A household name

Jumbo Seafood in Iconsiam features Teochew-Singapore style dishes prepared to precision with live seafood

In this age and time when eating out is overwhelmed by Instagrammable eateries and culinary nonsense, a classic meal in a time-honoured establishment can be a special treat.

Even people like me, who are familiar with both aspects, still find it indulging and that's what the classic Jumbo Seafood offers.

First opening its doors in Singapore in 1987, Jumbo is one of the most famous seafood restaurant brands in Lion City.

Over the past 35 years, the restaurant has welcomed millions of diners -- local and out-of-towners, who have flocked to it for its iconic chilli crab.

Becoming a household name among seafood lovers across the region, the brand has expanded to China, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Thai chapter of Jumbo Seafood opened three years ago at Iconsiam.

Taking cues from the mothership restaurant in Singapore East Coast Seafood Centre, Jumbo Bangkok is huge, with a 240-seating capacity spread across a spacious aircon hall, a riverside terrace and three private rooms.

The indoor setting, which features a gleaming interior and built-in seafood aquarium wall behind an extensive floor-to-ceiling glass facade, is a marriage between elegant classic and modern contemporary.

It is what most millennials may deem uninspiring and typical as a venue for family gatherings and banquets.

Matching the momentous front-of-house is a 150m² kitchen helmed by a Chinese master chef and well-trained crew.

To ensure the consistency of quality, everything regarding the food and service is under close supervision of the Singapore franchise.

Most ingredients in the kitchen have to be approved by the headquarters and no sauce is concocted in-house. All 12 primary sauces are shipped from Singapore and stored at specific controlled temperatures.

Such precision was presented through its cuisine and appreciated during my recent dinner there.

The signature chilli crab.

The restaurant's 24-page culinary offering also reflects genuine expertise.

The almost 300-item menu highlights Teochew-Singapore dishes prepared with live seafood. Always swimming are garoupa, marble goby, sea bass, geoduck clam, prawn, Alaska king crab, Dungenese crab, mud crab and lobster (Boston, Canadian and Phuket).

As a former frequent visitor to Singapore, I'm familiar with several items on Jumbo's menu, including the chilli crab and cereal prawn.

I couldn't miss these two signature dishes, which are associated with Singapore's national cuisine, for the sake of this review.

My order of chilli crab featured a 1.2kg mud crab (328 baht per 100 grammes) generously drenched in a piping-hot reddish-orange sauce.

The crab was served in its pre-cracked shell, providing very toothsome meat enhanced by the sweet and savoury, egg-seethed chilli sauce. Accompanying the crab were golden deep-fried mantou buns, which went perfectly with the thick sauce.

One of the three private rooms.

Cereal prawn is one of my favourite Singaporean dishes. The last time I had Jumbo's rendition, which is popular, I felt it was slightly too sweet for me.

But the dish (468 baht, for up to five diners) was presented before this finicky food writer once again.

It featured eight sizable prawns, fresh from the tank, butter-fried and buried under a crispy and airy-light hill of toasted cereal flakes. Although still a bit sugary for my taste, this time I found the dish glorified by the marvellous bounciness of the prawn, delicious and addictive.

Meanwhile, the dim sum menu is on offer all day.

Jumbo siew mai dumplings (160 baht for two pieces) and Jumbo har gau dumplings (160 baht for two pieces) spoke for their title -- jumbo.

Not just the size was jumbo, but the quality and taste were also superlative. The fine-skin dumplings were prepared with whole prawns so fresh they produced a juicy crunching sound when bitten.

We also ordered deep-fried golden lace spring roll with shrimp and truffle stuffing (180 baht) and pan-fried radish cake (120 baht).

The Boston lobster soup with fragrant rice and rich seafood broth.

Deep-fried spring roll with shrimp and truffle stuffing.

To me, the dim sum impressively proved some of the best in the city.

There were also special seasonal items.

Highlights included Scotland gigantic bamboo clams (348 baht per clam) and Boston lobster (348-398 baht per 100g).

There are two options for the clam, steamed with garlic and steamed with black bean.

I went for the garlic option. Under a blanket of amber-hued, properly-cooked glass vermicelli came the meaty clams dressed with pungent fresh garlic soy sauce.

The Boston lobster, which we had prepared as a soup with fragrant rice in rich seafood broth, proved a very hearty and memorable finishing course.

The virtue of the dish was due to not just the fresh, firm and naturally sweet lobster (in pre-cracked shell), but also to the aromatic and well-seasoned creamy-brown superior crustacean stock.

Truly worth the money spent, our lobster soup (2,388 baht) was big enough to feed five discerning diners.

Desserts aren't the restaurant's best bet. But if you need one, go for the chilled mango pudding with sago and pomelo (118 baht).

The restaurant is usually packed on weekends. However, the service on the weekday I visited was pleasant.

The butter-fried prawns coated with crispy toasted cereal flakes.

Steamed gigantic bamboo clams with vermicelli and garlic.

The signature chilli crab.

  • Jumbo Seafood
  • Iconsiam, G floor
  • Charoen Nakhon Road
  • Call 099-110-5888
  • Open daily 11am-10pm
  • Most credit cards accepted

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