I am no stranger to Sin Ming industrial estate.
Filled with many auto workshops, my annual visitation was in fact to the nearby housing estate known as Gor-Ba-Keng (五百間) to pay lunar new year respects to our family's elderly grandaunts and granduncles who lived there.
Hence, i was mildly amused to find a food gem hidden in the cluster of low rise industrial buildings; one that i heard of quite a few years back yet without the notion that it was so incredibly near to my relatives' flats!
Originating from Ubin Island (as the name suggests) in 1986, the restaurant was forced to move to mainland Singapore in 1992 and eventually settled at Sin Ming. Interestingly, aside from local tze char fare, you may also find South Indian, Western and other Asian food on its menu.
Unlike our typical kopitiams (coffee shops), this is a full fledged restaurant with both indoor (air-conditioned) and outdoor seating. Reservation is strongly encouraged, especially on weekends.
Decoration was eclectic; showcasing modern (by that, i mean common kopitiam setting), traditional and contemporary, resulting in a mishmash of emotions from me, for better or for worse.
The most eye-catching piece had to be the chalkboard (known as the Great Wall of Ubin) that gave a visually fun breakdown of some of the food items available for ordering!
Another decor worth noting required you to look at the ceiling right above; I have no idea how they secured the egg trays to the ceiling although my only hope was that they don't drop when i am having my meal.
Air-conditioned section - necessary when i am with my two sisters and the kids. All of them could not withstand dining in a hot and stuffy place.
Frankly, i think the restaurant could do with a better, revamped menu!
The words had faded and there were too many dishes listed; in a manner that was overwhelming for someone who was already on the verge of starving to death!
Anyway, orders were eventually made (while the kids remained focused on the iphone and ipad screens) and the following was what we had.
Braised Beancurd with Golden Mushrooms
Nothing to rave about in my opinion - since i am dining with my family, there are three dishes that would definitely appear on the table; soup, vegetables and tofu. If it is my call, i would eliminate all three and go with solely meat!
New Zealand Oysters (10s)
Joyce read on the web that there was a promotion for the oysters and got them. According to her, they were fresh, crunchy but a bit small. Well, no complaint since they were on promotional pricing!
A chef recommendation - this plate of caramelised eggplant couldn't be find anywhere else and it was amazingly addictive! Sweet, spicy with a sour aftertaste; this was almost like stir fried sambal brinjal in crispy chip form!
Crab Bee Hoon
With the escalating crab prices, the 3 for 2 promotion at New Ubin Seafood was an indication for us to indulge after a long hiatus! The first style was crab bee hoon, as required under the teo's family must-order for a soup dish.
We generally agreed that there was a lack of seafood essence and it tasted milkier than what we remembered of this dish (mostly from Mellben seafood and Uncle Leong by the way). Thankfully, it was served hot and would do as plain soup.
Garlic Baked Crab
I have had high hopes for this; the spicy pungency of garlic can improve the flavour of a dish and i was betting this might just become the new "baby" in the tze char scene.
Sadly, it was not to be despite being another chef recommendation. The garlic infusion was too faint and this crab would have died with more pride if it were steamed instead.
Even though i am no expert when it comes to cooking, i thought mashing the garlic beforehand would result in a deeper immersion.
Would i be third time lucky with the chilli crab after the two aforementioned crab dishes? Some of you might have recalled i am particular with chilli crab as nothing beats the one that my mom can whip up!
And lucky we were! It was similar to my mom, a tangy tomato sauce rendition enhanced by a lingering spiciness and best of all, full of eggs!
Never miss out the man tou (buns) at a dollar each.
Pillow soft on the inside, golden crispy on the outside, sweet - perfect traits for a bun that's to be dipped in the chilli crab sauce! Absolute satisfaction!
US Black Angus Ribeye Steak
I am a big steak fan but i have never paid above S$40 for a slab of steak! However, friends who had been to New Ubin Seafood never stopped babbling about how good the steak was!
They were darn right; about 500 grams, the "medium" steak was literally melt in the mouth type with a juicy flavor that didn't even need the saucer of sea salt by its side! Hmmm, i wonder if i could get the same thing from a quality butcher and firing up the grill myself.
Accompanying the steak was a plate of "fried rice caramelised with beef drippings" - this was like THE dish that cardiologist will warn you against! Its savouriness was unmatched with an intense meat flavour that encapsulated all the grains; this was like attaining another level of deliciousness once thought impossible.
Another recommendation - when it comes to durian products, i often lament that nothing beats the real fruit. To be fair for the "durian pengat" category, this wasn't as good (too thin a texture) as ellenborough market café.
Overall verdict - my family had a good time at Ubin New Seafood; be it service or food. For the latter, there were some disappointments although to pay S$76 for 3 crabs was just too irresistible!
Block 27, #01-174,
Sin Ming Industrial Estate Sector A
As above (red star on upper left of the picture).
Parking is available. At night, you may also try your luck parking at the entrance of some of the workshops' entrance. Just be mindful not to damage anything and be considerate!
Braised Beancurd with Golden Mushrooms (M) - S$16
New Zealand Oysters (10s) - S$25
Brinjal Delight (L) - S$18
Crab Bee Hoon, Garlic Baked Crab, Chilli Crab - S$76
Deep Fried Man Tou (10s) - S$10
US Black Angus Ribeye Steak - S$60
Durian Pengat - S$5
[Subject to GST Only]
More reservation info as appended above. Note the BYO policy for wine / liquor - no corkage fee would be imposed.
Please also keep in mind that certain items need to pre-order and there are some that could be sold out by the time you arrive! The next time, i die die must have the foie-gras satay and foie gras egg special!