When is a mee goreng like a plate of fried hokkien mee? That was the question that befuddled my mind and tastebuds as I sat for lunch at York Hotel’s White Rose Cafe, just behind the Pargaon Shopping Centre in Orchard. Though the dish was called the Seafood Mee Goreng, and with the colour of the dish shockingly vibrant, the flavours were seafood rich, sweet, savoury, and packed full of umami. Have that with a drizzle of lime and ask for a side of sambal belachan, and there you have it, the Seafood Mee Goreng that is almost like a plate of Hokkien Mee, maybe even better because of the bold full-bodied flavours that carried depth in each bite!
The ‘wetness’ of the dish further adds to the deception, and as Executive Chef Charlie Tham shared, this style of Mee Goreng has its origins from the Punggol Mee Goreng served in the earlier parts of the 20th century. A sumptuous platter of yellow noodles stir-fried with a generous serving of prawns, squid, sliced fish, egg and vegetables, the dish is priced at $17++ and can easily be shared with 2 other friends. Would I consider this one dish worth making the trip down to the York Hotel? Definitely, and especially so if you’re a fan of a certain romanticism and tradition in local cuisine!
A stellar cast of dishes on the refreshed A La Carte menu!
The Seafood Mee Goreng is one of a selection of dishes that have been added to the refreshed lineup on White Rose Cafe’s A La Carte menu.
Other deserving mentions include the homemade Mee Siam ($14++) that comes served with prawns, tau pok, egg and beansprouts. While not exactly a new dish from the chef’s repertoire of recipes (it was once a feature of the menu in White Rose Cafe’s early days), this is one bowl of mee siam that would leave you craving for more. The rich rempah of spices and the notable depth shaded by the generous use of tamarind reminded me of good cooking that speaks to the heart.
I was also suitably impressed with the Vietnamese Pork Chop ($17++) that was mouth-wateringly fatty, flavourful, and tender. Marinated overnight with fish sauce, condensed milk, honey, lemongrass, garlic and more, the pork chops were bold in flavour and not shy in harmonizing with the jamboree of spices that gave new life to its profile.
If there is space for more local favourites, order the Chicken and Pork Satay ($13++). Visually, the dish is impressive. Plump, obviously juicy, marinated meats are skewered unto sticks before being grilled to perfection with bits of caramelised char here and there. The dish comes served with a peanut sauce topped with pineapple paste. And while the sauce could be oilier and punchier to give greater depth in flavour to the already delectable satay, this is a dish worth having!
Still hungry and want something that goes with a bowl of steaming white rice to complete the meal? The Seafood Curry ($15++) may be the answer. The gravy is earthy and satisfying, and the bits of scattered mustard seeds throughout provide a gracious aroma and texture to the seafood-rich dish.
End off the meal with a bowl of Tang Yuan ($9++) served in a piping hot portion of sweet, ginger syrup. I absolutely loved the heat and clarity made possible by the lavish use of ginger in the broth. A favourite amongst desserts if I had to choose!
White Rose Cafe at the York Hotel stands out for its excellent cooking and timeless flavours. While some may wonder why go to the White Rose Cafe when such local delicacies can easily be obtained elsewhere, and often for a much cheaper price, the value is in the chef’s refinement of local and Asian flavours that accentuates each dish’s identity. The new dishes on the menu impress. And for me, the main pull factor definitely has to be that delicious plate of Seafood Mee Goreng that is certainly well above par.
Thank you York Hotel for the invitation.