Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Shiok. 3.60/5.00

Aleph, his brother and I went to Shiok for lunch today. Speaking of today, was it hot or was it hot?

The trouble with Shiok is that it isn’t at eye level and can’t get much of a walk in crowd. The other problem is that it has the most uninspiring interiors. Gladly, the food more than makes up for it.

I had a soup to start with, minced chicken with celery. It was pretty good, light, with pok choy and some black mushrooms.

Our starters were drunken beef and a spiced fish grilled in banana leaf. The beef was immaculate, fiery yet complicated with hints of fish sauce. The beef in particular was excellent; I’d put money on the fact that it was either aged or mallet-ed with love. The basil was an excellent addition.

The spiced fish, while great in its own right, was a bit of a let down. Turned out to be more a cutlet (which had some coconut milk) wrapped in banana leaf and lightly grilled. It tasted superb, fresh fish some wonderful herbs and all, but still…the beef was in the klieg light.

Main course was a coral and jade prawn (coral being the prawn and the jade played by the broccoli) which was excellent, in particular the soy sauce used, a Thai chilly beef, again the beef had me singing, and the cracked pepper went well with the chilly, an Indonesian style stir-fried noodles (which reminded me of Maggie noodles and not in a bad way. Just that it was wheat based and cooked in some broth of sorts, just like Maggie noodles!) and a chilli-basil fried rice that had me searching for the chilly and the basil. The fried rice was good, I like the smoky flavour, intentional or not but the abject lack of basil and chilly was disappointing.

Desserts were an unmitigated disaster. A chocolate mousse cake that tasted and looked like a generous portion of Niligiris icing, a Tiramisu that tasted of nothing (quite literally, like chewing on air!) and a blueberry cheesecake that was strangely anesthetized of any traces of blueberry or cheesecake.

They do magnificent things with seafood and beef, the rice and noodles can be a trifle disappointing (so stick with white rice is my suggestion.) and at all costs, avoid dessert! That and the wait-staff can be a tad over-zealous.


Dilettante said...

The wait-staff can be overzealous. One really huge captain, with a short little jacket is particularly entertaining.

Anonymous said...

I know this post has nothing to do with Shiok...I just wanted to highlight a few issues I have with the Union budget.

Whats Cheaper?
Pasta....ofcourse !! WTF

Whats Dearer?
But ofcourse....Walking Sticks !! WTF

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the review.

As the owner/chef of the place, let me try to post my two cents here.

1) The drunken beef is one of our most popular dishes, and no, the beef isn't mallet-ed, just sliced against the grain.

2) The Otak Otak (spiced fish) is supposed to be finely minced fish in a spice paste and coconut cream, and unlike a regular cutlet, we don't use any breadcrumbs or binders etc. It's just the character of the dish.

3) I'm guessing the kitchen had an off day on the rice because while the chilli is supposed to be subtle (it says so on the menu too), the basil is not. (You can find my recipe for it here: http://shiokfood.com/notes/archives/000018.html )

4) Apologies for the desserts. We don't make them ourselves, we outsource them. This is simply because very few people order dessert at Shiok. I know they aren't as good as I'd like them to be, but it's odd that the tiramisu and cheesecake seemed so devoid of flavour. I'll look into it. Unfortunately, I just saw your post. If I had found it earlier, I might have been able to trace the batch and figure out what went wrong.

5) As for the interiors, drop by in the evening some time and you'll see a sea change in the place. We designed it to be warm and intimate, and broad daylight kills that effect a bit.

Feel free to write to me at chef@shiokfood.com



Anonymous said...

Oh, and if you could tell me in what way you found the wait staff to be overzealous, I will have a word with them. I think I know whom you're talking about.

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