Singapore Garden is a popular local restaurant with a menu that features standard Chinese dishes as well as their more “renowned” Singaporean and Malaysian specialties. On a Friday night this place really got going with the locals and a number of takeaway orders as well. Waitresses are kitted out in traditional garbs to give this polished restaurant an extra hint of authenticity.
It took us a while and a few pushes from the accommodating waitresses for us to finally pin down what we wanted. In the end we chose the Sambal Prawn Okra, Laksa and Ho Jien with a healthy bowl of rice to clean things up with.
My initial thought was that, these portions look a little small. I’ve grown accustomed to the gargantuan “looking” portions of some Pan-Asian eateries that Singapore Garden’s looked anemic in comparison. But in actuality the portions are just right and fitting to the restaurant’s target audience.
I’ve never really given a second look at oysters. I’ve had them fresh in the markets to dried in Chinese delicacies but they’ve never quite been high on my list. However a trip to Katong Ah Soon at Old Airport Road Hawker Centre in Singapore will convert any oyster cynic. That lofty expectation was what I had in mind when I saw this “mythical” dish presented on the menu. I was ready to be disappointed but actually Singapore Garden’s version is not too shabby. It is presented like an omelette with all the goodness in the centre. They didn’t scrimp with the oysters but I felt a little extra batter would have given it more bite. A sauce accompaniment would also have been welcomed but on the whole it was an admirable dish.
I have similar lofty expectations of any sambal dish. Sambal is simply one of my favourite sauces for anything and everything and it took me forever to decide which one of Singapore Garden’s offerings to go for. The combination of sambal and okra worked very well, both lending well to the gritty flavours of the sambal but Singapore Garden’s sambal was lacking heat, which would have brought this dish to life.
The Laksa was our final dish. An odd selection for a sharing dinner but we just had to try it. Singapore Garden’s laksa has a nice depth to it with a little kick towards the end (which came harder than the sambal). However the flavours were a little lost and I prefer laksa’s to be a little richer. Ingredients wise it comes with a healthy dose of prawns, some tofu puffs and, actually, overzealous amounts of fish ball slices.
Overall I think Singapore Garden is a great local restaurant that serves a good selection of Singaporean/Malaysian specialties however it never quite hits the spot. It’s a great place to go if you’re missing your South-East Asian fix but it might just make you impulsively buy the next plane ticket to Singapore as you lament on the food you’ve sorely missed!
Singapore Garden’s only restaurant is at Swiss Cottage however they also have a takeaway service in Chiswick.
Address: 83 Fairfax Road, London, NW6 4DY
Telephone: 0207 328 5314 / 0207 624 8233
Mind The Gap:
Mon – Thurs: 12pm-3pm . 6pm-11pm
Fri – Sat: 12pm-3pm . 6pm-11.30pm
Sun: 12pm-5pm . 6pm-11pm
Panda ate, shot and left