The decor was industrial meets Singapore retro, cosy and fun with secondary school tables and rattan chairs. The servers were impatient young girls in shorts. PE shorts? No GST, no service tax.
Roasted Pork Belly
Only 1 out of the 10-page menu was on food (the rest on alcohol). While the food choices were limited, the Singaporean food was rather good, contrary to the reviews we read. At first we thought the food, so tasty, was bought from a nearby market and sold here at 4 times the price but it was not. Every dish was made in the kitchen.
The Mains: The Northern Indian-styled curry chicken ($12) was kick-ass spicy, tasted like it’s made from traditional recipe. The roasted pork belly ($12) was crackling, well-marinated, not at all greasy, and had a nice proportion of fat to meat. The ribeye tataki ($16, pictured above) was a tad too thin, but big on flavors, rare on the inside–Huccalily’s favorite dish of the night.
The Bar Grub: The bar grub, however, wasn’t as good as the mains. The chunky truffle fries ($7) were dry and not very truffly and the chicken mid-wings ($10 for 6 pieces), or known to us as har cheong gai (prawn-pasted marinated chicken), weren’t thoroughly marinated. According to my friend the Boss, they had to tone down the prawn-paste to suit the angmohs‘ palates.
The Off-the-Menu: My friend recommended us two items off the menu: a very addictive tempura-like spam fries ($7, above) with curry-mayo dip; and cubes of fried carrot cake ($8, below) topped with hae bee hiam (spiced shrimp), the dim-sum kind, not the hawker-centre kind, which was a tad tough and smelly to me (“like a wet dog”) but Huccalily and Ms Atas disagreed, they liked the taste and texture with sparse shredded raddish.
An issue I find with the glorified kopitiam is the subtitle: “The Tuckshop – Made by Locals.” 3 out of 5 owners are white men. A bit misleading like TWG using the year 1837. But my friend explained the angmohs think they are localized. I am not sure if they are quite localized if the har cheong gai had to be toned down for them.
Still a comfortable place with surprisingly good food to hang out on a weekend night. We spent $104 for four (two of us had beer). The ambience was comfortable; the food was excellent and of good value even although the focus of this eatery was on alcohol; but the service could be less condescending. The next day, Huccalily woke up, craving for the pork belly.
403 Guillemard Road Singapore 399795
T: 6744 8441 (no reservation)
Rating: 3.219/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.