The Ship restaurant is one of the last of its kind in Singapore. Together with other Hainanese-run "Western" eateries like Shashlik and Borsch Steakhouse, it's been serving up "sizzling steaks" on hot plates since 1977.
The Ship's original location at Shaw Centre were closed in June 2012 due to large-scale renovation at the old shopping centre, but business is thriving as ever at its branch at Serangoon's bustling NEX mall.
There, the Ship still retained its wonky, 70s nautical-themed. But herein lies its charm - amidst new international eateries like L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon or Daniel Boulud's DB Bistro Moderne, The Ship still draws in its own niche crowd by serving up good, old-fashioned Hainanese-Western steaks the way many Singaporean baby-boomers remember.
Our dinner last night consisted of:
- Cream of mushroom soup: still the out-of-the-can variety, pepped up by a bit of chicken stock, and bolstered with freshly-chopped mushrooms.
- Baked N.Z. Green Mussels (half dozen) with Chablis, garlic, paprika and herb butter. It's greasy and tasted like something I'd churned out myself in my college days.
- Grilled Ikan Kurau fillet with a light lemon butter sauce - very tasty in an old-fashioned way.
- Roast beef, served with baked potato and grilled vegetables - a special available on Fri/Sat only, but worth a visit to the restaurant just for this dish.
- Chicken a la Ship: the restaurant's unique dish of grilled chicken topped with baked cheese (the Kraft individual slice variety!) and creamy white sauce.
- Dessert was a very Chinese soybean curd topped with lychees. Hainanese brewed coffee on the side.
The Ship's type of cuisine is the sort that will never garner any awards using the current culinary judging criteria: its unabashed infusion of canned and frozen goods, and its simple, no-fuss serving style. But for a taste of nostalgia, there's no beating this old spot.
NEX Shopping Centre
23 Serangoon Central, #01-61/62
Tel: +65 6834 3733