Sunday, August 27, 2006

Owen Seafood, Turf Club City, Singapore

Having seen the advertising for Unique Seafood flogging a 50% off on weekdays and a 30% off on weekends a few times. We finally gave in to curiosity and drove to Turf Club City. Despite their constant advertising, we were never really quite keen on checking out the place because it seemed like another rip-off, phony seafood house. Nevertheless we decided to go there with an open mind and see what came out of it. Our expectations sort of dipped a little lower when we were greeted by this cheesy-looking, pseudo, football-club-looking crest. I mean, seriously; an inverted Olympics logo with a cap-wearing crab? What were they smoking when they thought of this?

As advertised, most of their seafood are live in tanks which made it seem rather similar to Long Beach at East Coast, but I have to admit their selection was pretty impressive. We were indeed spoilt for choice.

Another plus point about Owen Seafood is that they do not charge any corkage (but don't expect Champagne flutes) and as we were sort of celebrating a belated occasion, I decided to bring along a bottle of Moet and Chandon, Reserve Imperiale, it was an excuse to order more oysters you see haha.

We started off with a steaming hot plate of bamboo clams. Not too bad I must say, although I still think the ones at Tian Tian are a notch higher because the garlic is fried a little longer to extract their fragrance.

Then came the steamed oysters with black bean paste. This was just a little too salty, it would have been better if they used whole black beans instead because the saltiness practically drowned out any natural sweetness and flavor of the oysters.

We opted to have a set of large Canadian oysters baked with cheese. Although this may sound weird, the cheesebake was actually less salty than the steamed little ones with black bean paste. The cheese could have been creamier though, it seemed as though they bulked it up with some flour and cream but overall this was still pretty decent.

Stir-fried big head clams in local chilli (sambal) were next in line. I remembered eating this yoinks ago in a hawker setting but although this was rather tasty, it seemed like a watered down version of the hardcore hawker one i had. The smoky aroma just wasn't present and it somehow lacked "kick". Maybe they needed a larger flame under their wok. Anyone knows what is the standard power rating for gas wok burners in Singapore? Is it 120megajoules at least?

Steamed tiger prawns in garlic. These prawns were prepared in exactly the same manner as the bamboo clams we had earlier on but the sweetness of the fresh tiger prawns helped overcome any gustatory monotony.

More clams, mango-clams or so they're called stir-fried with spring onions and ginger. I prefered this alot more to the sambal big head ones because it had a more delicate touch to its tastiness and the ginger helped reduce any "fishy odor" from the clams. I tasted some Chinese wine in the sauce as well which really aided in improving overall scent and flavor.

When I heard they could cook our white prawns wong kum style(fried with salted egg yolk), I knew I had to see if the localised version could stand up to what I've been used to. This version is a lot wetter, heavier and uses chillies and curry leaves as well, but the fragrance and saltiness of the salted egg yolk still permeated through thus maintaining its identity. I would have prefered it if it was slightly drier but that being said, I still think it was a good effort.

More oysters yet again. We still had some more champagne left so why not? We chose a straight batter and deep-fry method to compare it with Tian Tian's, Owen's version came a close second. The batter was just a tad bit too thick and heavy but we have to be fair to Owen and put things in perspective here. This restaurant is huge and gets the crowds so the cooking is almost on par with mass-cooking. For mass-cooking, this was actually pretty damn good.

The last dish on our seafood barrage were steamed large Canadian scallops with XO sauce (a spicy sauce using dried scallops of Hong Kong origin). These scallops are huge, I mean they had to be sliced across a few times to ensure it would be cooked consistently. The meat wasn't as tender as some other scallops I've had, but none of them were this huge. I was rather impressed that the XO sauce actually contained real dried scallops instead of the popular cheaper dried shrimp to pass off as poor scallop imitations. We just thought it would fun to have a dish that used the very same ingredient to flavor it (a scallop-based sauce with fresh scallops haha) and it actually turned out quite well.

In addition to all the seafood, we also ordered an unremarkable fried rice and coffee pork-ribs. I'll just stick to the seafood when I'm here the next time. If it's not live and moving in a tank, I'm not ordering it. The service here was pretty good as well and your plates were changed the moment they were half-full with some shells, I didn't bother to count but I think my plate was changed at least 20 times in this sitting. The meal also didn't cost as much as we thought because the 30% discount did buffer it (I'll probably come here on a weekday the next time to enjoy the greater 50% discount). I sort of liked how they printed your non-discounted price on the bill as well which gives you a cheap psychological thrill because you get to see how much you have "saved" haha.



Anonymous said...

Awesome dude! awesome des! honto awesome des!

Sammy said...

Oh hello! Nice blog :) Keep up the good reviews!

Anonymous said...

*ahh! clams!!!

*cat and owner scratches screen excitedly



J said...

おいしい! 素晴らしい! よい!

Unknown said...

Nice D ... either that or you have nifty photographic skills which make the food look good!