[Closing] Ujong – Singapore Signature Dishes at Raffles Hotel
[Updated Apr 2015] UJONG @ Raffles will cease its operations on 1st May 2015. It’s last day of operation will be on 30th April 2015, until 10pm.
Ujong at Raffles Hotel has been through some up and downs in a short span of time. Out went celebrated local mod-sin Chef Shen Tan, in came Chef Mark Richards who also helms NUVO at Marina Square.
While nothing much of the interior has changed, the entire menu has returned to classic Singapore favourites, with five categories Street Eats, Food Fare, Food Feasts, Side Dishes and Desserts.
Expect the likes of Char Kway Teow ($16), Lobster Fried Rice ($22), Nasi Lemak ($15) and Laksa ($18). The food is safe and dependable. On the flipside, nothing is really stopping the average local customer from going to kopitiam to eat similar stuff. It seems like they would be targeting the travellers residing in Raffles Hotel.
To their credit, some of the dishes I tried were not too bad at all. The Chee Cheong Fun with Foie Gras ($18) while sounding gimmicky, actually tasted good on its own even without the decadent foie gras sauce. And it’s smooth, thinly layered.
There were some hits and misses. The Char Kway Teow and Lotus Rice (part of the 30licious promotion) fared well with its generous portion and authenticity, but the Orh Nee ($12 Yam Paste) felt it would do with less sweetness and more moisture. More coconut cream, and perhaps they can do away with the ‘Sling umbrella’ which did look out of place.
Let’s hope Ujong, can turn the tide around.
[Previous entry – Chef Shen Tan has left Ujong to focus on her food consultation work. She would be “focusing on her new role as a Culinary Director at Gastrogig” and conduct cooking classes at ToTT. Previously the Executive Chef at NUVO, Chef Mark Richards is now in charge of the new menu’s direction.]
When Wok & Barrel closed, regulars lamented over the loss of a hang out place, but all the more a restaurant which was able to reinvent our local delicacies. The good news is, you are able to get the taste back at Restaurant Ujong Raffles Hotel.
Chef Shen Tan, more commonly known as Madam Tan, has made a timely comeback at Singapore’s famed Raffles Hotel, filling a void from Ah Teng Bakery.
Some of the Wok & Barrel favourites will still be found at the new restaurant, such as the Nasi Lemak ($16.90-$19.90) and Ba Chor Mee Pasta ($25.90), except that it will cost a few dollars more.
The new dishes unique to Ujong include Yusheng Slmon Ceviche and Salad ($25.90), Singapore’s Claypot Rice ($19.90), Hae Bee Hiam Mentaiko Capellini ($25.90) and Prawn Flavoured Har Zi Meen ($17.90).
Restaurant Ujong’s standout dish is easily the Nasi Lemak. After all, Madam Tan made fame for this dish since her days at Maxwell Food Centre.
The fragrant rice is still painstakingly cooked by twice steaming over a three-hour period, ensuring a fluffy texture and a lemak taste which is not too heavy. This is complimented with its unique brands of both home-made sambal belachan and sweet nasi lemak chilli.
The Beef Rendang version ($19.90) we had offered chunks (we counted four) of fork-tender meats.
My next favourite dish was the Har Zi Meen ($17.90), a dish of prawn flavoured noodles in an Indomie-inspired dressing of kicap manis (sweet soy sauce), onion and garlic.
Its verdict was divided among our table though. While I like the springiness and tasty marinate of the thin noodles, the crispy pork’s batter might have went too heavy in flour, thus giving a powdery outer layer. And we wondered why the oil did not taste fresh.
Similarly, while we generally liked the hint of prawn paste in the crispy Chicken Wings ($16.90 for 6), but the oil was not well-drained and left a weird lingering after-taste.
We suspect this could be a case of creative innovation faced with inelegant execution. (Madam Tan wasn’t in the kitchen anyway, and we understand that the restaurant is still very new.)
Both the signature desserts, the Puloh Hitam Pudding with Gula Melaka Butterscotch ($15.90) and Shendol Coconut Pannacotta with Gular Melaka Syrup ($15.90) were inventive takes on familiar desserts, but presentation could be enhanced.
The ice cream melted in one, and wasn’t aesthetically well-scooped in the other.
Service was excellent, in typical Raffles Hotel ‘gentlemanly’ style. While taste-wise is uneven at its start, the team would probably need some time to iron out the details. And to fans, it has probably been a long wait.
Ujong at Raffles Hotel
328 North Bridge Road, #01-10 Raffles Hotel Arcade Singapore, Singapore 188719 (City Hall MRT)
Tel: +65 9107 3028
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm Daily
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