Sunday, March 3, 2019

[CLOSED] De Ar Western : probably the best Western food in Ang Mo Kio

De Ar (德啊), is also known as 阿德, 34, is the owner of this newly opened Western food that has only been around for about 2 weeks. The stall is located in the same coffee shop with the popular Hup Kee Fishball Noodle. They used to be known as Hua Kee at Katong Shopping Centre serving a similar menu before moving to the current location. 

His assistant asked, "What do you want to eat?" De Ar overheard and he said, "How about try the pork chop?" We did not order it as we have already made up our minds on what to eat. I decided to go with Grilled Chicken with Mushroom Sauce ($6.80) and my dining companion wanted to try the DE AR Salted Egg Chicken Cutlet ($7.80). Each main dish is served with 2 side dishes. There are 10 side dishes including Straight Cut Fries, Crinkle Cut Fries, Mash Potato, Coleslaw, Butter Corn, Baked Bean, Onion Rings, Potato Wedges, White Rice and Sunny Side Up Egg. We opted for Mash Potato and Coleslaw to go with the Grilled Chicken together with Onion Rings and Potato Wedges to go with the Salted Egg

I was given a buzzer after paying up. While waiting for orders to be ready, there were other customers at the counter and wanting to order. A lady that is working in the coffee shop was telling the customers that their food is worth trying. I took notice of a picture displayed at the stall and in that picture, De Ar was with chef Alvin Leong of Baba Chew. When collecting the food, I asked, "You used to work with chef Alvin Leong at Baba Chews?" De Ar replied "No. He came to eat at my stall."

I collected both dishes at the same time. The first mouthful of their signature Salted Egg Chicken Cutlet actually amazed me. I have eaten enough of the bad ones to actually know that this was quite good. The salted egg sauce though made using the powder but it was quite thick, it has a slight flavor of the salted egg with curry leaves and bits of chilli added to enhance its fragrance. The massive piece of chicken was lightly coated in batter and fried well to have the juice still locking in it. 

The chicken chop was perfectly grilled to produce a nice crisp texture though the mushroom sauce did not exactly stand out. The chicken chop tasted as good as the chicken chop by The Craving Board, also known as the TCB Grill at Jurong East which I have featured as one of the best 5 Chicken Chops in an article that I have written for Makansutra. Another good chicken chop is from Tom's Kitchen at Taman Jurong Food Centre. While eating, his assistant came over and asked, "How was the food? Hope you like it." I said, "The Salted Egg Chicken Cutlet is one of the better ones that I have tasted. The chicken chop is also quite good, it was done well to achieve a nice crisp on its surface but still retained its tenderness. This is easily one of the better hawker Western foods that I had eaten and it is definitely better than the other Western food stalls in the 3 coffee shops near AMK 628 Food Centre. She said, "The boss would be very happy to hear that. I would get him to come out to meet with you." I told her that I am interested to come back to try the signature Black Pomfret & Chips on Sunday for lunch.

The assistant told me that they managed to find out that I am a food blogger through Tan Chee Meng, the owner of the popular Hup Kee Fishball Noodle. He was at their counter talking with the lady and I thought he wanted to make an order. In this case, I am not sure the portions that were presented is going to be the same as what they would be serving. De Ar walked over to our table. I told him that the Salted Egg Chicken Cutlet and Grilled Chicken tasted good. He recommended to try the signature Pomfret & Chips, he said, "It is actually the idea of chef Alvin Leong. He also helped to create the sauces for other dishes."

I went back with my dining companion in the evening on Saturday for dinner. His assistant was surprised to see us. I said, "I could not wait to try the Black Pomfret & Chips ($12.80). I also ordered the Cordon Bleu ($8.80). She said, "The preparation for the Cordon Bleu is about 20 minutes." When selecting side dishes, she said, "How about try the Mash potato as it is homemade by the boss." I shook my head a little and replied, "I tried it yesterday but did not actually liked it." I decided to have Straight Cut Fries and Onion Rings with the Black Pomfret & Chips and opted for Coleslaw with Onion Rings to go with the Cordon Bleu. Both dishes were ready at the same time. 

The Black Pomfret & Chips is served with their special chilli as a dipping sauce. The fish was nicely filleted then cut into smaller chunks, lightly coated with flour and deep-fried. It is likely to be the first of its kind. The special chilli is actually a sweet Thai chilli sauce with shallots, garlic, and coriander to enhance its flavor. 

When eating the Cordon Bleu, my dining companion said, "This is quite nice." "They added bits of chilli to the coleslaw and it is quite spicy", he added. I do not remember it is actually this spicy with I had it yesterday." Cordon Bleu is stuffed with ham and cheese and it is not commonly found in Western food stalls, the other stall that is serving this dish is Happy Chef Western Food located in the coffee shop with the Michelin-rated Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. 

His assistant confirmed that the chilli is added to make it tastes special. She came back with a bowl and said, "This is complimentary from the chef to make up for the coleslaw." My dining companion took a bite and said, "There are bits of potato and apple with salad cream. It is quite refreshing and they should have it on their menu."

I went to tell De Ar that his Pomfret & Chips was really good. He said, "I thought you do not like it as I realized that you were taking quite long to finish it. You purposely took that long to finish so to find out whether it still remain crispy?" I replied, "I just happened to take a little longer to finish it. By the way, the black pomfret is about 450 grams? the meat is quite thick." He said, "It is about there. I used to use a 250 grams piece but it is really too small. I ordered from a supplier at a slightly cheaper rate. I actually did not make much out of it." He pointed to the lady working in the coffee shop that I mentioned earlier and said, "She ordered 4 sets of Black Pomfret & Chips in 2 weeks. It is best to come during the off-peak hours to avoid long waiting time if you want to order Pomfret & Chips and Cordon Bleu." When talked about his chicken chope, he said, "I was forced to change supplier as the current one could not give me the quality that I want."

I am impressed by the dedication demonstrated by De Ar and is looking forward to trying the Pork Chop, another signature dish that is yet to be on their menu. 

Block 158 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 #01-590 SINGAPORE 560158
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

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