What is it about Bukit Merah Central, that so many up-and-coming hawkerpreneurs decide to open their stalls there?

They include No. 25 Minced Meat Noodle, Yew Tee Feng Zhen Lor Mee, Jeong’s Jjajang, and 165 Pork Rib Prawn Noodles.

The other that piqued my interest was JOFA Grill. Set in a long-standing coffee shop under Block 165, the modern Western Food stall may take you by surprise in many ways.

The experience of JOFA Grill is unmistakable: chefs with serious fine dining kitchen experience helm the wood-fired grill, hitting way above the weight class you would expect.

For one, the chefs carry skills picked up from working in Michelin-starred restaurants (Burnt Ends & Joël Robuchon Restaurant), which reflects in the quality touch they put on the grilled meats dished out.

For another, they have stuck to their guns and kept up with efforts to use elevated cooking methods. The grill is fired up with charcoal and wood daily, relying on the smoke of the grill to impart extra flavour.

The painstaking cooking process results in great charcoal-grilled results, which are seldom seen in a coffee shop setting.

On the menu are Charcoal-Grilled Chicken Chop ($9.50), Chicken cutlet ($9.50), Fried Half Chicken ($11.50), and Pollock Fish and Chips ($10.50).

The Charcoal-Grilled Chicken Chop ($9.50) may look like any ordinary Western-stall classic.

However, the meaty chicken chop was charred well with a lovely smoky flavour.

Give it a dip of the black pepper sauce, blended from a secret recipe that gives a balance of spice and sweet.

There is just simple coleslaw and fries on the side. If you want more, shoot for the JOFA mashed potatoes ($3.50).

The potatoes are the very creamy sort, with a pool of gravy that you wish there was more of.

This is a recipe from the chef’s time at Joel Robuchon Restaurant. No wonder the mashed potatoes are a mean piece of work.

There is a Charcoal-Grilled Pork Chop ($9.50). Pork chops frequently suffer from overcooking, which is a problem JOFA Grill has to deal with too. For more fanciness, a 200g Charcoal-Grilled Ribeye Steak ($14.5) can be fired up too.

Leaving the grill aside for a second, there are other interesting JOFA-style pasta, which uses mee pok as the noodle base. (Part of the reason why is because they also own JOFA Mee Pok.)

There are the Thai Red Curry Mud Crab and Tobiko Pasta ($12.50), JOFA Carbonara ($7.50) and JOFA Aglio Olio ($5.50).

Therefore, I was more indifferent to their Thai Red Curry Mud Crab and Tobiki Pasta ($12.50) due to the soft noodles (would prefer something with more bite) and rich sauce that would help if it had a more layered taste.

A daring fusion, you can be the judge of its flavour.

Although JOFA Grill is not quite the cheap neighbourhood Western grill, proper restaurant quality grilled items are given in return.

Again, it is a woodfired grill in a coffee shop, and how can you not give it a try?

JOFA Grill
165 Bukit Merah Central #01-3683, Singapore 150165
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun

Other Related Entries
The Original Botak Jones (Bedok)
Western Barbeque (Old Airport Road Food Centre)
Jarrell’s Bistro (Telok Ayer)
ASAP & Co (North Bridge Road)
Lad & Dad (Tanjong Pagar)

* Written by Daniel Ang @DanielFoodDiary and Dean Ang. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.

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