$20-$40

Roadhouse, Dempsey

To improve his English Singlish, Mao Mao picked up a discarded copy of 8Days at the rubbish bin that wrote on Roadhouse. So he wanted to surprise me and bring me here – and he paid for the meal. Like Finally.

I like long, rectangular rooms–good for feng shui. Pan-tang, you know. But in the middle of the rectangular-shaped restaurant, there is a long, narrow rectangular table. Long enough for maybe 14 people. The point of a communal table is so that people can share food and interact, and that why Chinese restaurants have round tables. However, this long communal table just doesn’t make sense, the person at one end cannot talk to the person at the other end. The space could have put to better use. Cement floor (which is the flooring I wanted for my room 10 years ago, just coming to vogue now), dark wood tables, and excellent dim lighting.

In memory of a good buddy, no longer in contact, I ordered the Bolognaise Mac & Cheese, kids-sized, so it came with a small vanilla milkshake – all for only $12. It’s more like lasagna (wow, very hard to spell “lasagna”) using macaroni. The gluey mozzarella looked very exciting, but the dish was baked too long, and was dry. When it cooled, it hardened. Like a old gay man suntanning too much, becoming a wrinkled dried-out leathery raisin. Not a good look, not a great taste. But the crispy burnt cheese on the top was nice.

Roadhouse has a newfangled cooking method, the Josper Grill. Actually, it’s just a Spanish invention of a hybrid machine between the grill and oven, allowing more control over the temperature and by closing the grilloven, no vapor escape, thus sealing in the natural flavors of the food.

Kept wanting to eat Mexican food lately–maybe I’m pregnant–so I ordered Hot Mama ($26), 200g Josper-grilled wagyu patty with melted cheddar, jalapeno (my fav!), sour cream (my fav too!), guacamole (my fav three!) and salsa (four!) between two pieces of homemade bread. The wagyu was juicy and scrumptious. But I thought the sauces could have been more generous, to make it more spicy. (The sourness came from the jalapeno, yums.) The buns too could have been softer. Good equipment needs a good chef too.

The accompany fries were coated with curry powder and black pepper, making them extra savory. The coleslaw was sour and fresh, but there was only a dollop. (Realize how much food critics love the word “dollop” or “morsel”? I challenge you to find a good food critic who hasn’t used that word.)

The Cheesecake & Mango Stack ($12) is, according to the menu, “alternate layers of light fluffy cheesecake & fresh honey mango marinated with natural yogurt.” I think copywriting #fail. It should be “alternate layers of dense, heavy spongecake, without any taste of cheese, & mango so sour you scrunch up your face involuntarily.”

Regarding the service, there were at least four servers–excellent and more than sufficient for a small establishment if all of them were working. But there was only one diligent server. He filled our water, brought our food, got our bill. He was attentive; the rest are slackers. I hope he’s the boss, because that is the only explanation why he worked harder than the rest – or wait, should be it the other three servers are bosses? The manager should take note.

To summarize, quiet, romantic ambience, good burgers with room for improvement, one bad dessert, average service. It’s one of those places that I won’t go out of the way to go but if friends want to gather here, I won’t have objections. ($100 for two persons.)

Roadhouse
Blk 13 Dempsey Rd, Singapore 249674
T: 6476 2922
M-F: 11.30am-2.30pm; 6.30pm-10pm
S-S: 9am-4pm; 6.30pm-10pm
chope-reservations

Rating: 3.317/ 5 stars

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Categories: $20-$40, $40-$60, Dates, Dempsey, Western

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