The Patio Review: Old-School Kopitiam With Curry Claypot Rice and XXL Western Food At Sembawang - EatBook.sg - New Singapore Restaurant and Street Food Ideas & Recommendations
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The Patio Review: Old-School Kopitiam With Curry Claypot Rice and XXL Western Food At Sembawang

2nd July 2020

The Patio kopitiam at Sembawang

The Patio - Flatlay

The Patio was once a popular kopitiam during the colonial days when Sembawang was still a full-blown dockyard town. The sailors from the nearby wharves and the navy bases would stop by for a quick meal or for a drink. With the British naval base and beach just a stone throw’s away at the time, The Patio was often glittered with people from all walks of life, from local families in the daytime to the British navy officers making merry at night. 

The Patio remained a well-loved spot before it closed around the ‘80s, only to reopen at the same location under a family business this year. The owners are not the former owners themselves, but they are old-time neighbourhood residents who wish to bring back a gem from Sembawang’s past. 

The Patio - Storefront

The joint has reopened with four new stalls: First Grill, Daily Dough, Phuket Thai Kitchen, and Fazs Satay. There’s also a drinks stall in the front, serving up everything from beers to crème brûlé milkshakes. 

Food at The Patio

The Patio - Mutton Roti John

I chose a selection of dishes from each stall, starting with the Mutton Roti John ($5.90) which the owners claim was actually invented at the ol’ Patio, now served at the Indian stall Daily Dough. The pioneer in question is a simple affair of bread, omelette, minced mutton and sweet chilli sauce. 

The Patio - Mutton Roti John Close up

I was happy that the bun wasn’t slathered with sauce like many roti john dishes these days. It was easier to eat—the bread was fresh, and the fillings were nicely seasoned. There was just the right amount of sweet chilli to balance it all out. While I can’t verify whether this really is the first mutton roti john ever in Singapore, it was definitely one of the better ones I’ve tried.

The Patio - Mutton Satti Sorru

I then went for the Mutton Satti Sorru ($10), or mutton claypot rice. The menu at the stall is very simple, with the satti sorru made in three different ways: with chicken, mutton, or prawn. Indian claypot curry rice is pretty rare to find, let alone one that is cooked over a traditional charcoal stove, so I was pretty excited to try this one. 

The Patio - Mutton Satti Sorru close up

The rice was cooked with a unique blend of curry spices along with mutton and a few herbs. The portions were quite huge, including the amount of mutton. The whole dish was flavoursome without being overpowering. The rice was moist with crispy bits on the side.

The Patio - Prime Striploin Steak

The cheerful chef manning the Western stall, First Grill, was a real champ. He grilled each steak and other meaty whatnots in an intimidatingly massive grill that sat at the back of the stall. As I waited for my dish, he disappeared into the smoky nothingness around the grill for a while and came out with a whole lot of perfectly cooked meaty goodness. I got two dishes: Prime Striploin Steak ($15) and the Iberico Spare Ribs ($22).

The steak was cooked beautifully pink on the inside. Although I ate the steaks sporadically throughout my meal, they stayed really juicy. At just $15 for a solid 220g steak with fries and a side of salad, this meal was a steal and easily worth the trip down. 

The Patio - Prime Striploin Steak Close up

The spare ribs didn’t disappoint either. The dish came in a set of four massive ribs that were heavy to even hold with two hands. At $22, this was definitely a huge bang for your buck. Each rib was cooked until the meat came off with just a slight tug.

The Patio - Iberico Spare Ribs

That whole piece on my hand was all meat, pulled straight out of the bone. I dipped it into the honey mustard sauce, and took a big bite. Flavoursome and tender, the spice rub atop balanced the richness of the slab. I never dipped it again after the first time; it simply didn’t need anything extra. 

The Patio - Souther Thai Oysters

As it got darker, I went to try some bar grub at the Thai stall, Phuket Thai Kitchen. I got a small plate of six Southern Thai Oysters ($37.90) that came served with a slice of lemon, fried onions, chilli sambal, and a spicy nuoc mam dipping sauce. Freshly shucked, each of the oysters was super fresh and very plump. 

The Patio - XL Oysters

The hawker mentioned to us that they had giant XL oysters too, ones that were the size of a hand! They took out one from the freezer for me to take a look. At $52.90 for six pieces, they were a wee bit too expensive for me to get a platter for myself though. 

The Patio - Mago Sticky Rice

The main thing that attracted me to the Thai stall was their colourful Mango Sticky Rice Dessert ($7.90). The plate came with half a mango cut into slices, condensed milk, and sticky rice shaped into colourful mini balls. 

The Patio - Mango Sticky Rice close up

The colours in the ball were more for aesthetic appeal, rather than extra flavours. This was a good thing as the tangy-sweet mango easily carried the dish on its own. I was later told that the colours used for the balls were all natural; the green one made from pandan extract, and the pink one from beetroot. The sticky rice balls were chewy, and had just the right amount of sweetness.

Ambience at The Patio

The Patio - Ambience

The new Patio occupies about half the space of where the old Patio used to be in the past. In the day, the space wholly basks in scorching sunlight while at night, it is lit up by the lanterns and fairy lights that line up by the fence. The atmosphere shifts from a chill family-friendly restaurant to something of an al fresco tipple spot at night. From foodie couples and hungry families to American soldiers and lively uncles, all kinds of customers seem to be regulars here. 

The verdict

The Patio - Verdict

The food from all four stalls at The Patio come in huge portions at very fair prices. While the oysters at the Thai stall could seem a little steep, the rest of the menu at the same stall start at prices as low as $4.90. The Western stall has XXL food, cooked by a champ. The airy ambience with fairy lights is great for those looking to dine with a large group. 

However as it’s no longer by the beachy area as it was before, the kopitiam is a little off the beaten track—only convenient for those coming by car. Otherwise, others will have to hop on a bus from Sembawang MRT Station to get here. 

Address: 1018 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758495
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 1am
Tel: 6969 0716
Website
The Patio is not a halal-certified eatery.

Photos taken by Chng Jia Yan.
This is an independent review by Eatbook.sg.

  • 8/10


    - 8/10

8/10

Summary

Pros

– XXL portions
– Chill ambience
– Western stall has amazing steak

 Cons

– Hard to access by public transport

Recommended dishes: Prime Striploin Steak ($15), Mutton Satti Sorru ($10), Mango Sticky Rice Dessert ($7.90)

Opening hours: Daily 11am to 1am

Address: 1018 Sembawang Road, Singapore 758495

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