SINGAPORE - (THE NEW PAPER) Modern Singapore cuisine - or Mod-Sin for those of us too lazy to pronounce whole words - is a great thing.
Traditionalists may purse their lips in disapproval but modern interpretations of local flavours keeps the local food scene alive.
Some of the heroes of the Mod-Sin movement include chefs Willin Low, Han Liguang and Shen Tan. Collectively, they have made this culinary concept popular.
Joining the list of Mod-Sin proponents is Chung Deming. He created the Duriancanboleh (a durian creme brulee) and it was a success.
Chef Chung hopes to stretch that success with The Quarters. He said the restaurant's menu aims to "pay tribute to traditional recipes through our handmade food and sauces".
I ate there at lunchtime twice - once invited and then unannounced - and there was a decent crowd. I was told it's quieter in the evening.
I found the menu interesting but uneven.
Some items excited me, some left me unimpressed. That is troubling because I am a fan of Mod-Sin cuisine.
Still, I hope you'll give it a chance. We need to keep our food alive.
BUAH KELUAK SURPRISE
The moment I read the description of Bibik's Brownie ($9.80), I got excited. This could be the first time I've tasted a buah keluak ice cream. It's nutty, earthy and sexy. I would rate the brownie no higher than not bad. Both times I took polite stabs of it but finished the ice cream. This is not a pretty dish. I'll leave you to decide what it resembles. But don't skip this delicious dessert.
I love salted egg anything so I had to order the Salted Egg Fries ($8.50). The fries were decent but the sauce - an unexpectedly spicy concoction - elevated the dish. I wish the taste of the salted egg yolk was more pronounced.
The Raffles Gaga ($16) looks ordinary but the tart curry lime tartar sauce is bold and addictive. Chef Chung says the sauces - all made in the kitchen - are what sets his restaurant apart, and they truly do.
The Ma Jie's Indulgence ($18) is basically a chilli crab pasta, with a spicy/sweet sauce and bits of crab swimming in the sauce. I liked it but it didn't strike me as particularly innovative. Still, it's the perfect solution when you have a chilli crab craving and you cannot get down and dirty with a chilli crab.
The Quarters' tribute to chicken rice - Samsui Chicken ($12) - was a dish that failed. I love chicken rice for that juicy chicken but the bird was overcooked the two times I ate it. The sauce was fragrant enough but couldn't compensate.
WHAT The Quarters
WHERE #01-09 Icon Village (16 Enggor Street)
OPENS Weekdays 8am to 10pm; Saturdays 10am to 10pm; Sundays 10am to 6pm
This article was first published on April 29, 2015.
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