CRAVE brings Adam Road Nasi Lemak to ION Orchard
CRAVE recently opened its fourth outlet in ION Orchard, bringing the popular Selera Rasa nasi lemak from Adam Road Hawker Centre and Rafee’s Corner teh tarik formerly from Amoy Street Hawker Centre all under one roof.
Operated by Pezzo Group which has Pezzo Pizza kiosks all over Singapore, this also marks CRAVE’s first venture into the city area, after setting up shop in the heartland malls of Hougang, Bedok and Punggol.
The award-winning Selera Rasa nasi lemak counts the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, as one of their fans, who requests it for breakfast every time he visits Singapore.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo also had the chance to savour this dish when he was in Singapore for his youngest son’s graduation ceremony in November 2014, when he had breakfast with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana.
So how did the partnership between Selera Rasa, Rafee’s Corner and Pezzo come about? According to this Straits Times article, the co-founder of Pezzo Pizza, who is also a regular Selera Rasa customer, broached the idea of a joint venture to owner Abdul Malik bin Hassan. In this arrangement, Pezzo takes care of the outlets while Selera Rasa ensures the quality of food.
On the other hand, Mr Abdul Malik, who was around at the tasting session, told me that he is a good friend with Rafee’s Corner’s owner Mohamed Rabeek. They got to know each other when they previously participated in Singapore Day, where they brought their beloved classics to Singaporeans based overseas together with other top hawkers and restauranteurs.
CRAVE’s mouthwatering nasi lemak is prepared using a family recipe that has been passed down over generations, with a winning combination of basmati rice, fried chicken wing, signature sambal chilli and fresh otah-otah. Almost everything is prepared in-store. The nasi lemak come in various combinations with sides of ikan bilis, sliced cucumber and sambal chilli, and are priced very affordably between $4.90 and $6.90. Try everything at one go with the Royal Rumble ($6.90), which comes with chicken wing, egg, fried ikan kuning, begedil (Malay-style spiced potato patties), and top up $1 for the otah.
The piping hot basmati rice is light and fluffy with a whiff of coconut milk fragrance. Usually found in biryani, the long basmati grains are a welcome change from the typical short grain rice found in other nasi lemak, as they absorb water well but do not become overly wet and clumpy. The chicken wings make use of a secret recipe that involves overnight marination, and are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Meanwhile, the sambal chilli is made with a combination of Indian and Japanese chillies and is cooked for five hours, resulting in a sweet-spicy-savoury concoction that goes well with the other ingredients. The otah-otah are made every morning with ground quality mackerel fish and wrapped with banana leaves – so moist and good that other diners have ordered a few of them separately at $1.80 each!
But for me, the winning side dish was the begedil ($1.20). Good begedil are hard to come by and I asked for even more to munch on, though Mr Abdul Malik was meek about the preparation details. He only shared that the potato patties were mixed with a bit of pepper and other spices, and covered with a layer of egg before frying.
Rafee’s Corner’s Mr Mohamed Rabeek was around too and I got to see him in action, preparing the fragrant and smooth teh tarik in perfect motion. Making use of a blend of tea dust, his teh tarik has a nice flavour that makes a good pairing with the nasi lemak.
Besides teh tarik, other drinks like kopi tarik, teh c and kopi o are available at $1.80 (hot) and $2.20 (iced). Two other non-coffee/non-tea options in the form of bandung and calamansi are available too at $2.50 (iced).
CRAVE @ ION Orchard
Address: 2 Orchard Turn, #B4-58/59 ION Orchard, Singapore 238801
Phone: +65 6238 7181
Opening Hours: 9.30am – 9.30pm daily
Other outlets are at Hougang Mall #B1-11, Bedok Mall #B2-22, Waterway Point #B1-K7 and Parkway Parade B1 (Food Republic Stall 18).
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