Before, after and during… Ok maybe context is irrelevant……..
I spend an undisclosed amount of time trawling through #sgig, seeking out the latest must-try eating spots in the eclectic foodie scene of Singapore.
I spied a number of brunch and dinner posts featuring a new addition to the scene, Chopsuey, a new ‘East meets West’ concept restaurant established by the people behind P.S. Cafe. For foodies unfamiliar with P.S. Cafe, there were originally three sites in Singapore, boasting to-die-for Truffle Fries, however one of their branches was transformed into Chopsuey.
Christmas Eve 2013 approached much faster than I expected it to and before in knew it I was completely behind in finding somewhere to celebrate…. Until I remembered this venue and made a last minute booking which was accommodated for efficiently!
Set in Dempsey Hill, an area of restored army barracks which is now home to many other interesting eating venues, the restaurant interior is truly unique. High ceilings and an airy old-time bungalow accommodates for diners ranging from small to large groups with beautiful marble tables.
Firstly, a little quirk about the water. An odd thing to notice however, there was a particularly fresh taste to it which I was unable to explain until I walked past the bar and noticed that it was infused with carrot and strawberry. I love how each detail about the dining experience was carefully thought out.
Dining with Mumma, Papa, lol’ Bro and my aunt meant that there was room to try more dishes! My aunt is unable to take shell-fish and too much meat so our waitress was more than happy to suggest dishes which we could all enjoy as well as items which she thought the for of us should not miss out on!
Our first starter was the San Choy Bow. This was very different from the usual meat laden dish which we are used to, filled with fresh beansprouts, mushrooms and other vegetables. I went back for a few more spoonfuls of filling….
Lil’ Bro spent the rest of the night raving about the Duck Pockets. The restaurant happily added an extra serve to allow enough for the table….but being the observant big sister, I saw that one was simply insufficient for my growing brother, so I managed one bite before surrendering the rest of my share to Lil’ Bro. The duck was tender and the accompanying picked carrots added the perfect touch, contrasting the milder texture of the duck and taste of the ‘bao’. This was definitely an interesting twist on the typical ‘Peking Duck’ dish.
On recommendation of our waitress, we ordered the Soft Shell Crab Roll. The crab was wrapped in a fried tofu skin and being a tofu fanatic, I rather enjoyed the crispy textures that this starter presented. The flavones weren’t as impressionable as the first two dishes, however it was enjoyable nevertheless.
Mains started with the famous Mud Crab Fried Rice. Being the health-nut of my family, I was excited to see that instead of the sometimes overly oily and starchy/clumpy fried rice, mixed long grains were used, adding a nutty taste to the well cooked crab. This was definitely a hit with the four of us… My aunt really missed out on this one!
The Red Emperor Fish was ordered because 1. I never say no to seafood and 2. Fish has become a staple part of my aunts diet. It was ‘fried to perfection’ as described by the menu and accompanied with a chili-jam. While the dish was enjoyed by all and the chili-jam added a great dimension to the flavours of the dish, my mind still wandered back to the incredibly fresh fried fish back in Sydney’s Golden Century. It didn’t have the freshness which I had hoped for, but then again I feel like GC sets a standard for my taste buds which is incredibly hard to compete with…
Another suggestion was a special of the day, Kaffir Fried Pork. This dish was similar in texture to a very well executed Sweet and Sour a pork, however the flavours were much more distinct and fresh with the integration of many different spices. This was definitely one of those dishes that become slightly addictive.
Sweet and Sour Fries…strange it may sound…and strange it was. Fries were combined with the traditional sweet and sour sauce which was well executed, however, for me I felt that this combination was not harmonious. The fries ended up losing any of the ‘crispness’ which make good fries. It may have been better to either have the sauce on the side or create a salt infused with these flavours if that is even possible….
Crispy Greens were in order to ‘cleanse’ our palates. The broth added to the fresh vegetables was delicious yet mild and was a great addition to cut through the accompanying bold flavours of the meal.
Dessert time rolled around and I had heard too much about the Steamed Banana Pudding to leave without trying it, however we were all satisfied with the amount already devoured so sharing was in order. A quick tactical plan with the waitress and an order for the famous Apple Galette was also put in. Two desserts shared… Easily done!
The Apple Galette had a light and crispy pastry, not overly buttery and was accompanied with my one of my favorite flavour combinations of Apple and cinnamon. With the cold vanilla bean ice cream we were all happy with this dessert…nothing exceptionally different or unique but definitely delicious.
The grand finale came with the Steamed Banana Pudding. Oh my goodness, this tasted both healthy and ridiculously sinful. As per my usual description of soufflés, this was like eating a cloud! The fresh banana and Asian element of coconut and gula melaka created what I would vote as an all-time favorite dessert. It was both light and full of flavour….mmmmm.
Thus our Christmas Eve dinner came to a sad end….yes I just wanted more of that dessert. It was definitely interesting seeing how the culture of food has transformed yet again in Singapore, with even more amalgamation of culinary flavours in one meal from Thai tasting fish to a European Apple galette.
With the bill came the iconic Fortune Cookies that we all love to hate – a humorous touch to the meal…I can’t remember the last time I have been given fortune cookies in a restaurant!
Although the traditionalists would scold us for paying absorbent amounts for fried rice, I can’t help but debate that this is a rather different experience from that of a hawker center and the thought put into switching and improving flavours is indeed worth the price tag.
If you’re in Singapore on holiday or a local looking for something different, definitely find your way to Chopsuey, whether it be for a special occasion or a treat. I am hoping to try their lunch menu before I return to Sydney… I might have the Banana Pudding again…maybe…
Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy a day full of love and memory making!