Despaired at the thought of not being able to get a good Asian (Far Eastern) meal in Bandra after some recent very mediocre ones, I decided to check out Sing Kong in Khar’s 15th Road in desperation.
From the launch event mails that I received, I remembered Singkong as being a place set up by the folks behind Tasty Tangle which was there at the same place. They had rebranded the place, redone the looks and made a play on ‘Singapore’ and ‘Hong Kong’ in their names. I was reasonably fond of Tasty Tangle and wanted to know if Sing Kong had retained its DNA.
With me was Ranjit, AKA @qtfan on twitter. Having a meal with Ranjit is always good fun as we have pretty similar palates and that makes such a big difference while eating out with folks.
How similar are our tastes in food? Wait for the end of this to find out.
The ‘Sing’ & ‘Kong’ bit were quite well covered between us. My benchmarks on Asian food are based on Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. For Ranjit it’s lead by Hongkong and Melbourne. In Mumbai, we both love Ling’s Pavilion.
We reached at lunch time and settled down in the corner table that we were given on a rainy afternoon. I wanted to sit at the tables besides the big windows to look at the rain but they were full with kitty party ladies playing Housie over manchow soups and the stewards refused to give us the other tables in between which remained empty. Their loss. Would have given us even nicer lights for the food photos.
Ranjit and I ordered in conjunction. I went by some old favs from Tasty Tangle and Ranjit picked the others. They got the starters all at one go. Nicely plated on slates and stones.
We started with the Nigiri Tuna sushi. Extremely light and airy. You knew it was freshly made by nimble fingers. Not the the tight textured sushi which you often get in Indian restaurants. The good feeling that we got when saw the food was further built on with the sushi experience. At two to a plate the pricing became more manageable compared to the high cost of sushi here.
Next was the open bun, ‘Momofoku inspired’ as the menu said, Hunan pork buns that Ranjit spotted on the menu. The pork was soft, juicy, succulent and was evidently treated with loads of TLC in the kitchen. It contrasted and combined well with the crunchy texture of cucumber. The proportion of Hoisin sauce in the buns just perfect. Tantalising but far from overwhelming. The cushiony Chinese bun loaves giving just the right canvass for the art to play out.
We followed this with some very beautiful roast duck with plum sauce dumplings. The casing of the dumplings translucent allowing the robust bites of sweet plum sauce bedecked intense duck meat come to the fore. Sheer poetry.
At this point I decided to take a break and called for some jasmine tea for us. The first half was so good. Would the rest of the dinner measure up?
Something told me it would. If the first half was about new discoveries then the second half was about my old favourites from Tasty Tangle.
Next on was the laksa. Ranjit wasn’t too sure if he could manage it as he wanted to save himself for the Nasi Goreng. I requested them to split the laksa by two and went for a prawn and tofu one.
I remember that the laksa at Tasty Tangle used to be good but the one at Sing Kong is even better. They have cut down on the earlier oiliness and now serve it with a mellow, sweet, creamy base. A very good rendition of the Singaporean laksa with some crushed chilli on the side to liven up things. I licked my laksa bowl clean.
The last dish to arrive was the Nasi Goreng Kampung (village in Malay) rice. The rice was sticky and not long grained basmati thankfully. Packed with very strong flavours. It hit you the first time and you had to take a bite or two before your senses calmed down and you could begin to enjoy this spicy dish. The chicken satay was near pate-like in its tenderness and was decked in an edgy, rough and wild ground chilli paste. There was some beautiful, slightly sweet crackers on the side to break the bold rustic tastes of the rice. The prawns in the laksa were reasonably juicy but the quality of the chopped prawns in the nasi goreng wowed me with liveliness. Each bite evoked fond memories of KL for me.
The lunch came to an end in a crescendo with the nasi goreng and we did wonder whether we should order dessert. We didn’t debate for long and soon ordered honey cones which turned out to be vanilla ice creams drizzled with honey and sesame and served in tiny waffle cones.
A beautiful end to our Asian journey and we broke into huge smiles when the bill came. Rs 2100 (about 35 USD) for the entire meal and the teas.
At then end I asked Ranjit for his rating of the dishes and it turned out to be, in order of preference, 1. laksa 2. Hunan pork buns 3. Duck dumplings 4. Sushi 5. Nasi Goreng
Which, folks, was exactly what my ranking was too.
During the course of the meal Ranjit began to point out dishes in the menu for which we need to come back
I guess that sums up what we think of Sing Kong.