The Quarters @ Icon Village: Mod-Sin cuisine done justice?

Don't get me wrong. I do love my fried chicken, and coffee, and having them together. The latter was excellent, my piccolo latte carrying a tinge of acidity with a good long finish (beans are sourced from Papa Palheta, hence a definite crowd pleaser there). The Har Cheong Gai ($8.50) though was a tad underwhelming, yes, no doubt they were fried till crispy golden brown, but it failed to deliver flavorwise, the prawn paste almost forgotten. What the Quarters succeeded in was that accompanying mini ramekin of power belachan (which can be purchased by the jar!), robust in flavors with a helluva spicy kick and a good touch of acidity. I was frantically using the chicken as a vessel to get it into my mouth!

Oops, pardon me, I've gotten ahead of myself here. Lunch was at The Quarters located at revamped extension of Icon Village. Choosing to dine on the weekend in an establishment that was cradled in the center of the CBD area meant a particularly roomy dining area dedicated to the gang. The concept is simple,.. local flavors with a modern perspective. Brilliant, and with that, there's room for error, a leeway for finding excuses to undershooting people's expectations. Read on...

Cleverly named Fwah ($18.80), this dish combines pan fried foie gras with scrambled eggs, ikura and soy glaze and dishes it up on a plate almost like a painting of sorts. The star of the dish however was severely overcooked, the decadent foie gras with a beauty crust outside had endured too much heat, the fats rendered down a little too much for my liking, leaving a soggy mess. Not a dish I would pay for at a simple establishment like this.

Another appetiser was the Calamari ($12.80), yet again another spectacle that delivered a greasy affair which left an oil slick in the mouth. That amazing curry dip though, was really something!

A couple of dishes later and you'll be reaching out for the liquids, The Quarterade is an excellent thirst quencher, it's potent mixture of lemon, dill and mint perfect for the sweltering heat or just to fight fire with all the magical saucery taking place.

Those who are looking for a leaner option should get the Wafu Beef Salad ($14), think ribeye steak, fresh greens and an aromatic ginger soy dressing. This would be a sublime treat complimentary to your gym workouts. 

The Samsui Chicken Salad ($12) is also another dish for the health nuts, here, poached chicken is featured alongside assorted green, cherry tomatoes and an "onsen egg". I found the chili dressing to be a over-assertive, raping the back of the throat with its potent flavors. Some fine tuning in desperate need here.

The mains menu at The Quarters tends towards the more generic cafe food side with offerings such as fish and chips, pastas, burgers and the mandatory grilled fish as a healthier option. The Ma Jie's Indulgence ($18) was an overly sweet chili crab linguine, despite its generous portions, did not sit well with the rest of the group. 

Another dish that failed to meet the mark was the Raffles Gaga ($16), the leatherjacket fried to an inch of its life, leaving us devoid of the flaky fish you would expect to find digging into the piping hot golden crust. 

A pedestrian burger kills my spirit, the Shiok Burger ($16), with a patty conceived of pork mince and homemade rempah spices stray towards the dry side of life - it's just missing a brightness (where's the saucery when you need it?) to justify its price. 

The best investment of the lot had to be The Great Escape ($18.80) - pan fried barramundi with accompaniments of a lemongrass and ginger flower perfumed sauce, this Vietnamese influenced dish was very good, the perfect cook on the green beans reaffirming our opinions. We demolished this and mopped the plate of any lingering sauce with fries as vessels.

More than just about the savories, The Quarters carry its Mod-Sin approach into the desserts realm. My strong recommendations would be the Bibik's Brownie ($9.80) for a stellar finish to the meal, the innovative buah keluak ice cream melding the natural nuttiness of this Peranakan cuisine mainstay to the associated rich flavors of a chocolate ice cream, without any actual chocolate being incorporated in there! Genius! The Duriancanboleh ($7) is good for durian lovers, the creme brulee benefiting from the luxurious use of the mao shan wang species, accented by a burnt sugary crust. 

Give the Wonderffle ($9.80) a miss if you're finicky about your waffles, these were limp and incredibly stodgy, opt instead to have your lemongrass ice cream ala carte. Made in house, this carried a slightly icy texture, but was on top of its game flavor wise. The Bomb! ($8.80) could have use a heavier hand of sweet potato in the cream, perhaps caramelising it in the oven would be a better method to bring out the natural sugars.

The Quarters attempts to deliver its new modern approach to familiar local flavors, to be frank, the hits and misses are unavoidable as much as they are endearing. Taking to feedback very well, the humble establishment is always seeking better ways to improve on its food. Let's just hope this one has staying power.

The Quarters
#01-09 Icon Village
16 Enggor Street
t: 68344174

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am - 10pm
Sat: 10am - 10pm
Sun: 10am - 6pm

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