SINGAPORE - (THE NEW PAPER) Duxton Hill's latest resident is a playful little girl named Xiao Ya Tou (XYT).
This new restaurant describes itself as reinvented zichar (stir-fry), which is intriguing.
That impish XYT image is further enforced by adorable drawings of girls in samfoo.
The decor is an Instagrammer's dream - filled with lamps, quirky items and kitschy furniture.
The food is not as mischievous as the decor, but it offers plenty to choose from even though the menu is small.
The diversity in dishes may confuse some, but this variety is great when eating in a group or if you're finicky.
As clever as XYT wants to be (and that can get annoying), the food offered here is comforting - never underestimate the power of that.
You may chuckle at the presentation or the combination of ingredients, but you'll coo at the feeling it gives you.
And I think that will be the reason why people return.
The white clam & scallop soup ($16) is a sweet and steaming bowl of comfort. The taste of the clams is distinct and strong, and while it isn't fanciful, it's certainly welcomed.
I love the braised duck ($22) for the smokiness of the skin. But the sauce - with five spice, galangal and soy sauce - pulls the dish together.
Although lu rou fan ($9) is usually made with minced pork, the version at XYT features minced wagyu. It's sweet, salty and has a strong beefy taste. It'll take a while, but it'll grow on you.
While the XYT ayam perchik ($23) is tender and adequately marinated, there is not much more to it.
The crispy otak otak roll ($12) comes in a bed of pineapple, onions and cucumber, with a great spicy peanut sauce. All the parts work.
Xiao Ya Tou
6 Duxton Hill
Weekdays 11am to midnight, Saturdays 5pm to midnight
This article was first published on June 1, 2016.
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