Happy food at Azhang 2.0

2009Apr26-Azhang-2

This blog was rather surprised when he saw this entry announcing Azhang’s possible closure. My first reaction was “who in the right mind would double rent at a time like this?” Apparently the landlord (I think it’s CK Tang) has a different business model. I can’t comment further about said business strategy because CK Tang, beginning with a small suitcase, built a mega-business, retail empire that spans the world whereas I just run a food blog.

Anyway, there is no helping it but to organize a dinner featuring all our favorites at Azhang so that we can save up on the memories until Patrick and Ava finds a new place to open Azhang 3.0.

2009Apr26-Azhang-1

I sent an email blast about lunch and dinner which garnered a large support from friends who also made requests like “CORNED BEEF FRIED RICE!!!!” or “Ivan, can you make sure that Patrick does his Corn Salad?”

Personally, I prefer his Duck Salad, which features an entire duck with a spoonful or two of greens on the side but never let it be said I am not accommodating. In moderation. On a case-by-case basis. With due consideration, in the fullness of time.

Corn Salad

This was actually my first time having the Corn Salad and I must say I am looking forward to having it again. It’s essentially roasted sweet corn with a fresh tangy salsa. We all love salsa, there’s even a dance named after it. Just the thing to tingle your palate and start the meal.

I was torn between having his Beef Ribs or his Roast Beef on Arugula with Parmesan. In the end, I went with the roast beef because we were already having his Flintstone Pork Ribs.

Roast Beef With Arugula And Parmesan

With the degree of doneness radiating outwards from rare to charred, indicating a perfectly roasted beef, the first meat course blew everyone away.

Of course, this blog was careful not to overindulge (but oh it’s so hard!) because the arrival of the famous Flintstone Pork Ribs.

Pork Ribs

And of course, there’s the Corned Beef Fried Rice. Without doubt, this is one of the hidden secrets that is not available on the menu. Ava told me that a brazen young man once walked in and asked to have the very same Corned Beef Fried Rice that “Uncle Ivan” had ordered for dinner before. Ava’s response was “Ivan is an uncle?”. I blame the genes. Needless to say, the poor man left without the rice.

This seems to be a source of irritation for restaurant reviewers who called me up and ask for a quick review of the menu. I am usually at a loss because I’ve never had anything on the menu. Patrick confirmed this before.

At Azhang, I do not have to starve.

Porterhouse as Big as my Head!

Back to the Corned Beef Fried Rice. I’ve yet to meet anyone not blown away by this deceptively simple dish. Most newbies would be dismissive about it because of the mundane name until they put a spoonful in their mouth.

The Fabulous Corned Beef Fried Rice

Many journalists have also tried very hard to categorize the food served at Azhang. And because once (in 2007, I believe) a food guide naming Azhang’s Seafood Platter as one of the top 100 best dishes of Singapore, everyone, including other food writers have automatically categorized Azhang as “Mediterranean”. It’s sloppy journalism to coin such a misnomer.

Azhang serves “Happy Food”. Food, that when you eat it, you’re happy. It’s that simple.

Baked Cod

After all, I don’t think Baba Noodles is part of the indigenous Mediterranean cuisine. Or at least I hope not, because Azhang is the only place in Singapore that you can get Baba Noodles.

He serves two versions; the faux Baba Noodles that does not contain pork bits and the real Baba Noodles which has the smoky pork bacon.

Baba Noodles 2 Styles

I walked around the row of shops and stopped in to chat with the people at La Fromagerie. Apparently, they are moving out too, citing the same reason of rent being doubled. But they are happy moving out to a better place (in Chip Bee Gardens next to Original Sin) where the place is bigger and the kitchen facilities are better.

Baba Noodles

Indeed, Mohamed Sultan Road does not feature much foot traffic because of the nearby Robertson Walk which sucks up all the traffic and the shop-houses, initially planned as houses are not conducive to restaurants because of the awkward layout.

Sage the Restaurant appears to have closed on some nights.

Azhang 2.0

There is not much middle ground when it comes to regarding Azhang, just as there are many fans and supporters, there are also many detractors. But love him or hate him, there is no denying that there is something powerful going on at Azhang.

With the news, there have been many rounds of dinners and lunches from us fans. Patrick has once said that it’s not the food that makes the restaurant, it’s the people. They are stakeholders and owners of the restaurant because without them, there is no restaurant.

Last I heard, a verbal agreement has been reached between landlord and Azhang. It’s on an annual renewal basis but since there’s no written black-and-white, we’ll just have to see.

If all goes well, a round of celebratory dinners will start up for Azhang 2.5. If not, we’ll just wait in serious anticipation for Azhang 3.0.

But for now, we’re happy with happy memories of the happy food.

Sign Of The Good Times


Posted on 27th Apr 2009 in About, Dead Cow Society, Food and Drink, Makankaki, Old School, Singapore

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There Are 7 Comments

 

T commented on April 30, 2009 at 11:35 pm


Great post as always, Ivan. I credit you for helping me discover Azhang some years back and have been a fan for a long time. Thanks!

I wish them well and hope they will stick around!

Cheers


 

ivan commented on May 4, 2009 at 1:35 am


@T: Thanks. Will update as I get the news.


 

[…] on claypot rice was conducted by this blog who also helped a few people understand and appreciate happy food. In other news, the Association of Women for Action and Research was hijacked by Somali […]


 

Irene commented on May 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm


Over-priced and weird simple food. Not the kind of service you would expect for this price and well… if it is so good as claimed, it would have flourished. Economics 101.


 

Ivan commented on May 26, 2010 at 9:10 pm


Patrick closed Azhang to take care of his sister who is terminally ill.

Anything that seems weird is just a matter of scope and experience, by which I mean “the lack of”. You just need to be more receptive to new perspectives and experiences. Maybe travel or read more.

Anyway, Azhang has its fans and as a retirement job, I don’t think he was looking to expand.


 

Les Raffegeau commented on July 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm


The freshest ingredients cooked into simple dishes are the most delicious. Bravo to Patrick and Ava for keeping this philosophy!

Best regards.


 

ivan commented on July 23, 2010 at 10:25 am


Well, it would be great if you can persuade them to come back and set up shop.


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