By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The Nation Weekend
JUMBO SEAFOOD, one of the most popular seafood restaurants among Thai visitors to Singapore, has now sailed into the kingdom and opened its first outlet here at the mega mall Iconsiam.
Spread over 800 square metres overlooking the Chao Phraya river, the restaurant is decked out in the silver, gold and bronze palette that Iconsiam has picked as its signature. Ripple motifs appear on the ceiling, the hanging lamps and the pillars to evoke the flow of the river.
The restaurant can accommodate 260 diners indoors and another 40 outdoors. Three private dining rooms each with a capacity for up to 12 guests are also available. Lobsters, crabs and fish swim around the 12 glass tanks and at the tables, most of the diners are donning lobster claw-style gloves and lobster headdresses all ready for those must-have selfies.
Singapore’s popular seafood chain Jumbo Seafood has opened its first Thailand branch at Iconsiam.
Jumbo Group opened its first Singapore-style seafood restaurant in 1987 at Singapore’s East Coast Seafood Centre and now has 17 outlets across Asia in China, Vietnam and Taipei. Thailand’s branch is operated by Ded Chinsupakul of CJ Seafood.
“Jumbo Seafood is my favourite seafood restaurant in Singapore because it serves the very freshest ingredients and truly delicious sauces. It took me almost three years to acquire the franchise for Thailand and I anticipate more than 200,000 customers in the first year,” says Ded, who also runs Sushi Den, Lugang, Capri, Ibushi, and Why 97.
Guests enjoy wearing the lobster-like props for their funny photos.
Eighty per cent of the menu is identical to that offered in Singapore and the prices are about the same too. Devotees will be pleased to find the restaurant’s 12 signature sauces, among them chilli crab paste, black pepper spice, XO and Nonya, which are flown in regularly to maintain the same taste and quality.
Famous for its crabs, Jumbo Seafood offers mud crabs (Bt200-Bt220 per 100g), mostly imported from Vietnam and Kenya, which have a white and juicy flesh with a tinge of sweetness. The Alaskan king crabs (Bt440 per 100g) boast sweet and delicate flesh while the Dungeness crabs (Bt220 per 100g) from the US and Canada are distinctive for their firm flesh and delightful salty-sweet flavour.
Chilli Mud Crab
The recommended cooking styles of each type of live crab are listed on the menu and guests get to choose the one they prefer. The Bangkok branch can so far provide five cooking styles out of the 10 available in Singapore. Diners can enjoy the crabs lightly fried or steamed with ginger before being stir-fried in a chilli sauce and egg, or stir-fried with thick gravy made with black pepper. Other choices are stir-frying with pepper and spiced salt, or with salted egg. Steaming in Chinese wine and egg white is another option.
Handed my bib and a crab opener, I try the mud crab with chilli sauce and swoon over the slightly sweet and spicy sauce made from over 10 Asian spices. The texture is creamy and the dish so flavourful that I soak it up with a mini fried bun or mantou.
Deep-fried Red Tilapia with Nonya Sauce
Next up is a whole Deep-fried Red Tilapia with a sweet-sour sauce called Nonya (Bt80 per 100g) that gives off a well-balanced sweet, tangy and nutty taste that reminds me of satay sauce.
Tiger prawns are offered boiled, fried with pepper and spiced salt, with cheese and butter, or steamed with minced garlic. I sample the Herbal Drunken Prawns (available in three portions for Bt368, Bt468 and Bt698) in which the prawns are cooked in a bowl of herbal soup giving the dish a warm herbal fragrance.
Herbal Drunken Prawns
Exclusive to the Bangkok branch are river prawns from Ayutthaya. They can be cooked in various styles such as cheese-baked with mentaiko (cod/pollock roe), steamed with minced garlic and fried either with salted egg or glazed soya sauce.
Golden Salted Egg Fish Skin
The appetisers are also worth trying and include Golden Salted Egg Fish Skin (Bt228) with a rich, creamy taste and a crisp texture and a Bacon Roll tossed with salad cream (Bt188-Bt358) with a dense minced squid stuffing.
Chilled Mango Sago Pomelo
The dessert menu is small for now but among the choices is chilled mango sago pomelo (Bt118) and chilled honeydew sago (also Bt118).
The drinks list is also limited, offering mango smoothie (Bt110), barley (Bt60) or a whole fresh coconut (Bt110).
TASTES OF THE DEEP
Jumbo Seafood on G floor of Iconsiam is open daily for lunch, 11am to 2.30pm and dinner, 5 to 10pm.
Call (02) 118 6290 or visit “jumboseafoodbangkok” |page on Facebook.