Milkfish's comfort fare reels in office crowd
The one dish that unites the office crowd may just be fish soup.
Back when we were working in offices, the many fish soup stalls in the Central Business District would have long queues of office ladies.
Now that dining in has expanded to five people and a return to the office is imminent, it is timely that Milkfish has made its debut.
The restaurant opened last month in the basement of Raffles City Shopping Centre, serving a glammed-up version of fish soup.
It has everything office ladies gravitate towards - a central location with an MRT station close by, no usage of MSG or preservatives, and air-conditioning that is well ventilated, so your clothes do not smell and your hair and make-up remain intact for the rest of the workday.
On payday or if you are out to celebrate, order the Milkfish Premium Soup set ($32.80).
This is a luxe version that comes with half a lobster, whole abalone, scallop, sliced red snapper, a whole prawn, clams, minced pork patty, vegetables and tofu.
You get a choice of rice or noodles, with sides of marinated chilled tomato and oriental salad, and a tomato plum soda drink.
The soup is critical to Milkfish's success. It has that slightly sticky feel of collagen, with a subtle sweetness of fish and that hit of umami. I would add nothing else to it.
There is a humble version called Signature Soup ($12.80), which is essentially the same as the premium soup except without the lobster, abalone and scallop. This version is more than enough, especially since the minced pork patty is yummy.
Many stay clear from milkfish because of the insane amount of bones it has.
But the Grilled Whole Milkfish ($19) here is near boneless. The fish has a mild taste, so those wanting more oomph may want to order the threadfin or salmon instead.
Besides the soups, Milkfish offers a small menu of sharing plates, fish and sides, such as the Chilled Tofu with Century Egg ($3).
While it does not break barriers, it is an easy, comforting dish.
The prettiest dish here is probably the one I like least. The Chilled Sesame Spinach ($3) looks promising but it is way too tart for me. So much so, I could not even taste the spinach.
The side of Deep Fried Prawn Rolls ($6) has good value. There is enough meat and prawn in the roll, and it is not over-fried or salty. The filling remains juicy, with the coat crispy.
Milkfish offers comforting food with no surprises. What you get is a quick, delicious and not-too-expensive meal.