New Ubin has found a new home, and this time, the famous zi char restaurant is returning to its humble roots of a casual eatery. Located in an open-air canteen in the remote area of Tampines Crescent, it counts furniture stores and three famous megastores as its neighbours. The location might be odd and inaccessible, but luckily, it has an exciting menu to encourage you to make a visit.
Try the foie gras satay ($9) or the smoked pork collar ($12) prepared in an in-house smoker – modern plates that you’d expect from this forward-thinking zi char restaurant. There’s also a special Ubin Nasi Lemak ($15) from the New Ubin Test Kitchen, an incubator for the brand to experiment with new recipes. It took over a year of tinkering for founder Pang Seng Meng to land on its current rendition: fragrant coconut rice, tender sambal cuttlefish, anchovies, omelette, and ayam bakar that will have you you going back for seconds.
But the spotlight for this casual concept is still on its wok-kissed signatures. In particular, the open-air setting allows for the return of the charcoal fish head steamboat ($28) with red snapper, enoki mushrooms, tofu, yam, and seaweed. Get your hands dirty with some garlic baked crabs ($48 for 400g), or turn up the heat with royale chives ($8) tossed with its signature sambal chinchalok and petai sauce.