Gimmicky concept but comforting dishes at Village Nasi Lemak Bar

The Torched Grill Sotong costs just $14 for a whole squid.
The Torched Grill Sotong costs just $14 for a whole squid.
The Crispy Crumbly Chicken Drumstick is a top draw. PHOTOS: YEOH WEE TECK
The Crispy Crumbly Chicken Drumstick is a top draw. PHOTOS: YEOH WEE TECK
The Tangy Chilli Crab Sauce with Golden Bun ($10) is tasty.
The Tangy Chilli Crab Sauce with Golden Bun ($10) is tasty.
The salted egg yolk sauce of the Golden Salted Egg Yolk Chix Mid Joints ($12) is not too sweet.
The salted egg yolk sauce of the Golden Salted Egg Yolk Chix Mid Joints ($12) is not too sweet.
The Village Nasi Lemak Roll ($10) comes in big pieces and is messy to eat.
The Village Nasi Lemak Roll ($10) comes in big pieces and is messy to eat.

(TNP) - At first, I got excited about Village Nasi Lemak Bar because I thought it was Village Park Restaurant, a popular nasi lemak eatery in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

But I was impressed by the nasi lemak at the former. It wasn't the best nasi lemak I've tasted in Singapore (try Mod-Sin chef Shen Tan's version, and you'll understand what I mean), but it ranks among the better ones.

I was more fascinated though by what happens here at night. It transforms from a nasi lemak place to a tapas bar by 6pm. (And all day on Saturday).

Village Nasi Lemak Bar offers local street tapas. While it comes across as gimmicky, a lot of the items offered are quite good, providing comfort and a sense of familiarity.

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The Crispy Crumbly Chicken Drumstick is a top draw. PHOTOS: YEOH WEE TECK

For me, the top draw was the Crispy Crumbly Chicken Drumstick ($3.80). The chicken is marinated in the juices of old ginger and pandan, and while it's being fried, minced ginger is sprinkled over it.

The result is a spicy, aromatic coating over a piece of juicy drumstick. The coating is crispy, adding to the texture.

The Torched Grill Sotong costs just $14 for a whole squid.

The Torched Grill Sotong ($14) was another winner. It is wallet-friendly - it's hard to find a place that sells a whole squid for $14 - and while the squid was nicely grilled, it was the housemade kecap manis sauce that gave it distinction.

I love how the mildly sweet sauce complemented the grilled squid.

The Tangy Chilli Crab Sauce with Golden Bun ($10) is tasty.

While the Tangy Chilli Crab Sauce with Golden Bun ($10) was tasty and you'll get chunks of crab meat in the sauce, it is nothing new and not particularly memorable.

Still, while sitting there, I found myself constantly reaching out to scoop another spoonful of sauce and putting it into my mouth.

The salted egg yolk sauce of the Golden Salted Egg Yolk Chix Mid Joints ($12) is not too sweet.

I liked that the salted egg yolk sauce of the Golden Salted Egg Yolk Chix Mid Joints ($12) was not too sweet, but the chicken was dry.

That took away the pleasure of eating the dish.

The Village Nasi Lemak Roll ($10) comes in big pieces and is messy to eat.

I'm still divided over the Village Nasi Lemak Roll ($10). It's clever (imagine eating your nasi lemak as a ball), but the pieces were huge. You'll need two mouthfuls to finish it and it'll leave such a mess.

Guess it's a good thing that the restaurant is dimly lit.

  • VILLAGE NASI LEMAK BAR

  • 57, Circular Road
    Opens Monday to Thursday 10am to 10pm,
    Friday 10am to midnight, Saturday 10am to 9pm
    Tel: 6443-0400