Martin’s Kitchen has Hakka-inspired European food in Great World
If you’ve never heard of Hakka-inspired European food before this, welcome to the club. Situated on Zion Road in River Valley, Martin’s Kitchen is a relatively new establishment having opened its doors just four months ago. We had the chance to visit the restaurant recently!
Distinguishing itself as the first restaurant in Singapore to weave together the bold flavours of Mexican, European, and Hakka cuisines, Martin’s Kitchen showcases traditional Hakka favourites with a twist, under the culinary direction of Chef Cheng Wei Liang. He’s definitely the real deal, having had over a decade of culinary expertise earned in prestigious restaurants such as Super Loco and Ce La Vi.
A quintessential Hakka dish is lei cha, AKA thunder tea. Martin Kitchen’s Hakka “Lei Cha” Chopped Salad ($19++) is a refreshing take on the traditional thunder tea rice, featuring crunchy chopped greens, tofu, and pickled radish, along with peanuts and a herbaceous matcha vinaigrette.
There’s also a unique appetiser called Hakka Ravioli ($19++), which presents ingot-shaped dumplings doused in spicy Sichuan sauce and Habanero oil. The dumplings are stuffed with an umami-laden filling made from minced pork and fish, then topped with yam chips for added crunch.
Image credit: Martin’s Kitchen
Another dish that highly impressed us on our visit was the “Abacus Seed” Yam Gnocchi ($26++). This was a creative twist on the classic suan pan zi—it uses yam to replicate the chewy texture of Italian gnocchi. The gnocchi is topped with leek, shimeiji, dried shrimp, sakura ebi, and dried ceps, accompanied with a creamy in-house sauce.
The “Kong Ba Pao” Taco ($11++) is definitely worth getting your hands dirty for. Roll up your sleeves and bite into melt-in-the-mouth braised pork belly that’s wrapped in a soft tortilla, paired with pickled cucumber, red onion, and slaw. Coriander mayo, a popular condiment in Tex-Mex cuisine, brings a zesty, creamy kick to the meaty dish.
Moving onto mains: the “Thunder Tea” Barramundi ($29++) stole the spotlight, starring tender Kuhlbarra barramundi with a crispy, golden-brown skin. The thick slab of protein sits on a robust thunder tea broth, crowned with crispy silver fish, shimeiji, and wakame. According to Chef Cheng, the fish is best savoured when you dip it into the sauce to enjoy the thunder tea’s earthy flavours.
A meal here wouldn’t be complete without a serving of Hakka Noodles ($27++). This sees handmade noodles with pork marinated in fermented beancurd. The flavour of the noodles was elevated by the restaurant’s fiery chilli sauce, which is concocted with red habanero, jalapeno habanero, and chipotle hot sauce.
While the “Hokkien Mee’ Tagliatelle ($30++) is not a Hakka dish, Chef Cheng insisted that it’s an absolute must-try. Available in limited quantities per day, it features handmade squid ink tagliatelle with fresh prawns and crispy pork lard, paired with an umami prawn broth that’s painstakingly simmered for eight hours.
Save some space for the Hakka Mochi “Qiba” ($15++), an innovative dessert made with Hakka mochi, fried coconut shavings, red bean jelly, and velvety orange chocolate gravy, garnished with peanut brittle. Get some cocktails while you’re at it—we recommend the unique Thunder Tea Cocktail ($18++), which blends whiskey with matcha, rice milk, and black tea, as well as the Instagrammable Flor de Sauco ($18++), a refreshing, fruity concoction with edible floral paper.
For more delicious fusion food, read our Kuan Zhai Alley review for charcoal-smoked beef ribs and more in Telok Ayer. Else, check out The Beef House for traditional Hakka food and abacus seed in Lavender.
Address: 56 Zion Road, Singapore 247781
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 3pm, 6pm to 10:30pm
Martin’s Kitchen is not a halal-certified eatery.
Photos taken by Faith Chua and edited by Melvin Mak.
This was a media tasting at Martin’s Kitchen.
Feature image adapted from Martin’s Kitchen.
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