[SG] Folks Collective - let all the good folks gather!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Specializing in Thai cuisine, Folks Collective is located along Nankin Row at China Square Central. I have a particular liking for this area for despite the renovations and modern touches, it managed to retain the heritage aspect of the vicinity and rather than outshining Chinatown, which is a stone's throw away, this area of eateries plays a complementing effect.

Folks Collective is a place which allows all the good folks to gather over shared meals and shared memories. Stepping in for the first time, we were not quite sure what to expect with a bar at the front and heritage memorabilia and decorations lining the walls and the most part of the restaurant.

When we were shown to our table and finally presented with the menu did I realize that this is a Thai restaurant. You might have noticed that the setting had a mix of vintage touch yet jazzed up with strokes of contemporary fashion which resulted in a fusion cross-over.

They have a happy hour till 9pm where selected beers (Heineken and Tiger) were offered at one-for-one but moving on, the food was crucial for we were starving by now! We were divided on what to choose so we figured the best bet was to leave it to the experts to advise us and we based our orders on their recommendations.

Tom Yam Poteak (Seafood, Kaffir Lime, Sweet Basil and Lemon Grass) (S$8.90/++)

You usually do not leave a Thai restaurant without trying their tom yum soup and on this occasion, it was a no brainer appetizer to tease our tastebuds. Innocent looking it might seem, but the soup packed a great deal of flavours, albeit strong too. The last bowl of good tom yam tried was at Ah Loy Thai and while this rendition was not as spicy, it sure was savoury. While the flavours were bold, it was also subdued in a pleasant fashion, making it enjoyable as a whole.

Do not be fooled by this petite bowl for it packed a great deal of seafood in there, with prawns, fish fillet and squid, topped with sliced red onions, dried chilli and coriander to enhance its flavours. The amount of seafood in there sure was generous and while we waited for our mains, this tom yam did its trick in titillating our senses!

Verdict: 8.0/10

Before you mistaken these cups to be some Royalty decorations, these were actually cups for our plain iced water. Instead of serving them in the usual glasses, we were given these petite cups and the iced water was refillable too.

Grilled Pork Neck (with dried chili dip) (S$7.90/++)

With limited stomach space, we had to strike out one of the recommended dishes and between the two, the lady recommended the grilled pork neck. While we loved the marinade of the protein, it however seemed to have spent a little too much time on the grill, leaving it slightly over-cooked. The meat was unfortunately considerably stiff.

That being said, the dried chilli dip was a winner and coupled with the marinade of the pork, it won us over easily. We would have enjoyed the dish a lot better if the protein was cooked perfectly. The dip was spicy yet not to the extent of having you scurrying for water to wash it down.

While we enjoyed a more value-for-money dish and did not mind the generous serving portion, the elongated plate seemed unable to keep the sliced pork neck on the plate and had pieces of it protruding outwards and almost touching the table. Perhaps an improvement to the cutlery would do the trick?

Overall, I thought that it was a good dish in terms of flavours and taste but let down by the technique and to a certain extent, the presentation.

Verdict: 7.0/10

Pad Thai Goong (flat noodle, banana prawns and tamarind dressing) (S$8.90/++)

Surprisingly, the best plate of pad thai tried so far was in UK in a humble little city at Leicestershire. Unfortunately it closed down a few years ago and since then, I had been on the search for a good enough pad thai for me to return to consistently.

I loved everything about this rendition. The various ingredients and elements were checked, top down from the crushed roasted peanuts, dried chilli flakes, crunchy fresh bean sprouts, stir-fried noodles and that wedge of lime to sum it up neatly with a subtle touch of acidity.

The flavours were spot-on and there were elements of sweetness, sourness, savouriness and a hint of spiciness and the soft noodles were complemented with the crunchy bean sprouts and gritty crushed nuts. It was good enough for me to consider ordering another plate!

Verdict: 8.5/10

Ice Cream Kati (coconut ice cream, traditional toppings and glutinous rice) (S$4.90/++)

If there is one reason I need to return to Folks Collective, it would have to be for this. The dessert menu looked simple but any foodies would know this undying need and desire to end off a savoury meal with a sweet offering, so we asked for recommendations for just one MUST-TRY dessert.

This was a homemade ice cream and no, it is nowhere close to your commercial ones. The coconut ice cream had a strong scent and taste and it was fresh and gave a clean and refreshing slate. There was a harmonious balance in terms of textures with the sticky glutinous rice as the base, then the smooth ice cream and all the crunchy toppings. The sweetness was enough to please one's palate and not overly done and overall the combination with the slushy coconut ice cream won both us over completely.

Verdict: 9.5/10

Need a time check? Clocks from different parts of the world - letting the good folks gather indeed!

Different parts of the restaurant had different themes and sets of furniture so throughout our dinner, we seemed to always keep finding some new aspects and elements to learn about. There was the vintage perspective, the modern takeaway and even an old-school gramophone to give the setting a spiced up shuffle.

The hospitality offered by the waiting staffs was immaculate and they were attentive to our requests though at times it seemed a little hard to catch their attention with the briskness of their business. We were greeted upon arrival and thanked with wide smiles on our departure.

It was in general an enjoyable dinner with a nice ambiance for a reunion with friends matched by good customer service and quality Thai food. If anything, I would surely return one of these days for their Pad Thai and the memorable coconut ice cream dessert!

Folks Collective
20 Cross Street
01-25 China Square Central
Singapore 048422

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