Mr Tony Tan (owner of China One in Clarke Quay), James Wong (F&B veteran, former Managing Director of the ISS catering arm and former owner of Continental Delight Catering Services) did not take long to settle on creating a place that allows them to reminisce and indulge in the food that brought back pure joy and childhood memories.
The history buffs in them further sealed the nostalgic idea of introducing the Straits settlement’s glory in the form of a railway-themed dining scene. After months of searching, James found and convinced chef Frankie Ooi to move from his comfort zone in George Town to Singapore; chef Bermuda Say to postpone his retirement plans, and chef Philip Chia to be an important part of this culinary venture. The true-to-cuisine restaurant soft-opened in November 2014 and is ready to celebrate its grand opening on 8 April 2015.
The Scents of the Straits Food
The rich history aside, signature dishes from the 3-cuisine menu are a part of our daily staple and celebrated festivities. Although most are deemed “simple” everyday dishes, these cultural touchstones command its rightful presence on the brand’s dining tables thanks to its pure authenticity from the chefs’ secret recipes, the ingredients to the laborious ways it is prepared.
The Highlights from the Peranakan Menu
These classic signatures by chef Philip Chia speak volumes of his roots and his dedication to upholding the top-notch nyonya cuisine’s standard.
The Highlights from the Penang Menu
The pungent street classics by chef Frankie Ooi bear noticeable differences from its southern cousins from its ingredients and tastes. For instance, the northern bona fide Penang Assam Laksa’s broth is sour and the recipe does not call for the use of coconut milk, and its addictively-savoury must-have, Penang Fried Kway Teow, uses skinny kway teow (rice noodles) instead of the broader and flatter ones in Singapore’s version.
The Highlights from the Anglo-Hainanese Menu
The familiar yet under-celebrated Anglo-Hainanese food is perhaps the most unknown among the three cuisines in Straits Express.
The colonial heritage of the Anglo-Hainanese or English Hainanese style of cooking originated from the kitchens of many British households in old Singapore where the Hainanese (dressed in white sum-fu tops and black trousers) served as cooks and servants. The hardworking and skilled cooks created a brand of English or western food with a Hainanese touch. They include the Anglo-Hainanese Pork Chop, Toad-in-a-hole, old-fashion Oxtail Stew, Hainanese Chicken Curry Pie, and other delights.
The Sweet Treats
The Straits’ sweet treats are just as important as its trove of savoury dishes. These well and truly no-frill but much-loved desserts need no introduction and it proudly heralds the end of each local meal.
The Straits Express
1 Stadium Place
#01-24/28 & #01 – K13/K17
T: 6702 2964
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm, Mondays to Sundays
Editorial by Wilsurn “Pappardelle” Lim