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Sunday, 12 February 2017

[Media Invite] Dinner at Just Steam (纯蒸) Restaurant @ Bugis

776 North Bridge Road, Kampong Glam Conservation Area, Singapore 198744
Tel:  6291 1358
Opening Hours: 5pm to 4am (weekdays) / Lunchtime onwards for weekends

Just Steam, as its name implies, is a newly-opened Chinese restaurant focusing on steamed food through a new concept that allows for communal "steamboat" dining style using a steamers on each table. The brightly-lit, air-conditioned restaurant opened in November 2016 but the owners have been in the restaurant business for many years; so if you are worried about experience, fret not.

I was honoured to be invited for a tasting session at Just Steam with representatives from Hungrygowhere as well as other familiar reviewers / bloggers. Tricia hosted us; she and her team were very helpful in explaining the dining concept and menu to us. Steaming is a very healthy way of cooking as it retains nutrients, colours and flavours without the use of oil, bringing to us enjoyable and nutritious meals easily.

Besides delicious, fresh-quality steamed seafood, Just Steam also does normal soup-pot Steamboat late at night, so that patrons could have some delicious soup after late-night drinking sessions or work. Versatility is also exercised when someone requires cooked dishes or vegetarian meals, etc, embracing the true spirit of a creative business owner.

Needless to say, service here was first rate, with polite staff coming to our assistance very efficiently but not being intrusive at all. They insisted on helping whenever we steamed a new round of food, because the glass lids were very heavy to contain the steam in. Plates were cleared and changed on a regular basis, ensuring that we had clean tableware to use at all times.

Menu-wise, one could choose to order a la carte or from their seafood sets. The sets range from SGD$99.00 to SGD$299.00, depending on the number of pax and types of seafood. There is also an array of homemade sauces and dips for diners to enhance flavors of food with. Drinks comprised of an assortment of juices, herbal teas, fresh coconuts, and wine!

We started with Signature Pork Knuckle Bee Hoon (SGD$8.00 for small / SGD$12.00 for medium / SGD$16.00 for large), a dish that looks deceptively simple but harbors the taste of familiar homely goodness, riveting the palate to the deliciousness of the red braised pork knuckle.

Next, Fresh Oysters (SGD$6.50 each) and Scallops (SGD$12.00) led the start of our steamy dinner. The heat from the steam diffused through the seafood and they simmered in their own juices. The cooking time was between 2 to 4 minutes, rather precise, and the results? Soft, sweet and scrumptious seafood that left everyone scrambling for more.

Lobsters (SGD$45.00) went into the steamer next, turning red as the famous saying goes. Steaming did bring out the natural sweetness of lobster flesh and its juices, but retained springiness in texture excellently. Forget about other condiments or dips, and savour the freshness on its own.

Following that, we loaded the Sea Bass (SGD$25.00) and Clams (SGD$12.00), the recommended steam time was 4 to 5 minutes. The clams were so juicy and yummy eaten this way, one could easily pop them into the mouths one after another. As for the Sea Bass, it was thoughtfully deboned, so it made for efficient dining (thank you Chef) - the flesh was melty but the flavour a little light, so here was where dips and sauces came in handy.

What awaited us next was a nice bamboo basket of Crabs (SGD$21.00) atop Glutinous Rice (SGD$6.00) to be steamed. Glutinous Rice was mixed with Chinese BBQ Pork (aka "Lup Cheong") and mushroom, redolent with the aroma of both. The shells of the crab were cracked to facilitate our extraction of the sweet, juicy, fresh crab meat.

Following that, we had strips of Bacon Pork Belly (SGD$8.00) - pretty tender, cooked with Mushroom * Pork Meat Balls (SGD$10.00). I enjoyed the earthly fragrance of the succulent pork meat balls with their bouncy texture.

Vegetables such as Cabbage (SGD$5.00), Enoki Mushrooms (SGD$5.00), King Trumpet Mushrooms (SGD$5.00), Sweet Corn (SGD$5.00) and Purple Sweet Potato (SGD$6.00) - the latter also known as "Okinawa Sweet Potato" or "Japanese Sweet Potato" offered a refreshing balance to the meal.

Finally, we got to eat the Dried Shrimp Congee (SGD$5.00), which I would happily dub the "Seafood Congee" - it was cooking in the pot directly below the Steamer all this while. After 1 to 2 hours of cooking and soaking up the juices from the seafood, the Congee was undoubtedly one of the tastiest I have ever tried. To add on to that, an egg and spring onions were beaten in and stirred to add further enhancements to the delicious Congee. Even though we were very full, the pot was Congee was duly finished simply because it was irresistible.

One of the best meals we've had in a while, and definitely the most scrumptious healthy meal I have ever had so far, Just Steam is highly recommended and worth revisits for sure. Thank you Tricia and team for the fabulous hosting, and thank you Hungrygowhere for the invite.


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