Food Review: 808 Eating House At Joo Chiat | Casual & Contemporary South-East Asian Restaurant
The Place I love how there is always something new in Joo Chiat every month and the latest dining concept to open is 808 Eating House, a contemporary South-East Asian restaurant by new F&B group The Fillmore Collective amidst the Vietnamese restaurants in this part of buzzing Joo Chiat. The interior of 808 Eating House is casual and cosy with a seating capacity of 29 pax. It is also an open kitchen concept where you get the best view of the kitchen action along the counter seats.
The space of 808 Eating House also houses another dining concept at the back of the restaurant, Province, which is a cosy 8-seater space which focuses on Southeast Asian inspired dishes by Chef Law Jia Jun.
The Food The menu here is designed into small and large sharing plates with familiar South-East Asian flavours. For beverages, there are also local craft beers from Niang Brewery, and a handful of natural wines.
Helming the kitchen is Singaporean Chef Eugene Chee, a CIA graduate who has honed his skills working at Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn in San Francisco, as well as local names the likes of Cloudstreet, Cheek by Jowl and most recently, at Magic Square.
I started with the Seasonal Oysters (S$8 per piece), fresh and plump Japanese Miyagi oysters with a tangy house-made green papaya sauerkraut and drizzled with Sichuan chilli oil.
The Pickled Quail Eggs (S$6) is a bar snack-worthy dish of black vinegar and molasses-pickled eggs. I don’t usually take quail eggs, but I thought these mini eggs were delicious with a firm texture and slightly sweet flavour.
I highly recommend the Crispy Baby Squid (S$16) which is very addictive. Using baby squid caught in waters just off Singapore, the squid is coated with a thin layer of potato starch and deep-fried along with a sprinkling of shichimi togarashi (seven-flavour spice). The best bit for me is the delicious squid ink aioli dip!
One of Chef Eugene’s signature items, go for the Duck Fat Financiers ($10) where you can expect a buttery flavour along with orange zest. Spread some of the accompanying creamy chicken liver mousse on the financier and forget about diet for one night.
Another dish good to share is the Sweet XL Clams (S$24) where you get huge-ass clams in a rich Chinese Hua-tiao broth and topped with crispy egg floss reminiscent of the ones with our local fish soup dish.
For a vegetable dish to have, there is the You Mai Chai (S$12) where the crispy greens is drizzled with Pandan oil, honey and mustard dressing, along with prawn and coconut flakes.
Moving on to big plates, I had the Buah Keluak Pork Belly (S$26) – a hunk of pork belly braised for 12 hours in buah keluak and soy sauce enriched with homemade coconut serundeng, and accompanied by achar pickles. The portion is good for sharing for 2-3 people as I find it quite rich for one person to stomach. You get a fatty pork flavour with hints of buah keluak which I thought could be stepped up further. Lovely and refreshing achar pickles here though, which help to balance the richness of the pork belly.
For something lighter, go for the Barramundi (S$28) instead, where you get a nicely seared crispy skinned fish perched on a lightly spiced garam masala pumpkin puree, and a smear of pumpkin relish. There are quite a couple of flavours going on in this dish- the rich shellfish broth, curry flavour from the masala and a touch of curry leaf oil. The accompanying sauteed ‘nai bai’ provides a refreshing crunch to the dish.
For desserts, the Sipping on Peanut In A Cup (S$5) is akin to savouring a bowl of local peanut soup. A concentrated peanut milk is poured into muscovado syrup at the base, so you can expect a rich peanut flavour. Gently swirl the glass to mix the muscovado syrup at the base into the peanut milk, though I do find it too sweet for my liking.
Alternatively, there is also the Ice Cream Sandwich (S$12), a sweet and savoury combination of black sesame parfait sandwiched between two wafer biscuits – supplied by a local bakery just across the street from 808 Eating House – topped with coconut caramel, mushroom crumble and mint.
Rants A diverse range of flavours across the dishes which might not appeal if you are looking for a specific type of cuisine.
Will I Return Again? 808 Eating House is a great addition to Joo Chiat, especially in this part of Joo Chiat which is traditionally denominated by Vietnamese dining concepts. The price point is fairly accessible, and it offers a nice modern twist to familiar South-East Asian flavours.
Make your reservation instantly at 808 Eating House here.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
808 Eating House
153 Joo Chiat Road
Tel: +65 8946 8089
Tuesday to Thursday: 6pm to 11pm
Friday to Sunday: 12pm to 3pm; 6pm to 11pm
Closed on Monday
Ranted by The Ranter