There is a new fusion restaurant in town – Ujong.
The restaurant is helmed by Chef Shen Tan, the previous owner of Wok & Barrel at Duxton Hill. Located at Raffles Hotel Arcade, Ujong took over the restaurant space formerly occupied by Empire Café. It is now owned by Caerus Holding Pte Ltd.
Chef Shen has reprised some of her signature dishes, such as Nasi Lemak and Ba Chor Mee Pasta, that have cultivated a good following, but she has also took it a notch further with new interesting creations, such as Hae Bee Hiam Mentaiko Capellini; Claypot Rice with Five-Spiced Pork; Ba Kwa Pork Ribs; and Har Zi Meen, amongst others.
Everything is made from scratch at Ujong, including the most basic pasta. Flavours are naturally built using fresh ingredients and no MSG. The restaurant also offers a selection of wines that are carefully curated and paired with the local fusion fares.
The names of the dishes alone sound like a culinary adventure don’t they?
Usually, I am rather wary of fusion cuisines that try to give our local hawker fares a new twist. They tend to fall flat because it is hard to compete against familiar hawker flavours which we grew up with and yet deliver a fine dining experience. For such dishes, foreign palates will be easier to please than local palates.
I was equally wary when I went for the tasting at Ujong, but was pleasantly surprised by the delightful and eclectic mix of flavours. Somehow, they just go together and this is coming from someone with a picky local tastebud.
My favourites were the Claypot Rice with Five-Spiced Pork and the Hae Bee Hiam Mentaiko Capellini. Rachel was won over by the Ba Chor Mee Pasta and the desserts.
I have eaten at Empire Café before. The restaurant used to serve very simple local fares, just like those in regular hawker stalls. Ujoing is definitely a vast improvement. I like the vintage coffeeshop setting though and I am glad the new owner has opted to keep these intact:
Well-loved Singaporean food is given a slick update through Chef Shen’s carefully-curated creations while the quaint interior of the restaurant resembles coffeshops of the past, taking you on a walk down memory lane in colonial Singapore. What’s there not to like about Ujong? 🙂
#01-10, Raffles Hotel Arcade, 328 North Bridge Road
Sat & Sun: 10:00 – 22:00
Mon – Fri: 08:00 – 22:00