Having past by IVIN’S quite a couple of times before, we had always been intrigued by the smell of the food whenever we past it that we decided to make a visit there.
The Heartland Mall outlet takes a focus of Nyonya cuisine, so expect dishes like Ayam Buah Keluak and Otak Otak Panggang in the menu. If you are into Kueh, there is also a wide selection of those situated at the cashier counter right at the front of the restaurant.
(Sambal Kang Kong)
Sambal Kang Kong is a staple for the family when we visit Tze Char restaurants. IVIN’S variation seemed to be rather tame; it lacked punch, though there were still spiciness detected.
Marinated with black sauce before being grilled, the Honey Pork actually was pretty similar to Char Kuay Teow, but made with a tinge of sweetness with some help from the honey. This gave the dish a well-balanced sweet-savoury flavour that makes it rather addictive to eat.
(Ikan Sambal Manis)
Doused in Sambal sauce, the Ikan Sambal Manis was not only crisp, but had a tangy sweet yet spicy flavour which was pretty intriguing. Fish was also fresh, which makes this a pretty decent dish to order.
Unlike other Tze Char places, IVIN’S does have a variety of rice to choose from; one could either opt for plain white rice, or go for the Nasi Kunning rice. Admittedly the Nasi Kunning Rice was pretty aromatic with moderate flavours of coconut, but it was a bit too moist for my liking.
(Pulot Hitam with Ice-Cream)
We all shared a Pulot Hitam for dessert, and opted for the one that came with ice-cream because having Yam in our Pulot Hitam did not seem like a smart move to us. It was thick and gooey, and came with generous amounts of coconut milk. The Pulot Hitam was lightly salted, but that went very well with the Vanilla ice-cream which was able to fuse its sweetness lightly without trying to overwhelm it.
Having seen their assorted kueh in the display, we decided to go for a selection of them. I found the Pulot Seri Kaya and Ubi Kayu Kukus pretty impressive; the former had red beans well fused into the glutinous rice and that strong pandan taste in the Kaya mousse, while the latter was full of chewy tapioca goodness.
IVIN’S might have hits and misses on their Nonya cuisine, but with their menu offerings priced so reasonably, it is definitely a value-for-money spot to visit. We had some issues with the service however; they seemed terribly shorthanded on a busy Sunday afternoon and the job allocation of several staff seemed to hinder operations. There were only two staffs serving the entire dining area; one doing cashiering duties along with taking orders, while the other could only serve the patrons. Not only was the one doing cashiering duties always busy taking orders, she had to keep entertaining takeaway requests for Kueh at the counter that it was nearly impossible to grab attention to order. Apart from that however, the dining experience at IVIN’S was satisfactory, and a good place to hit for family outings that involve the young and the old that offers food that does not disappoint.
IVIN’S Nyonya Specialties
205 Hougang Street 21