Go crazy for chicken at Chico Loco
Is the Amoy Street area getting a second wind? A few new restaurants have popped up and each is as exciting as the next.
Chico Loco is a new resident and everything about it appeals to me.
It is a fast casual restaurant where you find a table, place your order at the counter and the food arrives in 10 minutes.
I love the laid-back vibe - you are encouraged to eat with your hands and the prices are friendly too. But the quality of the food makes it most attractive.
The menu is small - just chicken and lamb are served, with a few sides and a few more sandwiches.
I love that the focus is on providing a tasty and inexpensive meal made out of healthy ingredients, such as avocado oil for the sauces and dressings, and aged Himalayan salt for seasoning.
To be honest, it makes no difference to the taste, but it helps allay my guilt and that is good enough for me.
On a menu filled with winners, the spit roast chicken (from $8) rules. It is one of the best there is in the country.
Chico Loco brines the birds for 10 hours in an umami solution, then bastes them with a blend of seasonings, including achiote, dried oregano and mustard powder.
The chicken - antibiotic-free, hormone-free, cage-free and organic-fed - then sits in the spit roast for an hour.
The meat comes out juicy and tender. Even the notoriously fussy breast meat retains its juiciness.
I would just eat the chicken on its own, but you can add sauces to the meal at $2 each. I like the green peppercorn and jalapeno, and the chimichurri yoghurt.
There are sides too. My favourite is the dangerously addictive rotisserie fat rice ($4).
Lamb (from $12) is often a divider and I veer towards the direction of dislike. But this version is luring me back to the middle ground.
The crust on the lamb is delicious and the meat inside has a good fat-to-meat ratio. Think of it as a lamb char siew without the sweetness. There is also enough gaminess to keep it interesting, because why else would you eat lamb?
The Hot Buttermilk Chicken sandwich ($19) is a meal in itself and it is a good choice for lunch.
The chicken patty is crispy, slightly spicy but juicy inside, helped by the hot sauce mayonnaise inside. It is a messy dish, so be prepared to get your hands dirty.
The Hot Tenders ($12) was certainly hot - both in heat and in spice level. But it was also flat and uninteresting. The spicy barbecue sauce poured over the chicken made it too spicy.
I am a big fan of anything coconut, so I was drawn to the Super Natural Coconut Soft Serve ($6). I love its combination of creaminess and lightness. It is refreshing and great for a lousy day.
For $1, you can add a topping of salted butterscotch and activated pepitas; fresh pineapple and agave; or raspberry, anise and dark chocolate. The latter is mysterious and luxurious, and my pick as the best topping with the soft serve.
102 Amoy Street
Friday 8am - 12am
Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant's Vegetables Without Borders returns with meatless menus created by executive chef Zeng Feng and guest chefs Sean Hsueh from Taipei's Yang Ming Spring Green Kitchen, and Minoru Yazaki and Takao Inoue from Tokyo's Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant. Set menus at the Top of UOB Plaza outlet (Tel: 6535-6006) start from $78, while they are from $68 at the Parkroyal on Beach Road outlet (Tel: 6505-5722). The promotion ends on July 31.
This Sunday, head to Open Farm Community (130E Minden Road, Tel: 6471-0306) for Pasar Pink!. Food vendors include The Butcher's Wife, Tiong Bahru Bakery and Open Farm Community. Entertainment and shopping come from DJ Shigeki and YuJin, PrideVeg and more. Pasar Pink! runs from 11am to 10pm.
It is now possible to eat a vegetarian satay with the Impossible Satay, now available at Violet Oon Singapore Jewel Changi Airport and Violet Oon Singapore Satay Bar & Grill at Clarke Quay. Impossible meat is first marinated, then barbecued over charcoal. It is served with fresh pineapple puree. Call 9834-9935 for reservations.
Chateraise's Special Strawberry Cake ($6.80) may be one of the tastiest cakes around. This limited-edition cake uses strawberries harvested less than 48 hours earlier, with a fluffy sponge cake that is layered with a vanilla cream. The cake is flown to Singapore from Japan, hence the limited quantities.