We went to the Night Safari this trip back home because J’s parents haven’t been there, and we were all on permanent tourist mode for most of the trip as well. Instead of getting a super early dinner somewhere, then rushing to the Night Safari, we (I) decided that it was probably a good idea to have a relaxing dinner at the Night Safari, then stroll in when it opens.
I read about the Ulu Ulu Safari Restaurant online, and figured that there are enough local food there to not have that meal be a waste. I was also expecting a restaurant because the word was in the name, but it was nothing more than a very very expensive, glorified, small food court with tiki torches. Restaurant – not! That said, the prices on these foods were definitely in the restaurant category. Chicken rice for $17? Yes, at Chatterbox (or what used to be Chatterbox) in Mandarin Hotel – and that was a famous chicken rice in a hotel on Orchard Road. All those words in italics allowed that $17 price tag. At the Night Safari? I was… surprised/disgusted.
That said, the food wasn’t bad. It was all fancied up hawker fare for a fancied up price, but it was really not bad.
Crab Fried Rice – $15: Had to wait for 20 minutes for this! (Do many people like crab fried rice? I didn’t even know it was a thing.) There was hardly any crab fried in the rice, but there was a chunk of real crab meat on top of the plate! The fried rice had peas, shrimp and chinese sausage – but not enough crab to be called crab fried rice! It was not bad though – I’d pay $6 for it at a food court! Could have more wok hei flavor too!
Chicken Briyani Set – $17: This came with a pot of chicken curry, some curried potatoes, a side of yogurt, some veggie curry broth, rice and papadam (the cracker thing on the rice.) The rice was beautifully cooked and the chicken curry was not bad. Everything on this plate was not bad. I’d pay $12 for this at Little India.
Laksa – $17: Laksa with two big prawns (really fresh and juicy!), scallops, chicken, quail eggs and tau pok. This was definitely fancied up. The broth was quite delicious, but there was not much noodles. I actually really enjoyed this. I would pay $10 for this.
Chicken Rice – $17: Came with a little bit of chicken (really not that much because under it was cucumbers!), some boiled veggies with oyster sauce, a bowl of rice and some soup. The chicken was okay – very average, and very small portion. It was presented nicely though. The veggies were cold and the fried shallots were no longer crispy. It was also very dry because the oyster sauce was thick, and there was no soy sauce to accompany it. The highlight was the rice – super flavorful, like those famous chicken rice shops. Is it worth $17? Not one bit. $6 would be okay – especially with so little chicken!
Here’s the husband guarding our food, $6 sugar cane drinks and $4 teh tarik.
Ulu Ulu Safari Restaurant
Address: Mandai Lake Road, Night Safari, Singapore 729826
Telephone: +65 6386 8500
Hours: Daily | 5.30pm to 11pm (though it looked pretty closed when we were there at 10-ish!)
Price: $$$ ($20 to $30 per person)
Overall: Decent food for extravagant prices. Tourist trap!