Cheap & Good

Cheap & Good: Home-style fare for busy working adults at One Bowl Restaurant & Bar

The casual, family-friendly eatery serves a variety of hearty home-style fare.
The casual, family-friendly eatery serves a variety of hearty home-style fare.PHOTO: ONE BOWL RESTAURANT & BAR

Whenever I meet friends, the one question that always creeps into the conversation is: Tried any new restaurants lately that are worth dining at?

My answer usually wavers between a strong "no" and a soft "maybe".

Any restaurants that fall into the "yes" category, however, usually surface, without need for prompting, at the start of the conversation.

One Bowl Restaurant and Bar, which I tried last week, falls squarely into the "yes" category.

It opened 21/2 weeks ago at The Sultan Hotel, a boutique hotel in Jalan Sultan.

I know what you're thinking: The restaurant sounds too fancy to be in this column, but I assure you, prices are reasonable.

They start at $8.90 for a bowl of char siew noodles. The most expensive thing on the menu is a serving of fried squid and ngoh hiang or fried pork and prawn rolls wrapped in beancurd skin, at $12 each.

  • ONE BOWL RESTAURANT & BAR

  • 01-02 The Sultan Hotel, 101 Jalan Sultan

    Open: 11.30am to 10pm daily

    Call: 6291-9020

    Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

If you want 400g of char siew - enough for eight people - that costs $20. Otherwise, a normal 200g serving costs $10.

The kitchen at this casual, family-friendly eatery is headed by homecook-turned-chef Tammie Loke, a former public servant.

She serves delicious, hearty, home-style fare, the kind that working adults with little time to cook crave.

The menu is limited but most things are worth a try. For variety, share everything.

The tasty pork belly char siew is the star at this restaurant. Order it as an appetiser, on its own or with rice and noodles.

Try it in a fried or steamed mantou sandwich with cucumber ($4 for two mantou or $10 for six) - get the fried version; atop springy Hong Kong-style noodles tossed in a light, savoury and mildly spicy chilli ($8.90); or with smoky garlic fried rice and a thin omelette ($8.90).

The noodles also come with a bowl of nourishing soup that reminds me of home.

Be sure to order the braised pig's trotters in vinegar ($10.90). Mrs Loke's version is sweeter than others, but just as robust. The pieces of ginger, soaked full of the tangy gravy, are soft, with just enough bite.

I also like the crunch of the small chunks of water chestnut in her fat and plump ngoh hiang.

I didn't get a chance to try the fish porridge, nasi lemak or fried roast duck bee hoon.

Perhaps I will order those dishes on my next visit, when I head back for my char siew fix.

• Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 10, 2017, with the headline 'Home-style fare for busy working adults '. Print Edition | Subscribe