The F&B industry can be glamorous if you get it right but it is also one of the most risky— a third of restaurants don’t even survive their first year. Few people know the perils of the trade as well as Chef Pang Kok Keong. Supercurry is his third venture after the closures of his French patisserie Antoinette in 2020 and Pang’s Hakka Noodles in August 2022.
Supercurry is located inside Telok Ayer Coffee Shop. One thing struck me when I visited it last week: you can safely assume that its creators are fans of streetwear.
Considering the coverage that Chef Pang’s other ventures attracted, I decided to visit after the lunch rush to avoid the crowd. And avoid it we did— when we arrived at about 3pm, there were no customers at the stall at all. Hmmm… not the most encouraging sign but at least we would get our Supercurry in a Superhurry!
What I tried at Supercurry
I had been eager to try the Assam Fish (S$8.80) from the moment I had seen it on the posters. Done right, this can be one of the most delicious dishes you can sink your teeth into.
It is served here with a fairly smaller portion of fish as compared to the other residents on the plate. Those residents were braised vegetables, shredded omelette and fried tau kee (bean curd skin).
My eagerness went unrewarded as I found the fishy taste to be too strong for my liking. The dish also leaned too far towards the dry side, so much so that I had to transfer consignments of curry from my dining partner’s chicken meal.
The Fried Chicken (S$7.80) came with the same sides of braised vegetables, shredded omelette and fried tau kee but the magic lay in the bowl of curry served separately. Marked “Super Hype” on the signboard menu, this dish was far superior to the Assam Fish.
For one, the portion of chicken was huge. Then, the combination of flawlessly fried, not too oily and perfectly crispy chicken skin with the tenderness of the meat encased within was a delight and veritable feat of culinary engineering!
Drenched in the mild but extremely flavourful chicken curry, the rice was wonderful, especially when eaten with the tau kee.
We decided to choose all our side dishes from those marked ‘Hype’ (there were no ‘Super Hype’ sides).
First up was the Sambal Sotong & Tempeh (S$2.50). Like its marine companion, the Assam Fish, the sotong here had a very strong characteristic smell and flavour. To make matters worse, the flesh was chewy to the point that it seemed almost as if I was eating an eraser (wow, childhood memories!) and I found it overly salty and spicy. The tempeh was fine and, overall, this plate may be for you if you like more robust seafood tastes.
My preferred choice of Fried Chicken Skin (S$1.50) and second choice of Corn Fritters (S$3) were both out of stock, and the Prawn Cake (S$2) proved to be a poor substitute. As a redeeming feature, it was fairly large but I would be reluctant to shell out (I crack me up!) S$2 for it again.
Moral of the story: trust the Super Hype but only trust the Hype sometimes!
I am confused. With its focus on base sets and a wide variety of sides, Supercurry seems to be just a slightly different take on the Economy Rice stalls we see in most coffeeshops. Chef Pang himself does not work at the stall (which is unsurprising in itself) but I believe the ‘hype’ around the celebrity chef owner may build up expectations that the food here is simply unable to deliver on.
Of the 4 items from the menu that I tried, only the Fried Chicken would be worthy of a return visit. That said, I found the portions to be on the large side so if you have a big appetite, this is an alright place to sate your hunger.
It was disappointing that some of the most exciting sides on the menu were unavailable when we visited. Perhaps with those additions to infuse some variety in texture and flavour, even the underperforming mains may shine. If that Hype-ns, Supercurry just may be worth the hype.
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Our Rating: 3 / 5
121 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068590
121 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068590