alright-to-decent fish at this chain (we went to the novena square branch). I’ll be honest: I come here only for their swordfish collar. it’s brilliant, and clearly outshines the other dishes, which skim the surface of perhaps-above-average.
this chain suffers from inconsistency – food standards can be well below average depending on the outlet you visit, and service is slightly haphazard. but I think of the swordfish, drool a little, and ignore it all.
this place is an easy pick for friday night dinners – and reasonably priced. we always visit the novena location, and eschew the serangoon branch after a particularly harrowing meal where orders got lost and food arrived terrible. they suffer from young staff who don’t seem particularly trained – they may (or may not) be in earnest, but oftentimes service is a little difficult to get hold of, or runs a little too slowly. but meh, you don’t come here for proper napkin service.
my parents particularly like the garlic lemon butter mussels – the sauce is good for dipping, and the mussels don’t shrink too much. I find it a little oily – and oftentimes the sauce doesn’t emulsify properly so you see a layer of butter on top, but it’s still a pleasant dish. comes with bread too, soft and warm – so that works.
they now have a special menu for sides like stuffed squid, prawn fritters, and even a portion of swordfish to accompany your main course. this is quite a good idea – especially if you like variety – and the swordfish is an especially good deal.
my sister ordered the squid, essentially a rather monstrous-looking fried ball of cephalopod stuffed with orange cheese. a little rubbery, and really more than slightly crass, but worth the experience. plus, how do you resist ordering something that labels itself as giant squid? we certainly don’t have such forbearance.
also: the prawns were meh, but inoffensive.
the swordfish collar is always delish. huge hulking bits of fish fried up to a crisp batter and served with a mango salsa, these is moist, firm white fish – a little messier than cutting into a fillet, but well worth it. it’s a little annoying now that you’ll have to pay after your second serving of that mango salsa – but really, insignificant in light of the great deal that is this dish.
the other mains are pretty decent – they’ve also just expanded their menu and the sis tells me standards are a little better (I wouldn’t know because I only ever have the swordfish).
it’s not posh dining at all – most things on the menu are essentially iterations of fried fish with sauce, and rather crude renditions at that. and they may have moved from kitschy to tawdry with their incessant and rather unnecessary use of large pans as dishes (with handles that threaten to poke you in the eye amidst a crowded table) but it’s a good meal for mid-week, nothing too strenuous and rather flavorful. plus, fish is good for you!
Fish & Co. (Novena Square)
#03-11 Novena Square
238 Thomson Road
tel +65 6255 7001
$$: hearty dinner for four = about one-twenty
Unfortunately, due to rapid expansion plans to reap in potential capital gains, business owners are risking their reputations to increase their profit margin and lose their focus on training and maintaining consistency. In fact, that’s one reason I face particularly with my years of opening restaurants. Though a pity, I cannot emphasize how important quality, consistency and training is important to manage and sustain a business like this. Well, let’s just hope some sense is knocked into these business owners and hopefully, they’ll be able to understand the gist of this whole f&b culture;)
I agree, but I do (try to) sympathize with these restaurants too. many waiters at these low-middle sort of establishments are students, who don’t really care for the job/standard but do it for a bit of cash – so extensive training when they might not stay for long doesn’t work either.
I’ve decided that if the place doesn’t charge me a fantastically high markup on my food for an experience, then I’ll try and quibble less about their service (but still let people know about it in case they do get bothered by such).
We seem to have similar seafood restaurants popping up here too. They are like fancy seafood shacks with cutlery in tins, paper napkins but with nice branding and design. Lobster shack meets bistro. It’s always best to stick with the crowd favourites. Sometimes I find the less popular dishes are not as fresh and cooked with less mastery.
I don’t think I’ve have ever had swordfish collar. Do you pick it up and eat it with your hands or is it it a knife and fork affair?
lobster shack meets bistro is such an apt way to put it! wish I had thought of that – I might steal this for another time.
I’m not very grace-ious, so I tend to use my hands whenever I can! but this fish is very meaty, and there aren’t many small bones (think of a mammalian type head) so it’s easy to do it with a knife and fork. plus then, maybe your hands won’t get burnt like mine if you’re greedy (like me!).
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