Nocturnal fellows alert! GRUB Noodle Bar could possibly be the best new place for you to have a hearty and wholesome meal when those late-night hunger pangs strikes! Just opened yesterday on 16th October 2014 along Rangoon Road (opposite the stretch where Ng Ah Sio and Founder Bak Kut Teh are), their daily operations only begins at 7pm for dinner, and opens all the way till 12.30am (good lah, not that late too so that we can still get home early to have our beauty sleep).
Much thanks to Cookyn Inc which brings us their latest dining concept! If the name rings a familiar bell, it's because they are the same folks behind the successful GRUB at Bishan Park and FIX Café at HomeTeamNS.
First thing first, let's talk about their noodles since GRUB Noodle Bar is foremost a noodle bar. Their signature item is the Beef Noodles, which comes with fresh egg noodles in house-made sauce, 100% beef meatballs, minced beef & mushroom stew and a bowl of beef broth with choice of different beef cuts: Pasture-fed Brisket ($12), Pasture-fed Rump ($15), 100% Hormone & Antibotic-free 150-day Grainfed Angus Sirloin ($17) or 100% Hormone & Antibotic-free 150-day Grainfed Angus Ribeye ($19). All the beef are imported from Australia.
I would describe the beef noodles as being in an unique league of its own, very untypical of the gooey Hainanese-style version, nor those herbal soupy type.
Each bowl is served with Japanese ramen-style egg noodles that are freshly made daily with no preservatives by a local supplier. Its minced beef & mushroom stew reminds me of the local bak chor mee, and when tossed together with noodles and savory in-house sauce, it seems to be a beefy rendition of Chinese-style zha jiang mian. Meatballs are made of 100% beef and felt rather Swedish, definitely unlike the generic ones from hawker stalls. The broth hinted of a French mirepoix soup base using carrots, onions and celery.
You can see the beef noodles as dispelling conventions, or an amalgamation of different cultures. I prefer to let the taste speak for itself. Though some of its elements can be improved (the noodles can be more springy, beef balls can do with more seasoning and moisture), the overall combination is still good and makes for a very comforting meal.
I particularly enjoyed the soup, so slurpilicious light yet sweet with a nice beefy flavor without any MSG or artificial flavours. And those generous shabu shabu-style slices of ribeye swimming in it was divinely luscious with a tender bite! Fans of chinchalok can dip the beef slices into the housemade fermented shrimps concoction for added oomph!
Surprisingly, the only other noodle item offered is the Assam Laksa ($13). It was adequately sourish, spicy and tasty, but somehow lacked the robust complexity which gripped me when I had the dish in Penang. Comparison aside, the bowl of thick bee hoon with fresh prawns and refreshing cucumbers and pineapple chunks in sardine fish gravy still makes a satisfying and appetite-whetting alternative if one is not into beef.
Another appetite-whetting dish is the utterly delightful Kang Kong Salad ($7). Finally a kang kong dish done differently! Instead of being stir-fry in sambal, the crunchy greens is being presented as an appetizer tossed with nonya achar (pickled vegetables) and house dressing. Crunchy, nutty, zingy, all at once. This is a definite must-try!
Also not to be missed are the seafood appetizers. Having a reliable supplier undoubtedly gives GRUB Noodle Bar an upperhand in procuring quality seafood produce. Its freshness was apparent in every mouthful.
Usually I would not care for raw dishes, but the Hokkaido Scallop Tataki ($15), thinly-sliced and lightly torched with mustard glaze and Mandarin orange segments was so fresh and sweet like lychees that I polished everything off effortlessly and had a hard time restraining myself from poaching more from my dining companions' plate lol! The Venus Clams ($15) were all of plump and juicy goodness sauteed in a beer, toasted ginger & lemongrass broth. Live Tiger Prawns ($15), steamed in sake, garlic and ginger glaze, were big, crunchy and superbly delish with a lip-smacking gravy, you'd wanna finish off every bit of meat and lick the plate dry!
All of these are so awesome, I had a hard time deciding which is my favourite. Hmm... actually I don't need to. I will order all of these again during my next visit!
GRUB Noodle Bar also carry a selection of craft beer from German and Belgium, as well as ciders from UK. Some deep fried indulgence would make the perfect accompaniment, so take your pick from the crowd-pleasing Chicken Drumlets ($9), Baby Cuttlefish ($9) and Soft Shell Crab ($15), all well-fried to yummy crispiness without much greasiness.
I'm a person who can't sleep with an empty stomach, and is always the one proposing to have a late meal after an evening of shopping or movies. But finding a decent place for food beyond the usual dinner hours can be quite challenging. Most cafés close early, bars are too noisy for conversations, and sometimes I don't feel like enduring the heat and sweat at those food stalls along Geylang (especially when you are out on a date and wanna stay pretty)
GRUB Noodle Bar filled all these gaps beautifully. Their late opening hours is perfect. Food is good and reasonably-priced. Décor is bright, clean, and minimalist. Ahh... it comes with air-conditioned comfort too! I like this casual eatery a lot!
Tonight... We are young... So let's the set the world on fire.. We can burn brighter than the sun! Hmm well... on second thoughts, maybe not... having some delicious grub at Grub Noodle Bar is a far better idea :p
Address: 221 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218459
Contact: +65 6341 5631
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 7pm-12.30am / Closed on Mon & last Tue of the month