Last Updated: July 5, 2017
Stemming from the flagship Blue Lotus concept at Sentosa, Chinese Noodle Bar by Blue Lotus aims to bring affordable yet delicious Chinese la mian and Northern-style dumplings to working professionals in the Science Park area. Foodies may remember Blue Lotus for their signature dish: the Chilli Pomelo Crab.
The brainchild of Ricky Ng — a former chef at Tung Lok — an interesting tidbit that some may not know is that the name ‘Blue Lotus’ was derived from an opium den in The Adventures of Tin Tin comics called Blue Lotus. In the same vein, he hopes that his food will be enjoyably addictive and keep patrons returning.
The interior boasted a modern and casual vibe. I like how the walls between tables were high enough to give a little more privacy to the diners as well.
Staying true to its namesake, it has not just one, but two bars — one for drinks (as seen in the far left), and one where diners can enjoy a full view into the busy kitchen (not in picture).
We had an array of appetisers to begin our meal; the first of which was the Szechuan Spicy Beef Shank & Tendon ($9). While the spiciness wasn’t that apparent, the chunks of beef were still executed nicely, resulting in a decently soft and tender bite.
The braising saice was well-absorbed into the meat too. I especially loved the gelatinous texture of the tendons.
Next up was the Poached Beansprout with Crispy Salted Fish ($6). Crunchy and refreshing with a hint of savouriness from the accompanying sauce at the bottom, the crispy bits of salted fish added little bursts of flavour in each mouthful.
However, we’re a little skeptical of the price tag — six dollars for bean sprouts seem a little pricey, even with the rather decent portion size. Perhaps knocking a dollar or two off would seem fairer.
The Chili Crab Xiao Long Bao ($8) was another dish that stood out. There were discernible chunks of crab meat within and I personally appreciated the bold spiciness level. Too often, chilli crab tastes more sweet than spicy as a result of the thick tomato sauce base.
However, while it satisfied a chilli-lover like me, I do have to give fair warning and say that if you can’t handle high levels of spiciness, you shouldn’t underestimate this.
For those wondering why there’s no pomelo to replicate its signature Pomelo Chilli Crab flavour profile, chef Ricky revealed that the fruit does not fare well under the steaming process and will give off an unpleasantly bitter flavour.
Our final appetiser was the Spicy “Lau Gan Ma” Chives & Pork Dumpling ($8). The ‘lau gan ma’ refers to the spicy and fragrant chilli paste on top of the meaty dumplings, which helped create a more robust flavour profile.
I appreciated the balance between spicy, savoury and vinegary profiles in this dish — neither of the components overpowered the other.
Our first la mian dish came in the form of the Grilled Soya Chicken Drumstick Noodle ($13). With ‘dry’ and ‘soup’ options available, we went with the latter in order to sample the broth. Almost as thick as Japanese ramen-style broth, there was a discernible richness and umami to it. Very enjoyable.
The drumstick itself was juicy and succulent. Special mention goes to the fragrant skin which did well to absorb the soy marinade.
The soft and chewy noodles were decent, having absorbed some of the broth’s flavour. Overall, a really comforting dish.
If you prefer seafood, you’ve got to try the Grilled King Prawn “Lau Gan Ma” Noodle ($16). Topped with the same spicy “lau gan ma” paste as the dumplings, don’t forget to give it a good mix together with the noodles!
The prawn was grilled well and came off its shell easily. Its flesh was sweet, firm and slightly crunchy with a hint of smokiness.
The Signature Crispy Pork Lard Truffle Noodle ($12) was my favourite la mian dish of the day. The springy and al-dente noodles were exceedingly fragrant due to the pork lard and truffle oil.
The portion of noodles was quite hearty as well. My only gripe was that there wasn’t some form of ‘main’ ingredient to go with the excellent noodles. An option to add-on toppings like a chicken drumstick or braised beef would have made it even better.
For those who just can’t do without rice, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a “Lu Rou Fan” ($12), or braised minced pork rice — and a pretty good version at that. The soft and tender braised pork practically fell apart in our mouths with minimal effort.
Even the lean parts of the pork belly were tender, which foodies will know is no small feat. While I would have preferred a higher fat ratio for an even richer mouthfeel, the slightly leaner version probably appeals more to those looking to keep a balanced diet.
Before leaving, chef Ricky said we absolutely had to try this so we agreed to one final dish: the Drunken Chicken Drumstick ($9). Served chilled and marinated overnight in Shao Hsing Hua Tiao Chinese Wine, this is by far the most potent version of drunken chicken I’ve ever tasted.
The chicken was juicy but slightly firmer than I’m used to due to the chilling process. Definitely a must-try for those of you who like alcohol in your food.
Overall, I had quite an enjoyable meal at Chinese Noodle Bar by Blue Lotus. The la mian here is excellent and so are the side dishes as well. Those working in the area will surely be glad for such a delectable yet affordable dining option near their work place.
There’s even a lunch deal where six main courses, including the Grilled Soya Chicken Drumstick Noodle, Signature Crispy Pork Lard Truffle Noodle and “Lu Rou Fan“, come with a Tea Flavoured Egg with Five Spices for just $12++.
For those who aren’t sure where Ascent is, it’s just a short walk from Kent Ridge MRT Station.
Expected Damage: $14 – $22 per person