We recently had the chance to sample the food at the A-One Claypot House when we joined the throngs of curious residents to check out the newly opened Seletar Mall. At 4.30 pm in the afternoon, the mall was packed. It was not easy to look for a place to rest our tired feet. Many of the food outlets were full. Curiously, the Claypot House stood out as a beacon of tranquility. When we first got there, there was only one other table occupied. In normal times, one would be suspicious about whether this was an early warning indicator. But this was no normal day. On a crazy day, any quiet place is a good place. We had not tried the food at A-One Claypot Place before although they already have six other outlets in Singapore. It turned out to be a very good choice. We believe we had stumbled onto a strong contender for the best porridge in Singapore award.
The decor of the restaurant is simple. In fact it is quite attractive in a retro kind of way. The staff were attentive and knowledgeable. They were able to guide us through the menu which contained many possible choices. It would seem that the best time to eat there is during the afternoon (anytime before 5 pm) because that is when the super lunch sets are available. These set lunch options feature some of their regular dishes on the menu but priced lower than usual with a drink thrown in. We were just in time and selected the dried scallop porridge with minced meat and three types of eggs ($7.90) and the claypot frog leg with scallion-ginger sauce ($12.90). You can compare these with the prices on the regular menu in the pictures above.
The frog legs came with a bowl of steamed rice. Visually the dish looked promising. The frog legs were well cooked but the natural tastes of the ingredients were all drowned out by the thick, sweet gravy. Eaten with the accompanying rice, it turned out to be just a so-so kind of dish. We hope they will tune down the sweetness to let the flavours of the frog and vegetable shine through. Fortunately, our disappointment with the first dish was more than compensated for by the porridge. Is it us or does porridge look so much more appetizing when served in an old seasoned claypot? Anyway, the porridge was cooked with three types of eggs – century, salted and regular. The same idea is used to cook some types of vegetables and it seems to be a winning combo. Here it worked well as it transformed the humble porridge into a dish of complexity. The balance of flavours among the eggs and meat was also good. You know it is there but no single taste shouts out from the mix. We think it is the best porridge we had tasted in recent memory. At $7.90 for lunch with a barley drink, it was something we want to try again soon. You are charged extra for nuts ($1.50) and packet towel ($0.30). The peanuts were the sweet and cooked till they are very soft kind that we like and did not mind paying for. The towels? I suppose they will always come in handy when the birds bomb the car.
A-One Claypot House
#02-14 The Seletar Mall
33 Sengkang West Avenue