The only thing worse than going to Uptown is going to Uptown at lunchtime. Like Pudu, the area has always invoked an inveterate fear in me, probably because everyone is driven into a frenzy of desperation to secure the few miserable parking spots available and that generally results in a lot of raised middle fingers and unwholesome behaviour.
Luckily then for Fat Spoon, whose whimsical décor and quirky details did much to calm my murderous instincts. An homage to retro-cute, Fat Spoon is a shutterbug’s dream: from the mismatched wooden furniture and fat spoon door handle to the Peter and Jane storybook menus, here’s a longing backward glance to the good old days when children still read Ladybird books and drew on blackboards.
Predominantly Nyonya with a nod to DLL (that’s ‘Dan Lain Lain’), the food is by and large competent, although many dishes still lack the finesse that will come with time and experience. Nevertheless, the menu is impressively extensive, and includes watercress soup noodles (a tad too two-dimensional), assam perut ikan (nicely piquant), and the ubiquitous spring rolls (a tasty contrast of textures).
All-in-one meals like the sambal fried rice – served with fried chicken, fried egg, cucumber and pineapple salad, and papadam – provide excellent value for money, but it’s the claypot loh shee fun that takes top spot in the popularity stakes. The house speciality is aromatically but not overly spiced, and its nourishingly smooth texture makes it the ultimate comfort food. The same can be said for its western counterpart – the spicy beef macaroni soup. Consummately flavoursome, the broth is amped up with tender slices of beef and the result is slurpingly moreish bowl food that satisfies.
Leave room for coffee: Fat Spoon’s latte and affogato are surprisingly good, although centre stage is dominated by the ridiculously creamy hot chocolate, not least because the overwhelmingly chocolatey flavour is matched in intensity by a thick foam that is well served by lashings of chocolate powder.
While it may not be able to lay claim to serving the best Nyonya food in town, Fat Spoon’s appeal lies in its ability to provide diners with a delightful oasis from the humdrum of everyday routine, whilst serving homecooked food that evokes memories of carefree childhood days. Sometimes that’s all it takes to put the spring back into your step. Fay Khoo