“In a parallel life, without my dietary restrictions, I’d go for the pork collar any day,” she said, “but of course you have to also try the Australian wagyu beef.”
We were asking the waitress for recommendations at Andaz Singapore’s Auntie Wok and Steam. Its latest dinner offering is the Sichuan style mala claypot and beer set. Gourmands have three options: barramundi, Kurobuta pork collar and Australian wagyu beef. The dinner set (for two) comes with a bowl of steamed rice, a side of “firecracker” fried chicken, and a bucket of four Andaz Pale Ales, at a value price of S$60.
Swayed by the waitress’ recommendation, I went for the Kurobuta pork collar.
Disclaimer: For Sichuan mala, the food tends to be more numbing than spicy. For those who abhor the sense of that, I’d suggest you request the dish to be less “ma” (numbing) and, if you’re up for it, more “la” (spicy).
Unlike the usual mala, every ingredient is pre-selected. Hence, for those who are allergic to peanuts and hate coriander, heads-up. Though I’ve yet to taste its beef and fish, there wasn’t any regret about choosing the pork as the main source of protein.
With the concoction of Sichuan peppercorn, chili pepper, and spices, the pork slices were easy on the palate which helped my appetite to grow. And its spiciness was bearable, though I’d wish there’s more mala sauce to go with it. Food for thought: it’d be fun if there’s an option for patrons to choose different levels of spiciness like the usual coffeeshop mala.
With the pork being in the limelight, it’s understandable how the fried chicken came out second-best. But that’s by no means unpalatable. To compare, the chicken simply had a stronger taste of spice and, since it’s deep-fried, it turned out a little heavy for my liking.
Should the dinner start to irritate your throat, visitors can take a sip of Auntie’s Wok and Steam’s Andaz Pale Ales. The alcohol has a smooth body and was light enough to clear the palette and mala aftertaste. That being said, if you’re feeling adventurous, try the local brewery Young Master’s “Mala Xiang Jiu”, a Szechuan peppercorn lager, at S$10 each.
The dessert isn’t part of the dinner set; but between its chiffon cake and ice cream, I decided to go for the latter. It’s just a normal chocolate soft-serve, I thought? Wrong. Its frosted body was nothing out of the ordinary, but the real surprise comes midway into the dessert — it had sour cherry bits and biscuit crumbs that balanced the dessert’s sweetness. And just like that, the night was made.
Auntie’s Wok and Steam is located at Andaz Singapore, level 25. An à la carte order of the mala claypot set (for one) is also available at S$25 each.