Zi Char - White Restaurant

September 12, 2017 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Zi Char - White Restaurant
22 Jalan Tampang

3 Punggol Point Road
#01-10 The Punggol Settlement

30 Sembawang Drive
#03-12 Sun Plaza

600 Toa Payoh Lorong 4 #01-10


http://whiterestaurant.com.sg/


Signature White Bee Hoon (SGD $5 / $9 / $13)



Taste Of Tradition

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 7
Ambience & Setting: 5
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 6
Value for Money: 9
Spent about SGD $18 per person.


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The story of White Restaurant begins back in 1998, when it was known as You Huak Restaurant. Founder and Head Chef Tay King Huak modified the recipe for the simple Chinese dish of 'bai mi fen', or white bee hoon, by simmering the bee hoon / rice vermicelli noodles in a rich chicken stock made from old hens. This unique Singaporean dish was so tasty, customers would travel across the island just to eat here. This 'Sembawang White Bee Hoon' became so famous, that You Huak Restaurant renamed itself to White Restaurant in January 2015, in homage to their signature dish. Today, many competitors and copycats, each with their own version on this Chinese Zi Char dish, have sprung up across Singapore.

Ambience at White Restaurant is casual functional. With its roots as a corner coffeeshop-based Chinese Zi Char stall, expect to see functional metal and plastic furnishings, in bright white and yellow colours. Ample natural light during the day, while at night, the place is brightly lit by harsh fluorescent lighting. There is a number of outdoor al-fresco dining seats, which are comfortable on cool, windy days. Else, it's better to be seated indoors, away from the elements. Little decor to speak off here, beyond the eye-catching signboard.

Service at White Restaurant if fast, efficient, yet brusque. Staff display a nonchalant attitude, but still seat diners and take orders quickly. Orders are fulfilled quickly, and empty / dirty tables are also cleared efficiently when diners leave. However, the staff don't display much product knowledge, expecting that customers would know what the dishes are, since the menu is rather intuitive. Overall, the experience is a decent, functional, get-things-done style of service.

Food at White Restaurant features simple but well executed Chinese Zi Char. Dishes are hearty, delicious, and fresh. The menu is small but focused, mostly classic Singaporean Zi Char dishes, with the highlight being the Signature White Bee Hoon. Portions are sized for small to large group communal dining, but I recommend ordering a variety, as the actual portion size is smaller than elsewhere. Prices are affordable, budget about SGD $18 per person for a meal here. Do note that prices at the original outlet is lower than other branches for selected dishes.


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White Restaurant Signage
White Restaurant Signage


White Restaurant Exterior
White Restaurant Exterior


White Restaurant Interior
White Restaurant Interior


White Restaurant Menu (Original Outlet)
White Restaurant Menu (Original Outlet)


White Restaurant Menu (Branch)
White Restaurant Menu (Branch)



Decent glass of Barley Water (SGD $2), choose to have it warm or cold. Nicely earthy sweet, not cloying.

Barley Water
Barley Water (SGD $2) - Branch Only Dish



The Signature White Bee Hoon (SGD $5 / $9 / $13), also known as Sembawang White Bee Hoon, is the star here. The thin bee hoon / rice vermicelli noodles, simmered in a rich, eggy, savoury sweet stock made from mature chicken and eggs, has a slightly springy texture without being too soft. Loaded with choy sum / Chinese flowering cabbage, fresh seafood (squid, prawns), and lime juice, it's pure comfort food. Super delicious. Highly recommended!

Realised after eating at several outlets that the quality differs slightly. The original outlet, as well as the outlet in Punggol, produce consistently good quality for this dish. However, the other outlets have yet to match the standards of the founder, resulting in a less tasty noodle dish.

Signature White Bee Hoon
Signature White Bee Hoon (SGD $5 / $9 / $13)


Signature White Bee Hoon



Love the piping hot Meat & Seafood Roll (SGD $10 / $15 / $20), with its slightly crisp exterior, giving way to a meaty, juicy interior of minced pork and prawns. A cube of water chestnut within lends a slight crunch to texture. While the savoury salty flavour is much lighter than elsewhere, at least it doesn't feel heavy on the palate. Worth ordering!

Meat & Seafood Roll
Meat & Seafood Roll (SGD $10 / $15 / $20)



Love the clean, fresh flavours of the Broccoli With Scallop (SGD $18 / $26 / $34). The florets of broccoli are crunchy and vegetal earthy, while the large chunks of shiitake mushrooms and carrots are nicely tender, lending an earthy and sweet flavour respectively. The scallops are small but meaty, with a lovely bouncy chew and a delicate sweet savoury taste. This dish is only available at their branches. Good!

Broccoli With Scallop
Broccoli With Scallop (SGD $18 / $26 / $34) - Branch Only Dish



The Salted Egg Yolk Squid (SGD $12 / $18 / $24) is well executed. The fresh, large chunks of bouncy squid / sotong are coated in a thick, rich, salty savoury spice flavoured gravy. Enhanced with curry leaves, the salted egg yolk gravy is righteous, completely delicious. Highly recommended!

Salted Egg Yolk Squid
Salted Egg Yolk Squid (SGD $12 / $18 / $24)



The signature dish of Stir-Fried Leatherjacket Fish With Bitter Gourd (SGD $16 / $24 / $32) is an acquired taste. I like that the tender strips of bitter gourd have been cooked down, resulting in only a light, delicate bitter flavour. The chunks of leatherjacket fish however, still have the bones in. The fish meat is firm but yields easily when bit, with a light savoury sweet bitter flavour from the gravy. Unique dish, but personally, I didn't think it was that exciting.

Stir-Fried Leatherjacket Fish With Bitter Gourd
Stir-Fried Leatherjacket Fish With Bitter Gourd (SGD $16 / $24 / $32)



The Sambal La La Clams (SGD $10 / $15 / $20) are decent. The clams are meaty and plump, though small in size. But the sambal gravy is more sweet than spicy, and lacks the fiery bite I like. Could be better.

Sambal La La Clams
Sambal La La Clams (SGD $10 / $15 / $20)



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