It was a super late brunch (actually, almost lunch time), and this new place Steam Box caught our eye as something that looked rather healthy! They had just opened on 3 May 2016, and apparently dinner reservations were already fully booked.
Since we were rather early for lunch, we were the first customers of the day. The staff took time to explain to us how the entire process work, and how to use the steamer. Firstly we had to choose between the Century Egg and Pork Rib Porridge ($15++) or seafood porridge ($18++) as a base.
Next, we get to pick what we wanted to steam on top of the porridge, so that the juices will drip into the porridge for additional flavours. The big portions of meat are exactly double the size and double the price as the small portions, so the advice was to just try out small portions and add on if you like the items. The items are served on coloured plates, so we knew exactly how long we had to set the timer by checking against the timing list for each colour, and we could just cook the same coloured plate items together. We like this concept 🙂
By the time we were done with ordering, the restaurant was half-filled!
- Chef’s Marinated Minced Pork with Premium Salted Fish 厨师特制咸鱼肉饼 ($4.50++ for small): We enjoyed this dish very much! The lightly salted minced pork patty had the lovely salted fish fragrance, and the sweet water chestnut bits added a lovely crunch to the patty.
- Chef’s Marinated Ginger Chicken Thigh with Wolfberry 厨师特制滑嫩鸡腿 ($4.50++ for small): Another of our favourites, the meat was well-marinated and tender, without any need for additional sauces.
- Chef’s Marinated Spicy Pork’s Rib 厨师特制荷叶软排骨 ($4++): This was just so-so. we thought that the pork ribs in the porridge were much more flavourful. Also, the pork ribs were laid on beancurd skin instead of lotus leaf.
- Premium Short Ribs Slice 精选嫩牛肉片 ($8++ for small): At $2 per piece, it was quite expensive. This was also the only beef option, as the premium Wagyu beef was not available.
- Prawn Rice Roll 蒸蒸鲜虾粉肠 ($5.2++ for 3 rolls): The prawns were fresh, and the rice rolls were quite smooth, but a tad too thick.
- All-in-One Must Have Mushroom Gathering 精选菇类大会 ($8.50++): We decided to have the sampling platter of enoki, shitake, and oyster mushrooms instead of having individual orders. The mushrooms were fresh, but the shitake mushrooms did not seem very cooked after the recommended 2-minutes steaming, so we steamed it for another 1 minute or so.
- Chinese Cabbage 清蒸甜味小白菜 ($5++): Very fresh and sweet, we enjoyed our vegetables 🙂
Finally, when we were done with the steam-your-own-food fun, a staff helped to lift the lid and serve us our porridge. By now, the porridge was soft and rather flavourful 🙂 The free appetiser was peanuts, and we added them to our porridge for additional flavours. We got really full after finishing our pot of porridge. It was cooked from a bowl of white rice, with a bowl of stock, plus 3 to 4 pieces of ribs and 3 to 4 pieces of century egg, plus the juices from whatever we had steamed earlier.
Pu-er and chrysanthemum tea were available at $1.80++ per person, and there were also homemade barley ($3.20++) and homemade lemongrass ($3.80++) available, in addition to the usual canned drinks. We had pu-er, but the tea got cold really fast, perhaps due to the rather cold air-conditioning.
There was also a condiments charge of $2.50++ per person.
Being a rather new establishment, there are definitely areas of improvement. The most critical one was to ensure consistent power! We experienced at least 3 power trips in 1 hour. Flickering light bulbs work well as disco lightings, but a bit too worrying when we had a steamer in front of us. Each time the steamer had to be restarted, and it was too tiring trying to keep count of how long the food had been in the steamer already, and the staff either guesstimate or checked with us, before restarting the steamer.
The staff had a hard time keeping up with things, and it was difficult to catch their attention to get them to restart the steamer. There were also some incorrect orders, e.g. another table ordered large portions and received only small portions. There were also ingredients that were not available at the start of opening hours.
It was also slightly messy lunch, for the water vapour was going everywhere, and the table was quite wet.
Apparently they were trying to bring in the correct cables to fix the power miscalculation issue, so it is probably better to visit here, maybe 2 to 3 months down the road.