In the purportedly upscale Bukit Timah suburbs, where cheap restaurants are few and far between, the restaurants along Coronation Arcade are a godsend if you're cash-strapped. Or trying to be financially prudent.
Curry Wok's apparently been around for ages, but somehow, I never quite got around to patronizing it until we moved to the area. This no-frills eatery has a welcoming homey ambience, and much of it has to do with the likeable affable owner. He's so jolly and sincerely smiley he could moonlight as a mall Santa.
The best way to describe Curry Wok's fare is "local" because, like our melting pot culture, the food served here is a veritable mix of Peranakan, Hainanese, Hokkien, Cantonese, Teochew and Malay cuisines. I suppose the majority of the dishes here are all based on its moniker, i.e. curries, although I do spy a fair number of non-spicy dishes.
You'll do well to order the Sayur Lodeh ($8), a medley of wilted cabbage, long beans and crunchy sweet carrots simmered in a rich and spicy curry. Together with Pagi Sore's version, Curry Wok does one of the best renditions of this Malay/Peranakan staple.
Another favourite of ours is the Curry Chicken ($8), Nonya-style and cooked to perfection that even a finicky Peranakan doyenne will approve. It's creamy and heady, with just a film of chilli oil for extra kick. It's spicy without numbing your tongue, and I could finish the delicious gravy on its own with bread or rice. Of course, the succulent chicken and softened potatoes are great sidekicks to the highlight that is the scrumptious gravy.
The Hubs loves the Otak Otak ($8) here. LOVES. It's fresh and moist and nicely textured with whole chunks of very fresh fish layered into it. We've been known to takeaway the otak on its own for supper as a wonderfully addictive snack.
The Sambal Sotong ($10) was cooked just right. Cooked through but not rubbery, it is well balanced between the chewy and soft. Beware the sambal though, its roasted sweetness belies how spicy it really is.
A popular signature here, the Curry Fish Head ($22) is swimmingly fresh, so it's a joy to pick off the flesh. The freshest version of curry fish head I've ever had. No contest. The curry is creamy and full of coconutty goodness, with just the slightest hint of tang.
The Hainanese Pork Chop ($8) is one of the not-so-greats, especially when compared to the rest of the stellar dishes. The meat is just a little too tough and lacking in a little moisture. That said, this was still passable.
We like the Prawn Omelette ($8). A heavy hand was given to the supply of diced fresh prawns, while properly sweated onions lent a toasty sweetness to the fluffy egg.
The Hubs is totally in love with the sambal here.Freshly pounded in-house, with a lime wedge for a sour tinge, this was tongue-numbingly spicy. Just the way he likes it.
The Curry Wok
5 Coronation Road
Coronation Arcade #01-04
Tel: 6464 8878
Open Wednesdays to Mondays from 11am to 11pm
Closed on Tuesdays