We were dismayed when the local outpost of Kuala Lumpur landmark Restoran Oversea exited our shores. We loved their char siew, and no one else in SG did it with quite as much aplomb as them...How else to get KL-style char siew now?
Enter Char. The pre-eminent char siew specialist, which moniker is a decent pun on the subject matter, barbecues pork so outstanding it may actually rival Restoran Oversea's version. I've put off visiting the restaurant for some time now, as reviews of its other offerings were lukewarm at best and I wasn't particularly keen on eating just char siew.
But since the installation of a new chef, whose stint in Imperial Treasure is an instant pass in my book, and the roll-out of a slew of Cantonese-styled dishes, I thought it high time to visit the Jalan Besar eatery.
An absolute cannot-miss, the Signature Char Siew ($18 for 300gm) was decadent, sinful, and all kinds of delicious. Sticky, luscious, melty, it was redolent of honeyed nuance and smoky char. While excellent on its own, that sambal chilli was noteworthy too. Its bright piquancy was a refreshing contrast to the sweetness of the meat.
The Cold Chicken ($8), which shredded poached chicken was a smidge dry, was saved by the scrumptious black vinegar-chilli oil emulsion jazzed up with chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, garlic, and szechuan peppercorns.
The Roast Pork Belly with Beancurd Casserole ($14) was entirely forgettable. The mushrooms needed salt, and it was disappointingly less saucy than I'd expected.
The Steamed Beancurd with Prawns ($14.80), drenched in a lurid green spinach-egg drop gravy, was best described by the Hubs as "baby food but yummy".
363 Jalan Besar
Tel: 6842 7759
Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11.30am to 2.30pm for lunch; 6pm to 10pm for dinner;
Closed on Mondays