We had some friends in town and gave them the option of seafood or banana leaf curry, they chose seafood.
Initially I was thinking of heading to Red House on Robertson Quay. A quick Google though came up with a review where he always saw foreigners in Red House. The reason being that all the locals are at Jumbo Seafood, as it’s better quality and cheaper. So we headed to Jumbo instead.
The other benefit of Jumbo is that it’s next-door to Brewekz where we popped in for a quick one beforehand.
Enough of your drinking this is a restaurant review
Ok ok , we were there on a Tuesday night and even then there were 2 people waiting for a table when we arrived. We only had a couple of mins to wait as a table was cleared, so the message is try booking or get there early or you’re probably going to have to wait.
Jumbo is a real “local” restaurant, by that I mean they use all the pavement for tables and whilst I’m sure the inside has great decor you don’t really get to see it. With Jumbo being on the river you can have some scenic views over to Clark Quay with Fort Canning Hill behind. At this time of year though you might just get a grey wall of rain.
One of the fun things about these kind of restaurants is trying to figure out who does what. There clearly is a hierarchy and each person has their job and that’s all they are allowed to do. So there can be a bunch of staff next to you but none of whom can take an order. Our experience of this was when our friend tried to order a bottle of wine from the lady serving the tea. Folks who have been here a while will be used to this and look for the person with the earpiece or different coloured shirt so it’s more fun than annoying.
Ah yes the food, due to dietary requirements we kept things simple. Black pepper crab, fresh fish in a soy source, boiled live prawns, baby kailan, spinach with garlic and seafood fried rice.
By the way don’t expect starters or set courses, it’s savoury dishes then deserts (which we didn’t order). The food comes out when it’s ready so there’s no order and plates seem to arrive randomly. For the western palate this is really confusing, how am I supposed to eat my fish without the rice? Embrace the cultural difference.
First thing we got was the tea, normally I’d skip over this as it’s nothing special but having hot tea in a glass? Actually wasn’t too hot to handle but brought a smile to my face.
The veggies were the first real food to arrive, both nice a crisp and spinach with a good crunch. Next up were the live prawns which we had plain. For those of you who have not come across the “live” description before; it means fresh before cooking, not arriving live on the plate. It would put a different twist on live clay pot frog (that I have had in a hawker) if it was the literal meaning. These were fresh and yummy, as you can see in the cover photo a lot of the food is literally live on the premises.
We went for the black pepper crab, we prefer this to chilli crab and this one was good and spicy. I always like breaking open the shell and getting all messy. The bib provided was definitely needed, the only problem being that it kept blowing up, the ladies didn’t seem to have this problem.
Finally the fish arrived and the waiter deboned it at the table. As is traditional I served the fish cheeks to our guests. We had it in a simple soya source and it was succulent and fresh but not worth the price you will see below.
By now the table was getting crowded so perhaps we weren’t eating fast enough to empty the serving plates or over ordered. Overall the food is good and you know you are Singapore not some stylised restaurant that could be in any city.
So you said earlier that Jumbo is better value than Red House, so how much was it?
No I didn’t, I said that someone else said it was better value and where the locals eat. Anyway for the four of us with a bottle of wine it came to $305.20 which isn’t a bargain in my book. We got caught out by the fish which came to over $80 on its own.
30 Merchant Road
# 01-01/02 Riverside Point
Tel – +65 6532 3435
Web – http://www.jumboseafood.com.sg/special_branch04.html