There are some eateries that are always more worth a re-visit than others. The food might be hearty and the service, inviting and heartwarming. Above all, each time you step into that particular shop, you sort of remember all the different tables you sat with various friends. Even something as simple a reading the menu is enough to invoke feelings of happiness.
I don’t know about you but for me, that place has surely got to be Eighteen Chefs. Especially their flagship store at Eastpoint Mall before they start expanding. It all begun back in my secondary school days where easy-on-your-wallets cafes were scarce and fast food is not the best option. Traveling all the way downtown was another cumbersome issue and you needed somewhere nice to settle down for lunch with your classmates before starting on your school projects at someone’s house.
A few visits here and before you know it, it has become a norm to meet up your peers at the pasta place. I’m sure some of the teens in my generation can attest and relate to what I’m saying because it’s quite the standard norm especially if you stay in the eastern part of Singapore.
That was until, Eastpoint Mall decided to close for renovations in the earlier part of 2013 and off goes Eighteen Chefs and the other shops in the mall…
I thought they will be gone for good and subsequently I tried their other outlet at Tiong Barhu but it isn’t quite the same as I expected as before. Maybe it’s the homely feel whenever I step into their shop that I’m looking for…
But I was just delighted to be invited to try out their latest shop located on the fourth floor of Cineleisure. It’s quite easy to understand why Chef Benny, the man synonymous with the local pasta shop choose the place. With the hippy Scape Mall located just beside, Eighteen Chef is easily the place to hang out and chill with like-minded peers.
We started the luncheon with French Loaf With Roasted Garlic Confit ($4.80), a personal recommendation from the owner himself. I could tell you that Chef Benny is a huge fan of the renown three Michelin Stars celebrity chef Marco Pierre White as the garlic confit dip was inspired by White’s simple blend of ingredients in his dishes as well as the frequent use of concentrated stocks. The dip was rich in flavours yet not overpowering considering we all know how pungent garlics can get.
A great dish to share if only there’s more loaf to go around!
The Heart Attack Fried Rice ($15.80 for 1 serving, $28.80 for 2 servings) was the highlight of the meal. Or as I like to call it, the extremely hearty fried rice with beef. Piled on a board with generous servings of New York strips to go with the butter garlic fried rice, it’s little wonder why it has such a name!
I personally don’t believe in having the best steaks quality all the time. If it’s well-prepared, nicely done and still affordable, I wouldn’t mind having it in my mouth. Where else would you find 400g of steaks under $30 that taste tender and juicy like Eighteen Chef does it.
On a side note, if you ever have the heart attack fried rice, just leave it to the kitchen to decide your wellness of your beef strips. The medium-rare rule doesn’t apply as it makes the beef cuts laborious to chew upon.
Finding a nice place that has all-day breakfast can sometimes be a challenge that my friends always post to me. It’s as though I’m supposed to find for them although I must admit that I enjoy the process of making recommendations. I have the privilege to try out Chef Benny’s rendition of the soft-boiled eggs or as he calls them the 64 degrees eggs.
Taking pride that the eggs are cooked at a constant temperature of 64 degree for an hour, this is one of those better alternatives of the Egg and Toast Set ($7.80) which most places does it way too overpriced.
Here’s how it was actually serve to us which we had a hard time justifying a nice photo of the egg. Good thing that I always have a friend to pose for me.
If there’s anything that needs improvement are surely the desserts and the overall presentation of the after-meal dishes. The Raspberries and Vanilla Ice Cream Waffle ($7.50) had way too much whipped cream and the texture of the waffle resembles a hard biscuit. Somewhat disappointment or maybe I just have a higher expectation when it comes to having desserts?
The only saving grace for their desserts was the Black Beauty ($4.90) with a slice of lukewarm chocolate brownie and two scoops of ice creams. Still I think they could go easy on their whipped cream and I like my brownie served piping hot instead.
Overall, Eighteen Chef is still that nice place to relax over the company of friends. You will see many familiar faces among the Chef Benny’s staffs as most of them were from the flagship outlet. While their desserts weren’t the best I had, the mains are more than enough to share with your friends.
Everyone can start up a social enterprise but to do one as successful as Chef Benny, it will take years of hardship and a intense passion for food. I spoke to Chef Benny privately and he told me he has plans to move back to Simei once the mall finishes in two years’ time! Now that’s a piece of news to look forward to!
8 Grange Road, Singapore 239659
Tel: +65 6736 3800
Note: This is an invited media tasting