Il Fiore - Best Italian Restaurant for Fried Beehoon! :P
Seriously! This is my favourite place in Singapore for "Wok Hei" filled
Fried Beehoon with Seafood
I remember my first visit to this place in 1997, the person who brought me there insisted that they served the best Fried Beehoon (Chinese-style fried rice vermicelli) in Singapore. I was incredulous, an Italian restaurant that's famous for Fried Beehoon? Huh? I thought I would be polite and nod along, thinking that perhaps my friend was kidding and that he was actually referring to a Capellini Aglio Olio dish with Sautéed Seafood.
The restaurant is a hole-in-the-wall in the basement of Singapore Land Tower and the waitresses are dressed in denim minis and tank tops. The menu was printed onto a B5 sheet of paper that had been rolled up into a scroll. Unrolling the menu, I felt like a Medieval Town Crier about to announce the items on the menu: "Hear ye! Hear ye! Char Beehoon!" However, a quick scan of the menu didn't reveal any Fried Beehoon. Apparently, its an off-menu item that is only ordered by regulars or those in the know. The Fried Beehoon was awesome! I was hooked onto it for so many years that I would even buy takeaway portions of it in spite of its high price (about the same as what you would pay in a hotel's all-day dining restaurant).
Fried Beehoon @ S$18
I had not eaten at Il Fiore for a few years but visited it again twice in as many weeks. It was amazing that the lady owner, Angie, still remembered my name though I'd not been there for at least 4 years! No wonder she has such a loyal following of clients, she has an amazing memory for so many people's names! I didn't have my camera with me on one of the visits, so the pictures here are from my most recent visit a few evenings ago.
The Fried Beehoon is still as tasty as I remembered it. The strands of rice vermicelli had been fully infused with the scrumptious flavours of the seasoning and the sweetness of the seafood that was cooked with it. In addition, the beehoon was cooked to just the right degree such that it had a nice bite without being overly mushy. My friends and I love the beehoon so much that we wished for less ingredients and more beehoon. The tastiness of the beehoon puts the sweetness of the squid and prawns to shame. One of my Caucasian colleagues, who is usually skeptical of local food, was converted into a Fried Beehoon fan after we brought him there.
I had requested for less ingredients and more beehoon, thus in the picture above, you'll find that the beehoon looks plain but I assure you that the plain-looking platter belies the wealth of flavour that is contained in each strand. Each plate of Fried Beehoon is large enough to share amongst 2 ladies and is a MUST-TRY!
Cream of Mushroom Soup @ S$5.95
I used to love the
Cream of Broccoli Soup
here but it's been scrapped. The new menu is a classy little folder with thick pages, a big change from the flimsy and worn scroll of yore. The
Cream of Mushroom Soup
was bland and though the freshly ground pepper helped to lift its flavour a little, it's definitely not worth wasting your calorie intake on.
Fried Calamari @ S$12.50
here is delicious, with a light and crunchy crust enclosing the tasty rings of calamari. It's definitely worth ordering along with the
Fried Chicken Wings
(no picture). The
Linguine Aglio Olio with Seafood
(no picture) is also worth a try.
They are generous with their serving of Tartare Sauce but as I generally prefer my calamari sans sauce, I ate most of them without any sauce.
This place packs a lunchtime crowd on weekdays so reservations are recommended. In the evening, the place packs a regular crowd of patrons who are mostly there for drinks and light nibbles.
Il Fiore Italian Restaurant & Bar
#B1-01 Singapore Land Tower,
50 Raffles Place,
Tel: 6223-3551 / 6223-3267
Mondays - Fridays: 11am to 3pm & 5pm till late