Is Chow Fun Restaurant & Bar simply a confusing food concept?

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    Pork Belly Bibim Guksu by Chow Fun Restaurant
    Pork Belly Bibim Guksu

    Singaporeans are no strangers to new food concepts. From Bincho, a coffee shop by day and a yakitori grill bar by night to raw food focused Afterglow, Singaporeans have lapped it all up and often, eager for more. Newly opened Chow Fun Restaurant & Bar at The Grandstand is one of the latest restaurants to offer patrons an uniquely different concept in a bid to win hearts and stomachs.

    Before you jump to conclusion and think that the restaurant serves a variety of fried rice dishes, the name “Chow Fun” is actually a pun on the ubiquitous Cantonese fried noodle dish served at Chinese restaurants in America, where Singaporean chef and owner, Alicia Lin, spent 20 years of her life. This puts the term in the same league as *chop suey (if you are interested, we have included a definintion of the dish at the end of the story). Don’t even get us started on chow mein.

    Chow Fun Restaurant & Bar’s concept is simple. It offer diners more than 18 different types of Asian and Western-inspired noodle small plates, small bites and snacks and top it off with an all day happy hour. Although the concept is simple, the variety is simply mind-boggling. From rice noodles and vermicelli to udon and spaghetti, Chow Fun serves them all and more. Some highlights include Korean Bibim Guksu, Wagyu Bolognese spaghetti and Bone Marrow, Lemon and Parmesan and Wagyu Bolognese.

    Assorted noodles and pasta at Chow Fun
    Assorted noodles and pasta

    The Korean Bibim Guksu is a cold noodle dish dressed with red pepper powder, gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) and kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage) among other ingredients. The dish comes with a generous slab of warm pork belly and topped with slivers of sautéed soy ginger-glazed pork belly. Chow Fun’s menu also consists of chef Alicia’s favourite recipes like the Wagyu Bolognese spaghetti, a dish that she has been cooking at home for years. The comforting dish features a tomato-based sauce with 12 hour slow-cooked ground wagyu beef.

    Bone Marrow Lemon and Parmesan Spaghetti
    Bone Marrow Lemon and Parmesan Spaghetti

    Another dish that caught our attention is the Bone Marrow, Lemon and Parmesan and Wagyu Bolognese ($4.40 each). The roasted bone marrow is served on al dente spaghetti seasoned with garlic, lemon zest and juice and shavings of parmigiano-reggiano cheese.

    Most of these small plates are priced at an affordable $2.90 per order. This might just be the ‘killer’ feature about the Chow Fun Restaurant & Bar concept as we are always complaining about how we have the stomach for only one main course. With the portion-friendly small plates, we could easily order 5 plates each! The idea remind us of the mini-sized Thai boat noodles concept at Talad Rot Fai night market in Bangkok where it is common to see diners with a huge stack of tiny plates they just ate. For those who wants a bigger serving, the full-sized version of selected noodle dishes are also available from $15.90.

    Chow Fun Restaurant & Bar also has a good spread of snacks for diners who wants to peck on food and catch up with friends over beer. The Mom’s White Radish Cake ($5.90), a pan-fried radish cake dish served with homemade spicy ‘hae bee hiam‘ or dried shrimp sambal is a good choice. Served in bite-sized cubes, our only hope is for each evenly pan-fried piece to have more bits of Chinese sausages, dried shrimp and shallots.

    Mom's White Radish Cake
    Mom’s White Radish Cake
    Potato, Bonito and Cheese Pancake by Chow Fun Restaurant
    Potato, Bonito and Cheese Pancake

    Other snacks include a Swiss rosti and Japanese Okonomiyaki fusion called Potato, Bonito and Cheese Pancake ($5.90), a layer of thinly-sliced fried potatoes topped with 3 cheeses (Mozzarella, mature Cheddar and Grana Padano), bonito flakes and spring onions as well as the ginger and honey marinated Peranakan Roasted Honey Pork ($5.90) that is first slow-cooked till tender before roasting it to a golden-hue.

    Other appetisers include Fish Roe Fish Balls ($6.90), ‘Crack’ Fries and Nacho Cheese Sauce ($5.90), and Deep-fried Caramelised Banana Fritters ($6.90).

    Deep Fried Caramelized Banana Fritters by Chow Fun Restaurant
    Deep Fried Caramelized Banana Fritters
    Dessert Platter by Chow Fun Restaurant and Bar
    Dessert Platter

    If you are heading down with a group of friends, you can consider ordering Chow Fun’s dessert tasting platter to share. Prices starts from $16.90 for three and $22.90 for five. The dessert menu created by young pastry Chef Leigh Ann van Cuylenburg feature items like Lychee Granita and Crystal Jelly ($4.90), lychee syrup-infused shaved ice sprinkled with diamonds of ambrosial rose-scented jelly, Red Bean, Black Sesame and Peanut Homemade Tang Yuan ($6.90) served in ginger soup and Salted Egg and Chocolate Lava Cake ($8.90).

    And they were not kidding about the all day happy hour too. A pint of Erdinger goes for $12 ($23 for 2 pints) and house pour wines at $10 per glass.

    Overall, we felt that the concept of allowing guests to order small portions is a good idea. You basically dictate how much you want to spend and how much you want to eat.  But having a long list of menu items with no central theme might quickly turn the place more into a bar and less a restaurant.

    Chow Fun restaurant exterior
    Exterior of the restaurant features a large vertical Hollywood-esque lightbox with the restaurant’s name
    Chow Fun restaurant interior
    The indoor part of the restaurant can sit 40 guests with the alfresco area taking in another 25

    Chow Fun Restaurant & Bar

    Address: The Grandstand, 200 Turf Club Rd, #01-08, Singapore 287994
    Tel: +65-6464-6900
    Reservations: [email protected]
    Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday: 11am – 12am

    *Chop suey is a Chinese-style dish that comprises of a medley of a type of meat, eggs, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and onions. It is typically served with rice.