Monday, 11 August 2008


Earlier this year I rounded up a bunch of friends and headed to Singapura for my birthday dinner. I'd tried to go for Chinese New Year, but they were completely booked out.

Singapura is one of those few restaurants where I've only ever had great food. I hadn't been there for a year or so and had been dying to go back. Last time I was there the table next to us had this giant pile of crabs that looked so good I wanted to invite myself over and eat their dinner.

As you'd guess from its name, Singapura serves Singaporean food, together with some Malaysian dishes. This is the place to go if you like sambal, but there is also a great selection of seafood dishes.

Because it was my birthday, keeping notes of the food I ate was pretty low on the list of priorities for the night. So if this post is a bit hazy, you know why.

To start with I had the lettuce wraps. These were like san choy bau. They were tasty enough, but I found them a bit sloppy. There was too much sauce in the wraps, which meant that by the time I'd finished them, they were all over the table in front of me. I also tried the sweet corn soup, which was a tad salty for my liking.

After a few glasses of wine, it was on to main course. Ever since I saw the Food Safari episode on Singapore, I have been dying to try Singaporean chilli crab. I had my heart set on ordering one, until I saw the dreaded "market price" on the menu. I asked our waitress what the market price was. After she made a quick trip to the kitchen, I was told it would be $60. It took me a few minutes to decide whether I really wanted it that much, but it was my birthday after all, and I thought Singapura was probably one of the best places in Brisbane to give it a try. So after checking I actually had enough cash, I ordered the chilli crab.

The crab was delicious. It wasn't mind blowing, but I think that's just because I had been dreaming about how good it would taste ever since the one they cooked up for Meave on Food Safari. It sure looked like a lot of pieces of crab. The crab had been broken up into manageable bits, and every single piece was smothered in the beautiful chilli sauce. If you do order this, be prepared to have bits of crab and sauce all over your face, hands, arms and the table in front of you by the time you finish. That's because you'll end up slurping every last bit of crab flesh off the shells and legs. The crab was good, but I still don't know if it was $60 worth of good. No matter how much it cost, I'm glad I got to try it.

If you want to have a crack at cooking Singapore chilli crab at home, here's the recipe from Food Safari. It's not too complicated, and there's even a video you can watch on to help you put it all together. Believe me, it will be worth the effort.

I was too busy slurping away at my crab to eat too many of the other main courses. The salt and pepper tofu was delicious though. I love silken tofu, especially at Japanese restaurants, but otherwise I'm not the biggest fan of fried tofu. This was an exception - the tofu was crispy and really tasty. I was told that the spicy eggplant was also great. Eggplant isn't something you come across at many Asian restaurants, so we ordered it out of curiosity. It turned out to be delicious, spicy and unusual. The mixed vegetables in oyster sauce was ok, but tasted like the oyster sauce had just been poured over the top after the vegetables had been cooked.

There are a few desserts on the menu, including the ubiquitous deep fried ice-cream. By this stage of the night we'd all had a few drinks, so we ordered the agar agar with rambutan, just to see what it was. I had tried rambutans before, but not agar agar. Wikipedia tells me that agar-agar is the Malay word for jelly, and is derived from seaweed. Although it sounded wildly exotic, it turned out to be a bit of a letdown. The agar agar didn't taste like much and the three rambutans tasted like they'd come straight out of a tin. Maybe I just had high expectations after the chilli crab.

The decor at Singapura is pretty basic, although if you sit in the back part of the restaurant there are these cool landscape cut-outs against the wall. It's hard to describe them in words, so you'll just have to go and see them for yourself. Singapura can also get pretty noisy, as the place is usualy very busy, and it's popular with groups. Singapura is BYO, which means that a night of delicious food here doesn't end up costing too much. There is a handy bottle shop just on the other side of Milton road.

Service is usually friendly and efficient, although things can get a bit hectic when the place is full. Prices are excellent, unless of course your whole table decides to go for the chilli crab.

I think Singapura is one of the better Asian restaurants in Brisbane, where you can always count on a tasty feed. I certainly don't know of too many restaurants in Brisbane that specialise in Singaporean food, so its definitely worth a visit.

What does all this mean? Tasty Singaporean food and a great range of seafood at low prices.

food bling ratings
Food - Good
Service - Good
Ambience - Fairly basic, but keep an eye out for the landscapes at the back of the room
Value for Money - Great
Wine - BYO
Vegetarian - Good

Shop 3, 524 Milton Road
Toowong 4066
P - 07 3870 2266

Singapura on Urbanspoon


Emmanuel said...

Great Blog:)
if you like Malaysian Food
You Should Check out
Jun's Japanese Asian Cuisine at Wishart Plaza at Mt Gravett
they serve really good Singapore Malaysian Food and you can ask for special requests by calling in advance. I think they're open from thursdays to Sundays only

junel. said...

you've got a nice blog here mate!

well, if you really have the opportunity to visit singapore, i swear that the chilli crab served there would leave u coming back for more. Singapura would be quite a nobody by then! =) Well, just in case u have the chance for singapore, try Jumbo seafood restaurant or No Signboard seafood's chilli crab. They are to die for. Seriously.

food bling, Brisbane said...

thanks for the tips on Singapore. One day when I make it out of Changi airport and into the city chilli crab will be the first thing I eat.

island said...

agree with emmanuel about Jun's at Wishart. i reckon they're better than Singapura. as a singaporean, i don't feel the 'bang' when i ate at Singapura. Little Singapore, in comparison, is better.

also check out the lunch menu at Rasa Malaysia, Underwood.

Jun's serve chilli crab and bbq sting ray but you need to ring in advance to order.