Wong Ah Yoke Food Critic recommends

Sumo Big Prawn's lobster prawn noodles, Zaffron Kitchen's tandoori platter and more

Lobster prawn noodles at Sumo Big Prawn
Lobster prawn noodles at Sumo Big PrawnPHOTOS: FAIRMONT SINGAPORE, WONG AH YOKE

LOBSTER PRAWN NOODLES

Perhaps it is all that lamenting about the demise of Singapore hawker food, but the past year has seen some young people not only joining the profession, but doing a great job as well.

Among them is the group running Sumo Big Prawn, which opened early last month in Ang Mo Kio. Three young men and a woman - who look to be in their 20s - were running the stall when I dropped in before midday last Tuesday, busy serving a long queue of customers.

They offer an original take on prawn noodle soup by adding clams and having options that include crayfish or lobster. Prices start at $5 for the basic prawn noodle soup and go up to $8 for the big prawn version. The crayfish one is $13 and lobster is $18.90.

But when I was there, the $5 version was sold out and the lobsters were premium ones from Colombia, which bumped up the price of the noodles to $24.90.

After queuing more than half an hour, you would say yes to anything to get your food, which is why I forked out the most money I have ever spent at a hawker noodle stall - a decision I soon regretted. The lobster was tough and bland, and it was a struggle getting the meat out of the shell. In the end, I left half of it behind.

But the rest of the dish was excellent. The broth was rich and full of shellfish flavour, which the beehoon soaked up. The prawns were big and, with part of the shell already removed, easy to eat. The clams were cooked just right and were sweet and juicy.

So the next time, I will order the $8 bowl - which has all the good stuff - and skip the lobster.

WHERE: Sumo Big Prawn, 628 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, 01-72 MRT: Yio Chu Kang OPEN: 9am - 9pm daily, but may close early if stocks run out. Also, check its Facebook page for days it may close INFO: Call 9299-2621 or go to www.facebook.com/Sumobigprawnnoodle/


NICELY SPICED

I have not been to Zaffron Kitchen in years, until its listing on the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand list reminded me how much I liked the food there. So I went back last weekend and it did not disappoint.

The place has not changed much, except that it was a lot more crowded than when I visited it when it opened in 2011.

The food was just as good - tasty without being fiery or overpowering in the use of spices. Each dish had a distinct flavour and every one I tried came across just right.

The Zaffron tandoori platter ($39.50, photo), which comprised chicken tikka, malai tikka, fish tikka and seekh mutton kebab, turned out very nicely with everything cooked just right.

The butter chicken ($16) was delicious with a butter-scented gravy that was lightened with tart tomatoes. I also enjoyed the less-common chicken dopiaza ($15.50), which was cooked with a distinctly different combination of spices and plenty of onions.

And for dessert, I was charmed by the moong dal halwa ($8) - a generous serving of lentils, milk, butter and sugar cooked together and served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and pistachios. It was not overly sweet and the comforting dessert was a great way to end the meal. WHERE: Zaffron Kitchen, 135 East Coast Road MRT: Aljunied OPEN: Mon - Thu: 11.30am - 3pm, 5 - 10pm, Fri - Sun: 11.30am - 11pm TEL: 6440-6786


AN ITALIAN BRUNCH

Prego has fine-tuned its Sunday brunch into an almost all-Italian affair, with a mix of buffet spreads and live stations.

The spreads include ubiquitous cold seafood selections such as Alaskan crab leg and oysters, antipasti and dessert.

Of more interest are the hot food stations, where the skill of the chefs comes into play. Some dishes are pre-cooked, such as the porchetta with a really crisp crackling and a whole seabass baked in a sea salt crust.

Other dishes are cooked a la minute on the grill and served to the table. I have tried the lamb rack with garlic and thyme, beef sirloin with rosemary, and chicken thigh with lemon and oregano - and find all three cooked very nicely.

There is also a live pasta station, but there is a crowd around it, so I decide to pass.

Plus, I am totally stuffed from all the meat.

WHERE: Prego, Level 1 Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road MRT: City Hall WHEN: Sun, noon - 3pm PRICE: $98 an adult, $128 an adult with free flow of Berlucchi '61 Brut Franciacorta, Italian cocktails, house wines, Tiger draught, juices and soft drinks), $49 a child (free flow non-alcoholic drinks) TEL: 6431-6156


GALA SEAFOOD BUFFET

Greenwood Fish Market celebrates its anniversary in October every year with what it calls a "gala dinner", which is a one-night buffet featuring the seafood restaurant's popular items.

The dinner at the original Greenwood Avenue outlet for this year's 13th anniversary is full, but seats are still available at the new outlet in Sentosa on Wednesday.

For $99 a person, you get to sample a smorgasbord of cold and hot dishes. The buffet includes a cold station, sashimi station, foie gras station, whole roasts station and salad and dessert bars.

Drinks are an extra $49 for free flow of prosecco, house wines, beers and soft drinks.

You can expect freshly shucked oysters (photo), house-smoked salmon, lobster cooked in various ways and, my favourite, steamed giant halibut with hollandaise sauce.

For this month, the two outlets are also offering steamed and grilled lobsters at $39.95 each as well as giant halibut at $29.95 a serving.

The fish can be steamed, grilled, pan-seared or battered and deep-fried. WHERE: Greenwood Seafood Market, Quayside Isle @ Sentosa Cove, 31 Ocean Way, 01-04 MRT: HarbourFront WHEN: Wednesday, 6.30pm to late PRICE: $99 a person for food, $49 for drinks TEL: 6262-0450

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2016, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe