Restaurant Review

Restaurant Home brings good food to new Changi address

Restaurant Home has moved from Upper Bukit Timah to Changi but the home-style cooking has not changed

Most people would not find 27 Cosford Road an ideal location for a restaurant.

It's in a quiet lane in a remote part of the island, near the Changi Chapel & Museum that is a good five-minute walk - with no shelter - from the main road and the nearest bus stop.

Driving there may not be less arduous as some mobile phone GPS systems lead you to the airport when you key in the address.

Some may find the address familiar, however, as it was where The Catch, a local seafood restaurant, used to be until it moved to Clementi at the beginning of this year.

But chef-owner Tan Yong Kang is happy to move his Restaurant Home there last month from the Rail Mall in Upper Bukit Timah Road, where it had been for the past 21/2 years. It reminds him of the kampung days of his childhood in Singapore, he says.

The distinct fragrance of lychee wood perfumes the crisp skin of the barbecued Peking duck. ST PHOTO: WONG AH YOKE

The bare walls in the little building housing the restaurant do remind me of a home in a Malaysian kampung. The restaurant is slightly smaller than its previous premises, but there is plenty of open space behind - enough to erect a semi-open bar playing 1980s Chinese music in the evenings.

The chef is also using a plot of land to plant chillies and other vegetables that can be used in his kitchen.

Recognising the challenges of the remote location, he has tweaked the menu to include more homey dishes to cater to the weekend and evening family groups who are more likely to seek out the restaurant.

But fans of his signature Barbecued Peking Duck With Lychee Wood ($30 for half, $58 for whole) will be glad to find that the dish is still available and at a lower price. It used to cost $38 for half a duck and $68 for a whole one.

It is still as good, with the distinct fragrance of the wood perfuming the crisp skin. The meat is lean, but not overly dry, making this a good option for those not inclined towards the fatty Irish ducks that are in vogue among restaurants in town.

Only the skin of the duck is served for the dish, to be wrapped in flour skins with cucumber sticks and hoisin sauce. For another $10, you get the remaining meaty bones either wok-fried with ginger and onion or deep-fried and tossed with dried chilli, roasted minced garlic and capsicum pepper.

I pick the second cooking method, which is a recipe made popular at Hong Kong's Typhoon Shelter and boasts a fragrant mix of garlic bits and chillies. Even after another round of cooking, the duck meat is still tender,which is quite a testament to the chef's skill.

The same recipe is used for the Deep-fried Fish Skin With Dried Chilli, Roasted Minced Garlic And Capsicum Pepper Fine Salt ($6.80). Order this if you are not getting the duck cooked this way. It is very good and I can see it being a hit as a snack at the bar too.


    27 Cosford Road, tel: 6465-1698, open: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30 to 11pm (Tuesday to Sunday). Closed on Monday

    Food: 4/5 stars

    Service: 3/5 stars

    Ambience: 2/5 stars

    Price: Budget about $40 a person

Among the new dishes is the Wok-fried La La With Spicy Chilli Sauce (from $14) that I expect to turn out like a sambal stir-fry. Instead, the chilli sauce is a thick gravy of complex flavours from soya bean paste, oyster sauce and just a hint of chilli heat and dripping with umami. It tastes better with every clam and when all the clams are gone, I find myself drinking up the gravy.

Another new dish I like is the Hot-Stone Sauteed Pig Liver With Ginger And Onion (from $12). The liver is tender and the ginger and onion are perfect for cutting any unpleasant strong taste that can sometimes be found in offal. In a classic Cantonese recipe, the liver is cooked in a delicious gravy seasoned with oyster and soya sauces.

Do not leave the dish to cool though. The liver continues cooking in the hot-stone bowl and, when overcooked, turns tough and unpleasant.

Both the clams and the liver would go very well with a hot bowl of rice, but I decide to use my carbs quota instead for my favourite dish at Restaurant Home - Braised Pork Knuckles With Homemade Yellow Noodles Served In O Ba Leaf (from $16).

The knuckles are freshly cooked, but the chef also mixes in a bit of the canned version to evoke memories of the dish many Singaporean mums have cooked for their families. Most home-cooked versions use the Narcissus brand of canned trotters and many of us grew up with that familiar taste.

I did too. But for me, the version at Home is even better.

•Follow Wong Ah Yoke on Twitter @STahyoke

•The Sunday Times paid for its meals at the eateries reviewed here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 21, 2016, with the headline 'Home sweet home'. Print Edition | Subscribe