We were quite a big group and were coming after work to celebrate a birthday. Although we had a reservation, we could at first not be seated as none of the waiters was aware of our booking. When the head waitress found our reservation we could finally sit down.
As we were waiting for the rest of the group to join us we started with some drinks first. We should already have placed our order though as it took half an hour for the seafood dishes to be prepared after we had ordered them. But that was really our fault as it is expected that dishes that are freshly prepared require some waiting time.
We had white pepper crab, chili crab, fruity lobster salad, stir fried vegetables, coffee ribs, fried dough filled with baby squid and some buns.
I didn't try the fried dough but according to my dining companions it was nice. The buns were plain and thus nothing to write home about but came in handy when you wanted to relieve the spicy aftertaste of the crab.
The stirfried vegetable was nice and crunchy but they used a little too much oil for my liking.
The lobster salad tasted nice and fruity but they used too little lobster meat (supposedly in an attempt to make more money). The preparation was quite unappealing. The salad came on a big plate with the empty lobster shell at the side for decoration. Quite redundant, but what was unappealing was the salad itself. Orange fillets were place around the big something in the middle that was supposed to be the lobster salad. But no lovely white almost translucent meat was to be seen. Only thick heavy dressing with the texture of heavy whipped cream or mayonnaise...
Although this looked quite off-putting, the taste was nice. Crunchy apples and other fruits (the varieties were hardly recognizable as their taste was covered by the orange taste of the dressing) built a nice contrast texture-wise to the bouncy lobster meat.
Less dressing and more lobster would have made this a lovely dish, like this it was only ok.
The crabs were prepared nicely. Of the two, the white pepper crab was the clear winner though. The gravy of the chili crab was a little too sweet for my liking. However it was positive that the spiciness was moderate and didn't overpower the crab taste. The brief verdict of my Singaporean dining companions: 'We have tasted better chili crab'... I could only agree although I am still quite new to my adopted country....
The white pepper crab though was simply shiok!!!! White pepper in my opinion enhances the elegant and subtle taste of the seafood whereas black pepper tends to kill/mask it. When the crab was gone -which was very soon after the dish had arrived- we continued eating the garlic chives that were fried with the crabs in order to enjoy the nice flavour a bit longer.
Finally and six bottles of wine into the meal one of us had the -brilliant- idea to order coffee ribs. Although we were all pretty full already, we still enjoyed them a lot. They were not starchy sweet but had a nice mildly smoky burnt coffee flavour and an appealing brownish colour.
All in all a very satisfying dinner.
A final note regarding the drinks selection: the wine list is very short, so you migt want to check with the restaurant if you can bring your own wine. They serve only two kinds of beer (well, I don't care because I hate beer anyway) but two of us were mentioning they would have preferred more choices.
The service was mixed. It was not too well organised (remember they couldn't find our reservation) but generally friendly, polite and not intrusive. It felt a little awkward though when around 11pm the waiters started eyeing us which made it pretty clear that they wished us to leave so they can go home... I don't blame them for this but they shouldn't have shown their sentiments so obviously.
On the whole: recommended to try! Good quality food; service and drinks selection can be improved but the yummy white pepper crabs clearly make more than up for it!!!!