Upscale cozy might be the right words to describe Ah Hoi’s Kitchen, a restaurant perched at the top of Hotel Jen Tanglin.
It’s almost a perfect picture of a languid afternoon. Sunlight streams in from the French folding doors, warming the wooden sloped roof of the eatery and illuminating the chalkboard with “From the grill today” scrawled across it. At the al fresco dining area, handcrafted strings of colourfully painted crab shells dangle from trees, swaying in the breeze.
It’s all very comforting, till you catch sight of the rooftop pool against the towering backdrop of Hotel Jen’s other buildings. As Ah Hoi’s tagline reads, quite literally, “Local flavour, poolview to savour.” It’s an apt reminder. Sure, you’ve got all these shrubs, but they’re surrounded by luxe.
The same can be said about the establishment’s food. Ah Hoi’s kitchen serves local, comfort dishes which any Singaporean would recognise from any tze char stall. Their new, 43-dish menu was launched just a few months ago, with signature dishes including fried black pepper kway teow, durian chendol and its shining glory – Ah Hoi’s chilli Sri Lankan crab.
The familiar local fare belies the fact that MSG is not used in any of the dishes. While the tze char that you da pao (takeaway) from the stall downstairs can be artery-clogging levels of delicious, Ah Hoi’s is the premium spread of goodness that your mother or grandmother cooks at a reunion dinner.
Ah Hoi’s Combination Platter (Signature), $15
This plate overflows with ngoh hiang, spring roll and soft shell crab. It’s a pleasant surprise to find no heavy greasiness in what you would typically expect of a deep-fried fare.
For one, the lightly crisped outer layer of the crab crunches apart, giving way to a gentle sweetness of the meat. Bites of tangy achar work well with the rest of the dish to freshen up the palette.
Stir-Fried Kenya Bean with Dried Shrimp (New), $12
Long beans have always looked unassuming, going quickly bland or waterlogged if cooked improperly. But this vegetable dish is sensational, making you abandon any doubts you might’ve had towards these veggies. Aided by the crunchy bits of garlic scattered across the top of the springy beans, an intense aroma permeates the mouth, where each swallow is done with relish.
Honey Glazed Ginger Chicken (Signature), $12
A luscious honey gloss coats the chicken, but this is thankfully not too cloying or sticky because of the curls of red and yellow bell peppers and the striking bite of ginger.
Chef Tiger’s Seabass with Thai Spicy Sauce (New), Seasonal
Staring at the seared, lightly charred skin of the seabass, you can almost hear the crackling of the fish being fried in the pan. The tender flakiness of the fish is undercut by its bed of succulent, spicy thai sauce, garnished with red onions.
Ah Hoi’s Chilli Crab (Signature), $75
The chilli crab sauce gleams. The little egg ribbons glisten as they drift in the red-orange gravy, which is just the right viscosity. It’s not so watery to be entirely soaked up by the mantou, yet not too thick and starchy it sticks to your mouth in a gelatinous blob. It hovers comfortably in the middle.
What it lacks in fiery spiciness, it makes up for with its rich body. Tartness and acidity runs through the blend of savoury-sweet tau cheo (fermented bean paste) and tomato, where every mouthful is wholesome, yet lush. It compliments the crab meat perfectly. Marinated in the same sauce for a few hours, this meat is extremely succulent, flaking apart beneath your tongue after the first two to three chews.
In commemoration of Singapore’s Independence, Ah Hoi’s Kitchen is offering a promotion on its signature sauce crabs. If you’re looking to celebrate National Day with a meal uniquely Singaporean, this is the place to head to.
Crabs in Ah Hoi’s Signature Sauces
Cooking Style Selection
- Ah Hoi’s Chilli
- Black Pepper
- $53++ for 2 crabs
- Not applicable in conjunction with other promotions/discounts
- Valid for the entire month of August 2018, including 9 August 2018
- 01 to 31 August 2018 (Mondays to Sundays) – 12.00pm to 230pm / 6.30pm to 10.00pm
- 1A Cuscaden Road, Singapore 249716
- Poolside, Level 4
- Number: (65) 6831 4373