Food Review: Trying new dishes from Abundance, 399 Jln Besar, Singapore 209008

I've always been a fan of the Taiwanese bistro Abundance since trying the food at their Redhill/Lengkok Bahru outlet. Thus I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they have expanded to open a new outlet at Jalan Besar that is slightly bigger and has introduced new dishes! Very abundant, indeed. So I went to try it out one Saturday afternoon at their invite and was very pleased with what I had.

The restaurant's tastefully decorated, with a retro style menu board for their craft beers and cocktails. I like this pairing, but it can get really loud during peak hours because the sound bounces off everywhere. At least there wasn't a food smell though, and the aircon was pretty strong when I visited on a cloudy Dec afternoon.

You can get $10 pints and 15% off craft beers from 11am to 7pm daily, which is a really good price for craft beers.

They also have an all-day cocktail promo of 2 for $24 and I tried it out with a few friends on a very soon repeat visit. The cocktails were EXCELLENT, especially the Chrysanthemum G&T (using a London gin) and Sourplum Highball.

Here's the menu, showcasing what they are known for - buns, like the white soft fluffy type used in kong ba baos. That's quite unique for a Taiwanese cafe/bistro because most would just serve some lu rou fan and call it a day.

They also introduced new wok sensations, and sides! Prices are really quite decent, which could explain their popularity with the younger crowd. I couldn't help but be tickled by the descriptions under each header such as "always look on the bright sides of life". Hur.

I first had some greens, and was pleasantly surprised by how delicious the Emperor Sprouts w/ Crispy Garlic (S$11.90) were. They were lightly 清炒 "clean fried" with some garlic and oil. The slightly sticky vegetables (that's the texture) were supple and fresh and it is a great side for a carb-heavy main like their fried rice. I don't think one can find this quality tasting dish at this particular price point anywhere else so it also gets full marks. 5/5

I also tried as a main, their version of a Lu Rou Fan, or Herbal Braised Pork Rice (S$12.90) with herbal braised pork belly, sesame onsen egg, Taiwanese garlic sausage and house pickles. I felt like this is a much more elevated and appreciated twist on the typical lu rou fan in Singapore, which usually don't taste that good because the meat can be super oily and gerlat. Here it is the perfect amount on a mound of soft fluffy Japanese short grain pearl rice and the runny onsen egg added a creamy element. The snap and sweetness of the TW Sausage also provided a textural and taste contrast to the savoury yet light braised pork belly. This has to be the best lu rou fan I've ever eaten in Singapore. 5/5

I also tried their special limited edition "Fish & Chips" bun (around S$13.90) that's made for the Queenstown anniversary, featuring a fried fish fillet on top of tartar sauce, a perfectly friend golden hashbrown and some mushy peas at the base. This was really interesting taste-wise, and I like the different types of textures, including the mushy peas. A lot of this dish hinged upon the freshness of the fried fish fillet though, which is where I think could present some inconsistencies. When I tried it on Saturday it was fantastic, but trying it again a few days later, the fillet was not as good. And this dish is a lot of work, so it remains to be seen if it will become a permanent menu item! 4/5

Another new wok (?) dish is their Golden Chicken (S$13.90) made with pan-fried chicken thigh, black fungus, goji berries, sesame oil and shaoxing wine. This was giving... confinement. But in a good way - the flavours were so robust and herbally! Generous chunks of tender chicken were coated with the aromatic herbs and the black fungus delivered up the rich broth. This will definitely go well with some rice, or in their case, mee sua. 4/5

Which is exactly what I had with my friends upon my return visit. The mee sua and herbal chicken combo is probably the ultimate comfort food for some people. Definitely something unique too for a Taiwanese cafe, and I'd highly recommend this dish. 4/5

I ended my meal with a Peanut Ice Cream Roll (S$6.90), their signature dessert that saw popiah skin wrapping vanilla ice cream, hand roasted peanuts and coriander. Oh my. It's a classic night market dessert from Taiwan. I really liked the crunchy roasted peanuts, but if I were to be objective, this is probably the weakest dish of the meal because the ice cream was a bit too icy and the popiah skin was too thick for me. 2.5/5 

Overall though, the dishes at Abundance did not disappoint, which explains why they have a 4.5 Google rating with over 476 reviews! Though certain dishes might be a bit inconsistent, if you stick to the ones I recommend, which is the Emperor Sprouts, the Herbal Chicken and their rice dishes (esp. the lu rou fan and fried rice), you will be in for an abundantly good time! And definitely get a couple of those cocktails!

🙅 Thank you, next 

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Abundance (Jalan Besar)
399 Jln Besar, Singapore 209008
Open daily 11am to 11pm (break from 3-4.30pm on Mon-Thurs)

Abundance (Redhill)
63A Lengkok Bahru, #01-378, Singapore 151063
Open daily 11am to 10pm (break from 3-4.30pm on Mon-Thurs)

Thanks to Abundance for inviting me!

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