Keng Eng Kee, or KEK, pushed the boundaries of traditional Zi Char and opened a new restaurant at 200 Pandan Gardens – all about modern Zi Char.
KEK is a traditional Zi Char place for 3 generations. Whilst Head Chef of KEK, Wayne Liew, is trained the Zi Char way, he was given full permission by his father to serve his modern cuisine.
Modern Zi Char is the reinterpretation of local cuisine, using modern technique to achieve the same taste, but different presentation and styles to present it. Chef Wayne, like other chefs, he is open towards new culinary ideals and more willing to experiment. Upon interviewing Chef Wayne during the 10-day Singapore Takeout, we ventured KEK outlet at Pandan Gardens, a place for modern and creative Zi Char to be unveiled.
In this new outlet, diners can find their usual KEK favorites like Moonlight Horfun and Chilli Crab. Being a first timer, Chilli Crab incorporates with mantou. It is steam to softness. The chilli crab sauce comes across as tangy yet sweet, it pairs with the mantou perfectly.
Nowadays, many locals are also familiar with ingredients such as salted egg. The menu is modernized with a number of salted egg dishes such as Salted Egg Fish Skin, Steamed Salted Egg Crab and Salted Egg Crab Spaghetti.
In KEK Beef Wrap, It is like a modern Korean-style meats platter, including pan-fried ribeye steak, KEK-style pickles, anchovies and more! This is certainly a very creative approach for a K-dish.
Talking about having different presentation but achieving the same taste, my dinner companions loved this dish best – Claypot Calf Liver. Locking the flavors in the ingredients, the meats are indeed tender and special. This modern dish does satisfy diners with aroma and flavors.
The resulting modern dishes at KEK at Pandan Gardens have garnered much praise. Though the ‘wok-hei’ part is somehow missing from KEK’s mod-sin cuisine, I love the creativity, flavors and texture combinations. The modern Zi Char is enjoyable and well executed.
*Wine and beer are available at KEK Pandan Gardens. For more daily updates, do follow their Facebook.
KEK Pandan Gardens
200 Pandan Gardens #01-12
Daily, 1130am -230pm, 500pm – 1000pm