Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sin Huat Eating House ...... Exorbitant Chi Char or Misunderstood restauranteur?

We've heard the notoriety of the "over-charging chi char" in Sin Huat Eating House and yet, Anthony Bourdain named Sin Huat as one of his best restaurant in the world, side by side with some tip top Michelin star restaurants. How would that be possible?

It was Jane's birthday and we decided to brave it out at Sin Huat. All participants were warned of the stakes involved and brought enough cash plus plenty of patience. When we were there, Ade test the water with the lady boss (Danny's wife) and found out that they accept credit card, in a coffe shop. Woah ..... a sign that it's not gonna be a cheap. The meal turned out not cheap but definitely GOOD. Patience was definitely needed as we polished 7 dishes in all 3.5 hours. Fortunately, a good company of friends made the long dinner easy to get by.

Sin Huat Eating House is a simple coffee shop styled restaurant disguised very well as a chi char stall. Maybe that's why people who didn't know better felt that they got cheated. Sin Huat's specialties are live seafood.

Danny, Sin Huat's boss and chef, came out in white sauce stained T-shirt and shorts to take our orders. We converse in a spatter of Mandarin and Hokkien and ask jokingly if his fish was as expensive as the S$1200 fish charged at RWS. Danny told us sincerely that he don't sell that kind of fish. His top of the line grouper, if it's available, is "only" about S$230/kg and went on to joke that his fish in the tank goes much faster than the same species in Li Bai. Not a bad guy, actually quite friendly if you are able to connect at his/our level. After eating the food in Sin Huat, I actually felt that the scales for Danny tips more towards the notion of a misunderstood restauranteur than an overcharging chi char owner.

First, all his seafood are fresh, every one of them that we had. So it's OK to pay for quality? Secondly, his cooking was good. Let me put it this way. I would spend a hundred bucks on an omakase meal that the Japanese chef dish out of his whims and fancies. Why wouldn't I spend a hundred bucks on good quality seafood, cooked Chinese style, in a lively, peculiar district with a unique character? Of course not everyone would agree with me, or rather, most wouldn't.

Any way, here's all of what we had for 6 people that amounted to a total bill of S$595. Almost a s$100 per person for a stomach bloating gastronomy experience.

Honey glazed pork, pork rib and pork belly
This was our first dish. I actually thought that we were starting to get creamed off. However, the roasts that were dished out were great stuff. The char siew had good mix of fats and lean meat, coupled with a good touch of honey glazing. The roast pork belly had the skin crispy and meat savory. I thought this dish was a nice touch for a seafood place to diversify from its all seafood menu. Sorry there weren't any menu here.

See that well prepared honey glazed BBQ pork

Gong Gong, Sea Snails
Normally, I wouldn't touch "the gong gong or the la la", sea snails species. However, when Danny recommended his dishes, he mentioned the gong gong 3 times and said that if we don't eat it here, we wouldn't eat it in another place. It was really that good.

As I dug the meat out of the shell and shove it into my mouth, I never realised that such ugly looking form can taste so nice, like very tender squid.

The superb dip sauce with myriads of spring onions, chilli padi and garlic enhanced the flavor of the gong gong.

Essence of Chicken Frog's Leg
I recalled that episode of No Reservations when Anthony Bourdain told KF Seetoh that he wouldn't touch frog's leg. Anthony, being professional to his show, took some of these, he continued, and he didn't stop, didn't even complain and seemed to forget that he was hosting the show. He allowed Seetoh to talk on and on in that episode while he enjoyed the food. And here I am facing the same dish ......

The auntie, one of the not so friendly service staff, poured the essence of chicken onto the frog's leg.

My bowl of frog's leg in the form of a mangled mess dunk in that tasty essence of chicken which was heavily 'garlic-cised'.

Kai Lan
At half time, we were served the most welcome plate of kai lan that looked oily but tasted real good after the all meat first half.

Steamed Garlic Prawn
As I was typing now, I can still taste the garlic in my mouth. This steamed garlic prawn are slayer prawns after being half buried in that heap of garlic. The sauce from the steaming tasted like concentrated prawn mee soup but with a heavy flavor of prawn roe. This could be the reason why Danny place the prawns upside down, to get the prawn roe (that as lined from the head section down the spine of the prawn) infused into the sauce. Every single big prawn have roe in them. That's just the kind of quality stuff that Danny dished out.

My plate of 'garlic-ky' prawn.

Steamed Squid
I didn't find this steamed squid special except for the fact that it's fresh and tender.

Crab Bee Hoon
Danny's Crab Bee Hoon is an award winning dish that most would order and we were not the exception. I don't know how the crab was cooked but it seemed that the essence of the crab got cleverly infused onto the bee hoon.

I grabbed at the pincer that was fleshy and easy to eat but that didn't seemed to be the sweetest part of the crab. I preferred the been hoon that comes with the dish more than the crab themselves. More bee hoon please!

Chef Yamashita's creations of Flor Patisserie appeared in Sin Huat Eating House
To end the dinner we brought Chef Yamashita's creation for a birthday song. Danny's son was intrigued by our singing and we gave him a portion of the Banana cake. Happy Birthday Jane!

We left the place feeling satisfied and didn't felt sore about the prices as we came prepared. Although, I wouldn't dare to recommend this place outrightly, I secretly thought that I will come back once I've saved enough money for that impulsive splurge.

Everyone thought that Danny was heavy on garlic. Most of the dish that we ordered were vampire slaying category.

As we were walking towards my car along the dimly lit Geylang Lorong 35, I thought I saw a shadowless form fell into the nearby drain at the corner of my eye as I exhaled hard to purge my garlic breath into the humid Singapore night.

659/661 Geylang Road
(at Geylang Lorong 35)
Tel : 65 6744 9755


mr. pineapple man said...

oh goodness.. everything looks delicious! especially the crabs~yum!

Unknown said...

Yes they were all delicious. A bit too much garlic though.

justme said...

It's the same old dishes over the past decade.$595 for these dishes is a rip off.

Unknown said...

To justme : Just don't eat to many times ...... :)

Singaporefoodlover said...

i ate here with two friends, one guy one girl, and i dont know why, he wanted us to eat, scallops, prawns, roast pork, the weird shell dish and gave us 2 huge crabs. mind you, we are not huge, ordinary size 3 individuals. DAnny is a bit eccentric, our bill came out to 270 dollars. i hope he learsn to portion the size according to the diner. 2 huge crabs are too much. if thats the only thing we got then its okay. Godd thing about it was, It was good.

Unknown said...

To Singapore Food Lover - That's Danny the Food Nazi for you. I was there with 6 other friends, all have a good appetite like me. Your cost is about right then. I won't be near Sin Huat until I have that spare cash and impulsive urge to splurge :)


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