297 River Valley Rd, 238338
Obscured, far from any MRT station, definitely not suitable to trek to in the middle of the dry spell but well served by a bus stop just sitting opposite it, Fat Lulu has been making the rounds in social media and this casual restaurant not only serves up delicious grilled mains, but also electrifying traditional desserts, all perfected with a polished service rendered even during the peak hours! It was small and we were fitted at the table near the kitchen initially; not being able to bear the occasional hot draft from the kitchen, and as foodies love to see the preparation in action, we opted for the bar counter instead and that was fun!
What makes Fat Lulu’s small but delicious menu less boring, is also the daily specials that are written on the huge chalkboard. That perhaps is the advantage of a smaller menu, that it gives the chefs space to wield their creativity, duly expressed in the specials! We got the fried curried cauliflower to start off with; made heavier tasting with the creamy madras curry yogurt while condiments like grapes, dill and mint were added to give a refreshing cut. $12.
That Iberico pork Satay is one of those on that special board and when it was served with its lightly sweet savoury aroma wafting towards me, I could immediately associate them to the likes of bak kwa. Well complemented with the sweet honey glaze and we felt the evenly marbled fats gave it a very fragrant savoury edge. $12.
This heavy tasting Spicy BBQ Pork Ribs main was ordered at almost every table; I guess that’s what customers do when we see the previous table getting such a humongous treat at just $28. It would be daft if this wasn’t ordered. Beautifully marinated with the smokey kichap manis sauce coming through strongly and well permeated through that block of protein, the meat was also perfectly grilled to a coveted tender consistency. We loved how robust the flavour of that fermented soy sauce has come through and how it is deftly cut through by the lime drizzle. This was the star.
I wanted some good fish and the Ikan Bakar was actually a pretty exciting fusion. The parrot fish may have tasted drier but this could be the nature of such fishes as they are perhaps less juicier than a cod. The only wish I had, was for them to be less heavy handed on their garlic chilli butter as they tasted really quite spicy to me and intermittent rests were necessary. I have to say though that the yellow tumeric coating did make them look very appetising. $28.
On that creative board again, we plucked off the very modern Ice Kacang which was slightly theatrical with the liquid nitrogen used but it was for a better purpose. What this Ice Kacang is about – Gula melaka shaved ice, topped with the chendol noodles, chewy atap cubes, furiously cooled coconut bits (by that lq N2) and that really smooth tasty coconut ice cream, all eaten to give you that seamless burst of flavours in your mouth, as they do away with the more traditional red bean and sweet corn that could have simply clashed.
What we really like about it here is the bold flavours that we get, the very substantial portions that were served and definitely the very thoughtful service that we get from such a small restaurant. My napkin was quietly replaced when I accidentally dropped it on the floor, but I noticed that. How attentive could it be! And needless to say, I drank a lot of refilled water without having to keep asking for it. Great day out indeed!
Verdict: A good restaurant 3.9/5.