Cheval Chi Bao, Bt Merah: “There is clearly no skimping here on quality and taste”

It’s hard to get away from the city in a country that’s essentially a city-state, but a tucked-away gem such as Cheval Chi Bao just might be the dining respite you’re looking for. Located within the Sports Lifestyle Centre in Bukit Merah, the restaurant is hidden from the bustle of the neighbourhood and situated right next to a swimming pool.

cheval chi bao exterior

Merging Western favourites and Asian staples from both their Kensington Square and former Bukit Batok outposts, Cheval Chi Bao also offers both indoor and al fresco dining for patrons to choose the most comfortable dining experience they prefer. Making the journey on a weekday afternoon resulted in one of the most relaxing lunches I’d had in a while—complete with a  drummed up appetite for the gourmand lunch to come.

What I tried

lobster mac and cheese

Best enjoyed while piping hot, the Lobster Mac and Cheese (S$32) is an easy win that also happens to be one of Cheval’s signature dishes. It’s prepared heavy-handedly with cheese and a hefty portion of lobster but doesn’t prove to be overly cloying thanks to its balanced seasoning.

cheval chi bao seafood claypot with sambal sauce

Turn your attention away momentarily to have a bite of the newly added Seafood Claypot with Sambal Sauce (S$20.80). It’s a toss of assorted seafood in umami sambal that has a welcoming, evenly tempered heat that’ll allow you to enjoy the seafood’s natural sweetness as well.

cheval chi bao pumpkin paste prawn

Honestly, one of the new items on the menu—the Pumpkin Paste Prawns (S$21.80)—is so divine, I could easily be a happy camper being served this alongside a steaming bowl of rice. Drenched in a thick, sweet-savoury pumpkin paste, the prawns don’t lose their natural sweetness here, either.

My recommendation is to really take the time to relish the shells—especially the prawn head—for a thorough, unadulterated experience.

pumpkin paste crab

Speaking of pumpkin paste, they also have a Creamy Pumpkin Paste Crab (S$98 for 800g – 899g, S$128 for 900g – 1.1kg) version as well, that is just as delicious. You may need to prepare plenty of wet wipes for this but, I can guarantee that the mess will be so worth it.

cheval chi bao fragrant black pepper crab

In fact, Cheval Chi Bao also offers Fragrant Black Pepper Crab as well, if something smokey and peppery is more up your alley. I can’t decide which is my favourite, so it’s double the joy for me as I lick my fingers clean of both intoxicating recipes.

cheval chi bao whole red snapper (XO claypot style)

Ideal for four or five people, the Whole Red Snapper (XO Claypot Style) (S$38) is a comforting number that surprisingly soothed me, in spite of the warm weather that day. It’s incredibly nourishing and will do well to pair with the other seafood items mentioned above.

cheval chi bao lala beehoon

Since on a roll with seafood, I have to say their current lunch promotional item, the Lala Beehoon (S$13.90) is sure to win you over. Don’t let this humble, local favourite deceive you with its simplicity; there’s plenty of rich flavours and fresh seafood to keep you hooked right from the first bite.

cheval chi bao kurobuta pork rack

Already salivating as you scroll through this post? Well, here are two promotional items to convince you further. The first is the Grilled Kurobuta Pork Rack (S$39.90), a stout, succulent serving of luscious pork that is good enough for one, but of course, with so many options to explore at Cheval Chi Bao, perhaps it’s better to share.

cheval chi bao tomahawk
Credit – Cheval Chi Bao

Secondly, there’s the Chargrilled Tomahawk (S$88, 1kg) that is served flambé-style—as we all it’s common practice to ‘eat with our eyes first’ these days, as they say. The meat is adequately tender and juicy, and surprisingly, even sans sauce, its restrained seasoning is sufficient in bringing out the best of the cut.

fortune sea cucumber pig trotter

If you’ve been thinking about a casual dining spot for friends and family this upcoming CNY, then I say, you can entrust Cheval Chi Bao to serve you scrumptious bites that’ll impress even the in-laws. They have CNY specials lined up, including Fortune Sea Cucumber Pig Trotter (S$58.80), Roasted Suckling Pig on Mantou* (S$68), and Fragrant Tea Smoked Chicken (S$36.80)

roasted suckling pig on mantou
*Roasted Suckling Pig on Mantou is only available in the CNY set.

The Pig Trotter can easily satiate around three or four hungry bellies, and what else should you add to complete your CNY meal? The Roasted Suckling Pig on Mantou. If you ain’t here popping these babies like candy, then you need to get your tastebuds checked because the struggle to hold back on eating more than my share is real.

It’s the perfect marriage of absolutely crunchy pork on fluffy, fried mantou. Make sure to dip every piece in the delicately sweet plum sauce for full effect.

tea smoked chicken

As for the Tea Smoked Chicken, I’ll frankly say it’s one of the best ways to enjoy roasted chicken. The heady smokey aroma just hits you at first bite and it pairs immaculately with the other savoury, flavourful dishes that Cheval has so brilliantly prepared.

Chope Reservations

Final thoughts

It’s difficult to find fault with Cheval Chi Bao’s menu, other than it’ll be tough to narrow down your order to just a few select items. While the portions here are generous, there is clearly no skimping here on quality and taste.

The location is rather central—with a bus interchange just next door—and with a direct view of a pool, what’s there to quibble over? If you really need assistance in picking from my personal recommendations, it’d have to be the Pumpkin Paste Prawns, the Fragrant Black Pepper Crab, and the CNY-exclusive Roasted Suckling Pig on Mantou. Man, just recalling these is making me hungry again (and I just had a heavy lunch).

Expected damage: S$30 – S$50 per pax

*This post is brought to you in partnership with Cheval Chi Bao.

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Price: $ $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

Cheval Chi Bao

3500A Bukit Merah Central, Sports Lifestyle Centre, Singapore 159838

Our Rating 5/5

Cheval Chi Bao

3500A Bukit Merah Central, Sports Lifestyle Centre, Singapore 159838

Telephone: +65 6899 9188
Operating Hours: 11am - 10.30pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 6899 9188

Operating Hours: 11am - 10.30pm (Daily)
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