More than a couple of foodie friends around me seems to be rather excited about the good news, and pictures of its food that has started to surface on Instagram sure looked delicious and tempting! No need to think so much, I quickly made a trip down to Ujong for a virgin taste of Madam Tan's creations!
Occupying the unit vacated by Ah Teng's Bakery, this is now where Madam Tan's Singapore dishes with a modern twist will be showcased. The lady has certainly come a long way since the day she ditched her corporate suit as a corporate events director to start her hawker stall at Maxwell Food Centre selling nasi lemak.
Expect some Wok & Barrel favorites like Nasi Lemak ($16.90) and Ba Chor Mee Pasta ($25.90), as well as interesting-sounding Yusheng Salmon Ceviche and Salad ($25.90), Claypot Rice with Duck Char Siew or 5-Spice Pork ($23.90) and Singapore's Chicken Rice ($19.90) where the local rice dish is presented unlocally in Japanese's onigiri style.
The concept is undisputedly innovative in certain ways, but we thought execution for some of the dishes which we tried could be better. For instance, though the noodle texture of the Har Zi Meen, Prawn Flavored Noodles with Crispy Pork ($17.90) was enjoyably springy and tasted delectable in an Indomie-inspired dressing of kicap manis, onion and garlic, the dish's overall merits was pulled down by the crispy pork as its batter smacked of an undesirable powdery mouthfeel.
Fried Chicken Wings ($16.90) glistened with way too much oil, but we finished it anyway as the meat's retained moisture and nice prawn paste marination made it still palatable.
I also wondered if the taste of Hae Bee Hiam Mentaiko Capellini ($25.90) has purposely been overly muted to suit more international tastebuds (since Ujong is located in a hotel), as the fragrance and spiciness anyone would expect of a dried shrimp paste accentuated dish is almost non-existent.
The steamed coconut rice was done extremely well with a perfectly soft yet dry, grainy texture and its wonderful fragrance intensified with every chew. There are several choices like curry chicken or banana leaf-wrapped grilled fish with otak rempah to accompany it, and I thought we made an brilliant decision of having it with beef rendang, ooh those satisfying chunks of fork tenderness cooked in aromatic spices!
The combination may seem decadent, but surprisingly rested lightly on the palate. We cleaned out the whole plate. The nasi lemak is a MUST-ORDER!
Desserts of Puloh Hitam Pudding ($15.90) with gula melaka butterscoth served with coconut ice cream and Shendol Delights ($15.90), where our familiar chendol takes on the form of panna cotta with gula melaka syrup topped with homemade red bean ice cream, needs more fine-tuning in terms of both presentation and taste.
Maybe it's too soon to visit Ujong when it's only in its infancy stage of two weeks as new establishments would probably need some time to overcome their teething problems and settle down, especially on the kitchen side. Aiyah, maybe I'm too impatient. The service rendered was great though, making the overall dining experience a pleasant one.
Ujong at Raffles Hotel
Address: 328 North Bridge Road, #01-10 Raffles Hotel Arcade, Singapore 188719
Contact: +65 91073028
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 8am-10pm