Food Review: Ah Hua Kelong at Jalan Riang, Serangoon | Fresh Seafood, but underwhelming experience
The Place Having tried Scaled by Ah Hua Kelong at Haji Lane previously, we were looking forward to Ah Hua Kelong at Jalan Riang in Serangoon. Both are different concepts, though it uses the same local seafood source from Ah Hua Kelong. On our first visit, as we didn’t make a reservation and the restaurant was fully booked, we had to skip it unfortunately. Not to suffer the same fate, we made a reservation online but it did not help much – which I will elaborate more.
Back to the space, it is a no frills setting and I would even use the word plain to describe. Even the toilet setting feels like I’m in a kelong, that was what I quipped to The Rantee.
The Food Seafood is the highlight here, with a good selection of fishes like pomfret and seabass, which you can choose the style you want it to be cooked in. Shell seafood options include the likes of mussels and clams; otherwise you have the crustaceans like mud and flower crabs and prawns. We started with a side dish, Fried Chicken Wings with Curry Mayo (S$8). This is surprisingly one of my favourite dishes of those we had here. Crispy wings there, along with punchy curry mayo sauce. Seven pieces for S$8, that’s very good value.
I also had the Homemade Tofu with Crispy Kailan Floss on Sizzling Plate (S$14.90), which has a signature dish mark on it. Alas, the flavour of the tofu is very bland and I find that the overall texture of the dish is too dry. Perhaps a gravy will save the dish here. And no, despite it being a signature dish here, I do advise you to skip this.
For seafood, I had the Locally Farmed Seabass (S$24.80) done in the Cantonese style. The size of the seabass is good for two, and the Cantonese style allows the fresh flavour of the fish to be better appreciated for me. Otherwise you can opt for other ways to prepare the fresh fish, including Thai Style Steamed or Deep Fried, and Sweet and Sour.
I also tried the Prawns (S$29.90/medium) with salted egg (add S$5). The salted egg sauce is quite subtle, which is not that obvious from the looks of the prawns. Portion wise, there are at least 12-15 medium sized prawns by my estimate. The prawns are quite fresh and this is pretty good value as well; although I would have gone for Garlic Chilli or Sweet Chilli take of the prawns instead.
Rants Continued from my initial thoughts, the restaurant was way overbooked during my visit. Despite making an online reservation via a popular table reservation app at 8pm and arriving 10 minutes early for the dinner, my table was only readied at 8.40pm. It was quite a chaotic scene within the restaurant, as they were quite understaffed. I overheard a group of four (their second attempt to visit the restaurant) walking away after the restaurant manager told them it was a mess for them on that night.
When we were seated, the service was dismal too and by this juncture, the restaurant wasn’t running at full capacity. First, our cutleries were not set up. Next, no one served the water we requested for. The dishes took some time to be served too.
Will I Return Again? My overall experience at Ah Hua Kelong is very underwhelming. While I wouldn’t discount the fresh ingredients the restaurant uses, I won’t return again. The management of bookings and service certainly need to be stepped up by quite a fair bit. If you are keen to savour fresh seafood, head to Scaled at Ah Hua Kelong instead, which I had a much better dining experience.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 2.5/5
Ah Hua Kelong
15-9 Jalan Riang
Tel: +65 8655 3074
Tuesday to Sunday: 12pm to 10pm
Closed on Sunday
Ranted by The Ranter