CHOW FUN RESTAURANT & BAR
Address: #01-08, The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Road
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 12 am; closed on Mondays.
Bathed in cosy, warm lighting, the five-month-old Chow Fun Restaurant & Bar exudes a laidback vibe, suitable for a lazy weekend with the kids.
Look around and everywhere, you see design touches courtesy of chef and owner Alicia Lin’s family members: Right by the entrance to the restaurant, for instance, are several framed collages of vintage postcards dating back to the 1930s, from Lin’s grandfather!
If you’re like us, visiting at midday, it’s best to stick to the air-conditioned indoor comforts of the restaurant. Otherwise, there is also an alfresco seating area — kept cool by fans — overlooking The Grandstand’s outdoor play area boasting a playground and swings as well as wide-open spaces in which tykes can run wild.
Start your meal with some yummy appetisers like the homemade Mom’s White Radish Cake ($5.90): Four chunks of chewy chai tow kueh topped with dried shrimp and shallots, with a dried-shrimp sambal dip (a tad salty if you’re watching that).
Cheese lovers alert! The Potato, Bonito and Cheese Pancake ($5.90) boasts a mixture of three cheeses — mozzarella, cheddar and Grana Padano — set atop a crispy-fried potato base. Garnished with bonito flakes and spring onions, this umami delight is another tasty start to the meal.
The mains are a mix of hot or chilled East-meets-West fusion dishes featuring five different types of noodles — rice noodles, vermicelli, udon, penne and spaghetti. Diners can choose to have the dishes served in regular meals ($15.90) or in tasting portions ($2.90) each — we relished ordering a good variety of small plates to share.
Try the Pork Belly Bibim Guksu, a well-balanced sweet-and-slightly-spicy Korean noodle dish dressed with red pepper powder. The dish comes topped with one piece of sautéed soy-ginger-glazed pork belly that’s real tasty. We pretty much forked the tender pork slice into smaller portions and everyone got a bite! If you prefer something light and refreshing, opt for the chilled Ginger and Scallion rice noodles instead.
Don’t be fooled by the tapas-style small plates; two plates per person should suffice or pick six to eight types for a family of four and still leave enough space for dessert!
Round off the meal with a dessert tasting platter for your brood. The Sweet 5 Platter ($22.90) includes the Salted Egg and Chocolate Lava Cake ($8.90 à la carte). And it tastes as chocolatey — with hints of salted-egg custard — as it sounds. Be sure to add a serving of vanilla ice cream (additional $2.00) for a cool contrast to the warm dish. Otherwise, the Lychee Granita and Crystal Jelly ($4.90 à la carte) is both citrusy and refreshing on a warm day.
The all-day happy hour is the perfect excuse for parents to wash their meals down with an ice-cold beer — Stella Artois, Kirin and Coronas are all $11 each. Pair your beer with the Deep Fried Caramelized Banana Fritters ($6.90), which are not too sweet because Cavendish bananas are used in place of the usual pisang raja.
Opt for the alfresco dining area if you are planning to visit in the evenings. Let your tykes run amok at the open-air playground with swings to work up an appetite. Be bold and choose a variety of mains in tasting portions — so you can all share without the guilt (or envy). Junior will love the the creamy Wild Mushroom and Truffle Penne ($2.90) as would we adults. He will also dig the Fried Mac and Cheese Ball ($2.90) or the Wagyu Bolognese ($4.40), too. Dessert will be a highlight of the meal, especially the fun to eat Chocolate Springroll Wanton and Hot Fudge ($4.90 à la carte). Baby high chairs are available on request.