Mention the words “Chinese restaurant”, and the first images (and aromas) that come to mind are your typical family-style Cantonese and Teochew dishes. Same same, but different. The Famous Kitchen on far-flung Sembawang Road sets itself apart by serving up wholesome, traditional Nanyang cuisine, inspired by owner Jeffrey Foo’s travels around China.
Boasting an extensive menu of comforting dishes made with choice ingredients, The Famous Kitchen is proof that you don’t need a flashy, hipster interior or official social media accounts to reel in the customers, just regular, wholesome cooking.
The Steamed Fish with Preserved Vegetables on Hot Plate 招牌铁板酸菜蒸鱼 (seasonal price) is one such creation that Jeffrey re-created from his travelling days. While the explosion of spicy and tangy flavours is reminiscent of Szechuan flavours, The Famous Kitchen offers a slightly toned down version that appeals to local palates. Yet, the strong aromas and flavours from the layer of preserved vegetables does not take away from the grouper, which tastes delightfully fresh and light.
A visit to any Chinese restaurant is not complete without crab, and The Famous Kitchen certainly knocks it out of the park with their fresh, plump crabs.
With Sri Lankan mud crabs and flower crabs shipped in twice a week and kept alive till the time of cooking, diners can be guaranteed nothing but the freshest, most plump crab meat no matter the style of cooking! The quintessential Singaporean favourite, the Chilli Crab 辣椒螃蟹 (seasonal price) boasts a union of sweet and spicy flavours.
The Baked Flower Crab with Rock Salt 盐香焗花 蟹 (seasonal price) on the other hand, is a treat with its intense umami notes.
The Lobster Braised with Bee Hoon龙虾焖米粉 (seasonal price) is another testament to The Famous Kitchen’s dedication to freshness. Flavourful bee hoon is topped with whole braised lobster that is similarly fresh and flavourful. Combined with the broth, it makes for a richly-flavoured, comforting dish that is perfect for rainy evenings.
Aside from seafood, diners can also enjoy a variety of vegetable and poultry-based dishes. Indulge in some Crispy Leaves Kai Lan 脆叶芥兰 ($16++ for small, $24++ for medium, $32++ for large) that puts a unique spin on our favourite Chinese broccoli.
Last but not least, be prepared to be wowed away by the Oven-baked Volcano Chicken火山烤鸡 ($58++ whole), a dramatically presented dish that is splashed with whisky, rum, or rose light before being set alight. What you get is a flavourful dish with crispy skin on the outside, and tender, moist flesh on the inside.
Step outside The Famous Kitchen and into The Famous Hangout to enjoy a pint or two from their extensive alcohol selection. The atmosphere and decor is certainly a modernised one compared to the more traditional interior!