Marina Bay Sands near Bayfront MRT
Ever since the regretful closure of Kha Thai restaurant (which I have visited three times and is in my opinion, one of the best Thai places to go to), I have always been on a constant search for a similar substitute. And it was only when the news of the opening of Long Chim at MBS by Chef David Thomsom (Head chef of Nahm who was awarded 1 Michelin star during his stint in London) was announced, that got me hopeful as the head chef of Kha previously did his apprenticeship over there.
Highly hopeful I was, there were actually quite a substantial amount of misses. Chiang Mai Chicken Larp with cabbage chilli and mint – Wrapped nicely in the greens, the chef knows what he’s doing by arranging a huge contrast between the refreshing mint leaves and savoury, more heavy-tasting chicken shreds which was however ashamedly too salty. $10.
The aromatic beef was spiced up perfectly with cumin, coriander and tumeric, which managed to lift the fragrant, charred and smoky taste of the tender beef pieces. Then again, while the first bite felt really pleasurable, full of umami satisfaction, the following mouthfuls reminded me of a dreadful shoyu overdose. $10.
And we moved on to the mains which tasted more optimistic as the lamb rib curry was beautifully grilled to a tender consistency without the familiar gamey taste. This dry curry dish thankfully had all the right balances; its saltiness, charred fragrance, consistency and spiciness were all spot on. $25.
This salt grilled tilapia, being one of the highly recommended dishes among most reviews, managed to hit the right notes with its tender, juicy meat and the awakening sourish, spicy sauce which would keep your palates excited. Odd as it may seem, I actually enjoyed having my rice with just the sauce alone. $29.
And just as we thought that our meal has taken a turn for the better, this beautifully plated luscious Pad Thai sadly reverted our experience as it seemingly wants to raise our blood pressure with the 90% salt in it. Cheers to the interesting ingredients like slices of starfruit and banana shoots, this still didn’t manage to salvage the whole salty situation. $25.
Praying for the best for our last mains, the black pepper soft shell crab was a huge dismay. I’m not too sure about the intended texture of the crab, but it literally felt soft without any crisp at all and the savoury sauce it was soaked in was akin to eating the crab from the sea. Not meaning that it’s super fresh here, but just soaked with the NaCl saturated seawater. $20.
Apparently, this dining experience was a huge letdown for us; its biggest problem – the salt. And we of course skipped the desserts just in case they turn out to be salty. I guess the Kwei Lou chefs behind the wok should go easy on the salt if they want to make the dishes more well-balanced, better tasting and more alluring to Singaporeans. With such a hefty price tag pegged to every salty dish (some with a really small serving), this place may not be worthy of its hype afterall. Indeed, the search for a substitute for Kha continues.
Verdict: An above average restaurant.