Saturday 1 October 2022

Eat First – Great Zi Char Dishes

For our last makan session, M recommended this place. She said she has been wanting to try this place for a while. Of course, the foodie in me did a quick check on the place and found a detailed review of this restaurant by Singapore’s most popular Doctor blogger. In short, the chef is a second-generation chef, together with his brother they are trained by their father. Not sure why the father decided to split his cooking Kungfu and taught steaming skill to one son, and the wok skill to the other. Long story short, each of the brothers went their separate ways and honed their skills and open up different restaurants.

For first time diners at Eat First (“EF”) like us, please note that EF does not take reservations. It is based on a first come first sever basis and you are only allocated your table when all the diners in your group have arrived. The reason is the restaurant is small, so they need to turn over the tables and stop the inconsiderate customers from hogging the tables. They are very polite about this and once you tell them the total pax, they will take note, check on you from time to time and even ask you to place your order first, so you don’t have to wait long after seating.

Drinks Menu
While the place is small, its menu is even smaller with only 14 dishes. With the small menu, EF can focus on the execution, quality of each dish and the speed in churning out each dish.

Food Menu
Our first dish to arrive is Fried Kailan with Beef (Medium, $28). A perfectly executed dish. The Wok Hei just hits you once the dish arrived on the table. The beef is tender and juicy with that enjoyable chewiness to accompany the crispy and crunchy kai lan. It might look oily, but the flavour just hits the spot. Probably the best one that I ever tried. Yummy.

Fried Kai Lan with Beef
Fried Kai Lan with Beef
Black Chicken Soup ($28). The black chicken is cooked with Chinese herbs that include Yu Zu / Solomon’s Seal and wolfberries. The broth is sweet, light with a bit of herbal taste. Surprising, the chicken is tender, making it easy and nice to eat.

Black Chicken Soup
Steamed Fish Head ($28), the signature dish of EF. The fish is smooth, velvety and you can taste the gelatinous texture between the skin and the flesh. The black bean sauce is tasty and enhances the flavour of the fish, together with the pork lard adds the OMPH to this simple dish. Yum Yum. Do take note that some parts of the Song fish can contain a lot of bones.

Steamed Fish Head
Steamed Mince Pork w Salted Fish ($15). Don’t let the pale appearance fool you. The minced pork is fatty and flavourful. That mini slice of salted fish is enough to enhance the taste of the steamed mince pork and add the umami to this dish. Two thumbs up.

Steamed Mince Pork w Salted Fish
Fried Ginger Chicken (Medium, $26). The chicken is deep fried till crispy, then coated with dark soy sauce and pickled ginger that adds a nice sweetness and tanginess to the dish. We like this dish; however, the portion of this dish seems smaller compared to the rest.

Fried Ginger Chicken
Sweet and Sour Pork (Medium, $26). The pork pieces are super crispy, to the point that it was almost over-fried. Unlike the reddish sweet-sour version in other ci zhar, the version here looks coated with black vinegar or Worchester sauce. The sweetness level is very minimum, but I like the punchy tanginess in the dish.

Sweet & Sour Pork
Bean Curd with Prawns (Medium, $28). An old-school type of dish. The tofu comes with a smoky aroma in it, topped with solid egg gravy. LD says kway teow or hor fun will be good with the egg gravy as well.

Bean Curd with Prawns
Fried Kangkong with Sambal Belachan ($12). LD and I did not try the dish as we were recovering from Covid and the tongue is too sensitive toward spicy food.

Fried Kangkong with Sambal Belachan 
White rice is charged at $1 per bowl.

The restaurant is air-conditioned, while the décor of the place is very simple and functional. Service is friendly, with a touch of old-school flair. Almost feel like you are dining at your relative’s house. Once your table is overflowing with food, the service staff will change the older dishes to a smaller plate without fail.

Overall, we enjoy the classic Cantonese dishes. Most of the dishes are good, however, the Steamed Fish Head and Steamed Minced Pork with Salted Fish stands out above the rest. Totally enjoyed the dinner here and looking forward to our next visit. Cheers!!

Food & Drink: 8.25/10
Value: 8/10
Service: 7.5/10
Ambiance: 6.25/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25; $26 - $50

Eat First 食之為鮮
287 Geylang Road
Singapore 389334

T: +65 6443 8434 (No Reservation, for Take away only)
Wed – Sun: 11.45 – 14.30; 17.45 – 21.30
Closed Mon & Tue.

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