A Singaporean restaurant with a welcoming open terrace in a hip dining enclave, serving well-loved local dishes at reasonable prices – it could be called Sure Win restaurant but its name is Jumbo Seafood @ Dempsey Hill. We had dinner at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant recently and its popularity, among locals as well as tourists, was obvious. It is thus not surprising that, from a single outlet in East Coast Seafood Centre, home-grown Jumbo has become a listed company with a network of food and beverage outlets across Singapore, China and Japan.
The outdoor seating area of Jumbo Seafood Restaurant at Dempsey with its wooden floor planks has a casual rustic atmosphere. It has the feel of an old seaside restaurant. The air-conditioned indoor dining hall is like the typical modern Singapore seafood restaurant, complete with water tanks built into a wall for the live fishes, crabs and other sea creatures. The indoor area is brightly lit and comfortable.
Our dinner at Jumbo Seafood Restaurant was somewhat special. One of our nieces had just started working and had organised the dinner as a special treat for us. It was one of those occasions where we just turned up and eat; everything, including the bill, was well taken care of. The prices of the dishes mentioned in this post are what I could gather from the menu and from eavesdropping on conversations during and after dinner.
Dinner started with Chilled Mango with Shredded Duck Salad ($14) and Braised Homemade Spinach Skin Beancurd with Mushrooms ($27 for a medium plate). The mango and duck salad was an excellent appetizer. The juicy mango, tangy dressing and duck combined well to make a zesty tasty dish. The beancurd dish was of the expected standard. It was easy on the palate but perhaps just a tad bland.
Next came the Donut with Seafood Paste ($18 for medium portion) and the Golden Salted Egg Wok-Fried Prawns ($30 for medium). The “donut” was sesame seed encrusted deep-fried dough fritters, or you tiao, stuffed with seafood cake. It was very good especially when eaten with the crushed peanuts and prawn paste sauce.
The prawn dish would probably send cholesterol level through the roof but sometimes we just have to indulge ourselves. The fresh plumb prawns were completely engulfed in rich creamy salted egg yolk sauce.
The main event was of course the crabs. We had both of Jumbo award-winning versions – the Chilli Crab and the Black Pepper Crab. A Sri Lankan crab (about 1 kg at $88 per kg) was used for the Chilli Crab and a house brand Jumbo crab (about 1.1 kg at $88 per kg) was used to prepare the Pepper Crab.
It was easy to appreciate the enduring popularity of Jumbo’s Chilli Crab. The crab was fresh and fleshy with meat that was succulent and sweet. The sauce had a good consistency and complex mix of flavours. The delicious sauce was neither too sweet nor too spicy and made a wonderful dip for the mantous (buns).