, no ikura (salmon roe), no cha soba, no fancy sushi rolls, limited grilled dishes, budget ice cream, and more.

What irked me really was how they would impose a tonne of additional charges on you if you chose different options. For example, if you wanted to change your Shabu-Shabu soup to a better flavoured one – additional 5++. Fresh wasabi – additional 1.50++. Free flow soft drinks and one scoop of premium ice cream – additional 8++. Even wanting a cup of coffee would set you back by another 4++. Any desire to visit Himawari a second time has been killed by this.

991B Alexandra Road, #01-08/09, S(119970)

+65 6272 1110

Daily 1130pm to 230pm, 6pm to 10pm

Website here. You can download their buffet menu from there.

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Sa Yum, Club Street

Worth a try.

A Friday evening dinner at Sa Yum seemed too quiet for the busy street outside. You wonder if the food is nice. Perhaps people are more willing to indulge in their cold fizzy beer than a bowl of warm tom yam soup?

Look for the bright yellow Sa Yum sign!

Tom Yam Soup with Chicken ($12. You can choose the prawn option for $15).

Being a tom yam soup fanatic, it’s always the first thing I order at any Thai restaurant. I have very high expectations for tom yam soups. I rate the standard of a Thai eatery by how delicious it’s tom yam soup is, because it’s like eating chicken rice from Boon Tong Kee. If you can’t even get it right, then what are you here for?!

Sa Yum’s tom yam soup was delicious. The sweet, spicy, and sour were perfectly balanced. Their serving portion was rather generous too. I expected to see just a few pieces of meat but no, Sa Yum makes sure it’s reasonable for you.

It doesn’t come with rice (erm the rice costs $2, seriously…?) but I was rather pleased with the soup that I finished the entire bowl without the need for rice. 

Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken ($12. You can choose the prawn option for $15).

This was disappointing. They already prepared the fried rice beforehand, presumably they produced it in a large quantity and set it aside for the dinner crowd. It was warm, but not straight from the wok piping hot and fragrant. Very obvious that it was not freshly prepared. Really disappointing. Well I guess I would recommend skipping this dish when you’re there.

Fingerbites.

Mains.

If you look at the prices carefully you’ll see that it’s actually quite pricy (really? samosas for $10? rice for $2? mango sticky rice for $10?) but if you’re ordering to share, the price might not be that expensive per pax after all. 

42 Club Street, S(069420)

Open daily from 11am to 12am, closed on Sundays

+65 6221 1180

Website here

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