SINGAPORE - (THE NEW PAPER) F&B group Cookyn Inc seems to have the knack of picking the right trend to embark on.
They were among the first to jump into the hipster cafe scene when they opened Grub at Bishan Park last year.
Then they got into the Halal cafe scene with the wildly popular Fix.
And now, they have their version of a supper bar - Grub Noodle Bar.
The idea is to offer a decent meal when all other eateries have closed for the day.
The Grub twist? Quality ingredients. The price you pay for this level of comfort food may be uncomfortable for some, but you get what you pay for.
Beef noodles - served with a soup and different cuts of meat - and assam laksa are the highlights.
The noodle dishes are the centrepiece here, the appetiser menu is memorable and almost every dish is worth tasting.
The service is also worth checking out. The servers - all looking like they will be hanging out at a skatepark after work - offer spot-on recommendations.
Everything seems purposely low-fi here, which would be attractive to some.
I'll be back not because it is hip as hell, but because the food turns me on.
GOOD BOWL OF BEEF
The beef noodles (from $12) is served with beef broth, and you get 100g of different cuts of beef. The egg noodles come in a house sauce with beef meatballs, minced beef and mushroom stew. It may not look it, but it is a filling bowl of food. The broth is excellent - beefy, sweet and aromatic. The buttery texture of the meat makes the cost worth it.
SWEET, SOUR, SILKY
While a lot of the dishes have a decidedly local slant, the Hokkaido scallop tataki ($15) seems out of place. It is Western in presentation, but the soya sauce brings it back to Asia. Eat it with an orange segment for a bite that is sweet, sour and silky.
WHERE'S THE KICK?
When I turned up at Grub Noodle Bar unannounced, the Venus Clams ($13) were amazing. The dish smells like a spa and had a strong taste - sharp, sweet and heady.
But when I returned on an invited tasting, all sharpness had been stripped.
Just one missing element took it from interesting to uninspiring.
Tameness is not something I want in assam laksa ($13). While filled with ingredients, the bowl was missing the most important element - that burst of flavour when the stock hits the tongue.
ACHAR KANG KONG
The kang kong salad ($7) is refreshing, light and packed with flavour. It's like eating an achar version of kang kong. Perfect on a muggy day.
What Grub Noodle Bar
Where 221 Rangoon Road
When Opens Tuesdays to Sundays, 6pm to 12.30am; Closed last Tuesday of every month
Contact Call +65 6341-5631 for reservations and directions.
This article was first published on October 29, 2014.
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