Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ujong @ Raffles

Known best for her Crispy Chicken with Nasi Lemak, Chef Shen Tan is now back in action. This time, at the very iconic The Raffles Hotel. When asked why she decided to come back into the food scene after a year long hiatus, her answer was somewhat linked to the location of the new restaurant - UJONG.

In fact, to some extent i do wholeheartedly agree that her dishes (mostly incorporating local flavours in them) deserve to be a part of The Raffles Hotel - a place renowned for its rich colonial history. The dishes available at UJONG resemble what used to be served at the previous Wok & Barrel, alongside a few new additions.

For a start, we highly recommend the Yusheng Salmon Ceviche and Salad which comes with fresh greens, topped with a pretty generous serving of salmon sashimi dressed in lime and plum sauce. We liked how the tartness from the tangy sauce didn't overpower the freshness of the salmon and the different vegetables such as cucumber, lettuce and carrots gave the dish different textures and vibrancy.

An item not to be missed at wherever Chef Shen is will be her signature Nasi Lemak. Served with different sides, one can choose between Beef Rendang, Lamb Curry, Five Spice Roast Pork, Crispy Fried Chicken, just to name a few. In all honesty, if i ever had a choice, i would wish for all 4 of the above sides mentioned to be served on one plate! Accompanied with achar, ikan billis and fried egg, the portion for the Nasi Lemak is one i would consider hearty and fulfilling.

If you are a noodle person, head for the Ba Chor Mee Pasta which we thought was an interesting modern take on the classic bowl of noodles we normally get at hawker centres. At UJONG, the 'Ba Chor Mee' is served with handmade tagliatelle pasta tossed in a semi spicy black sauce with the signature Five Spice Pork.

The few new additions to the existing Wok & Barrel menu available at UJONG includes the Hae Bee Hiam Mentaiko Capellini,  as well as the Claypot Rice with Five Spice Pork which we both raved about. By now, you should have realised that the Five Spice Pork is literally in almost everything. Cooked with salted fish, two different kinds of sausages (goose liver and chinese sausage), the Claypot Rice left me in a dilemma with the Nasi Lemak as its close competitor. The rice was extremely flavourful and fragrant and there was aplenty of meat on top of the soft, fluffy bed of rice.

For dessert, dive straight into the Shendol Delights (yes, Shendol because of the chef, Shen). The re-intepreted version of the Chendol dessert is a creamy smooth coconut panna cotta served with brown sugar (gula melaka) syrup and a house made red bean ice cream. Truth is, i wiped out almost the whole plate and shamelessly asked if i could have another.

All in all, both the partner and i like how the dishes at UJONG are priced reasonably despite their location (we also think it is the most value for money place to dine in The Raffles Hotel). In addition, all the dishes came in good, hearty portions which we felt were worth every penny. You are not going to expect small, petite and pretentious plating at UJONG. Instead, what you will get is a meal that will make you look at our local food from a different perspective the next time you are out at a hawker centre. I mean, Bak Chor Mee Pasta and Chendol served panna cotta style - who could have thought of that? I'm just glad the chef is back!

UJONG @ Raffles
328 North Bridge Road
Raffles Hotel Arcade, #01-10
Singapore 188719
+65 6635 6502

This was an invited media tasting.

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