We find out how One Prawn & Co’s new 12-course seafood grill experience holds up in the eyes of a Singaporean uncle.
If you call yourself a true Singapore foodie, you’re probably familiar with One Prawn & Co. It’s headed by chef Gwyneth Ang, who churns out sapid bowls of prawn noodles at the store’s coffeeshop space in MacPherson. You can expect no less than quality and flavour here, considering chef Gwyneth has earned her chops at renowned restaurants in Singapore. Think the likes of Burnt Ends, Forlino, and Tong Le Private Dining.
But now, One Prawn & Co is expanding its offerings beyond prawn noodles. Its regular menu remains available during the day. However, the space transforms into a 12-course seafood grill experience in the evening, priced at $128 per person. For an additional $30, you get free-flow sake too.
You might be sceptical about paying that much money to dine at a coffee shop. But to put it to the test, I brought along my dad. Because hey, if you can’t trust me, you can surely trust a Singaporean uncle who doesn’t mince his words.
One Prawn & Co 12-course seafood grill review: First impressions
At first glance, One Prawn & Co might not seem like it offers much of an experience. The 60-seater coffeeshop space appears unchanged from its daytime set-up, with only the standard swivelling fans providing respite from Singapore’s ever-present humidity.
“People usually pay this amount of money to dine in comfort. But there’s no air-conditioning here,” my dad remarks. I can see where he comes from – it’s definitely not the same as dining in a Michelin-starred restaurant. But I personally like the novelty of having a fancy meal in a familiar kopitiam setting.
We settled into our seats as the service staff presented us with a platter of fresh ingredients as an introduction to the 12-course seafood grill menu. It included maitake mushrooms, Scottish king scallops, and turbot. Despite any initial reservations about the space, we sensed we were in for a treat.
Starters that pack a punch
The meal kicked off with amaebi (sweet shrimp) served on a crispy rice cracker. This was followed by an assortment of light bites featuring fresh seafood like soft shell crab and cured amberjack.
One particular standout dish: the Hyogo oysters served with mignonette granita. These giant palm-sized oysters were refreshing and burst in our mouths. I observed dad’s eyes light up, and he nodded his head in approval – a great sign in my books. Another highlight we relished? White shrimp with a creamy and fragrant blend of coconut and garam masala.
Up next, a plate of grilled maitake mushrooms on a bed of burnt barley risotto. I loved the earthy flavours of this dish, but dad, who doesn’t enjoy eating mushrooms, let me have his. I didn’t complain about that. He thoroughly enjoyed the next dish, however. Those bouncy noodles made of shredded squid were served atop a potent base of salsa verde and black olives.
The star of the show from this segment of the menu had to be the Scottish king scallop, served sizzling in its shell. It was covered in a thick, addictive XO chilli jam. I cut it in half to share with dad, who promptly scooped up more of the sauce over his portion. “I want more of this,” he tells me.
Uber flavourful sharing dishes
Moving on to the heartier section of the 12-course seafood grill, we began with the sharing plates. The first dish was an incredibly tender onglet, a hanging tender steak complemented with sunchoke cream and chives.
Until this point, each dish had been relatively diminutive, so we were delighted when the server presented us with a full-sized turbot grilled with garlic brown butter. This dish quickly occupied any remaining space in our stomachs. Plus, its umami flavours were particularly satisfying.
The piece de resistance of the entire meal arrived in the form of steaming abalone poached rice in a clay pot served with One Prawn & Co’s signature prawn bisque. Dad and I polished off every drop. “Do you think they offer this as a standalone item? I want to take some home for mum,” he asks, even going so far as to have me inquire with the server. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do so as it was strictly part of the set.
We ended things off with a serving of seasonal fruits, specially curated from the marketplace. And we were treated to an additional sweet serving of ice cream served in miniature cones.
“You know, it’s not too bad. The coffee shop ambience is unique, and the quality of ingredients is excellent,” dad says, telling me he’d like to bring mum here in the day to try the prawn noodles. For a man who’s hard to please and usually finds restaurant dishes too salty, I consider this high praise. As for me, I was so engrossed in the delicious flavours and dishes served that I completely forgot I was dining in a coffee shop rather than a high-end restaurant.
So, is One Prawn & Co’s 12-course seafood grill menu worth its price tag? If you’re not too caught up on the lack of air-conditioning, it absolutely is.
One Prawn & Co, 458 MacPherson Road, Singapore 368176