Even before the official opening of Lemak Boys at Shaw Centre, the Nasi Lemak specialty eatery got into some controversy when it was reviewed that they served “Peranakan Nasi Lemak”.
That was later clarified and changed to “Peranakan-influenced Nasi Lemak” after some social media backlash.
Lemak Boys’ statement, “8days has since updated their article and header after we have reached out to them to clarify. As this was an unpaid food review, we are not in control of the opinion of the writer or what their editor chooses for a header.”
There is a school of thought that believes “any publicity is good publicity”. Looking at the mini-queue outside waiting, perhaps there is truth to that statement.
Lemak Boys is a concept of the Les Amis Group, and the three chefs (also featured in the logo) were from Indigo Blue Kitchen right next door.
The dish in the centre of this controversy is the $12.50 Nasi Lemak.
”Wah, can buy 3 plates at a hawker centre already.”
There will be people who question this high price tag, but perhaps Lemak Boys took their cue from The Coconut Club’s $14.90 Nasi Lemak which faced similar criticisms of pricing when the eatery first opened.
Well, the The Coconut Club has gone on to attract constant long queues, a visit from PM Lee, and a Michelin Bib Gourmand.
A Nasi Lemak plate contains a piece of fried chicken berempah, vegetable omelette, otah, fried ikan billis, peanuts, and sambal.
The key component which is coconut rice while light, fluffy, and slightly fragrant, came room-temperature cold and a tad oily to my liking.
If one hasn’t tried enough respectable Nasi Lemak hawker stalls around (just taking for example Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak at Adam Road Food Centre), then the Lemak Boys’ take can be considered a noteworthy version.
As for the other ingredients there were a couple of hits and misses.
The chunky square of juicy otah, and the crispy fried chicken berempah with spiced-fragrance were the highlights.
Some sambal chilli was added separately to the prawns, and didn’t taste like they gelled well together compared to a version if the prawns were seeped with those flavours.
Talking about sambal (another type different from the prawns), it tasted rather flat and couldn’t ‘lift’ the dish up, lacking in that multi-layered excitement.
Also available is a Premium Nasi Lemak ($18.50) which comes with Sayur Lodeh – which I found lacked in the coconut-fragrance and characteristic sweetness.
Other than Nasi Lemak, customers may want to choose the Laksa ($12.50, $18.50 for premium) with generous portion of prawns (I counted three).
It reminded me of a rich and lemak Laksa that you can find in a 3 or 4 star hotel buffet – good enough if you are hungry, but won’t warrant an additional bowl.
The creamy and not-too-sweet dessert of Chendol Pudding ($3) is worth the try; though it is a wasted opportunity that drinks such as the Lemongrass come in bottles rather than ‘homemade’.
1, #03-10 Scotts Rd, Shaw Centre, Singapore 228208
Tel: +65 6235 3218
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 6pm – 9pm (Mon – Sun)