Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Restaurant Review: No Signboard Seafood

By Saturday, April 21, 2012 , , ,

TGIF again! Here is a dinner/supper food review to kick start the weekends! 
When friends come back to Sg for visiting, i'm always very accommodating to their dietary needs. Most of the time they want local signatures- Crabs, Char Kway Teow, Chicken Rice, Ba Kut Teh, Seafood, Laksa, Nasi Lemak etc. That's when i eat them as well. I'm really not a local food fan, at least not on a daily basis. Olivia was craving for some Sg crabs and was determined to stuff herself full of them before she heads back to Hong Kong. I don't know how this girl did 2 crab meals one after another but she did it. So we headed to No Signboard, one of the more famous seafood restaurants for the crab dish. 

We headed to the colourful Geylang district for the famed crabs. I received one too many leery stares while making my way through the crowd of Chinese and Indian nationals just to get to the 'restaurant'. Trust me when i say i was all ready to throw a punch in somebody's face if they came too close to me or even dare insinuate something. Anyway, despite all that unfavorable activities going on in the area, i would always come back to this main branch where i first tried their Chili Crabs. And that was when i fell in love with that particular flavor (more on that in a bit).

The crabs are $50/kg which is supposedly pricier than the other restaurants. I'm really not sure what's the market rate. I just assumed they are not cheap. The usual flavors are available- White/Black Pepper, Chilli, Butter, Steamed, Ginger and Spring Onion, Cheese. Can't remember if they have Salted Egg Yolk, which has become one of my favorite flavors for crabs.

We decided to go for 2 different flavors, 1 medium size crab each, 1 male and 1 female crab. I like female crabs for the rich and creamy crab roe (mega high in cholesterol but absolutely worth it once in a while). It adds on a different dimension to the flavor as well as the texture of the meat. What i didn't know after all these years of eating crabs is that the male crab has more meat than the female one. So if you prefer more of the juicy succulent flesh, go for the male one (that is if you don't already know).
The Black Pepper crab looks harmless enough but boy is it spicy! Really peppery flavor that turned on the faucet in my nose and had it running for a while. The restaurant gave us the male crab for this dish. I love the kick of the pepper in this dish. You gotta eat this fast because it turns cold due to the lack of a gravy to keep it heated. Apparently the white pepper crab was the original signature dish of NS but now people associate them with Chili crabs. Shall try that another time.
NS holds the standard for Chili crabs in Singapore (according to this skinnyfat girl that is). Every other chili crab is either too tomato-ish, too diluted, too spicy or too ________(insert something negative here) as compared to NS. I feel that this has the right balance of chili, tomato and egg to make me wanna mop up the entire plate of gravy with the white sponge bread! Boy i would just drink the sauce from the plate. S and i used to place our order over the phone, drive over to pick up the crabs and then head home to have this for supper in front of the TV. Couch potatoes much!

I'm sad to say that the standard has indeed fallen. I thought the gravy is watered down a little. It kinda lacks that oomph and punch that it used to possess. While the meat of the crab is succulent as before, the crabs are really pretty puny these days. The image of those HUGE Sri Lankan crab pincers from eons ago is still etched in my memory and the size of the current ones are really disappointing.

We also ordered the Fried Man Tou (Buns) 4pcs and White pillowy soft sponge bread (half a loaf) ($2 each) to soak up the gravy. I think that's pretty pricy for fried man tou because they are really small! I'm sure i could buy a dozen at that price at the supermarket. Grr. The sponge bread is really awesome in mopping up the sauce. I'd say choose the bread over a rice/noodle dish. It is pretty sufficient.
Sambal Kang Kong ($8) if one of the must order when you go to a Zi Char stall. There's a nice spiciness to it with the pungent and savory sambal. Even the girl who doesn't take much spice couldn't stop eating this. It's a little more on the cooked side so the vegetables are not very crunchy but the texture is alright and the softness of the leaves allows it to pick up more of the sambal gravy. Pretty decent dish.
I can still remember the first time i had the Fried Cereal Beancurd ($8). Homemade tofu mixed with some fish paste and minced vegetables with a mashed up and creamy smooth texture to it. That was exactly what i was expecting but the current taste has fallen short of my expectation. These were a little more like seafood sticks than tofu sticks. Definitely need more tofu instead!
In all, the meal was pretty decent and satisfying though the standard has indeed fallen by a significant bit. Definitely needs to buck up in that department if they want to remain as a worth contender for the Chili Crab title. Ladies if you are dining at the Geylang branch, be careful and be ready to protect yourself. An eye gouge or a choke slam would come in useful when the need arises so learn those well. If the sight of rolled up shirts with exposed tummies turn your appetite off, i suggest you head to the other branches which may have better clientele.

Food: 3.5/5 Standard has fallen. :((
Service: 3/5 A little on the slow side
Ambience: 2/5 KPT style with dubious characters around

No Signboard Seafood
No. 414 Geylang
Tel: +65 6842 3415
Daily: 12pm - 1am

Other branches- Vivocity, East Coast Seafood Centre, Esplanade

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