Anyone who’s heard of Kah Hiang Restaurant (嘉香餐馆) at International Plaza would remember their homely Cantonese cuisine that kind of reminds you of the stuff that grandma makes during the big reunion dinner every Chinese New Year. Now, after more than 40 years of serving delectable signature dishes at their quaint little corner along Anson Road, they are ready to move this household name towards modern times.
To be honest, when I first received the email invitation for a hosted dinner, I thought it was another one of those Japanese-fusion restaurants that’s pretty trendy nowadays. Then I realised that the “Myo” in “Myo” Restobar has a couple of meanings to the owners; one being a play on the Chinese words “妙嚥” (miào yàn) which is to “swallow/consume wonder or delight”, and another as I learnt from 2nd generation owner Mr Ng Kia Jin, a reflection of their Buddhist beliefs. He quotes:
“Myo restobar aims to reach out to new audiences while supporting our International Plaza flagship. We realise that while the older generation may be very familiar with our brand, the newer generation is not. Myo plans to introduce Kia Hiang’s recipe of traditional Cantonese cuisine, values and our high standards to the 21st century.”
Mr Ng Kia Jin, 2nd generation owner of Kia Hiang Group
Just a stone’s throw away from their original place of service, Myo Restobar is similarly tucked away on the 19th floor of Oxley Tower, along Robinson Road. Unlike the boxy, retro interior of the first restaurant, Myo sports a chic modern look, complete with a decent city view and swanky furniture. They also serve a nice range of modern liquor, and even craft beer!
What’s not changed however is their dedication to bringing goodness of Kia Hiang’s signature dishes to the table. First in particular, the Kia Hiang Claypot Spring Chicken. Deep-marinated and braised in a claypot with their secret sauce for hours while being wrapped in exactly 5 full leaves of cabbage, what initially looks unappealing will convince even the harshest critics when you cut up the chicken. The tenderness of the meat is immediately felt as it melts in your mouth, not to mention the aroma of many hours of tender loving care during preparation.
To push the envelope, Myo has a “zhng-ed” (elevated/pimped up) variant. The Kia Hiang Claypot Organic Chicken uses premium organic chickens that grow up really comfortable and even listen to classical music (some of us don’t even get that treatment at work!) This variant is said to be even juicier and flavourful. Both versions come very limited daily as they are prepared in set quantities the night before, so call ahead if you want to ensure you don’t arrive disappointed!
Short story time: Mr Ng said his father initially cooked this exclusively for staff meals (which is a common perk for Chinese restaurants since back in the days, which many still perpetuate today), and when some regulars got to try it as well, they convinced him to put it on the menu. The rest is history!
Myo also chose to expand their menu to include modern restaurant fare, such as their Baked Hamachi Collar and Angus Tenderloin Cubes with Garlic and Broccoli. In fact do check out their full menu which also includes affordable yet luxurious lunch sets!
Another menu selection Kia Hiang is known for is their Dim Sum. We were treated to a wide range of Dim Sum with modern twists such as the Gold Foil Dumplings with Assorted Mushrooms, Flakey Angus Beef Pastry (basically same texture as a 叉烧酥 but with marinated beef; MUST TRY) and Healthy Walnut Buns.
As a Cantonese myself, I can tell you that no Cantonese meal can end WITHOUT any desserts. Without failing to weave tradition into modernity, Myo offers classics such as Double Boiled Peach Gum w/
Red Dates and a modern Young Coconut Stewed with Peach Gum & Egg White (which we tried), along with a Durian Mochi to end the evening.
Speaking of durian, short story no.2: Mr Ng explained that Kia Hiang is actually a big player in supplying mooncakes in Singapore, and is seen as the O.G. of durian mooncake, which is more synonymous with a particular hotel near Orchard Road to the younger crowd. So don’t be surprised that the mooncake you got as a gift or bought from the mooncake fair is actually supplied by Kia Hiang!Verdict
Despite being smack in the middle of the CBD, you will not find it easily. In fact I’ve met a group of invited media personalities at the building lobby and we all struggled to find the correct lift, as the lift panels have different floor buttons on each side! So when you’re there, go to Lift Lobby 1, and the button to level 19 is at the inner side of the lift.
While priced at a premium for sure, they are still considered quite value-for-money for the quality you’re getting, although it’s not what you might want to pay for every day.
For the millennials, your parents would possibly have memory of this place (Mr Ng said they were a popular paktor venue for meals). You can be sure they will attest to the level of quality that the elder Mr Ng set out, which is dutifully continued by his son Kia Jin at their new venture.
Now that Chinese New Year is round the corner, how about give your grandma/mum/whoever is in the kitchen a break, and give them a try for a change. They will thank you for it. Who knows, maybe the claypot chicken will bring back happy memories, or to make new ones!
138 Robinson Road
Oxley Tower (access through Lobby 1)
Reservations: Website or Call +65 90260718 / +65 69311247
Opens Daily 11am – 9pm (Closed on Saturday & Public Holidays)