Zichar worth traveling to the ends of Singapore for

Eating house and café by day, zichar restaurant and bar by night — this Tuas gem is worth the trip

Appetizer_Five Blessings Platter (sauce)

The combination platter with an array of crunchy appetisers

It took a 45-minute long cab ride from Paya Lebar before I arrived at Third Place’s Tuas 7 outlet, Select Group’s latest dining concept tucked in the heart of the industrial estate.

I couldn’t even imagine how much longer the journey would have been if I’d opted for public transport, but the cosy restaurant, flanked by grass lawns, industrial-chic interior and warm lights, distracted my thoughts in the best way possible.

Home away from home

Third Place aspires to be one’s home away from home, with one’s “first place” being the home and the “second place” being the workplace — and this concept shows in the inviting atmosphere.

By day, the outlet is both an eating-house and café, serving up typical hawker-style dishes, like Chinese mixed rice and fishball noodles, to the working crowd.

When night falls, it transforms into a zichar restaurant complete with an al fresco bar. Patrons typically include after-work warriors and a curious mix of families alongside individuals nursing a beer or two.

Zichar reinvented

Homemade Beancurd_Honshimeji Mushroom

Star of our evening: The homemade beancurd with hon-shimeji mushroom

Seated near the bar, we started the evening with sampling portions of the Combination Platter ($80, serves ten).

The dish, with bite-sized appetisers like Crispy Shredded Popiah Ball with Prawn & Salted Egg yolk, reminded me of mandatory cold platters at chinese wedding banquets; it was palatable but nothing special.

Next, the Nonya-style Steamed Red Grouper (seasonal price) arrived. Its flesh was tender and delicate — the mark of a perfectly executed steamed fish.

Prawn_Orange Sauce

Frittered prawns coated in a refreshing orange sauce

While some purists might baulk at a few of Third Place’s reinvented zichar offerings, I enjoyed their new dishes like Fried Prawn Ball with Macadamia Nut in Orange Sauce ($18) as well as Pork Rib with Honey Peach ($15). The fruit elements gave the dishes a tangy touch, allowing them to be lighter on the taste buds as well.

That said, the highlight of my dinner was still the humble-looking Beancurd with Hon-Shimeji Mushroom ($12).

Beautifully braised and fragrant with the aroma of sautéed mushroom, the homemade bean curd dish is limited to 30 servings a day so come early to get your fix.

Cheese and crabs

Crab_Salted Egg Cheese

Cheesy goodness paired with succulent crab flesh

To round off the meal, we had a duo of crab dishes served together; one cooked Chili Crab style and the other, Signature Salted Egg Cheese Crab (seasonal prices).

To accompany the copious amounts of overflowing salted egg cheese and chili crab sauces, we had mantous (plain buns) served chopped and fried.

The tiny squares of mantous had just the right amount of crisp on all edges and were delicious when dipped fondue-style.

Of the two, I preferred the Signature Salted Egg Cheese Crab. The dish tasted strange at first, but the melted strands of cheese in the savoury salted egg sauce made for a rather delicious combination when paired with the succulent crab flesh.

Would I return again? It’s a definite yes, but only if I get to hitch a car ride.

By Samantha Francis

Third Place @ Tuas 7

18 Tuas Avenue 7

Singapore 639272