Red House Seafood Restaurant 小红楼

It was the early 80s and I was out on an official date. The boyfriend then brought me to a “kampong” feel seafood restaurant called Xiao Hong Lou (小红楼) meaning Little Red Pavilion. I had always thought their chilli crabs to be the best and liked it even better than that of Kheng Luck, a similar seafood restaurant next door. And whenever we wanted to eat Chilli Crab, Red House is THE place to go. I had no idea then, but I was madly infatuated with him and Tomato Ketchup!

Tonight, after 30 odd years, I am back in time. But the kampong ambience is gone; latter-day Red House has moved to a new location in the East Coast Seafood Centre and over the years set up 2 branches (Robertson Quay and Prinsep Street).

Established in 1976, Red House Seafood is a Singaporean restaurant specialising in the freshest seafood dishes. In 1986, we relocated from East Coast Road to our present premises in the East Coast Seafood Centre, retaining our name, one which has already endeared itself to our host of loyal customers. At Red House, every dish is prepared to give patrons a totally satisfying culinary experience! Only the freshest ingredients go into our cooking, prepared with recipes that tantalize the taste-buds and warm the soul. As well-loved dishes are kept on the menu, new ones have also been created so that great flavours of our times are captured and remembered. Besides great seafood, we also love bringing people together! Be it a family gathering, a business affair or a romantic meal for two, your experience at Red House will be one filled with good food, laughter and pure satisfaction. – from the website of Red House Seafood

Click to see pictures with some commentaries.

Finger Bowl - for washing hands after eating seafood like prawns and crabs.<br />When this service was first introduced years ago (it came with Chinese tea and lemon slices), we didn't know what it was for. Someone said it was to be drunk as lemon tea. Today we know better even though we still joke about it to our foreign friends.

Finger Bowl – for washing hands after eating seafood like prawns and crabs.
When this service was first introduced years ago (it came with Chinese tea and lemon slices), we didn’t know what it was for. Someone said it was to be drunk as lemon tea.
Today we know better even though we still joke about it to our foreign friends.

Special Chilli Sauce with Dark Soy for the Drunken Prawn dish. My friend Pat said this tasted like those served as dipping sauce for raw cockles.

Special Chilli Sauce with Dark Soy for the Drunken Prawn dish.
Patricia said this tasted like those served as dipping sauce for raw cockles.

Menu for the event organised by Makansutra.

Menu for the event organised by Makansutra.

Trio of Chef's Signature Squid.<br />Furthest - Crispy Deep-fried Baby Squid. Grilled Squid and Squid with Salted Egg Yolk. The baby squid was sweet and crispy as they should be. The grilled squid was tender but I liked the chewy tentacles most. I have been having quite a lot of Salted Egg dishes, this squid did not knock on my door.

Trio of Chef’s Signature Squid.
Furthest – Crispy Deep-fried Baby Squid. Grilled Squid and Squid with Salted Egg Yolk.
The baby squid was sweet and crispy as they should be.
The grilled squid was tender but I liked the chewy tentacles most.
I have been having quite a lot of Salted Egg dishes, this squid did not knock on my door.

Drunken Prawns with Herbal Soup. These were live prawns so the meat was naturally sweet and succulent. I would prefer a stronger herbal taste in the broth though some may disagree.

Drunken Prawns with Herbal Soup.
These were live prawns so the meat was naturally sweet and succulent. I would prefer a stronger herbal taste in the broth though some may disagree.

Spicy Seafood Combination. Very fresh seafood again, no complains about the quality or freshness of the seafood here. This tasted very much like Thai's Yellow Curry with egg. This dish would go well with plain rice or mantou. I prefer this to their chilli crabs.

Spicy Seafood Combination.
Very fresh seafood again, no complains about the quality or freshness of the seafood here.
This tasted very much like Thai’s Yellow Curry with egg.
This dish would go well with plain rice or mantou.
I prefer this to their chilli crabs.

Deep-fried Marble Goby.<br />This dish was not on the menu. It was an extra order arranged by my host. Like I have mentioned before, a traditional good host would always give his guests fish to represent "abundance".<br />The meat of Marble Goby tends to break up easily so it is always better of we help ourselves to this dish rather than letting the server cut it up.<br />I like the way the sauce was prepared without the addition of starch as some establishment do.<br />The chef did a good deep-fry job on this fish as the outside was very crispy while retaining bounce and moisture in its flesh.

Deep-fried Marble Goby.
This dish was not on the menu. It was an extra order arranged by my host. Like I have mentioned before, a traditional good host would always give his guests fish to represent “abundance”.
The meat of Marble Goby tends to break up easily so it is always better of we help ourselves to this dish rather than letting the server cut it up.
I like the way the sauce was prepared without the addition of starch as some establishment do.
The chef did a good deep-fry job on this fish as the outside was very crispy while retaining bounce and moisture in its flesh.

Braise Gluten Puffs &amp; Bamboo Pith with Seasonal Greens (we had Chinese "long-leafed" Spinach). I found this to be very good. If this is vegetarian, I don't mind being on such diets.

Braise Gluten Puffs & Bamboo Pith with Seasonal Greens (we had Chinese “long-leafed” Spinach).
I found this to be very good. If this is vegetarian, I don’t mind being on such diets.

Panfried Deboned Chicken with Chef's Thai Sauce.<br />The meat was cooked through just right so that they were moist. I don't like pink poultry. The sauce is ordinary. It's supposedly Chef's Thai sauce but Thai sauce like this makes no difference to my palate as those from a bottle (nothing to do with the chef, it's just the Thai sauce whether from here or anywhere) .<br />I would have appreciated the Chef's to make something more "homemade" like orange, lemon or mango sauce instead, not a sauce that I can easily buy from a supermarket and mind you those bottles of Thai sweet chilli sauce pack a punch too!

Panfried Deboned Chicken with Chef’s Thai Sauce.
The meat was cooked through just right so that they were moist. I don’t like pink poultry. The sauce is ordinary. It’s supposedly Chef’s Thai sauce but Thai sauce like this makes no difference to my palate as those from a bottle (nothing to do with the chef, it’s just the Thai sauce whether from here or anywhere) .
I would have appreciated the Chef’s to make something more “homemade” like orange, lemon or mango sauce instead, not a sauce that I can easily buy from a supermarket and mind you those bottles of Thai sweet chilli sauce pack a punch too!

Sauteed Venison with Black Pepper Sauce.<br />I'm not a good reviewer of Venison.<br />I find them gamey (I think it's my changing palate, I am getting more sensitive to lamb, mutton and venison as I age).<br />I am also not a fan of black pepper sauce except for the ocassional visits to a good steakhouse.<br />I had two slices of the meat to reconfirm that the gamey smell was not psychological. My friends, howver, enjoyed this dish.

Sauteed Venison with Black Pepper Sauce.
I’m not a good reviewer of Venison.
I find them gamey (I think it’s my changing palate, I am getting more sensitive to lamb, mutton and venison as I age).
I am also not a fan of black pepper sauce except for the ocassional visits to a good steakhouse.
I had two slices of the meat to reconfirm that the gamey smell was not psychological. My friends, howver, enjoyed this dish.

Red House Chilli Crab served with Mantou.<br />The very thing that appealed to me as a young lass now deters me. The tomato ketchup in this dish is overpowering. I love tomato ketchup and would even have them in my plain rice porridge, wacky diet I know. Sorry, for side tracking.<br />In my opinion, their signature dish has not changed but my taste have. The generous use of tomato ketchup could have ultimately called for more sugar to balance the sour.<br />I now find the Chilli Crab here too sweet and not enough spices to be called Chilli Crab.<br />I won't say "I can't believe I used to loved it", just that I fell out of love with it :(

Red House Chilli Crab served with Mantou.
The very thing that appealed to me as a young lass now deters me. The tomato ketchup in this dish is overpowering. I love tomato ketchup and would even have them in my plain rice porridge, wacky diet I know. Sorry, for side tracking.
In my opinion, their signature dish has not changed but my taste have. The generous use of tomato ketchup could have ultimately called for more sugar to balance the sour.
I now find the Chilli Crab here too sweet and not enough spices to be called Chilli Crab.
I won’t say “I can’t believe I used to loved it”, just that I fell out of love with it 😦

Crabmeat with Crispy Rice Porridge. This was done excellently. My only complaint is not enough crabmeat! The rice crispies were like those we take for breakfast and because they were so tiny, they do not provide any crunch as they got soggy fast. Still, it's a novelty. Btw, they did serve dessert, Yam Paste which was bleh and I did not want to post. It was watery, more like coconut broth with sago.

Crabmeat with Crispy Rice Porridge.
This was done excellently. My only complaint is not enough crabmeat!
The rice crispies were like those we take for breakfast and because they were so tiny, they do not provide any crunch as they got soggy fast. Still, it’s a novelty.
Btw, they did serve dessert, Chilled Yam Sago which was bleh and I did not want to post.
It was watery, more like coconut broth with sago.

More pictures of the food I had at this Makansutra event.

LeRoy Chan, founder of The Hungry Cow Blog, and I having a good time mingling with friends from Makansutra.<br />Click on photo to be directed to his blog.

LeRoy Chan, founder of The Hungry Cow Blog, and I having a good time mingling with friends from Makansutra.
Click on photo to be directed to his blog.

Order any of their Prawns dishes to enjoy 50% off Chilli Crab At Prinsep Street.

Order any of their Prawns dishes to enjoy 50% off Chilli Crab At Prinsep Street.

50% off Chilli Crab At Prinsep Street - click to be linked to their website to see the terms and conditions.<br />All their crab dishes are made to order and prepared on-the-spot to retain its freshness and good taste. Some time is required for the preparation and, as such, patience is required.

50% off Chilli Crab At Prinsep Street – click to be linked to their website to see the terms and conditions.
All their crab dishes are made to order and prepared on-the-spot to retain its freshness and good taste.
Some time is required for the preparation and, as such, patience is required.

Drake, Pat & I.

Drake, Pat and I.

This park and these houses… old streets I have walked.
Everything dear, will it be here?
One day when I am returning… –
“I Wonder” by ABBA

Drake, Patricia and I are old friends (I knew them before they got married). We used to go out daily for food and entertainment. Then, we were younger and more agile, we could groove to Dancing Queen whole night long, lol… I bumped into them during my last Makansutra outing at Red Star Restaurant, They were sitting at a table next to me. Drake invited me for tonight’s event. I came because I wondered if Red House Chilli Crabs is still tops in my book.

Times change, people change and my tastebuds have changed over the years. I used to eat everything with very very hot sambal. Even tomyum soup is not polished off without another tablespoonful of cut chilli padi. Today, I try to eat food as served, in order not to compromise the food’s natural taste or the chef’s representation of the cuisine. As a food blogger, it is difficult for me to eat healthy all the time. But eating out all the time has fine tuned my taste. I am more picky about what I like and what I do not like even though I will still partake them with friends. It is not true that I have 4 tummies 😉

Red House at Prinsep Street.

Red House at Prinsep Street.

Red House Seafood Restaurant
68 Prinsep Street,
Singapore 188661.
Tel: +65 6336 6080

Rating: 7/10

Happy eating 🙂

Makansutra organises a monthly makan event for Singaporeans (lots of expatriates participates too). The participation fee is S$52 nett per person (non-profit). You bring your own wine (no cockage charges) and stemware. Click here to visit Makansutra’s website.

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Comments
9 Responses to “Red House Seafood Restaurant 小红楼”
  1. “Times change, people change and my tastebuds have changed over the years.” – Wise. Good point about allowing yourself to taste the food as chef’s envision it and let it inform – and develop – your pallet.

    The anecdote about your old boyfriend was cute!

    Nice post.

  2. Six stars restaurant the sea food is luscious and looks so delicious.Thanks a lot for your likes on few of my post.Blessings.

  3. Laura Lynn says:

    Yum yum, this looks SO delicious! There is not one dish there I wouldn’t eat…

  4. Lignum Draco says:

    50% off crab just for buying prawns! Who could resist? Looks like you had a feast that night.

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