Sherman's Food Adventures: Green & Oak

Green & Oak

Goodbye Mr. Chili, you were decent for the area, but alas high-prices and inconsistent food didn't help your cause.  Kato Japanese used to occupy this space for what seemed like eternity.  The newest spot closed roughly a year into its operation.  Now we find yet another Asian cuisine in Green & Oak Malaysian.  There has been some minor buzz on IG about the place because there really isn't any Malaysian in the vicinity.  I ended up checking out the place with Diana, Emily, Karen, Jo, Irene and Steph on a Monday night.

We began the meal with a few standards being the Roti Canai and Satay (Chicken, Beef and Pork).  Looking rather flat and small in portion size, the roti ate better than expected.  It was lightly crispy on the outside while chewy on the inside.  Just like it appeared, the roti was a touch dense and needed more separation of layers (like fluff it up after being cooked).  The best part was the dip as it was creamy, spicy and coconutty.  I wasn't a huge fan of the satays especially the beef as it was not charred enough and the meat was chewy.  The pork was marginally better while the chicken was the best being moist.  I felt all 3 were lacking in flavour.  The accompanying peanut dip was too bland and creamy.  I much prefer the coarsely chopped peanut dip with palm sugar.

Also hitting the table shortly after was the Fried Chicken Wings which were crispy with well-rendered skin.  Normally, I don't prefer fried whole chicken wings, as they are bit awkward to eat, but these were juicy and natural-tasting.  Even the wing tips were appealingly crispy (which I normally do not eat). With that being said, I would've liked more seasoning in the form of salt or even MSG (a la Phnom Penh style).  The side of lemon pepper dip did help amp up the impact though.

Onto the mains, we ended up sharing the whole Hainanese Chicken with 4 bowls of chicken oil rice and soup.  I found the chicken to be large, meaty and as expected, de-boned.  The skin was nicely gelatinized while the meat was moist, including the breast.  However, it was pretty bland on its own, ice cold and resembled Chinese "bak cheet gai" rather than Hainanese chicken.  The side of grated ginger condiment was on point being completely made up of ginger and well-seasoned.  Although the rice was attractive in colour, nutty and chewy, there was just too much grease.  It ate heavy and was rather unappealing in that regard.  This was a good poached chicken that could be a great Hainanese chicken if prepared in a more authentic manner.

So far, the food was pretty average, but the stir-fried dishes really stood out, starting with the Belachan Fried Rice.  Although the picture doesn't show the actual portion size, it was enough.  The rice was nutty and chewy benefiting from the hot wok.  It was flavourful with caramelization and a touch of spice.  Thick, creamy and coconutty, the Beef Rendang was decent.  The sauce was impactful enough to flavour the accompanying white rice while not drowning it since it was the right viscosity.  The pieces of brisket were sufficiently tender, but not incredibly so.  This didn't really taste like an authentic rendang, as it was more like a coconut curry (lacking in aromatics).

Our last 2 dishes were also solid due to the fact they were stir-fried (seemed to be a trend).  The Mee Goreng featured caramelized and slightly smoky flavours.  The chewy noodles were on point while the grease level was low.   It had a nice balance between sweet and savoury (since some versions can be too sweet).  The same could be said about the Chow Kuay Teow as it was also slightly smoky and full-flavoured.  The noodles were not too clumpy nor oily.  Visually, much like the other stir-fried dishes, the caramelized colour was appealing.  If it wasn't apparent already, the stir-fried dishes at Green & Oak are pretty good.  However, the rest of the dishes are pretty mediocre or lacking in authenticity.  There is definitely promise here, if they can further refine their food.

The Good:
- Nicely executed stir-fried dishes
- Friendly people
- Cute spot

The Bad:
- Other than the stir-fries, the food is mediocre