The Place Located at buzzing Keong Saik Road, Kok Sen Restaurant is almost like an institution in this enclave in Chinatown after being around for three generations. I finally had the chance to check our Kok Sen recently, also a Bib Gourmand Restaurant on the Singapore Michelin Guide 2016 and 2017. The setting of Kok Sen is old school characterised by white tile walls, old stools and a dated looking menu.
It seems to be perpetually packed during peak dining hours where tables have to be arranged along the alley outside of the restaurant. The general protocol is to queue outside to wait for a table, otherwise the most ideal way is to reserve well ahead. Although do not expect this to be organised, with fellow diners cutting the queue, and the restaurant staff shrieking at customers to get in line.
Before reading on, we strongly recommend you to head over to have your local Singapore zichar indulgence in either KEK Seafood or JB Ah Meng instead of Kok Sen. If you are still keen on Kok Sen though, the below might persuade you off.
The Food The menu is extensive to say the least, with the signature dishes being highlighted with a thumbs up beside the dish. One of the must order dish at Kok Sen and a dish which can’t be found elsewhere is the Big Prawns Hor Fun (S$18/small). Served in a big plate, the small portion is good for sharing for 2 pax. I enjoyed the sauce most, which is slightly spicy and has a good deal of wok-hei, which makes the overal flavour a delicious one.
However, the Prawn Paste Chicken (S$13/small) is rather disappointing even though it is also highly recommended. We find that the chicken is too dry for our liking, coupled with the lack of prawn paste flavour. We struggled to finish this.
I wanted to try the signature Claypot Yong Tau Foo but it wasn’t available as we were rudely informed, hence we settled for the Homemade Tofu Minced with Pork (S$11/small) instead since it was recommended by the staff. Decent dish, nothing to shout about.
Rants We waited for about 30 minutes in the queue and a further 30 minutes for our food to arrive on a Saturday evening, which is not unexpected. Would not have been an issue if the food was on point. The service, not that we are expecting anything, leaves much to be desired.
Taste bud: 2.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 2.5/5
Kok Sen Restaurant
30-32 Keong Saik Road
Tel: +65 6223 2005
Daily: 12pm to 2.30pm; 5pm to 11.30pm
Closed every alternate Monday
Ranted by The Ranter