The prestigious brand, No Signboard Seafood, started its humble beginning in the 1970s, when the founder, Mdm Ong Kim Hoi, set up a seafood hawker stall at the Mattar Road Hawker Center. Since then No Signboard seafood has opened 4 other branches which are strategically located at many iconic areas of Singapore such as Vivo City, The Central @ Clarke Quay, Esplanade and No. 414 Geylang. It currently even has an overseas branch in Shanghai.
Up to this day, the restaurant has continued to thrive with its loyal following and is well-known for serving only the freshest seafood cooked to perfection, with signature dishes such as Singapore Chilli Crab and White Pepper Crab. After much deliberation on which seafood outlet to go to, we ended up at their Esplanade outlet to have a taste of delectable fresh seafood.
The Esplanade Mall outlet is a perfect location with a view for those who enjoy various seafood delicacies, and it has recently renovated its interior and even updated the menu. However, what really stood out to me was their unique Chinese decorations. This gives diners a very authentic experience when it comes down to enjoying their Asian cuisine. With a view of the open kitchen, the interior gives you a spacious, modern look. An expansive LED screen through the ceiling of the place gives you a reminisce of cod fishes that you would normally see at Chinese fine dining restaurants and mimics seafood by the ocean (in this case, under one). It’s an interesting décor with a modern spin.
When it comes down to going the extra mile, No Signboard Seafood never fails to disappoint.
Last week, when I encountered an issue with the difference in language barrier between my waiter and I, the manager did not hesitate to step in to assist in taking down my order. As we visited the store during the weekday, the shop wasn’t as packed and crowded and it was relatively easier to get the staff’s attention. The staff were extremely initiative and my tea was constantly refilled as soon as they were empty. I was very pleased with the customer service and I felt that my needs were all being met by the staff so kudos to them for excellent service!
Some very bold new changes to the menu have also been made by the owners, which now contains Western and Japanese influences. The kitchen also has a Western section complete with a Western chef cooking dishes such as seafood risotto, foie gras and lobster scrambled egg! In combining different culinary traditions, we were intrigued to see how the food would taste. Knowing that No Signboard invented the White Pepper Crab, we couldn’t resist. There are arguably no other locations that sell better white pepper crab than No Signboard. The restaurant has a flawless recipe for this meal. We decided to try the White Pepper Crab, Black Pepper Crab, Chilli Crab, Local Style Mee Goreng, Razor Clams, and ended it with a sweet note of Coconut Ice Cream.
White Pepper Crab
The gravy is a potent coating of crushed white pepper, producing the unchanging taste without overpowering your palate. Its milder taste is an improved infusion of the succulent crab flesh’s delicate sweetness. The meat is bouncy and firm. Spring onion stalks are generously garnished. We CLEARED the dense gravy with delicious mantous. The crabs are really really fresh, meaty and the flavours go really really deep – the white pepper infused into the crabs is truly a culinary skill. It’s no surprise they’ve perfected their White Pepper Crab recipe. Definitely do not skip on this one when you’re there.
Black Pepper Crabs
he pepper has a strong enough kick to it and it’s so good that you just keep going back for more and I like that they can achieve all that flavour without the dish feeling oily. The meat does not stick to the shell and the crab is extremely fresh. It was not overwhelmingly spicy and balanced enough to have an authentic taste of the iconic Black Pepper Crab of Singapore.
I wish I had more to say about the Chilli Crab, but this one was a disappointment. t]The sauce was slightly runny and the claws were raw on the inside, as though it had got deep frozen before and therefore became hard to cook through. It was more salty than anything and we struggled to finish this one even with the abundance of mantous we ordered which was unfortunate. Maybe stick to their signature white and black pepper crab the next time you choose to visit.
Local Style Mee Goreng
This old school goodness gave us a very familiar taste in our mouths and we finished every bit of it. Cooked tomato-sweet, spicy and gunky with pieces of seafood and “tau kwa”, it made us forget about the taste of the unfortunate Chilli Crab.
Steamed to perfection and adorned with crispy garlic and resting on a bed of tong fun, this was seriously good. The accompanying dip of chilli, fresh herbs and raw garlic formed a most addictive combo with it. One is the best I’ve had in a very long time and was perfectly executed.
Coconut Ice Cream
This would make you feel like you’re back in Thailand with the fresh coconuts that they sell along the streets in Bangkok. The ice cream is rich in coconut flavor and not too sweet which is what I usually prefer when it comes to my coconuts. It also comes with strips of coconut flesh at the bottom which goes very well together. It was a great end to the meal, inducing a food coma in most of us.
All in all, No Signboard Seafood is a great place to spend quality time with friends and family among the lovely ambience. The price is a little on the high side but still considered reasonable for the quality and freshness of the food served. Would definitely recommend it if you’re celebrating a special occasion or just in need of some seafood goodness!