He jio, we go. This time it's for zhi char!
Not at a typical coffeshop zhi char stall though. The intended place is Wok Master which serves up an array of claypot and wok-fried dishes in the comfort of a casual restaurant setting. Situated within level 2 of City Square Mall, the location is directly connected to Farrer Park Mrt Station (NE8) so no worries about being caught in any temperamental weather situations either.
Ahh... a sumptuous zhi char meal in a convenient location with air-conditioning! This sounds like a great plan!
While Wok Master might have opened for only less than 3 months, the folks behind it are not new to the F&B industry. They have been in the scene for quite awhile with Coffee Hive, a coffee chain that offers local kopi, toast and perennial favorites such as mee siam, laksa and curry chicken.
From kopi and kaya butter loti to zhi char, how did Wok Master fare?
Not too bad I would say. In fact, there are some standout dishes which I'm craving for as I'm writing this now.
One of which is the Boxing Chicken ($8/$12). Quite a cute name and rather apt, as the chicken drumlet meat is pushed up to the end to resemble a boxing glove. Usually this is not my preferred cut but the meat was tender and the sweet and savory sesame sauce it was glazed in was lip-smacking good. Utterly addictive!
We also enjoyed the Har Cheong Wings ($8/$12) while it was still hot, juicy and crispy. The shrimp paste used was just about right, seasoning the meat with sufficient umami goodness without being too salty or overwhelming in flavor. Nice!!!
Dishes such as Wok Master's Special Beancurd ($12/$18) - homemade tofu with mayonnaise and pork floss, and Golden Salted Egg Pumpkin ($8/$12) might not be the most photogenic, but were certainly pleasing.
I especially like the slices of pumpkin, deep-fried to an ideal textural contrast of crisp outer and soft inner, before being coated in a tasty salted egg yolk sauce. Flavors were further enhanced with curry leaves and chili padi. Our only wish is to have more of the salted egg yolk sauce.
We flipped through pages and pages of enticing dish photos and quite a number of items caught our eye. There is the signature Sambal Kang Kong ($8/$12), Crispy Passion Fruit Prawn ($18), Crisped-skin Duck ($$28), Curry Fish Head ($28) and Granny's Braised Pork Belly ($16/$22).
The hotplate Sizzling Chili Crayfish ($25/$35), Pine Nut "Squirrel" Fish ($28) and Miso Cod with Champagne Sauce ($38) came highly recommended too so we tried those as well.
One thing I noticed is that at Wok Master, seafood and fish are fixed at a flat rate, instead of being charged per seasonal prices like most zhi char places or Chinese restaurants. It's a good thing surely. No worries of getting a shock when the bill comes.
Wok Master also pride themselves on their claypot offerings, with a belief that the slow-cooking method is the secret in bringing out flavors of food better.
The Wok Master's Premium Claypot ($28/$38) came bubbling hot with loadful of ingredients braised in a special sauce. Fresh prawns, scallops, pacific clams, sea cucumber, fish slices, fish maw and broccoli, so much win!
This is exactly the type of one-pot indulgence which you want to savor with a bowl of steamed white rice, with every mouthful filled with fresh seafood and rice drenched in the luscious sauce.
Braised Superior Chicken ($20 half/$38 whole) was another of our favorites. Prepared using farm fresh chicken, the meat had a pleasant firm, bouncy bite and was well-infused with flavors from the herbal superior stock. Together with fish maw, black fungus, shiitake mushrooms and tofu, it had a somewhat homely feel which endeared both our hearts and palates. Definitely worth the order.
I would also order the Signature Claypot Crayfish Laksa ($12) and Claypot XO Crayfish Tang Hoon ($14/$28) again, especially when dining alone and wanting a fuss-free individual one-dish noodle meal. While my friend thought the laksa gravy lacked that oomph factor, we concurred that the crayfish's herbal broth was on point. So rich and slurpilicious with those glass noodles that has easily soaked up all the goodness. Shiok!
All in all, it was an exceeding satisfying dinner at Wok Master. Most of the dishes were above average, hearty, reasonably-priced and suitable for communal zhi char meal gatherings with family, friends and colleagues.
There is also the Weekday Lunch Value Set at only $8.80++. Available from 11am to 5pm, it's the perfect opportunity to enjoy a Selected Main + Honey Citron/Yuzu Tea at a special price for that mid-day lunch. With the extended hours, I might even pop over for a substantial afternoon "tea" break if I'm in the vicinity.
Such good place and good deals. Don't say I bojio :p
Address: 180 Kitchener Road, City Square Mall #02-51/52, Singapore 208539
Contact: +65 6835 9096
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm
Prices are (1) Stated in Singapore dollars (2) Subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST (3) Correct at point of published date.