New Ubin Seafood is quite the Singaporean success story indeed. Not many people might know of its humble beginnings from our offshore island of Pulau Ubin to it cementing itself in many Singaporeans’ hearts as a favourite for good zi char dining.
The family-owned restaurant has had its appearances in various parts of our island, and is currently sitting pretty in three locations: keeping its original low-key vibe at a “canteen in a carpark” at Hillview; an upscale version at downtown Chijmes; and now, its first-ever “hotel” location at Ramada hotel in Balestier.
I’ve not been to New Ubin at Chijmes, but think New Ubin Seafood and I think “coffeeshop” ambience serving hearty, tasty zi char. Well, the outlet at Ramada hotel in Zhongshan Park certainly isn’t your regular coffeeshop.
It’s looking very much like a … well, hotel restaurant. But we’re not here to wax lyrical about the décor or ambience.
When it comes to New Ubin, it is always about the food.
Because the owner himself, Mr Pang, sat with us during the media lunch, and explained each dish himself, it started feeling like I was at his house and he had just cooked up stuff for a bunch of friends to try.
There were the New Ubin signature dishes such as the USDA Black Angus Ribeye and its buddy the Heart Attack Fried Rice, the Boss Beehoon and the Sri Lankan Mud Crabs.
Boss Beehoon ($12) – made from just three ingredients but a star for me. This is the highway to ruining any pretensions of a low-carb diet for me. The slightly charred taste, the firm texture, all so appealing!
Hokkien Mee Special ($15) – yes, another carboholic’s fantasy, with the slippery smooth noodles having been bathed in a rich prawn and pork stock and kissed by smoky wok hei.
The Ribeye ($80 for 500g) – Mr Pang himself said that this time the beef was cut too big, and I agree. Smaller pieces would have allowed for more surface area having the chargrilled flavour. But that’s a minor matter, it was still good for any caveman wannabe.
I got to try not just one Heart Attack Fried Rice, so called because the rice is fried with the fat from the beef, but two. The second version being dubbed a Double Heart Attack Fried Rice, with two sunny sides up on top.
And then, the crabs.
Garlic baked (from S$48 for 500g) version, with a mountain of sweet garlic cloves.
Chilli Crab (from S$48 for 500g; S$4 for 3 man tou) – just the right level of sweet and spicy.
A staple at any zi char place – the Har Cheong Gai ($18 for 6 pcs). I never tire of biting into crisp shrimp paste battered wings, revealing steaming hot, tender meat within.
Behind the chicken is the Crispy Pork Jowl (S$14 for 125g) – A Garang Grill signature, cooked over coals and served with a miso gula melaka glaze.
New Ubin’s veggie special, the Kai Lan ($15) is done two ways; first, wok-fried with garlic, then topped with a part of the leaves that are finely sliced and deep-fried, and sprinklings of crispy white bait.
And some dishes at New Ubin that I wouldn’t normally think to try.
Like the Fish Roe with Chinchalok and Petai Beans ($25 for 250g).
Or this amazing Brinjal Delight ($15) – as they say, sure to convert an eggplant hater or two. It’s sweet, spicy, sour, all at once!
And this dish that I declined to try on account of being just too full, but upon being served by Mr Pang himself, I submitted and was glad I did – the Smoked Pork Curry ($29). You can really discern the smoky aroma in the pork belly dish that was just so lemak (rich) as well.
I’m afraid I didn’t capture a picture, but it looks like how a curry normally looks like!
Foie Gras Egg Special ($10.50) – an atas (high-end) version of a classic Singaporean breakfast dish, the soft-boiled eggs.
And this Kaya toast ($8 for 5 pcs) – interestingly served to us as dessert. The kaya was so chilled, it was almost like eating kaya ice cream and New Ubin slaps on a generous slab of French butter, no less.
So now, all you New Ubin fans, another option that’s more central and pssst…. coming soon to an easterly neighbourhood (Tampines), will be yet another outlet. Looks like New Ubin Seafood is planting their flag around the island! More for us to enjoy 🙂
New Ubin Zhongshan Park:
Address: 16 Ah Hood Road Singapore 329982
Contact: 9740 6870 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lunch: Monday – Sunday 12pm – 3pm (Last order at 2pm)
Dinner: Monday – Thursday 6pm – 10.30pm (Last order at 10pm); Friday – Sunday 5.30pm – 11pm (Last order at 10pm)