Monday, July 03, 2006

Azhang: The Restaurant That Isn’t a Restaurant

6 Mohamed Sultan Road
Singapore 238956
Tel: 6836-3436

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Roasted Corn Salad

The Zhangs, Patrick and Eva, behind this anti-restaurant restaurant the former head the kitchen and the latter plays the gracious host. Together they run a paradoxical place that tries not to be a restaurant. I would say coming here is really like visiting that aunt that never stops feeding you or that foodie friend that is always ready to experiment and to put together a dinner party.

Although there is a standard regular menu which feature food items such as roasted corn salad, seafood platters, lamb kebabs, steak and such, Patrick would always welcome special requests (or demands) or a culinary challenge, just call in advance to give some notice of your planned arrival. Of late, Patrick cooked a chocolate themed dinner, where the luscious ingredient was featured in every dish in the 3 course meal that he cooked up. In addition to that, there extraordinary dining dates that are termed as social nights, where a special menu will be planned and reservations have to be made to secure a spot. These feasting dates have eclectic themes ranging local comfort food such as Nasi Lemak to the strange such as a Christmas dinner, turkey and the whole shebang, in the middle of the year. Simply put, do not be confined to the menu, the repertoire of dishes that have been and can be served here is really up to you.

If you do walk in without a special request, the menu will still suffice. We made a special request for a pumpkin dip with crudités, but other than that, we ordered the corn salad and Azhang mixed platter with an extra serving of prawns. The pumpkin dip was appetising and slightly spicy with curry undertones and the corn salad was a bright and fresh with a bite from the raw garlic that peppered the salad. As our conversation continued to flow freely through dinner, we were all silenced by the huge platters that arrived. Piled on the bed of long-grained pilaf were generous servings lamb kebabs, grilled salmon and squid, chicken and these XXL sized prawns served with a homemade belachan. I was a little divided about the belachan, it was fiery hot, which was freely plastered unto the food by some, but I personally preferred the food in its natural state and my mouth not on fire. Unmasked by any form of sauce, what astonished me was how not one item was overcooked or chewy, but cooked which a high level of delicateness that teased out its natural flavours. Unpretentious and utterly scrumptious and all at an affordable price too.

Good food aside, the service is friendly and personable. Eva, who is always full of smiles, runs the floor and prepares the dessert and although Patrick is the slave to the stove, you would frequently spot him on the floor chatting to his guests. Together, the two run the place like a home rather than a restaurant. Dine here, get to know them and make this place your own regular haunt; they will be more than welcome you back when you return.

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Blogger hinata said...

Yeah I love this place and glad you gave it the thumbs up :) Did you get on the mailing list? Makes you feel even more like family - the last e-mail I got was to inform us that the restaurant was ordering additional wine glasses, and does anyone want to tompang their bulk discount? Can't think of any other restaurant that would be so nice to its customers!

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an interesting concept!

I am curious. What are the chocolate dishes that Patrick cooked up? And since they serve whatever dish that you request, how do they charge for the food?

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have a very interesting blog. I love to experiment with food too and i must say you do have a creative mind. thumbs up.

10:34 AM  
Blogger joone! said...

hinata: yes i've added myself onto their mailing list, maybe we should attend one of their social nights some time. Oh and i heard the nasi lemak is supposed to be damn shiok.

veron: hello! hmm.. if my memory doesn't fail me, i think he served a salad with chocolate shavings and a meat with chocolate sauce (but i could be wrong).

I know i'm not being too helpful, but unfortunately, i don't know how they charge for off the menu items. Their pricing, however, is rather reasonable.

em: Hi, thanks for stopping by!

11:04 PM  
Blogger LiquidShaDow said...

Ahh...this has got to be the most comprehensive write up of AZhang so far. I first heard of them from Makansutra and I have gleaned almost no information apart from what's popular with the crowd there from the kitchen. Now I actually know where it resides. Do they have a web site?

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just visited AZhang last night, and the restaurant was just as you had said - very homey feel and we all had a great time!

hinata/joone! - how do you put urself on the mailing list?

6:27 PM  

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