UJONG @ Raffles Grand Opening - Presenting Singapore and Asian Delicacies Under One Roof
UJONG @ Raffles is once again ready to create a culinary wave of Singapore and Asian fusion favourites With its newly-appointed Group Executive Chef Mark Richards and a refreshed menu, UJONG promises a tantalising feast to both locals and tourists and just about any self-confessed foodie.
Formerly occupied by Empire Cafe, it is located prominently in a corner of the Raffles Hotel Arcade and is part of the hotel's rich history dating back to the early 19th Century. The arched window facade and colonial exterior beckons you with its fusion selection in a setting that is reminisce of a bygone era.
UJONG @ Raffles is wholly-owned by Caerus Holding; their impressive F&B portfolio include NUVO, Lady M® Confections from New York and Procacci. With these established brands, UJONG will no doubt be a hit with the crowd. I was fortunate to be invited to their Grand Opening and taste their latest spread. Arriving earlier than usual, I managed to take in a quick tour of the place.
It's been a while since I last visited the Raffles Hotel Arcade. Stepping inside UJONG @ Raffles brought me back to the old school coffee house with its wooden chairs and marble-top tables. Its warm earthly tones and intricate floral tiles are reminiscence of a colonial era with touches of Peranakan influences.
Much of the original interior that I remember is retained and the arrangements of the marble-top tables and wooden chairs brought out the spaciousness of the restaurant. It easily accommodates up to 100 guests indoors and 30 al fresco.
The green-colored posts bring the outdoor feel indoor; I felt as if I had traveled back in time to the days of Sir Stamford Raffles. All I needed now is my Singapore Sling and a shotgun should a tiger happen to come pay a visit.
When you need a quiet spot for a 'lil afternoon tête-à-tête with your BFFs, this cozy corner is the perfect 4-people setup over a nice cuppa tea. Sweeten the moment with any of UJONG's delectable desserts for a sure-fire way to seal in a memorable afternoon.
The first Signature Dish is the Chee Cheong Fun with Foie Gras. This silky-soft Chee Cheong Fun has just the right amount of flavor even on its own. Dip it with the accompanying foie gras and experience an aromatic explosion that teases your taste-buds. I have to admit this is oh-so-good especially with foie gras. I mean, how often does one have foie gras?
The Pandan Chicken was next. Succulent pieces of boneless marinated chicken wrapped in pandan leaves and steamed to lock in the juicy Asian spices. This is one of the best I've had so far. Unlike others where the cooking process tend to dry up the meat, UJONG's Pandan Chicken is moist and tender. It is a die-die-must-try when you are there!
Nothing screams local quite like Char Kway Teow. While not exactly an enthusiast of this high-cholesterol dish, I was pleasantly surprised to find it sweet and with a slight hint of a charred after-taste. I'm immediately reminded of the traditional wok and open-fire of those char kway teow hawkers. This version does not come with hum (cockles) and I'm not sure if they do special requests. Overall, this is a balanced dish and a class favourite for the majority of food lovers.
This version tasted great (with Lobster it should be more atas, right?) and stands on its own merit to the more traditional Kueh Pie Tee. The cup, the most important element, was a little bland and thick for me, while the ingredients are mixed together in a semi-dry filling. Traditional Kueh Pie Tee filling is generally moist and makes the cups soggy by the time it is served and eaten. So on this note, the rationale for a firmer cup and drier filling is justified. Overall, I would give this an A- for its uniquely premium take. It is a great introduction for anyone who's never tried Kueh Pie Tee before.
After all that glorious food and with my tummy almost bursting at the waist, it was time for dessert. A flash of bright yellow caught my attention and landed right before my eyes - the UJONG Mango Pudding. A glass-full of mango pudding, topped with pomegranate, mint and mango, it was a sweet ending to an evening of gastronomic feasting. I love how the crispy dried mango gives it a bit of crunch with this velvety pudding.
What?! Another dessert? Though I'm not a great fan of yam, I'm always willing to try. The Orh Nee here is slightly different from the gooey, sticky, somewhat oily version that I know of. Instead, the Orh Nee served here has a slightly firmer texture, much like those found in traditional mooncakes. Its sweetness is not overpowering, and has generous chunks of yam bits, topped with sweet potato cubes and ginkgo nut.
I take back what I said before. This is THE dessert to end your sweet memories at UJONG.
With an affordable price range, old school charm and premium ingredients, UJONG will appeal to tourists and locals alike. Its fusion take on Singapore and Asian favorites will be a hot favorite for many. A highly-recommended place for those looking for a slight twist to their favourite local dishes.
#01-10, 328 North Bridge Road
Raffles Hotel Arcade
Opening hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm (Daily)
Reservations: +65 6635 3502
Payment method: VISA, MASTER CARD, AMEX & DINERS
UJONG @ Raffles is definitely the place to go if you are looking for Singaporean and Asian fares with a twist. The Set Lunch Menu at S$20.00 ++ gets you an appetizer, main course, dessert and either coffee or tea. And with the year-end holidays fast approaching, UJONG has specially prepared 2 titillating menus for Christmas and New Year. Take a look at their festive offering and start planning your reservations!