“The Bangkok Wave Lives On”
Mookata in Singapore is delivered to us in a bevy of cute names and logos, but perhaps there are none more adorably christened than Bukit Timah’s new Mookalicious. Opened just last month by a Bangkok-loving trio, its illuminated emblem attempts to invite you across present MRT works of the future Beauty World Station.
There is a stark simplicity in Mookalicious’ setting reminiscent of the humble beginnings of mu kratha. Housed in the coffeeshop Chicken House, the owners utilize the fairly large kitchen to efficiently serve its soups and meats to the customers.
Daily after 9pm when the other stalls close, the entire floor belongs to the mookata outfit that already sees families queuing for their turns on weekends. But just because freedom beckons does not mean customers are encouraged to rock the house in any way.
As of now, the option of a buffet package is not in place at Mookalicious, but as with other things, it is in discussion. Interested customers will have to settle with either their platter for 2 at $25.80 or the platter for 4 at $38.90. À la carte items currently go for $1.90, $3.90, and $5.90 depending on their category.
While we learn of such details, a kind sir places the quintessential pig fat at the top of our grill, letting it simmer and seep into the enveloping soup.
Behold the platter for 4 that gives you fresh meats like shrimp, pork belly, and squid, as well as paraphernalia like crabsticks and Chinese cabbage. Though some of us thought the pork belly was a little thinly sliced, grilling it becomes that much faster. The grey prawns are not only larger than usual, but also brought in almost daily except when the fish port is closed on Monday.
Apart from some spice secrets, it is revealed to us that most of their house meats like the ginger pork and garlic chicken are marinated overnight. If that much is not evident to you from the taste, the 3 different chili sauces provided that I found to all be lovely will certainly enchant the grilled meats.
Thai Milk Tea / Thai Milk Green Tea ($1.90). Cheaper than many places is the signature Thai drink here that also is served in green, flavoured by matcha tea powder. Initially thought to be a little awry, I unknowingly kept going at the green milk tea till it started to grow on me.
I very much liked the simple clear soup, but wanting to dump chunks of raw ingredients into the pot like the benevolent Saint Nicholas pouring goodies down the chimney, the pot proved to be a little shallow. The owners are considering changing to a deeper grill pot though from what we hear.
Speaking of the soup, Mookalicious is proud of its chicken and cabbage stock that is meticulously prepared without MSG. And considering a shallow pot containing precious flavoured soup, I lost count of the number of times I had to go full tilt on the jar. The result however, is very intense soup after all the goodness from the grilled meats start dripping down, simmering into a flavour packed broth.
We didn’t get to sample the Tom Yum soup option though, which will be soon available in the future for $5.90 top up.
Sliced Fish / Prawns ($5.90). The dory fish slices and shrimp are exceptionally fresh here, for anything past 2 days is considered sold at Mookalicious and will be thrown away. This grilled dory must have been my favourite component of the night. Kudos, too, to the sizable shrimp that is consistently procured.
Fish Paste Tube ($5.90). As it turns out, fish paste should not be left on the grill, which you can see is crazily charred nearing the end of the meal. Used in the soup, the paste vertically expands to produce something both puffy and tasty like fish balls but in an asymmetrical shape.
All in all, it is comforting to dine in Mookalicious together with friends, and service is frank and speedy when required. The open air coffee shop also doesn’t leave you smelling like grilled pork after a mookata session here. A slight drawback at the moment that the owners are deliberating about is maybe the lack of beer, but for the time being, a Korean mart next door will supply you just fine. The strict control of freshness also means a limited quantity of ingredients are brought in, and sometimes items run out too.
Expected damage: $15 – $25 per pax
Related Guide: Best Mookata Restaurants in Singapore