JOFA Grill: Chinese-Western Kopitiam stall with bak chor mee, duck confit & mee pok carbonara

Just the other day, I made my way to Ong Ong Lai Coffee Shop at 165 Bukit Merah Central, planning to visit a reader-recommended stall. As food writers, we always need a backup plan in case a certain stall is unexpectedly closed or, in my case, disappointing. It prompted me to swiftly switch to ‘instant hunting mode’, leading me to discover JOFA Grill nestled within the same kopitiam.

JOFA Grill - kopitiam

While approaching the stall, I noticed something that you don’t see everyday. It primarily sold Western dishes but it also had a menu offering bak chor mee and soups.

JOFA Grill - stall front

That’s when I realised that the folks behind JOFA Grill are actually from the same group that owns JOFA Mee Pok at Tampines.

What I tried at JOFA Grill

JOFA Grill - duck confit

All the Western options at the stall come with 2 side dishes. I didn’t want to get the Charcoal Grill Chicken Chop (S$8.50) or Charcoal Grill Striploin Steak (S$14.90), as both these dishes are sold pretty much everywhere else. Instead, I was drawn to the JOFA Duck Confit (S$12.50).

JOFA Grill - duck confit closeup

For someone that has prepared duck confit in the past, the first impression that I had was that it appeared somewhat dry. Sizewise, it was decent; neither too big nor too small. Its colour was also promising, possessing a golden-brown appearance with a little char.

JOFA Grill - cutting duck leg

As my knife sliced through its crispy skin, I was pleasantly surprised at how effortless it was to cut the duck leg in half, revealing the stringy meat fibres reminiscent of pulled duck.

JOFA Grill - sauce pouring

I slathered the house-special peppercorn sauce, a staple accompanying all the Western mains. Though it was decently seasoned, I did wish for a bolder punch of spice coming from the peppercorns. If I didn’t know what the flavour was, I might have mistaken it for an ordinary demi-glace.

Sorry chefs, I judged the duck confit even before tasting it! It turned out to be really tender and moist. The skin was aromatic and delicious with just a teeny-weeny hint of bitterness coming from the char, which was perfectly fine.

JOFA Grill - french fries

I’m used to cold fries after snapping photo after photo with my camera, so it was an added bonus that they managed to stay delightfully warm and crispy.

JOFA Grill - broccoli

The other side dish that I chose was the seaweed bomba broccoli. Unsure whether they were air-fried or baked, my dining partner and I were intrigued by the remarkably crispy floret portion, devoid of any oily texture. Even the stalk part was done well— what sorcery is this?

The seaweed seasoning also had a little heat, which tingled my taste buds without being too overpowering.

JOFA Grill - carbonara

For the Carbonara Pasta (S$7.90), I was given a choice between spaghetti and mee pok. Naturally, I chose the latter which is less commonly seen. Yes I know! Purists will probably have a fit after spotting cream in the picture above.

Chicken Box: Wallet-friendly Western mains in sizable portions in Taman Jurong

The strands of mee pok were drenched in a creamy sauce with pieces of pork bacon and a luscious soft-boiled egg, complete with a sprinkling of parmesan powder and dried parsley.

JOFA Grill - yolk breaking

JOFA Grill - mixed

I unleashed a golden stream of yolk as I prodded the egg with my fork, and proceeded to mix everything up. The creamy sauce had a pleasant garlicky undertone and the beaten egg enhanced its richness without being excessively cloying.

The texture of the mee pok was great with a nice bite and the bacon bits were sinful and delicious. There was just one issue; the alkaline taste was a little overpowering, leaving a weird sensation on my tongue. Other than that, everything else was good.

JOFA Grill - sausage

The JOFA Bratwurst Sausage (2pcs) (S$6.90) came with my choices of butter corn and mashed potatoes, with a side of peppercorn sauce.

JOFA Grill - cutting sausage

The sausages were probably flash-fried briefly due to its thin, crispy layer of skin. While the insides were still moist, I wished that the sausages had a stronger flavour as it was a little on the bland side.

JOFA Grill - mashed potatoes

At first, I didn’t give importance to the mashed potatoes as it looked to me like the instant kind but boy, was I wrong! It was made using actual potatoes, giving a fluffy and buttery experience, instantly skyrocketing my satisfaction metre from 1 to 10!

JOFA Grill - mee pok

While enjoying the previous 3 dishes, I couldn’t resist the urge to try their bak chor mee and ended up returning to the stall to order the Minced Meat Noodles (S$4.50). My bowl of mee pok was served with pork slices, a couple of fishballs, a solo meat ball, fried fish sticks and minced pork.

JOFA Grill - mee pok closeup

After tossing all the elements together, the entire colour palette of the dish transitioned into a shade of red, reminiscent of the evening sun. I also discovered golden nuggets of pork lard hidden underneath which imparted an indulgent burst of flavour, or what I call ‘lard-tastic‘!

That being said, the alkaline taste of the mee pok was less prominent as compared to earlier.

I love spicy foods, but nothing had prepared me for the incoming wrath of the chilli when I took my first mouthful of noodles. It was slightly overpowering, which numbed my taste buds.

One of our writers, Amanda, had tried their noodles in the past at JOFA Mee Pok and found the spice level to be a little underwhelming. In my case, it was on the opposite end of the spectrum. If the chilli was a little less spicy, it would have been perfect.

JOFA Grill - mee pok condiments

The pork slices were yummy and tender while the fishballs were bouncy and fresh. I also liked the pieces of fried fish sticks which gave the noodles a nice crispy texture.

Final thoughts

JOFA Grill - overview

Overall, there were aspects I enjoyed and areas that could have been improved upon. One thing is for sure, you can satisfy both your Western and bak chor mee cravings at one spot.

I’ll probably try the charcoal grilled meats next!

Expected damage: S$4.50 – S$15 per pax

We tried Singapore’s best-rated Western food stall

Price: $

Our Rating: 3.5 / 5

JOFA Grill

165 Bukit Merah Central, Ong Ong Lai Coffee Shop, Singapore 150165

Price
Our Rating 3.5/5

JOFA Grill

165 Bukit Merah Central, Ong Ong Lai Coffee Shop, Singapore 150165

Telephone: +65 9827 2827
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 9pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 9827 2827

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 9pm (Daily)
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