Local celebrity host Mark Lee 李国煌 has ventured into another business, this time a chicken rice and coffee eatery 13 Stages at Kallang Wave Mall.
A highlight of this casual food shop is that it serves 7 flavours of chicken, 13 types of kopi.
(Click PLAY for highlights of 13 Stages, and find out what Mark Lee has to say.)
Opened by Mark-gor, his wife Catherine and two friends Dion and Lynn, I would have thought 13 Stages referred to the coffee beans.
It actually meant that Mark has been through 13 stages of showbiz, from calefare, comedian, host… to the current stage of movie producer.
The Imperial Chicken Rice, cleverly named “帝煌鸡” in Mandarin where one of the words coincides with Mark’s Chinese name, is not quite the ordinary Chinese Rice.
Only chicken legs are used in this dish, served in bamboo steamers which helped to lock in the moisture and natural flavours of the chicken.
The 7 flavours include Samsui, Danggui, Sesame, Mala, Indonesian, Assam and Curry Chicken. If only they have 13 different styles.
The Samsui Chicken ($8.90) was the recommended, topped with ginger and spices, and served with chicken rice and soup.
While I was thinking “Soup Restaurant”, the soupy base of the chicken was more to the sweeter side. I thought it would taste more herbal with even stronger garlic taste.
However, the portion was generous, and chicken generally tender and soft. The rice wasn’t oily, with slight aroma.
I preferred the Curry Chicken ($8.90) if given the choice. Cooked in a nonya style, the gravy had a light Assam tone, subtlely sour, and neither excessively rich nor creamy.
Other dishes you can expect here include Golden Chicken Floss ($4.90) and Crispy Ducky Wrap ($6.50).
The Duck Wrap reminded me of a casual style of Peking Duck, and thought it would have paired better with Hoisin sauce rather than Thai chilli sauce.
There are 13 different types of kopi, with coffee beans sourced from varied states in Malaysia, and each representing the characteristic of coffee from that particular state.
If choosing is hard for you, I would recommend the sampler Gems of 3 States Kopi set ($4.60 for hot, $5.20 for cold) to try kopi from 3 separate Malaysian states.
Between the Johor, Melaka and Penang, I liked the Penang most which was velvety smooth, balanced – not too rich, bitter or sweet. The Johor was more to the milky side, and would please those with a sweet tooth.
The concept of 13 Stages could work to attract families for a fuss-free meal of chicken rice and coffee, though I thought some of the side dishes could need some fine-tuning.
1 Stadium Place, #01-41, Kallang Wave Mall, Singapore 397628 (Stadium MRT)
Tel: +65 6384 0502
Opening hours: 10:00am – 9:00pm Daily