food

Prawn Noodle Bar, Duxton Hill: “The Prawn Noodle Dry was a dish worth its weight in gold”

Last Updated: November 22, 2020

Written by Felicia Koh

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There’s a new kid in town, specifically on Duxton Hill—the uphill neighbourhood that is slowly building an audience with some serious gastronomic appetite. Nestled within the same stretch as Xiao Ya Tou and Flor Patisserie is Prawn Noodle Bar, a three-week-old establishment run by two foodpreneurs, Dickson and Clarence. 

As the saying goes, “When opportunity knocks on your door, always be willing to take a chance, because you will never know how perfect something could turn out to be.” 

It was the first weekend after the ‘Circuit Breaker’ period when Dickson and Clarence were chilling at Robertson Quay when a sudden realisation hit them. Since most Singaporeans are so eager to eat out these days, why not grab hold of this opportunity to open that F&B establishment which they have had in mind since two years ago? 

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Taking a leap of faith, Prawn Noodle Bar was born within two months, serving up plates of local fares which are seemingly familiar but upgraded with a twist. 

Alluding to the days of antiquated edginess with a touch of 2020 interior must-haves, the aesthetics at Prawn Noodle Bar is no-frills with a whole lot of style. Red-brick walls, exposed wooden beams and herring-bone designed wood flooring set the tone of a rustic watering hole made modern with its clean, sleek furniture and a quirky neon sign that reads “Nice 虾 (sia)”. 

What I tried

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It starts with a plate of Har Cheong Gai (S$13). Marinated in prawn paste, these plump chicken strips had a reassuring outer crunch which gave way to a tender juicy centre. 

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The familiar hit of prawn paste was pungent and bold, seasoned just so you won’t need any sauce to fully savour its beauty. But for that extra sass and that bit of oomph, give it a generous dipping with the chilli-boasted peanut sauce by the side. This was, needless to say, one bar-snack that was shamelessly look-at-me brilliant.

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Prawn Noodle Bar’s Prawn Laksa Risotto (S$20) was a blissful marriage between a classic Italian risotto and our neighbourhood Uncle Tan’s laksa. Laying bed to two scrumptious tiger prawns was a serving of arborio rice cooked till creamy and rich with the greyish-brown ruddy innards of the prawn heads.

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Every bite in this particular bowl was a celebration of richness and savoriness. Here, the intoxicating aroma of briny prawn heads blended splendidly with that touch of spice that lingered at the back of my throat for a split second before dissipating into nothingness. 

My partner whined for the lack of milky flavours to truly represent the ‘laksa’ in this dish. I, however, applauded them for their this spectacular artwork that was, truthfully speaking, 80% risotto and 20% laksa. Maybe Spicy Prawn Risotto would make for a better name.

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If a restaurant names itself over a particular dish, they must have nailed it to perfection. Indeed, Prawn Noodle Bar’s Prawn Noodle Dry (S$21) was a dish that was well worth its weight in gold. Enrobed in a sweet-spicy sauce were silky ramen noodles made all the more luscious with two enormous slices of rolled pork belly and beautifully grilled tiger prawns. 

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This dish may be called Prawn Noodle Dry but it was the rolled pork belly that stole the limelight. Kissed with specks of grilled marks, the round discs were crusted with an unmistakable char which made the fatty edges soft and smoky. The best way of eating this is to wrap the noodles in the pork belly. Trust me, for that burnt smokiness is like a match made in heaven alongside those slurp-worthy noodles.

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Of course, there was that bowl of prawn broth that deserves a special mention on its own. Long hours of simmering lent the soup with a deep complex flavour that sipped down my throat with hints of the ocean. This bowl of Prawn Noodle Dry raised the standards of a humble hawker fare into a showcase of extravagance that can be eaten late into the night with a glass of cocktail. 

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The Ebi Burger (S$21) served at Prawn Noodle Bar provided an ideal break from the umami-laden richness on the table. Unlike the other dishes, it did not wow but if you are looking for a never-go-wrong option to go with your bottle of TGIF booze, this would be it. 

Sandwiched in between two buttery baked British buns was a battered and fried handmade prawn patty, shredded cabbages and a slice of melted cheddar. The burger was slathered in thousand-island which I thought was a little too overwhelming for it covered the flavours of the patty. A tad bit less sauce would have done this stack better justice. 

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Since we are at the Ebi Burger, I just have to proclaim my love for that bucket of fries served on the side. Because of them, I can no longer tolerate those skinny malnourished fries from McDonald’s. Dear fries, thank you for being so frustratingly crunchy, fluffy and addictive. For your presence have ruined my love for all other fries in the market. 

Final thoughts

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Prawn Noodle Bar might be barely a month old when I strode through its doors, but it definitely felt like a mature business well into its stride. What caught me by surprise was the crowd that was gathered in the restaurant at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon when I arrived. All the tables were almost filled, with diners chattering and over-staying their welcome over cups glasses of wines and bowls of prawn noodles.

In addition to the boisterous crowd, the eatery also boasts some of the most cheery and well-trained staffs I have come across in a long while. For this, I’m made a promise to myself that I will be back, again and again, to witness the restaurant grow and stride into its well-deserved spot.

Chope Reservations

Expected Damage: S$17 – S$25 per pax

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Prawn Noodle Bar

9 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089593

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Prawn Noodle Bar

9 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089593

Telephone: +65 8028 0802
Operating Hours: 11am - 11pm (Tue to Sat), 11am - 10pm (Sun), Closed on Mon
Telephone: +65 8028 0802

Operating Hours: 11am - 11pm (Tue to Sat), 11am - 10pm (Sun), Closed on Mon
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