No Signboard Seafood (Esplanade) is starting to lose their touch
When entertaining out-of-town visitors, it is only fitting that we hope he/she is keen to immerse themselves into the culture as much as they can. What a better way to appreciate the culture by trying the local culinary. Although some visitors are returning for the second or third time, the most often asked question is ‘”what food should /must try in Singapore?”. Other than chicken rice or laksa, perhaps one of the most suggested dish is chilli crab. If you ask most local Singaporeans where to eat chilli crab, the first restaurant name that comes to mind is Jumbo. They certainly have built their reputation. However, there is another seafood restaurant that has gain attention over the past 8 years is No Signboard Seafood.
Established in the 1970’s as a stall in the Mattar Road Hawker Centre, No Signboard has expanded to four locations on the island. I was first introduced the seafood joint by family members over 5 years ago at their Geylang branch. Decor was plastic tables and red plastic chairs/stools – it was simple and the food was great. Since then I have returned to the same outlet on various occasion and enjoyed each time. I was thrilled to learn they opened at Esplanade in 2007 and the last time I visited the this outlet was 2008. The food was just as good as what I had at Geylang branch.
Having the same perception as three years ago, I suggested to bring our visitors’ to try No Signboard at Esplanade over the weekend. With the view of the Marina Bay, it was a perfect place and setting for a seafood lunch degustation. Everyone was very excited to get their hands on the crabs. So here is what we ordered and what I thought of each dish.
- Chilli Crab with deep fried Mantou to mop up the sauce: The sauce in my opinion is key to a good chilli crab. I like it to be medium to thick consistency enough to coat the crab and easy to scoop with the Mantou. The last thing you need is to have the sauce dripping on your forearms. I tasted the sauce and it just didn’t have enough chilli kick.
- White pepper crab: I prefer black pepper crab. The white pepper crab for me was just ok.
- Special Duck: this cold dish just show cased the duck in special marinate. The mean was quite tender. I may not order this myself.
- Steamed Seabass cooked in Teo Chew Style: the Seabass was very fresh and I do like the preserved vegetable, ginger, mushroom and fresh coriander/cilantro used to give the extra flavour.
- Beancurd with seafood: This is one of my favourite beancurd dishes. I enjoy the soft texture of the tofu with mushrooms, snow peas and some seafood.
- Spinach cooked in chicken broth and wolfberries: Simple vegetable dish. Nothing wow about this dish.
- Deep fried marinated chicken: This dish is supposedly marinated with prawn/shrimp (belacan) paste. The paste is a very pungent and strong taste when used in cooking. However, I failed to taste the marinate in the chicken. I was a little disappointed as I have ordered this dish before where I was able to detect the marinade when I sunk my teeth into the chicken. This time round it just tasted like any other fried chicken.
- Crispy Cereal Prawns: The idea of using breakfast food into a seafood savoury dish is great. I like the crispy sweet taste of the cereal covering the deep-fried prawns. I noticed that the prawn has been dipped in a light batter. I am not too sure if this recipe has evolved. In the past where I have ordered this dish, the prawns were just deep-fried leaving the shell nice and crispy. The sweetness of the cereal can overpower the taste of the prawns.
Overall the meal was a-ok. No one particular dish stood out for me. Perhaps No Signboard is starting to lose their touch in cooking the seafood to what I first stated at Geylang. The company certainly made up for the lack lustre .
8 Raffles Avenue
Tel: +65 6336 9959
Open from 11am to 11pm