SINGAPORE — In choosing which Enjoy Eating House to review, I'm torn between the original outfit at more accessible Jalan Besar or this one here at Stevens Road. "The Jalan Besar one was an outlet that we set up because we needed a place to open the first restaurant," James tells me over cups of Iced Ovaltine; he is the co-founder of this establishment with his friend, Chef Joel. "This Stevens Road outlet, however, is exactly how we envisioned Enjoy Eating House to look and feel."
It's not by any means cavernous here at Stevens Road. It's incredibly cosy, and at some parts, quite a squeeze for the friendly servers to manoeuvre. The front part of the restaurant sits parties of up to four, while behind, the tables accommodate larger, more convivial groups of up to eight.
From their thick calendar-inspired menu, I had a go at some of the classic offerings of Enjoy Eating House. It starts with the Te Kah Bee Hoon (S$14 for small; S$34 for large), a plate of fried vermicelli served with thick-cut chunks of braised pig trotters, soft and tender like butter left outside on a balmy Singapore afternoon.
It's a secret recipe adapted from the cookbook of Chef Joel's grandmother, duly elevated to justify the price point. Whatever the recipe is, I am in awe at how pleasantly clumpy the sauce gets the further you go down the rabbit hole of this plate of bee hoon.
What's bee hoon without some vegetables as a side? For that, look no further than the Ugly Cabbage with Fish Sauce (S$13++), true to its moniker since this is hardly the kind of plate that will turn heads. But who cares for looks when cabbage has been precisely cooked such that it retains a slight crunch instead of wilting at the mercy of sauce. Speaking of which, this sauce is overflowing with addictive savouriness, proving once again that you can be basic, but at least be basic and reliable.
Elsewhere, the Teochew Tau Cheo Sauteed Snapper Fillet (S$24++) triggers memories of the iteration served at Park Hotel Clarke Quay during Lunar New Year, although with apparent differences, chief of it being an insufficiently nappant Tau Cheo sauce. I want it to be overtly creamy and intensely flavourful, a change that surely will properly and boldly accompany this creamy and brilliant-cut of the fillet.
Another dish I quite enjoyed, though hardly unsurprising, is the Chilli Prawns (S$22++) served with pillowy mounds of Mantou (S$0.50++ per piece, min. four pieces). Regular readers know how much I adore prawns, especially when it's cooked this well—undeniably plump, fresh, and bouncy to the bite. All hallmarks of good produce, though what sets this apart is that delightful chilli crab sauce, overflowing with a rich and overt tomato flavour from start to finish.
Early on in the meal, James suggested I order the Black Angus Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras, which I politely declined because Wagyu, while exquisite, is too easy to write off. Of course, it would be tender. Of course, it would be intensely moreish—it's characteristic of good produce. What I wanted to review were the dishes that an ordinary Singaporean, out and about on grocery run on Sunday and hungry for lunch, would order.
And what could be more quintessentially Singaporean than a bowl of Nyonya Curry Chicken (S$14++), a dish that demands an endless my-mother-makes-this-better discourse? It's an excellent iteration, nonetheless, though I haven't had a serving of curry with gravy this thick, you can almost cut it with a knife.
It's cooked Nyonya style, which means generous cups of coconut milk and a rempah that gives it a gorgeous golden hue. Here, it's served with a chunky, large and in-charge chicken leg, potatoes, and tau pok. Plain white rice would go great with this only because that gravy desperately needs a conduit to be thinned out.
Desserts come by way of a Cendol Panna Cotta (S$8++), a heroic and praiseworthy twist on a classic hawker fare. Layered in a cup is a coconut cream pudding in a crisp white hue that, while everything a coconut pudding should be, could have benefited from an extra pinch or two of salt to further balance the rich Gula Melaka syrup layer on top.
Everything works very cohesively, and for the first time in a long time, I didn't mind that a restaurant has done something different from a familiar favourite. I also liked that the pandan cendol has a subtle hint of sweetness that goes a long way in further enhancing the signature bouquet and taste of Pandan.
What has worked for Enjoy Eating House and Bar is in its curation of familiar favourites, elevated and served at affordable price points, in a space that's unfussy and gleefully convivial. An extensive menu that leaves diners spoilt for choice is always good news—there's definitely something for everyone. It was quiet the afternoon I dropped by for lunch, but if Enjoy Eating House keeps doing what they do, I'm sure it's simply a matter of time before the crowds start jostling for the same plates of comfort that's got me swooning and smiling from ear to ear.
383 Jln Besar, Kam Leng Hotel, Singapore 209001
Mon to Wed: 11am – 11pm
30 Stevens Rd, #01-07, Mercure on Stevens, Singapore 257840
Mon to Sun: 11am – 11pm
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