Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review: Straits Express & Crown and Anchor // Basil By Thai Kitchen @ Singapore Sports Hub

Ever since my first visit to Singapore Sports Hub (to swim at the OCBS Aquatic Centre), I've fallen in love with the place! Mr Tan and I kept going back! Haha! Exercised once. LOL! Mainly to walk around, enjoy the night view and to visit the NTUC Fairprice there! I know right! Hahaha! One of our favourite dating place is Fairprice. If you follow me on my dayre, you'll know how frequent we visit the place. Heh. :P 

Anyway, the Fairprice outlet here is really cool! The design is of sports concept and most importantly, it is HUGE (and not overly crowded)! 

Ok, I think I have digressed. Haha! Because I was invited to Singapore Sports Hub for various food tastings, so I thought I'll write them in one post for easy reference! 

So besides, doing sports @ Sports Hub (duh), there are lots of eating places here as well! Looking at the map, there are 2 shopping malls here Kallang Wave Mall and Kallang Leisure Park Mall. The latter is slightly smaller. Other than the eateries in the malls, there are a few independent ones like Thai Village Restaurant which I have previously reviewed. 

First up! Straits Express & Crown and Anchor. 

Not sure if you have heard of The Straits Express? It's an imaginary luxury train basically, so the entire concept of Straits Express & Crown and Anchor comes from there! 

Mr Tan and I were invited to the newly opened restaurant, featuring straits settlement cuisines of course. 
Mainly 3 types here:
1. Peranankan 
2. Penang
3. Anglo Hainanese 

Call me noob. But I always associate straits food with peranankan only! :P Didn't know there are Penang and Anglo Hainanese (first time hearing) as well! 

First up, we had the food from Anglo Hainanese origin.

I googled about Anglo Hainanese since I have no idea what's that. Basically it's an English Hainanese style of cooking! Quite an interesting history about them! You can google to find out more! :) 

Mulligatawny soup, $4.90++.

Ingredients are somewhat similar to ABC soup, just that it tasted slightly sourish and spicy due to the adding of curry. 

Oxtail stew, $18.50

Probably my fav among the 3. 
I wish I had rice to go with that rich and flavourful gravy! :D  

Toad in the hole, $10.50.

A traditional British dish that we were really anticipating! Because you hardly see this anywhere? 
At first we couldn't feature out what was this 'pancake' that we were eating. We were like, it tasted like a very dense pancake, somewhat like crispy omelette..? 

In the end we concluded it's like sausages in pudding batter. Identity crisis much. Haha! We didn't particularly like this since we really don't what we are eating. :/ 

Actually, after trying these 3 dishes, I still don't quite get Anglo Hainanese cooking. I guess there are just too much fusions and thus making the dishes much confusing? Hmm..

After a not so satisfying Anglo Hainanese food, we moved on to Penang ones.  

Boy, I was so glad that this was much much more decent! 

Among the 3 that we tried, Penang Lok Bak, $8+, which looks like the ngoh hiang, was my fav of all! 

Oily yes, but the filling was so yummy! Mainly pork belly and huge chunks of water chestnuts! 

Confession of a glutton: I finished most of the roll. :P 

Penang fried kway teow, $9+.

The wok hei was really good! I couldn't control myself from having more despite knowing that it's calorific! Hahaha! *woes of being a vain girl*

This reminds me that I need to visit Penang soon for the food!!!

Penang Assam laksa, $8+.

We were told that Penang laksa is an acquired taste, either you like or you hate. Well, compared to our local one, Penang style is more of a sourish one. I like anything sour, but mr tan wasn't a fan of this.

Babi tohay, $18.

Moving on to the last cuisine, Peranankan, which we tried most of the dishes from. 

First up is also my fav from this cuisine, a must order at Straits Express because this dish is so 'endangered' elsewhere! Basically it is thinly sliced pork belly cooked with many spices and one important one is ang-Kak (red rice yeast). A dish that I will come back for! 

Nonya Chap Chye, $9.50.

One of the dish that I will always think of when come to nonya food. I'm happy that the chap chye lived up to expectation! 

Prawns belimbing, $18.

Not a big fan of prawns, but I love the gravy a lot! Because it's spicily good! Shiok la, in Singaporean's term. Haha!  

Nonya mee siam, $8.

We were told that it is highlight of the menu. But... 
Both of us didn't quite like it.  Mee Siam tasted really diluted. Not sure if it was just our luck that our bowl wasn't good? 

 Apple pie (served cold), $4.50+

Of course they were desserts to end the night! 

Sadly this was one of the rare occasion that I couldn't finish the dessert. Not because I was too full, but this apple pie just didn't work for me, or him. :/ I would say, apple pie is still best served warm and perhaps with a scoop of ice cream too! :D 

Now, this is the real dessert that I'm looking for! Glad the ondeh ondeh saved the night! ^^

Overall, I think of the 3 cuisines tried, Penang and Nonya ones fare better. I still very confused about Anglo Hainanese afterall. Hahaha! Anyway, besides serving comfort food, Straits Express also has a large bar area for drinking, as well as an al-fresco dining area which has an entire view of the beautiful Singaore Skyline! 

1 Stadium Place 
#01-24/28 & #01 - K13/K17 Singapore 397628

Opening hours: 11AM - 10PM DAILY
Contact: +65 6702 2964


Another restaurant located at Kallang Wave Mall, Basil by Thai Kitchen. It's the latest concept by ThaiExpress! We were invited here to try the menu available at Basil and also some special dishes that were created especially for the Songkran Festival! 

Featuring a more cosy, hip and rustic look! Somewhat cafe style! Yup, so the brand is hoping to attract more youngsters (like you and me :P) to visit this new concept! ^^ 

Guess what? Although Basil looks more atas and up (in terms of interior design), the menu here is in fact more affordable than ThaiExpress! 

Ok, so get ready to be flooded by more food. Haha! I hope you're not feeling too hungry. :P

Thai fish cake.

I can safely say it's the fave dish of the night for me!! The fish cake is homemade and was so soft~ Almost tofu-like texture!

Beef salad

One of the signature at Basil. Ribeyes is use for this dish which I really didn't expect! Yes, this was good! 

Fried egg and prawn omelette. 

Another signature at Basil and super sinful one! Luckily I don't fancy this type of crispy fried egg, I still prefer my wet and fluffy eggs! Anyway, I didn't taste any prawns in it as well? Hmm..

Nam prik Mamuang.

 This dish can be found locally at Basil only! Served with fried glutinous rice balls, raw vegetables and the spicy meat sauce! There are 3 different versions of this and the one we tried has the lowest spice level. Tasted like the usual sweet Thai chilli sauce to me, but really addictive!

Being the chilli lover, I requested Jamie to let me try the ultimate level, which has all the different chilli in it. But but.. I didn't quite like it? It's more of a salty chilli for me.

Thai style seafood kway Teow  x Songkran special dish -Songkran wings.

The kway teow was slightly on the oily side but it was really good! 

One the other hand, Songkran wings (available till 30th April) were quite a disappointment. The wings were too skinny. Can't really taste much meat. :/ 

Songkran Special Dish: Papaya Salad or Som Tum.

One of my fav Thai dish! This did not disappoint, tasted similar to what I have eaten in BKK! The boy didn't like though. Too spicy for him!

Songkran Special Dish: Stir fried Thai style bee hoon served with tiger prawns. 

What's so special about this is that the bee hoon has soaked up the goodness of fresh coconut cream! So there's a taste of coconut milk as you eat. The yellow bee hoon is due to the use of curry. I think this dish is worth a try!

Songkran Special Dish: Thai style salted egg calamari. 

Thai's version of salted egg yolk is different from the Singapore ones where only the egg yolk is used, the Thai counterpart uses the egg white as well! Thus, less salty as compared. 

Noted that all Songkran Special Dish are available till 30th April only! Try them before they are gone! :)

Very full for the above food (all eaten by Mr Tan and I! Zomg.)

But.. I insist on having desserts no matter what! :P

Red Ruby.

Thai classic dessert eh? I'm not a fan of Thai desserts, except for mango glutinous rice! So I haven't eaten enough red ruby to tell if this is a good one. It was refreshing nonetheless. 

Mango Glutinous Rice. 

The glutinous rice was well executed. Tasted like the one in Thai! Mango was disappointing though. Quite sourish. :/ 

Lod Chong, 

Packed with so much ingredients! My fav dessert of the night!

Overall food at Basil was better than my expectation! Will come back again (especially for the thai fish cake! Haha!). 

 Stadium Place, #01-16/K8Kallang Wave MallSingapore 397628Tel : 6702 7332
Opening Hours: 11.30am to 10pm daily.


Ok. Initially I wanted to write about another restaurant as well but I guess I shared too much about Straits Express & Crown and Anchor and Basil for now. I'm tired. LOL! So check back for my next post! ^^


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