Perhaps it was the oily smoke-filled dining hall or perhaps it was the incongruent interior decoration in the shop with the sign-board outside, it had never crossed my mind to try out this shop – MooJaa, despite having passed them countless times along Keong Saik street.
Not until someone asked if I had ever tried Mookata before and told me that they visited MooJaa, which is a stone’s throw away from my place. It’s not that I’m not interested in the UFO liked structure which has ingredients piled on it – I had seen people having them at other eateries, its the ambience and environment of this place which puzzled me.
At first glance, I thought it was a Korean BBQ place without the “chimney hoods” extracting the fumes out. Perhaps that was why they displayed a huge sign stating “Thai Food” at the window. Secondly, with the chandeliers and baroque-print wallpapers matched with red faux leather chairs, the decoration of the place seemed more like a haphazardly set-up shop converted from a karaoke joint. Upon entering we noticed the service staff there were in tee-shirts, shorts and slippers. Ambience wise it felt as if I was eating tze char at some neighbourhood kopitiam…
We ordered a Set Gai (recommended for 2 pax) at $45 consist of Boneless Chicken, Pork Belly, Pork Ball, Abalone Slice, Scallop, Prawn, Crab Meat sticks, Squid, Tang Hoon (Vermicelli), Xiao Bai Cai, Kang Kong. There were also ala-carte items that can be ordered to top-up or can choose the $32 per pax buffet option.
The person who brought us the ingredients then proceeded to place some of the items into the soup and some of the chicken on the top of the dome for grilling. The soup can be changed to tom yum if you top-up $6.
There were 2 condiments (unlabeled) provided on the table, one was red in colour – presumably chilli and another yellow in colour sauce – which till now I don’t know what was it, but it tasted savoury. I ended up dipping my food into both to get the spicy, sweet & sour taste.
Although we barely see the red hot charcoal under the dome, we could feel the blazing heat which was grilling the meat. As we sat there waiting for our food to be ready, we enjoyed hearing the sizzling sound of the chicken meat, smelling the aroma of the slightly charred meat and seeing the shiny oil trickle into the soup beneath.
We only added the Tang Hoon in the soup towards the end of our meal after we finished grilling the rest of the ingredients, as at this time the soup would be extremely savoury and the Tang Hoon would absorb the flavoursome stock.
Ended our meal with an additional order of Mango with Sticky Rice at $6.
Overall I enjoyed the mookata but not the after-effect of smokey oily hair and clothing (esp in dining in air-con). I would rather have the mookata at a well-ventilated but non-air con place. I felt that the place attempted to justify for the slightly pricey cost of their set by including a few pieces of scallop and a few slices of abalone. However I would rather they exclude these “premium” items and price the set more competitively.