Address: 9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-11/12/13, Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596
Tel: +65 6338 8583
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 12pm – 12am (last order 11pm), Sat – Sun 3pm – 10.30pm (last order 10pm), closed on public holidays
Recently opened in January 2014, Ke Zhan serves up Sichuan- and Guangdong-influenced Chinese dishes in a faux traditional Chinese inn (“客棧”) setting. The Cantopop and Korean pop KTV playing on big-screen TVs at the entrance and in the restaurant was a slightly baffling but amusing contrast. Aside from the typical dishes found in a Chinese restaurant, a selection of grilled skewers (more than 10 of which are vegan) is available from 6pm till late. Dishes came in decent portion sizes and were well presented. Booze options included wine, whiskey, shochu, sake and Chinese wine. Service was generally acceptable though the Chinese female servers tended to be slightly grumpy.
The grilled French beans, which came recommended, were sweet and crunchy, while the grilled WaWa vegetable (or Napa cabbage) had thick, subtly flavoured leaves. Both were drizzled with cumin salt and white sesame seeds for extra flavour. ($4 for the French beans, $3.50 for the WaWa vegetable)
Sweet Spicy Fragrant Eggplant
Tender and fleshy slices of eggplant, with their glistening deep purple skins intact, were fried in sweet and slightly tangy chilli sauce. A small amount of French beans lent a crunchy texture and refreshing sweetness. This is best eaten while hot as the sauce became sticky and mildly cloying over time. ($15.80)
The Mapo Tofu was a let-down – it was too salty and not spicy in the least. This usually comes with beef so veg*ns would have to advise the waitresses accordingly. ($14.80)
Mushroom in Thicken Gravy
Enoki mushrooms, sliced shitake and medallions of king oyster mushrooms were fried and served in a lightly flavoured vegetable broth. ($14.80)
Stir Fry Bitter Gourd
A simple garlic stir-fry pairing soft, flat slices of bitter gourd with chewy black fungus mushrooms. The bitter gourd was cooked well and was only mildly bitter, but it would have been better if there were other ingredients to complement its flavour. ($12.80)
Conclusion: I love simple Chinese cuisine when it’s done well, but the vegan options here were too pricey for the overall mediocre experience.