Kelly Jie Seafood Restaurant is a casual dining place in Lorong 8 Toa Payoh. It looks like a successful combination of the best bits of a friendly coffeeshop, seafood restaurant and tze char place.
No Kelly Jie Seafood Restaurant review will be complete without a mention of how its name came about. According to the Kelly website, its history can be traced back to 1989 when a little stall started serving seafood dishes along Alexander Road. Over the years, Mellben Seafood expanded to various outlets in Singapore. Mellben Toa Payoh outlet opened in 2006, helmed by manager Kelly and chef Mun. In 2017, this outlet was rebranded Kelly Jie Seafood in recognition of Kelly’s team.
From the exterior, Kelly Jie Seafood Restaurant at Toa Payoh looks like a typical HDB coffeeshop with a large signboard. But the restaurant interior looks much better. It looks like a simple Chinese restaurant with no air-conditioning. The doors were fully open and the deep awning provided adequate shade to shield diners from the intense heat and glare of the Singapore afternoon sun. We were there on a weekday lunch and the restaurant had a slow ebb and flow of customers. I think this is the best time to visit. Kelly Jie looks like the kind of tze char place that gets crowded in the evenings, especially on weekends. Reservations can be made on CHOPE which is a convenient way of securing a table at peak hours.
Kelly Jie Seafood Restaurant Menu
The extensive Kelly Jie Seafood Restaurant menu ensures that there is something to fit anyone’s budget. The Kelly Jie prices range from a modest $10 or below for a fried noodle dish to more than $100 for the seafood and exotic dishes like abalones and shark’s fin. Here are some sample pictures of the Kelly Jie Seafood Restaurant menu. It is a restaurant famous for its crab dishes and we saw a few tables having crab dishes when we were there. But we think they are expensive and very troublesome to eat. We had a steamed grouper ($55) instead, together with the signature fried mee tai mak ($10) and homemade beancurd with mushrooms ($18).
Our Toa Payoh Tze Char Lunch
It has been a while since we had eaten mee tai mak and so we went along with the recommendation to try the Kelly Jie’s signature “kan xiang mee tai mak”. Essentially this was a dry fried mee tai mak with vegetables and some seafood, the main attraction being the “wok hei” flavour imparted to the dish by the heat of the wok. The dish was much better than it sounds. Somehow, the sum of all the parts was much better that the description I have just spelt out. It was a wonderful dish.
There are various beancurd dishes on the menu. We were happy with our choice of homemade beancurd with assorted mushrooms. This would easily have been a perfect dish to eat with plain rice or porridge. The tofu itself was well made. Together with the mushrooms and other condiments it was a refined dish – more like one from an upmarket Chinese restaurant than a tze char place.
Our highlight dish of the lunch was the steamed fish. As in seafood restaurants, the fish and crab segments of the menu do not have fixed prices. “Market Price” is the standard description. In such cases we make it a point to ask for specific prices before ordering. A fish (“long hu ban” (龙虎班) suitable for two persons cost $55, which seemed ok for us. There are different styles of preparing the fish. We decided to have it steamed Hong Kong style. The dish turned out very well. It was a medium sized fish. Even after discounting the big head of this type of grouper, there was still adequate meat for two persons. It was cooked to perfection. After a recent lunch when we paid almost double for a smaller fish, this looked like a generous dish in comparison.
Overall our lunch at Kelly Jie Seafood Restaurant turned out better than expected. Being a restaurant on the ground floor of Toa Payoh, we had expected a tze char coffee shop kind of experience. It turned out to be a nice restaurant experience instead. In fact the service was much better than some uptown Chinese restaurants. The price of drinks ($8 for a beer and ice lemon tea) was also more wallet friendly. Do note however that the restaurant charges the usual service charge and GST on top of the prices indicated in this Kelly Jie Seafood Restaurant review.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Kelly Jie Seafood Restaurant
Blk 211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8
Opening Hours: 12-2:30pm (Last Order 2:15pm), 4:30-10:30pm (Last Order 10:15pm)
Nearby MRT Station: Toa Payoh
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog