good food but tragically, hysterically-funnily bad service – we’re almost never coming back, which is such a waste. but my family loves food, and when someone tries to stop us from ordering more – well, we don’t really like that.
but the food is good – and if you have smaller appetites, you’ll do just fine here.
I cannot understand waiters who try and stop you from ordering – yes, it’s dishonest to coerce customers into ordering more than you think they’d eat, or steer them toward the more expensive items – but it’s just plain strange when we clearly have the appetite (we’re talking second round of ordering after going halfway through the dishes), and we weren’t holding up the table for a maddening queue (there was none).
it was rather off-putting initially – then it got rather funny. one must find mirth and not anger, eh?
and the food was delicious, which made it frustrating – we were ordering out of appreciation for the cooking instead of mere hunger. the tamarind prawns were tangy and not-too-sweet, not heavily sauced, and fresh and springy; lady fingers came in a simple stir-fry with smaller prawns, wholesome and flavorful; an onion omelette was fluffy (though a tad greasy); the rendang coconutty and tender; and the chap chye braised till deep savory and not salty at all.
the only let-down (gastronomically) was the rice, which was clumpy, broken, and slightly too sticky – but went down quickly enough with the delicious sauces.
the single male host (the owner, perhaps?) had a strange ordering manner – food was cooked according to table, which meant that each table got served completely, and in a chronological manner. if you wanted more, you waited for the rest of the tables to be served, before they returned to you.
the wait wasn’t what put us off – as we were trying to order midway through eating – it was his rather obnoxious and blatantly unfriendly manner: it really felt as though he was doing us a favor by even serving us at all, and that I don’t understand.
so it was unpleasant service, and made for a pretty pathetic dinner for us (we like to eat our fills, and that means quite a bit of food) – and well darn it all, because this was some tasty peranakan cooking.
I wish you luck, and also two tips: go with a small appetite, or order a mountain-load of food the moment you get in.
2004 Novena Peranakan Cuisine
273 Thomson Rd
tel +65 v
$$: averagely = 30 each