PUBLISHED October 15th, 2014 04:00 pm | UPDATED May 18th, 2016 05:07 pm
Singapore’s repertoire of American cuisine has been expanding of late. Go-big-or-go-home Southern goodness, in particular, has been wooing local gastronomes faster than you can say ‘Fried Chicken’. Where chilli gravy on Sri Lankan crabs used to rule, a new wave of seafood boil restaurants like Full of Crab and Crab in Da Bag is widening our definition of what is means to cracker and dig into a crustacean.
Cue The Boiler. The new entrant represents a more affordable, but no less fun way of experiencing Louisiana from the other end of the globe. Sporting stained concrete, exposed pipes, skeletal light fittings and a tall ceiling, The Boiler channels just the right vibe amid its industrial Tai Seng address. Regional headquarters in the area provide a constant flow of diners into this spacious, no-frills space, especially during its reasonably-priced Mexican-inspired set lunches and Kronenbourg Happy Hour in the evenings.
Dinner is a communal, boisterous and messy affair. A tiny female waitstaff hobbles over with a large silver bucket. The next thing you know, poosh! She hauls a hefty bag of seafood out and empties it onto your table like coins out of a smashed piggy bank. You’re protected from the slosh by a plastic bib and your phone’s also shielded by a wrap, both lovingly taken care of by another member of the restaurant’s affable staff. If you’re lucky, he or she might even have thrown in some magic. Poof! The knives, spoons and fork are gone (or were they there in the first place?).
Make no mistake about rallying 3 other pals for the Boiler’s Bombdiggity Bag ($139), bursting with Dungeness crab, prawns, mussels, clams, sausages and corn. Our taste-buds immediately took to the plump, springy prawns, the sauce-laden corn on the cob, as well as the gelat roe and tender meat of the crabs. The mussels and clams were a little dried out, but not enough to dampen (no pun intended) the enjoyment. You can up the fun quotient by playing around with your choice of sauces – while limited, each of the five sauces pack ample punch. Peppa’ Butter is our favourite – rich, sufficiently hot, with a herby kick if you bite into a peppercorn or two. Did we already mention that they come with fried buns to mop up every drop, so you don’t keep licking those fingers?
$49 for a Boston Lobster. We kid you not, even if this is a limited-time offer. So wait no longer to savour sweet, firm lobster flesh of unbeatable freshness at the Boiler. It is best paired with a clean-tasting garlic butter sauce, even better with a squeeze of lemon, a tip dispensed by more than one co-owner of the Boiler who make their rounds frequently. The citrus lemon lifts the lobster meat’s flavour quite stunningly.
By now, if you’re still hankering for more food, you can opt for Boiler’s Duo Bag, a mini-Bombdiggity meant for two, without the Dungeness crab. Alternatively, throw in some fish and chips with an ace of a battered dory, or a bowl of well-seasoned sweet potato fries ($6.90). While these starters or sides are on theme, they’re mostly deep-fried, so piling them on top of the already heaty buttery crabs makes for an even more artery-clogging, tummy-bloating experience. Some refinements are needed too in our opinion – the waffles (paired with fried chicken) could be fluffier and nobs of bacon shrimp prove too dry on the palate.
But no one’s here for fine cuisine anyway, so minor gripes are not all that fatal. A couple of beers, some deep-fried oreos and good conversation, life’s good again.
The Boiler is located at #01-06 Novelty Bizcentre, 18 Howard Road Singapore, Singapore 369585. Open Tue-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm for lunch, dinner Tue-Thu 5pm-10.30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-12am, Sun 5pm-10.30pm.
Written by Brandon Ho