Enter Jiakpalang Eating House and the first thing you’ll notice is its slate-grey, industrial interior, and further inside a wall covered with striking graffiti featuring eatery’s name. While many flock to the new restaurant in the Fragrance Empire Building off Alexandra Road for salad and rice bowls during lunch hour, it also has a formidable range of delectable mod-sin (Modern Singaporean) dinner dishes, as inspired by local zi char (Singapore home-style cooking) joints.
The Sour Plum Vine Tomato with Seaweed ($7) is the perfect starter to whet your appetite. Juicy, tangy, and yielding the perfect amount of crunch, these tomato slices are even more piquant when eaten with slices of seaweed and dipped in the roast sesame mayonnaise. A favourite of ours was the Silken Tofu with Century Egg Sauce and Tobiko ($7): the tofu was wonderfully firm and creamy while the century egg sauce was potent. Topped off with the crunchy red orbs of fish roe, this appetiser is a real treat for those who relish strong, savoury flavours.
Jiakpalang’s roulade-style Har Cheong Gai ($13) is quite exquisite. Tender chicken thigh marinated in shrimp paste sits at the heart of the roulade, while its battered exterior is perfectly crispy. We applaud this Har Cheong Gai for not being overwhelming salty, and the accompanying zesty calamansi mayo adds a refreshing dimension to the rolls. The well-seared Assam Pulau Ubin Seabass ($15) was incredibly fresh. Each bite of fish is beautifully complemented by a spoonful of slow cooked confit eggplant and aromatic pineapple compressed in elderflower syrup.
The Charcoal Katarosu Pork Collar ($16) is the eatery’s divine rendition of the coffee pork ribs we all know and love. The pork collar’s lovely sweet-smoky taste lends itself to being seared in charcoal and drizzled in Kopi C, a well-balanced sauce made from a base of condensed milk, oyster sauce, and freeze dried coffee. The eatery’s playfulness and ability to innovate comes through with the accompanying bed of crunchy coffee soil (small chunks of freeze dried flour, sugar, and cocoa powder), which provides a fun, aromatic edge to the dish. Inspired by coffee shop patrons who would munch on peanuts with their pints in hand, the Ang Ji Kao Stout-Braised Beef Cheek is fork-tender and is complemented with the earthy creaminess of the peanut butter crunchy mash. Some might call the dish a tad too rich, but is easily balanced out by the fresh Nashi pear and shaved radish.
Everyone’s favourite chocolate malt drink is reborn as the Milo Dinosaur Panna Cotta ($8). The creamy, malty Milo base is topped with milo crumbs and chewy housemade shiratama (Japanese glutinous rice balls). The complimentary flavours and textures in this dessert make it hard to resist.
With well-executed classic local dishes imbued with an innovative modern touch, Jiakpalang Eating House is well worth visiting if you’re a fan of the mod-Sin cuisine trend or simply if you’re looking for somewhere fun and new to head to.
Jiakpalang Eating House is located at 456 Alexandra Road, #01-06, Singapore 119962 , p. +65 6266 8511. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-10pm, Sat 6pm-10pm. Closed Sun.