We were at church camp in Pulai Springs, and was looking for a nice spot to have a hearty seafood lunch before heading back to Singapore. I stumbled upon Johor Kaki's blog which had many recommendations of seafood restaurants in Gelang Patai, and one of the restaurants which he recommended was Star Chef.
(The other one up for consideration was Tian Lai, but I felt that Star Chef's seafood offerings were a bit more exciting).
We wanted to order the braised duck since Johor Kaki's blog entry had stated that they used wild ducks, and I wanted to try what the taste was like. Unfortunately, the braised duck was not yet ready when we reached at around 2pm. Therefore, we had to settle for "suckling chicken" which was chicken done in a suckling pig style, with a spicy Thai-style chilli sauce. This was an interesting dish but taste wise it wasn't anything to wow the senses. A 6.5/10
Fried sweet potato leaves with garlic; the vegetables were very fresh and it was fried with some lovely garlic cloves which were a pleasure to chew on. 7.5/10
We also had some la-la (clams) which were cooked in a fragrant shaoxing wine broth. Extremely slurpable and delicious. The clams however weren't as meaty and fresh as I would have liked it, some were sticking to the shell. But it was a good dish nevertheless. 8/10
We had some barbequed crabs with tamarind sauce - one of their specialties. The crabs were meaty and sweet and were slathered with a slightly spicy and sweet tamarind marinade. Pretty good. (7.75/10)
We had "pai kuat wang" (fried pork ribs) - these were pretty good. Very crispy, made with fresh pork; slathered with a sweet and savoury sauce. (7.5/10)
I really loved the sea garoupa that was steamed HK style. Even though the skin was rather thick and elastic (which made it hard to cut), the meat was excellent, with good flavour and a slightly bouncy texture. Very delectable flesh and perfectly steamed. (8.25/10)
We also had creamy coconut butter crab, which was an interesting concept i.e. pairing dessicated coconut with butter to form a slightly sweet covering for the crab - an interesting combination of tastes and textures. (8/10)
We also had salted egg prawns which were great, the prawns having lots of flavour. (8/10)
Overall, Restoran Star Chef is a worthwhile destination for great and affordable seafood. We paid about RM60 each which was pretty affordable for the amount of food ordered. Worth visiting.