I was keen to have crab again and this time we tried Mellben at Toa Payoh. It’s supposed to be famous, therefore it should be good, no? After much discussion, we ended up ordering two kinds of crab beehoon, an oddity called Playboy Chicken, and stir-fried baby kailan. The sad thing is that the kailan (not pictured) was probably the best part of the meal.
The Playboy Chicken was tempting only in name. It was deep-fried breaded chicken under some grated radish topping and sweet-sour chilli sauce. In other restaurants, this would probably be named Thai-style chicken. Interestingly, the menu also listed Thai Apple Chicken, probably much the same except with apple instead of radish. How unimaginative! Taste-wise, the chicken was quite blah. I can’t remember much of it as I write now. Two words: Don’t Order.
The crab fried in beehoon came very badly presented as crab parts were all over the place and we had to dig out the crab carapace and style this dish ourselves for the shot. I think we did quite well here, our crab has a certain piratic charm here. This dish would have been the best of the lot if not for way too much pepper in the brew. We kept imagining the scene in the kitchen where someone spilled the whole pack of pepper powder into the beehoon (oops!). Otherwise, it had decent flavour. Decent flavour until our mouths and throats went numb from the pepper. The crab itself was fine. Someone commented that the shell had some use after all: protecting the succulent flesh from the pepper sauce!
The pièce de resistance was the claypot crab beehoon with extra-large crab. Here, extra-large seemed to mean extra-old and extra-tough and extra-stringy. FAIL on the crab front. The beehoon was nice and chewy, it would have been great if not for the soup. My dining companions said that the soup tasted like something out of a can, like Campbell’s cream of something (crab?) soup. Needless to say, we weren’t pleased at all by Mellben at Toa Payoh and had to compensate by going to Ji De Chi for dessert.
About $150 for six people.
Block 211 Lor 8 Toa Payoh