Thursday, February 16, 2017

Riverside Grilled Fish (江边城外) at Raffles City

Oh, what a gorgeous grilled fish topped with dried red chillies and aromatics!

Riverside Grilled Fish 江边城外 at Raffles City is another of my favourite discoveries of last year. It serves Chong Qing-styled grilled whole fishes served with a variety of sauces - a concept the founders discovered quite by accident while pouring mala sauce onto grilled fish. The restaurant chain has 54 outlets in 12 cities in China, and we are fortunate to have its first overseas outlet in Singapore.

You get to pair the signature whole grilled fish – Red Tilapia (S$35.00), Sea Bass (S$35.00), Black Promfret (S$38.00) or Garoupa (S$42.00) – with any of the eight accompanying sauces.

Their 香辣味 Signature Fragrant Spicy Sauce (above) looks killer but it's actually not THAT spicy. I believe the dishes here have been tweaked to suit local palates. The main ingredients include dried chilli, diced spring onions, sesame, yellow beans and peanuts.

The 双椒味 Double Cut Red and Green Chillies Sauce, however was our surprise favourite. The medley of sweet chillies along with Sichuan peppercorns (both green and ripe) in a savoury base made this incredibly moreish. I'd come back for this.

If you prefer something non-spicy, they have a Pickled Vegetable Sauce.

There are also 18 different ingredients or side dishes (additional cost of S$2.50 - S$4.50 per side dish) such as sausages, pork belly, flat vermicelli, tofu sheets, mushrooms, seaweed, konjac, luncheon meat, fishballs, lotus roots and so forth to be cooked together with their whole grilled fish.

In addition to the signature grilled whole fish dishes, Riverside Grilled Fish also offers an extensive menu of appetizers, snacks and beverages – more than 60 menu items in total.

Top row:
麻酱拉皮 Sesame Glass Flat Noodles (S$4.80)
川味凉面 Si Chuan Cold Noodles (S$6.80)

Bottom row:
口水鸡 Si Chuan Cold Chicken (S$8.80) - probably the best of the five
爽口拌菜 Fresh Chinese Salad (S$6.80)
川北凉粉 Si Chuan Flat Noodles (S$4.80)

I just wish the noodles were done a little more chewy.

川西遇香鸭Si Chuan Crispy Duck (S$12.80)
How do they get this duck crisp, tender and fragrant all at once? First by marinating the duck in Juniper spice, then steaming the duck and finally deep-frying it to give the duck that crisp, golden finish. However, the meat wasn't quite fall-off-the-bone.

腊味炒饭 Signature Chinese Sausage Fried Rice (S$8.80) 
This fried rice looks simple but you'll be coming back for seconds! It's utterly delightful and well-seasoned enough to eat on its own. This photo doesn't do it justice. One of my favourite items here.

手抓饼Pan-fried Shredded Pancake (S$4.80)
I'm sure you'll be saying, "Hey, that's prata!" This crispy, flaky, and savoury shredded pancake is wonderfully like prata but even more delicious with the addition of scallions. Dip it in the various gravies and enjoy.

Desserts, unfortunately, are a bit of a letdown. Maybe it's just me; I'm not much of a dessert person.

Top row:
鲜奶龟苓膏 Herbal Jelly with Milk (S$4.80)
Guiling gao with condensed milk? No, just no. Actually, I like the hard jelly by itself; it is quite potent and has a strong herbal bitterness. It would have been just right with regular syrup or honey.

宜宾凉糕 Cold Rice Cake with Brown Sugar ($6.80)
The fish-shaped rice cake looks great; it resembles "nian gao" but is mostly bland and relies on the brown sugar syrup for flavour.

Bottom row:
蛋煎糍粑 Pan-fried Rice Cake with Soya Powder ($6.80)
This is one of the most popular snacks here. The rice cakes are pan-fried with a layer of crisp egg on top. Soya powder is then sprinkled on the rice cakes. The rice cake was just a little too dense for me.

醪糟汤圆 Sweet Fermented Black Sesame Ball Soup (S$4.80)
This is definitely an acquired taste. It seems somewhat alcoholic even, so if you like that, maybe you'll take to it. The fermented glutinous rice reminds me of "koji rice" - the Japanese version of fermented rice which is often used as a savoury seasoning/marinade.

The highlight at Riverside Grilled Fish is of course, still the whole grilled fish laden with spicy sauces. For kids who may not be able to stomach the spiciness, they have a children’s bento set consisting of egg fried rice, sausages, and custard bun at S$6.80. Children under five years old dine free!

Raffles City Shopping Centre, #B1-06/07
252 North Bridge Road, Singapore 179103
Tel: +65 6352 2035
Open daily from 11am to 10 pm (Last order 9.30 pm)

Many thanks to Riverside Grilled Fish for the invitation

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