Chow Fun Restaurant and Bar: Modern Noodle bar in the Grandstand
Labels: bukit timah, downtown line, family friendly, fusion, Grandstand, hidden finds, modern, noodle, sixth avenue, southeast asian, tapas · Posted by SiHaN at 6/10/2016 07:00:00 pm
Nestled in the heart of The Grandstand, everything about the newly opened Chow Fun Bar and Restaurant is fresh and fun! Stepping in, one is almost instantaneously transported to an underground American Chinatown eatery. The intimate space sports quirky decor, everything from vintage 1930 postcards to a feature wall of fortune cat figurines to a hand-painted dragon mural. The space practically thrums with energy and character, something also reflected by the concept and menu.
Having spent 20 years in the US, Singaporean chef and owner Alicia Lin serves up an unconventional menu of 18 different Asian and Western inspired noodle dishes, many with innovative interpretations. To bump up the unique factor, all noodle dishes are served in $2.90 tasting portions, inviting guests on a gastronomic adventure where one can try a myriad of noodle types and tastes. As someone with eclectic inclinations and who is admittedly insatiable when it comes to food flavors, this concept is absolutely perfect.
Tempted yet? Get ready to be spoilt completely rotten for choice!
Before we get to the noodles, there is an impressive array of starters that double up as bar bites if you choose to take advantage of the all-day happy hour here. The Potato, Bonito and Cheese Pancake ($5.90) is a total umami bomb of bonito flakes, spring onions and cheese on top of a fried pancake of potato slices. The Fish Roe Fish Balls ($6.90) were a little tough to chew probably due to a skewered flour to fish meat ratio in the batter, but the delectable mentaiko filling that bursts forth is totally worth those extra bites. The homemade Mom's White Radish Cake ($5.90) is another crowd pleaser, there's pleasure to be found in the contrast between the pan-fried crunchy exterior and plump softness encased within. I do think that the flavorings from traditional ingredients like lup cheong and hae bee could be more pronounced though.
Now on to the main attractions. We polished off a grand total of 9 noodle dishes, but that only just covered half of the extensive selection.
The Ginger and Scallion Rice Noodles are a great way to start off your meal. Finely Chopped spring onions meet grated ginger, sesame oil and mirin in a light cold noodle dish. It tasted very much like the ginger scallion oil used in Cantonese white-cut poached chicken. If you have ever tried and loved the Samsui Chicken from Soup Kitchen, this is definitely a dish to go for!
The Bimbim Guksu has all the quintessential flavors of korea: gochujang, soy glazed roasted pork belly and a vegetable pickle. Instead of normal kimchi, radish is used to bring a tart dimension to the already heady composition of flavors in the dish. The lovely soft boiled egg and spring onion adding pleasing textures as well. A trust bowl that I can recommend.
As a lover of penne, I was so stoked that this form of pasta was used for the Wild Mushroom and Truffle Pasta and Pink Shrimp Pasta. The first is an irresistibly earthy combination of shiitake, porcini and truffle oil with cream. Talk about classy comfort nosh right? The second is simply unforgettable; fresh shrimp is cooked in white wine and tomatoes, then blended with cream to produce a full-bodied sauce nothing short of spectacular. I loved the slight graininess and pink hue of the sauce as well. If you are hard pressed for tummy space, I implore you to choose these two above all else!
Fans of thick bouncy udon will be delighted to know that they have the options of Tom Yum Cream or Pineapple Fried Noodles to pick from. The former choice is vibrant - both tangy and spicy, leaving a very interesting tingy feel on your tastebuds! The thoughtful inclusion of a few previous nuggets of crispy chicken skin sure takes things up a notch. The latter is reminiscent of black carrot cake thanks to the dark sweet soy sauce and decent wok hei. Once again, an inventive addition of sweet pineapple cubes amp up this dish.
Finally, if you're feeling a little more fancy, you could top up $1.50 to give the Bone Marrow, Lemon and Parmesan Spaghetti a go. The garlic, pepper and lemon zest infuse with an balance out the generous shavings of parmiagiano-reggiano and unctous bone marrow in an exceedingly well executed dish. When it comes to such hearty and luscious noodles, you'll appreciate the right-sized portions indeed.
While most of the dishes are on point, there are unfortunately disappointments as well. The Bak Kut Teh Noodles lacks oomph, with rather insipid noodles floating around with equally 'meh' youtiao in an uninspiring broth. I'm not impressed by the Kungfu Dashi Broth either, deducing the vermicelli too hard and the idea of an economical bee hoon in soup a little too strange to stomach.
Now that the mains have been done and dusted, desserts aren't to be forgotten!
While aesthetically incomparable, the Lychee Granita and Crystal Jelly ($4.90) is honestly rather lacking in the taste department. This would be good for those seeking a refreshment to cleanse the post meal palata. Next, the tri-colored Tang Yuan ($6.90) is made in house, with the usual suspects of sesame, peanut and red bean flavors made in a ginger soup. Nothing extraordinary, but a honest homely dessert. Lastly, you can't go wrong with Salted Egg and Chocolate Lava Cake ($8.90), the ever popular sweet treat with a local spin. it is a pity that the salted egg taste is masked by the rich chocolate flavor, but this lava cake still proves pretty darn good. After all, I did wipe the plate clean in like 5 minutes tops... #NoShame
To Conclude: Variety is the spice of life, and the oodles of noodles from Chow Fun perfectly delivers with regards to this aspect. With food of novelty and quality, as well as a spirited hideaway space, Chow Fun Bar & Restaurant would be the go-to destination for anyone looking for a dining experience like no other.
Chow Fun Restaurant and Bar
200 Turf Club Road
Daily: 11am - 12am
Written and Photographer by Jordan Ong. Jordan finds happiness in the simple: to eat and drink and find satisfaction in all her toil. Besides a deep love for artisan bread, she also has a taste for adventure, activism and anything alternative.