Smith Marine Kelong Restaurant is a great catch, literally
An oasis of calm off the shores of Pulau Ubin
Sitting cross-legged on a bumboat, I saw Smith Marine come into sight after a 20-minute journey from Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
The eatery was an oasis of calm — a picture perfect kelong floating just off the shores of Pulau Ubin, complete with palm trees on its sides.
Singapore’s First Kelong Restaurant
Originally an aquaculture farm, more commonly known as kelong, Smith Marine is also Singapore’s first floating restaurant.
Built in 2006, it started as a fishing kelong farming sea bass, tiger grouper and other live seafood.
Now, it has opened its doors to visitors looking for a short get-away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Fish For Your Own Dinner
Fish your own snapper or seabass — before enjoying them for dinner
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, goes the popular proverb.
At Smith Marine, diners get to catch their own fish from an indoor pond. Later, chefs will prepare the catch in various cooking styles — allowing diners to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
However, having experienced Malaysian kelongs where I could pick my own bait, and fish directly from the sea; Smith Marine’s ‘sure-catch’ pond seemed a tad less exciting to me.
Nonetheless, the opportunity to fish for your own snapper or sea bass ought to appeal to families and visitors new to this activity.
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Tuck into the freshest seafood
For those who do not want to fish for their supper, the restaurant also offers an extensive menu with fresh seafood sourced directly from the kelong itself.
I was pleased to tuck into the comforting lala (razor clams) beehoon ($25).
The lala bee hoon is worth every slurp
The rice vermicelli was boiled in a peppery seafood stock and was accompanied by a generous amount of clams — altogether a wholesome and tasty treat.
The dishes that followed promptly satisfied my quench for delicious shellfish.
The sambal mussel ($15) and gong gong (conch shell) ($25) were both steamed, allowing its natural flavours to shine.
The freshly steamed sotong is a must-try
Similarly, the steamed sotong ($18) was lightly seasoned and appetising — each bite tender with a succulent texture.
As with any seafood dinner, you can’t miss out on local favourites like the chilli crab.
Now all you need are some fried mantous
Smith Marine’s Chili Crab ($78 per kg) is one of their signature dishes.
Stir-fried in a semi-thick tomato and chilli-based sauce, the dish was a good blend of sweet and savoury, although I would’ve preferred it spicier.
To add a touch of luxury to your meal, be sure to order the lobster ($120 per kg), which won me over with its thick chunks of slightly-sweet meat.
Better than any lobster roll out there
My verdict: Smith Marine is a great weekend destination if you’re looking to bask in the company of your loved ones and indulge in some leisure fishing and delicious seafood.
On the other hand, seasoned anglers shouldn’t expect too much from the fishing pond!
Smith Marine Floating Kelong Restaurant, Pulau Ubin Coastal Area FC97E, Singapore, Tel: 9792 7609
by Samantha Francis