Where does one go for a bowl of solid beef noodles? But first things first: what type are we talking about? Vietnamese pho, Hainanese, Teochew, Taiwanese, or Thai-style? For us, it used to be the somewhat fancy, tasty bowl at Grub Noodle Bar on Rangoon road. Sadly, it has since closed down. Now there's a new player in town, at the uncle hang-out of Chinatown Point, to be precise. Kin Cow styles itself as a traditional Thai beef noodle joint with a slightly modern spirit as it offers more premium options, like Japanese wagyu. It’s opened by an ex-journalist and a guy who used to help run the E-Sarn Thai restaurant chain. They procured the recipe from a couple in Bangkok who has 11 noodle stores in Thailand.
THE LOOK: An open concept eatery that’s clean and comfortable with nondescript wooden furniture and bright lighting. It’s full service here, with waiters who range from earnest to slightly slow and bumbling. And instead of the Ah Peks we’ve associated with this mall, most of the guests here are office folk or couples.
THE FOOD: How the menu works — choose your cut of beef, choice of carb like rice noodles, glass noodles, or egg noodles. Then decide if you want to slurp it all up with soup, or dry. Our suggestion? Choose the Aussie Brisket ($10.90; above pic). It’s the cheapest cut here, but also one of the best. It's sliced chunkier than the rest and slow-braised in a rich gravy till tender, instead of just being blanched in soup. And get the egg noodles, satisfyingly springy, toothsome mee kia. Eat this dry ’cos then you have the best of both worlds. The noodles are tossed in a beefy, shallot- and lard-kissed sauce, plus, you also get a bowl of soup with the brisket and some tender beef balls on the side. The soup here, simmered with chicken bones on top of beef marrow, is slightly herby and less sweet than most beef noodle soups in Thailand. It's deeply flavourful and we enjoy it. More so than the Wagyu Bowl ($22.90), the priciest item on the menu but ironically our least favourite. Because the Japan-imported brisket and short rib are sliced so thinly that they’re overcooked in the scalding broth. Any fattiness that was present in the wagyu is completely lost. Instead, the humbler Aussie Short Rib ($12.90) is a better bet as it’s softer and pretty flavourful. We also order a variety of side dishes such as the Thai Omelette and Fried Chicken Wings but find them middling.
Blow your calories instead, on the superb Coconut Ice Cream ($6.90). It's served in a young coconut shell, so you get to scrape its delicate flesh to go along with the unabashedly rich, nutty ice cream scattered with crunchy salted peanuts. Inexplicably yummier than the ones we’ve had in Thai pasar malams.
VERDICT: **** Our go-to place for beef noodles (despite the unglam location). Zero in on the brisket or short rib with dry egg noodles here and you won’t be disappointed. $
#02-34 Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Rd, S059413. Tel: 6514-9265. Open daily 11.30am-3pm; 5.30pm-10pm. Open all day on weekends. Last orders 1 hr before closing. www.facebook.com/kincowsingapore