Is Jiakpalang Eating House, the new makan spot at Alexandra going to be next in line?
The name “Jiakpalang” is a playful take on the Singlish term “chapalang”, referring to a coming-together of seemingly unrelated things. Anything goes.
It serves up Singapore food and zhi char fare with a modern and playful take, all at affordable everyday prices.
I was surprised to see Executive Chef Nixon Low behind the counter, previously from Portico – and he did some fanciful yet tasty dishes there in the past.
Some of the dishes you can expect from Jiakpalang include Bak Kut Teh Jelly with You Tiao ($9), Charcoal Katarosu Pork Collar ($16), Yuzu Lala Clams ($12), Salted Egg Soft Shell Crab ($12), ‘Ang Ji Kao’ Stout-Braised Beef Cheek ($17), and Low’s unique take on the iconic Milo Dinosaur ($8).
Overall, I think that Jiakpalang is promising, but it needs some fine tuning here and there, especially in terms of its identity and the naming of some of the dishes.
In terms of décor, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was trying to achieve with its two entirely different look.
The front was skewed towards a comfortable bistro setting in earthy colours; while the back part with red chairs retro posters cheekily printed “Where’s my Lontong” and “We can Tarik” was a lot more casual.
The dish of Har Cheong ($13) demonstrated the possible potential of the restaurant. It was unexpected, and I liked it very much.
A deconstructed Prawn Paste Chicken of sorts, with chicken roulade having that distinct aroma associated with the zhi char dish, was presented with shredded purple cabbage.
It was tasty, it was also fun.
The Charcoal Katarosu Pork Collar ($16) came in a plate of brown ‘soil’, drizzled over with Kopi-C sauce, wok-fried with garlic chives.
The combination of slight-bitter-sweet coffee and savoury meat worked well, though the presentation alone wasn’t the most inviting. Don’t judge a dish alone by its look.
I also had the “Bak Kut Teh” with You Tiao, though this was the dish that turned out to be disappointing, as it didn’t capture the essence of the local pork rib dish in terms of pepperiness and robustness.
Diners enjoy Mod-Sin food because it is both familiar yet playful.
By and large, most of the dishes on the menu seemed to be quite experimental, so I think they can afford to up that element of familiarity to appeal to a larger crowd.
Jiakpalang Eating House
456 Alexandra Rd #01-06 Fragrance Empire Building Singapore 119962 (Next to Alexandra Retail Centre, Labrador Park MRT station)
Opening Hours: Lunch 11.30am to 3pm Last order at 2.30pm,
Tea 3pm to 6pm
Happy Hour 3pm to 8pm
Dinner 6pm to 10pm
(Mon – Fri), Closed Sat – Sun