food

Rays Beach House, Changi: “Meticulousness comes through in waves of captivating flavours”

Last Updated: July 12, 2021

Written by Natalie Tan

Zi char by the sea gives an impression of the typical seafood fare by East Coast Park that’s family-friendly, but hardly revolutionary. But while scouring for fresh zi char eats, Rays Beach House presented itself as a tempting find, hidden in the depths of Changi Coastal Walk. With panoramic vistas that seemed too dreamy to be true, I wonder if they had markings of a familiar seafood chain establishment. 

Rays Beach House sailboat

But colour me impressed when I was greeted by sailboats on the lawn, white crests of waves and the co-owner, Simone-Brittney’s warm hospitality. Co-owned by her and Chef Francesco as a brother-sister team, Rays Beach House consists of Belly View Zi Char and Rays Beach Kitchen, now with Western grill fare and tipple in their arsenal. 

Rays Beach House seats

view

We score a table right by the sea, together with lanky coconut trees and a handwritten menu by Simone-Brittney—portending an evening of excellent eats and vibes. But would it be a view first, food second situation? 

What I tried 

Mojito

We prime our palates with Simone-Brittney’s cocktail concoctions of Mastiha Mojito (S$18) and Pina Colada (S$18), classic fruity numbers with a potent twist that embraces the mise en scene of wind, waves, and coconut trees. Simone-Brittney’s take with Greek bitters and Cuban rum changed the game of these unassuming classics—giving us a taste of her bartending talent.

Pina Colada

We soon kickstart the mains with the Braised Beef Cheek (S$26), the start to my appreciation of Chef Francesco’s ethos of technicality and precision for good flavour. Braised for 12 hours and then smoked for another eight, the result is a handsome piece of beef cheek that’s fall-off-the-bone tender and riddled with smokiness. 

Rays Beach House Braised beef cheek

My only gripe would be it being a tad underseasoned, but all’s good because the savoury-sweet sauce and creamy garlic mash wields their magic. I know, balance is all that goss in food, so you’ve got a concert of zesty sun-dried tomatoes and sweet pan-roasted carrots orbiting the beef for good measure. This dish is intentionality that doesn’t come to the fore at first bite, but a sincere fitting in Chef Francesco’s picture. 

Pasta

The Pasta Al Gamberi (S$20) leads us to a crustacean climax of their Western menu, in a theatrical number of tiger prawns drenched in hae bee sauce, served with a peak of al dente spaghetti. Chef Francesco paints us an animated picture behind this dish: the prawns are dipped in water to allow their essence to seep into the pasta, then elevated with black pepper, and tangy diced tomatoes for lightness.

But as much as I would like to advocate for more is better, it isn’t the case for this dish, as the hae bee-soaked prawns were oversalted, and I retreated to the spaghetti. Still, it’s the details that really shine in this dish, which would be regal after some titivations. 

Pork Curry

As we meander along the gastronomic waters Rays Beach House takes us, the Sliced Pork Curry (S$28 for large) deliciously segues into their zi char segment. It’s not your typical chip-off-the-block curry, but with textures and meaty flavours inspired by vindaloo—an unforgettable dish Chef Francesco had in India. 

With the right balance of spice, umami, and creaminess, you definitely need to slather the curry on your rice. And the tender pieces of pork, seasoned and curry-drenched, makes it so hard to not rake my fork for a piece more. 

kailan

It’s time for a true balance in this meat-heavy palate, with their modern take on Fragrant Kailan (S$20 for large). Talk about a dish with two parts: crunchy, deep-fried leaves and savoury, juicy wok-fried stems. It’s revolutionary. Even their vegetables are exquisite, which shows that Chef Francesco applies his expertise all equally. I mean, it’s 2021, time to do and eat your vegetables well. 

assam fish head

Last but not the least, a grand showing of the Assam Fish Head (S$30) graces our table. The acidic sharpness of assam wastes no time in announcing itself, in the form of a palatable and piquant sauce. But the garoupa though; its sweetness is a testament to their commitment to fresh produce, and it shows. I’ve never thought that I’ll enjoy two curry dishes in one meal, but Rays Beach House has outdone themselves. 

Final thoughts 

Rays Beach House

As I rhapsodise about their nosh here, I reel in everything: food, panorama, and their sincere storytelling of a “millennial” take on the F&B business. Their fervent passion in breaking away from the ol’ ways is a commendable spirit. 

And while I found their zi char fare to be their stronger suit, with Chef Francesco’s ethos of experimentation and precision, their Western grub holds great promise to rise even better than their current offerings. His meticulousness comes through in waves of captivating flavours that are clearly understood, with unparalleled potential

A picture paints a thousand words, but Rays Beach House’s scant Instagram feed hides so much more—the essence of their good stuff. Instagrammable sea views are the undying formula to attract patrons to flippant offerings, but it’s their reticent humility and diligence in perfecting their menu first, and always, that wins hearts. To peddle the vistas over their fare, would be an absolute deign to their culinary approach.

Expected damage: S$20 – S$50 per pax 

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Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Rays Beach House

11 Changi Coast Walk, NSRCC Sea Sports Centre, Singapore 499740

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Rays Beach House

11 Changi Coast Walk, NSRCC Sea Sports Centre, Singapore 499740

Telephone: +65 9118 5045
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 8.30pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 9118 5045

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 8.30pm (Daily)
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