Roaming around Maxwell Chambers one afternoon, we decided to head to Clay Abode for lunch since there was less of a crowd at Clay Abode (this despite the fact that it is usually the crowded places that serve the better food). For the uninitiated, Maxwell Chambers is a refurbished building housing state-of-the-art arbitration chambers, as well as a number of restaurants and interesting food joints, including a milkshake bar called Once Upon a Milkshake (to be reviewed soon!)
Clay Abode, as the name suggests, is a shop specialising in claypot dishes, and in particular, claypot rice. At Claypot Abode, the Signature Claypot Rice is an offering of chicken, chinese waxed sausage (or lup cheong) and salted fish served on rice in (you guessed it!) a claypot. There is an option of adding an egg to the dish, which I have to admit, I’ve never seen done anywhere else before. For those interested, the egg is a Japanese ramen style egg with a soft centre which you are apparently supposed to mix into the rice. (This didn’t quite hit the spot for me as the rice was already too wet to begin with (see below).)
Despite the decent reviews of the restaurant, I found the rice far too soft for my liking – it was very very wet, and certainly did not look nor taste like it had been cooked in the claypot, as is traditionally done. My guess is that they pre-cook the rice, and then ladle it into the claypots before adding the ingredients and re-heating the entire pot. Unlike other people who have reviewed this joint, my food came within 7 minutes of ordering, which indicated that the rice was certainly pre-cooked, and not cooked only on order. Another sign that the dish was ready made was the fact that there was no crispy rice crust at the bottom of the pot which one gets when the rice is cooked directly in the claypot.
In fairness, I have to say that the chicken was well marinated and very moist (despite it being chicken breast which often tends to be overcooked), and for me was the only positive aspect to an otherwise pedestrian claypot rice. The salted fish did not shine like it usually does in claypot rice dishes – while there was an ample amount of salted fish in the dish, the fish did not impart any flavour to the rice. What I was disappointed particularly with was that the sauce was mixed into the rice, unlike the traditional claypot rice stores which have the black sauce mixture on the side for the diner to add on their own.
For those who are interested, I should also add that Claypot Abode has a set lunch available on weekdays at S$9.50 per person. This comes with one claypot rice (I’m not sure if this changes weekly, but we were offered only the Chicken with Salted Black Bean Claypot Rice), a side of vegetables and a dessert (for us, it was a red bean paste). A good deal if you consider that their claypot rices range from S$9 to S$9.90 per pot (which I might add, is a tad expensive for the serving).
Overall, this wasn’t the best claypot rice I’d had in my life, and it certainly wouldn’t be a place where I would crave going back any time soon. I personally think there are much better claypot rice stalls out there, albeit in a less fancy environment and without the air-conditioning, but if you happen to be in the area and can’t find another place to eat, then the food at Claypot Abode will fill your tummy and keep you warm, but won’t do much other than that.
32 Maxwell Road
#01-05 Maxwell Chambers
Tel: +65 6227 6137