What do you think about Holland Village? It’s one of those first places everyone mentions when you first arrive in Singapore. I expected a quaint English village based on the name and was hugely disappointed to discover that this ‘village’ was in fact full of chain restaurants and pubs with sticky floors. So much so that I wrote about Holland Village in my first published article about Living Abroad in Singapore.
Since then not much has changed. I was pleasantly surprised to discover 2am: dessertbar
last year but since then I’ve found no reason to visit. Not long after arriving back from Australia earlier this year, and having become addicted to acai bowls, my ‘on it’ friend M announced an acai shop had opened in Holland Village. That was exciting until we rocked up to try them one morning and discovered they didn’t open until 11.30am. Less helpful for breakfast food but that’s the way it rolls in Singapore.
Next up came news of bao. The Full of Luck Club was all over instagram in the weeks leading up to their opening in May. Bao for lunch and acai for dessert sounded like a pretty great combo so off we went.
The super cute space is good for lunch or a supper or casual get together with friends. Lots of modern furniture and bright colours. Service was fine on our visit, nothing to rave about but nothing bad. I was envisaging a primarily bao based menu with lots of puffy white rice buns and different fillings. In fact the menu is extensive and includes dumplings, large plates of char siew, lamb racks, clay pot rice and loads more. You could fully do a banquet here with a big group but as far as I can work out they don’t take bookings. Anyway, we had come for bao so that’s what we focussed on.
There are five savoury bao listed on the menu, Kung Pao Fried Chicken, Salted Egg Yolk Prawn, Braised Pork Belly, Portugese Pork Chop and Panko crusted Portobello ($9.80++ for 2 or $6++ each). All the bao are served hamburger style, not like a traditional char siew bao (which is kind of what I’d envisaged). We tried all but the pork chop, sharing each bun between us so we got to sample them all. I started with the Portobello which was a mistake, but I’d wanted to see how the veggie option was. Basically a bit flavourless and for some reason they decided to include pineapple which, for me, was a total no go. There were three more to come though so I still had hope 😉
Next up was the salted egg yolk prawn. This one had a little more kick to it but that didn’t quite offset the heaviness of the deep fried prawn. The prawn itself was nice but I found the batter too thick. It’s always good saving the best till last and I managed to pull that off well here. The braised pork belly bun was delicious. Meat that was tender and full of flavour, nicely crisped on the side around the edges and just fatty enough to add flavour. The chicken was also good, crispy fried goodness with a nice bit of spice.
In between all of these we also tried the Baked BBQ Pork Puffs ($5.40++), yum! These were little pillows of pork filled deliciousness. We also went for the Poached Wantons in chilli soy ($7.20++) that had a good vinegar and chilli kick to them.
There’s a good beer and wine list but the iced teas are also worth a try, refreshing blends like Sour Plum Oolong that are served with less sugar than mass produced versions. My take on Full of Luck is that it’s worth a visit but not necessarily a specific trip. At Holland Village they also do bao tapow (take out) – hehe – actually they call it take a bao 😉Full of Luck Club
243 Holland Avenue, Singapore
What do you think about Holland Village?
If you want to read part II about where to go for dessert, click here.