The Place Located along the main Geylang thoroughfare, Sik Bao Sin has been a long-time zi char establishment, with surprisingly only 13 dishes on its menu. Also commonly referred to as Desmond’s Creation, in reference to Chef Desmond Chia’s name, the restaurant is set in a humble setting with basic furnishings. For the first time this year, the restaurant gets the nod from the French Michelin inspectors, and is included in the Michelin Bib Gourmand Restaurants establishments for the Michelin Guide Singapore 2018.
With limited seats, the restaurant does not take reservation for parties smaller than 8 persons, so be prepared for a short queue during the peak hours. You will be warned while your orders are being taken on the waiting time for food, with 45 to 90 minutes of waiting time expected during peak hours. Don’t arrive feeling very hungry, that’s our humble advice.
The Food With only 13 dishes, deciding what to order was harder than expected. While not spoilt by choices, there was an impetus to try all 13 items. Most intriguing of all, 10 of the 13 items are listed as all time favourites of the restaurant, with 4 being named as the main stars, namely the Steamed Fish Head, Steamed Pork with Salted Fish, Ginger Chicken and Tofu Prawns.
You will notice that there are no prices on the menu, and when prompted, the service staff mentioned that all items are either S$19 for small and regular portions or S$26 for medium portions.
We decided to go for 2 of the 4 main stars, the Steamed Pork with Salted Fish (S$17) and the Tofu Prawn (S$19). Yes, and ironically the Steamed Pork is at S$17, which still continues to puzzle me. Nonetheless, it is the favourite item for me here, not overpoweringly salty nor oily, going perfectly with the steamed plain rice.
The kitchen is rather generous with the Tofu Prawns, with four good-sized fresh prawns and homemade tofu making this another ideal companion with steamed rice. Having said that, this dish is rather predictable, and does not impresses us in any way when compared to similar dishes at other zi char establishments.
I highly recommend all diners here to order a portion of the Black Chicken Soup (S$26), which serves 3 to 4 persons. The well-balanced herbal soup base is a great way to start the meal, with the black chicken tender meats and herbal sweet broth making this a must-order at Sik Bao Sin.
I was surprised to see a vegetable dish highlighted as an all time favourite here, the Kailan with Beef (S$19) surprised me with its tender and juicy beef slices. Competently executed, you can opt for the kailan with prawns as well.
Rants Despite its compact menu, we do not understand what took the kitchen more than 45 minutes to prepare our orders. Although the biggest rant is that the four dishes were not served around the same time, with the Tofu Prawn only arriving after we have finished our rice and all three other dishes.
Will I Return Again? It was an enjoyable zi char dining experience, although I am partially convinced about the raving reviews behind Sik Bao Sin. Despite this, I am tempted to return to give the other nine items on the menu a try, and perhaps I may uncover other gems.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Sik Bao Sin Eating House (Desmond’s Creation)
592 Geylang Road
Tel:+65 6744 3757
Tuesday To Sunday: 11:45am to 2:30pm; 5:45pm to 9:30pm
Closed on Monday
Ranted by The Rantee