Remember “Don Pie”, the homegrown chicken pie shop that Singaporeans fell in love with in the early 2000s? Don Pie’s ex-founder, Chef Don Lim, is back baking pies again— this time, at Chicken Pie Kitchen & Don Signature Crab, a cosy restaurant at 39 Tyrwhitt Road in Jalan Besar.
P.S. Read to the end of this article for an exclusive promo!
The journey certainly hasn’t been easy for Chef Don Lim. I remember “Don Pie” like it was yesterday, and recall with much fondness how these classic and homey chicken pies took Singapore by storm a decade ago. This was the OG chicken pie.
Despite its initial success, Chef Don Lim was forced to sell the business away in 2014 due to mounting debt. Thus explained the sudden disappearance of this well-loved pie chain (which frankly, I’ve been wondering about till present day).
Chef Don Lim had to start from scratch yet again. The man who was most well known for his pies expanded his repertoire and decided to sell crab dishes as a one-man hawker in a Toa Payoh coffee shop, to much success, and eventually worked his way back to where he is today.
That would explain the somewhat eyebrow-raising combination of pies and crabs at his newest home, Chicken Pie Kitchen & Don Signature Crab, located in a shophouse just next to Jalan Besar Stadium.
This 25-seater restaurant is the epitome of cosy, with emerald green walls, dark brown furniture and warm lighting setting the mood. What I especially loved was the cheeky decor that added a touch of personality to the space— such as the baby (the same photo from almost 20 years ago at his first shop in Raffles Place) eating a pie in the background (it’s Chef Don’s niece!) and the “You Don’t 鸡派” neon signage.
For non-Chinese readers, 鸡派 is pronounced as ji pai. Though it’s directly translated to “chicken pie”, it sounds awfully similar to…well… a vulgar Singlish phrase. And yes, that playful double meaning is deliberate.
All chicken pies and Chef Don’s signature kueh lapis are made in-house, and you can actually watch them in action via the glass panels in the dining area!
Before I dive into the food review, just a quick note that Chicken Pie Kitchen & Don Signature Crab is Singapore’s first and only seafood restaurant with pet-friendly seating areas indoors. There’s a quiet cluster of tables at the back of the restaurant that have been licensed as pet friendly, so feel free to bring your furkids along!
Due to the amount of dine-in seats available, it’s best to make a reservation via their table reservation link. You can even request for them to reserve their signature items for your visit while making your reservation!
What I tried at Chicken Pie Kitchen
I had to taste Chef Don Lim’s signature Chicken Pie, which is available in 2 sizes: Personal (S$6.30) and Whole (S$28.80). The Personal Chicken Pie feeds 1 pax, while the Whole feeds 4 to 6 pax.
This Chicken Pie might look pretty straightforward, but it uses Chef Don Lim’s 39-year-old original chicken pie recipe which dates back to 1983, making it a true legend to behold.
What a beauty. It took me only a single bite to transport me back to my childhood days. With a crust that’s buttery and flaky, this pie was packed with a rich and creamy chicken filling, with plenty of soft potatoes and corn.
I’ve forgotten how good Chef Don Lim’s pies were. This was nostalgia in a single bite. I loved how the generous creamy filling comforted me inside and out, while the golden crust was perfectly crisp. More importantly, the ratio of crust to filling was equally matched, and every bite had a bit of both.
This was so good that I ended up ordering an entire Whole Chicken Pie back for the rest of the team. Not kidding! Not to mention, thanks to its large portions, I might just consider pre-ordering a couple of pies for any upcoming Christmas and Chinese New Year gatherings.
A dish that I saw at literally every table was Chef Don Lim’s Crab Bee Hoon Soup, so you know that this is a definite must-order whenever you’re here at Chicken Pie Kitchen.
Fun fact: Chef Don Lim started out preparing crab dishes specially for family dinners in the early 2000s, but it eventually got added to the menu due to high demand from customers.
Chef Don’s Crab Bee Hoon Soup is slightly different from the rest, and uses his own concoction of herbs and spices to create a luscious and milky broth. Prices vary depending on the weight of the crab, and start from Regular (S$33.80 for 350g – 400g crab) and can go all the way up to XXL (S$108.80 for about 1.3kg crab).
This was a knock-out dish that warmed my entire body up and the rest of my dining companions and I spent a good 10 minutes or so slurping the silky soup in silence.
The soup was delicate yet full-bodied, with a nice touch of herb-like fragrance and an aromatic kick from Chinese wine. Rather than the milky and rich versions at other seafood restaurants, this reminded me of herbal soups due to the inclusion of dang gui (Chinese angelica root) and ginger.
Pair it with daily air-flown Sri Lankan crab, fried yam slices, vegetables and thick bee hoon, and you’ve got yourself a hearty and soul-comforting dish that I’d gladly order any day, rain or shine.
For those craving something spicier and bolder, try Chicken Pie Kitchen’s Prawn & Scallop Laksa Bee Hoon (S$12.80 for regular, S$23.80 for medium).
This zhng-ed laksa came packed with plenty of ingredients, such as a plump scallop, prawns, taupok, fishcake and a hard-boiled egg.
The laksa broth was perfectly lemak and rich, with plenty of coconut cream and Chef Don’s homemade rempah to create a robust and creamy gravy that hit the spot.
A tip for those who prefer their laksa really spicy – ask for extra spice! The friendly team will add in more rempah for that extra oomph.
This classic Chicken Shepherd’s Pie varies from the Chicken Pie with its choice of filling and topping— this version comes with black pepper chicken and vegetables, and is topped off with mashed potatoes and then baked in the oven.
I reckon this would be a hit with the kids due to its silky yet hefty mashed potatoes. The addition of black pepper chicken adds that well-needed kick of sharp and savoury flavour.
Chicken Pie Kitchen also sells Kueh Lapis, a traditional Asian butter cake that’s known for its distinct layers. It’s available in Half (S$26.80) or Whole (S$48.80).
Fluffy yet densely moist, I loved Chef Don’s Kueh Lapis. This signature cake is lovingly made in-house, layer by layer, and takes over 4 hours of work to bake each tray. If you prefer something a little more varied, you can try its Prune Lapis (S$28.80 for half, S$50.80 for whole) instead.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself at Chicken Pie Kitchen. Not only was it an absolute delight to be able to have a taste of Chef Don’s classic Chicken Pie after so many years, the communal-style of dining allowed my dining companions and I to share the delicious meal together.
On that note, we all ended up falling in love with different dishes— I personally loved the Chicken Pie, while Rachel, our social media guru, enjoyed the Prawn & Scallop Laksa Bee Hoon the most. Ansel, our business development executive, picked the Crab Bee Hoon Soup as his favourite. It only goes to show how stellar each dish was!
As a thank you to all SethLui.com readers, quote “SETHLUI” and follow Chicken Pie Kitchen’s social media pages (Facebook & Instagram) to enjoy a special gift for single order purchases above S$39! Note that this promo is until 31 Jan 2023 while stocks last.
Expected damage: S$6.30 – S$20 per pax
* This article was brought to you in partnership with Chicken Pie Kitchen.
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Price: $ $
Our Rating: 4.5 / 5
Chicken Pie Kitchen & Don Signature Crab
39 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207538
Chicken Pie Kitchen & Don Signature Crab
39 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207538