The Coconut Club is proof that if you do one thing right, the crowd will come. Make that two – the Nasi Lemak and Cendol.
So much so that it was quite quickly listed in the Michelin Bib Gourmand Singapore, and received the support of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that he hosted Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte there when he came visiting.
You can also find a rendition of the dish served at Shangri-La Hotel’s The Lobby Lounge.
The eatery has recently moved down the road to 28 Ann Siang Road – bigger space, cooking Padang style, shorter queuing time, and loads of new Malay style dishes.
The Nasi Lemak specialist first got into the foodie limelight with their $12.80 Nasi Lemak, served at the hipster district of Ann Siang Hill.
People were then questioning its price tag and if it was just gimmicky. After all, you can probably get Nasi Lemak at a hawker stall for about $4.
But that $12.80 Nasi Lemak does come with a good portion, in an air-conditioned environment, and every ingredient that has gone into the plate is well thought-through.
Even when I visited during 11am plus on a weekday, The Coconut Club was almost packed to the brim.
There were people coming for early lunches, and many tourists have included this place in their itinerary.
As this is still their soft launch period at the new location, do give them some time to settle down as they fully iron out their operations.
Vibes are generally energetic as service staff treat one another like old-pals – calling all orders across the room, but some customers may think that the environment is on the noisier end as the space is quite echoey.
My initial order was mixed up/forgotten, but it is understandable as they had quite a crowd.
A plate of Nasi Lemak comes with coconut rice, chicken leg (or breast), ikan billis (anchovies), peanuts, cucumber, fried egg and sambal.
Here is what’s so special about the rice: Old crop Thai Jasmine Rice is used.
Coconuts are from one specific plantation in Sabak Bernam, with a type called the MAWA (The Malaysian West African strain).
This coconut milk is squeezed in-house, and has a creamier, richer texture.
The verdict: The rice was lovely and fluffy, with that undemanding aroma that didn’t overwhelm. I don’t always finish my Nasi Lemak rice as it could be both oily and heavy.
This happened to be quite light – I cleaned out (again). Sedap in an understated sort of way.
The chicken was the other tasty element, rubbed with lemongrass, galangal and turmeric, carrying with it Asian flavours rather than just a generic fried chicken. Not as juicy as the last time I had it, but still good.
The other component I noticed this time was the Japanese cucumbers, which added this refreshing sweetness.
They also offer a number of side dishes from Fried Fish, Sambal Lala, Assam Pedas, Sambal Sotong, Otak-Otak, and Sayur Lemak (priced between $8.50 to $15.80). These are regional Malay dishes that the staff has been enjoying at their own homes.
Customers had smaller portions complimentary as it was their soft-launch special phase.
Both dishes I had were decent, and if I needed to nit-pick, the Sambal Sotong could have been spicier with more fragrance, while the Curry Chicken with a sayur lodeh like gravy could have some cabbage and tofu cubes added for added bite.
Oh, I previously wrote that it would be great if the Cendol ($3.80) had red beans added, and now there is an option of added Hokkaido adzuki red beans (additional $1.20).
The Cendol still remains as one of the best you can get in Singapore – creamy, milky with tasty caramelised gula melaka.
Good food like Nasi Lemak, brings people together. The Coconut ‘Club’, is an appropriate name indeed.
The Coconut Club
28 Ann Siang Road Singapore 069708 (Chinatown MRT)
Tel: +65 8748 1869
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 9:30pm (Mon – Sat) 11:00am – 3:00pm (Sun Lunch Only)