My boss (technically, ex-boss now that I've switched sections) was nice enough to buy us dinner yesterday. The venue? The charmingly-named No Signboard Seafood restaurant, which is just slightly pretentious enough to qualify an entry here.
Don't knock me about if this review isn't very good because a) I was sick, so I couldn't fully appreciate the food; b) I didn't pay so I don't know how much dishes cost; and c) I'm not much of a seafood person.
Location, location, location. You just can't run away from it. There's no escaping the fact that the restaurant is in Geylang. So if you don't drive, and you're not a nightstalker, you might want to seriously reconsider your options.
About ambience - there's just no point going to a seafood place if it's upmarket. It's got to be rowdy, at least partially open air, with few to no frills. It's all part of the experience. Luckily No Signboard fulfills all the above requirements, plus it's got no signboard. What more could you ask for?
The service here is only good when they're not crowded. Once the place reaches critical mass though, waiters and waitresses are swamped with work and you can't even get your glass refilled.
So this is what you see when you walk into the restaurant itself. As you can plainly observe, it has no signboard.
This guy must've thought I was taking a picture of him. No Signboard is quite big; this shot was taken from inside the air-conditioned area, which seats about forty people, and the outdoors area can probably accommodate two to three times that number.
Our first dish was a lobster salad, which involved assorted starters. They were mostly of the spring roll variety, a savoury meat filling coated in different batters and fried.
Next we had a dish of deep fried prawns. The prawns were deep fried with some sort of oats or cereal till they were crispy enough to eat, shells and all. Eating the shells still proved to be somewhat unpleasant, though.
We had a vegetable course too, since vegetables keep you healthy. Oyster sauce and abalone accompanied this dish, and it doesn't get more chinese than this.
We were served a hot plate of assorted vegetables and something that looked like sea fungus or sea cucumber. I have a policy of not eating things unless I know what they are, so I didn't try this.
I think these are Hokkien Noodles, but of the rather spicy variety. And when I say rather spicy, I mean pretty freaking hot. My throat and respiratory system were giving me trouble, and I limited myself to a small bowl of the stuff.
You can't go to a seafood restaurant and not have fish, so our fish course arrived in the form of a steamed fish. The restaurant steams its fish four different ways (Hokkien, Teochew, Hong Kong and Bean Paste), and I've no idea what style this was. I'm not much of a fish person anyway.
Of course, no one actually goes to a seafood place for just its fish and prawns. A seafood place is all about crabs. Not just any crab either, because any seafood restaurant worth its salt (no pun intended) lives and dies by its chilli crab. As it's a speciality here, the crab really was quite good, but the one thing that detracted greatly from the experience was that instead of giving us the traditional mantou, or fried Chinese buns, No Signboard instead provided little squares of white bread. That's kind of like having really great sex with a paraplegic.
We didn't have just one crab, we also had a ginger and spring onion crab, which, interesting as it sounded, I didn't have, because I was really starting to feel ill by the end of the meal.
The good thing about No Signboard is that they're very efficient about the food. You can see here that at any given time, the lazy susan is full of dishes.
You can also see here that at any given time, food placed in front of a bunch of hungry army boys isn't going to last very long.
No Signboard is incredibly popular, so if you're planning on going there, it's probably a good idea to go very early, or to make a reservation.
No Signboard Seafood (Casual, Seafood)
414 Geylang Road
Tel: 6842 3415
Open 3pm - 2am
Overall: If you really like seafood