Picture this: you want to hang out with your friends till the wee hours of the morning, but no one can ever decide on a suitable supper spot. Don’t worry — I’ve got you covered.
Those residing in or around Woodlands should be familiar with Citrus By The Pool by now, but if you haven’t checked it out, it’s high time you did.
Citrus By The Pool opened in 2013 (back when there were barely any halal-certified cafes in the North), with the aim of offering good food to those residing in the area.
To this day, the trendy, neon-lit halal cafe tucked away in Woodlands Swimming Complex continues to be a perpetually packed late-night hangout, with an extensive selection of Western and Thai fusion fare.
Although you can find crowd favourites like burgers, fried chicken, and pastas (more on that in a bit), the Asian (Thai) section of the menu is where it’s really at.
We started off with the sweet and sour Yam Mamuang (Thai Mango Salad, S$6.90), comprising shredded green mango with chilli, onions, roasted crushed peanuts, and extremely addictive fried sliced codfish I couldn’t stop snacking on.
This was followed by the seasonal Thai Stuffed Chicken Wing (Peek Gai Yad Sai, from S$8.90), deep-fried wings stuffed with a moreish mix of mushrooms, carrots, and chicken meat.
Served with a side of Thai sweet chilli sauce, these wings were juicy on the inside, with flecks of crispy, golden brown skin I greedily wanted more of.
Having visited the restaurant on a rainy evening, our inevitable cravings for something hot, spicy, and sour led us to the classic Tom Yum Goong Nam Khon (Red Tom Yum Soup with Rice, from S$11.90) with chicken.
Each bowl, which boasts a generous serving of chicken (or seafood), mushrooms, and chilli, is served with a plate of hot Jasmine rice, making for an incredibly hearty yet comforting meal.
One of my dining partners did find it a tad too salty, so order this only if you lean towards bold and savoury flavours.
Another item on the seasonal menu that caught my eye was the Steam Fish w Thai Spicy Chilli (S$29.90), a fresh steamed whole seabass bubbling away in a fiery, piquant, and tangy homemade Thai spicy sauce I couldn’t stop lapping up.
This ended up becoming my favourite dish of the evening!
Even though I was more than happy to just indulge in authentic Thai cuisine (the Thai dishes offered here are prepared by a Thai chef), we had to try one of the unique pasta options.
You can choose from Thai-inspired pasta like Thai Green Curry Pasta (from S$14), Thai Basil Pasta (from S$14), and even Pad Thai Pasta (from S$14), but we opted for the signature Seafood Tom Yum Pasta (from S$14), which was more tomato than tom yum.
The linguine itself, which could’ve been more al dente, was coated in a creamy, mildly spicy tom yum sauce I can see being a hit with most (even kids!).
As for the beverage and dessert options, you can find an array of signature coffee-based drinks, refreshing iced teas, and loaded milkshakes, including the likes of the Strawberry Gem (S$12.50), a towering tooth-achingly sweet “Mighty Milkshake” topped with whipped cream and nostalgic iced gem biscuits.
If you’re looking to tide through the night with a coffee (or two) that’s not your usual latte or long black, the fruity yet full-bodied Passionfruit Sparkling Americano (S$9) is definitely worth a try.
And last but not least, no visit to Citrus By The Pool is complete without desserts, be it cakes, ice cream, waffles, or even croffles.
Take your pick from a selection of Assorted Cake with Ice Cream (S$10.90), which come in flavours like Ondeh Ondeh, Black Sesame, and even Lemon Meringue.
If you’re dining with a date, why not cosy up to the delightful housemade heart-shaped Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (S$13) oozing with deep, dark, and rich chocolate goodness? It’s really, really hard to go wrong with warm cake and ice cream.
For something both sweet and substantial, the seasonal Croissant with Ice-Cream (S$12.90) comes in four classic flavours — Chocolate, Tutti Fruit, Salted Caramel, and Strawberry. Decent, but nothing to shout about.
The best part? The restaurant opens till 5am daily, so you can while away the hours with your family, partner, or best buds over good Thai food and conversation!
Reservations can be made here.
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Photos by Christabel Tan