Tag Archives: lunch

The Salted Plum, Circular Road

Go!!!

When my friends suggested The Salted Plum for dinner I was afraid it’ll turn out to be one of those exorbitant priced eatery along Boay Quay. Turns out they have a very unique business proposition. All their items are priced at $5, $10 or $15, which doesn’t seem too overly pricey and to be honest, it isn’t.

My friend made a reservation which was a really smart move because not long after it opened for business there was a super long queue.

Smashed Baby Potatoes with Salted Plum Powder, $5.

Great way to start the dinner! Loved that the fried potatoes were not oily and it paired well with the salted plum powder. It comes with a side serving of chilli which I thought was not needed at all. The dish was good on its own.

Haus Fried Rice, $2.

This (and the porridge below) will be your staple for the side dishes, so ration wisely! Don’t finish them in one mouth.

Sweet Potato Congee, $3.

This is a must try. I thought this would be the big grain, watery kind of porridge with chunks of sweet potatoes within but no! Super smooth and gentle on the stomach, great base dish for all the fried and braised meat to come.

Five-Spice BBQ Glazed Squid, $10.

Not quite a fan of squid but I couldn’t stop taking seconds from this dish. The squid was rather well done, so you don’t get that overly rubbery and chewy mouthful.

Mega Lu Rou, $15.

This is also a must try. The meat was well braised and super soft. The proportion of lean meat to fats were also just right.

Hamachi Collar, $15.

Quite an interesting dish to be on the menu. The collar was well fried (again, not oily) and the meat was aplenty.

Mega Fried Chicken, $15.

This plate of fried chicken could do with more seasoning. When I saw fried chicken I immediately thought of the Shilin XXL chicken with lots of powder so I had a little expectation, and indeed I was disappointed with this dish.

Hoisin-Glazed Pork Ribs, $15.

The pork ribs were sous vide! You can be sure that the meat will fall off the bone easily and cleanly.

Steak, $10.

The steak looked good, but taste wise it didn’t meet my expectations. I guess if there was one thing you had to skip, this is it.

Burnt Chilli Chicken, $10.

Not for the faint hearted or light chilli eater, this charred chicken thighs with chilli and coriander is best eaten with the Haus Fried Rice.

Considering how much food there was on the table (I had two meat dishes leftover which I brought home for my lunch the next day), the bill came up to an affordable $120. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety and flavours of the dishes, as did my party of four.

10 Circular Road, S(049366)

+65 6260 0155

Mondays to Saturdays: 1130am to 230pm, 6pm to 930pm

Closed Sundays

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Why I decided to discontinue MealPal Singapore after a month

TL;DR: Do NOT subscribe to MealPal.

When MealPal was introduced in Singapore majority of the CBD folks rejoiced, myself included.

(Screenshot from MealPal’s website.)

To put simply, MealPal is a subscription service where you pay a fixed amount of money for a fixed number of meals per month. You order your meal from the restaurant the day before, and simply show up to collect your food the next day when it’s time. No queue, no fuss.

The model is simple math. Taking the mid level package as a reference, you get 12 restaurant meals for $96, averaging it out to $8 per meal. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to eat with MealPal:

(Screenshots all taken from the respective Facebook pages or websites.)

All’s good? Not quite.

Strike one. I should have seen this as a red flag. When I was still exploring MealPal I had wanted to see the variety of restaurants as well as food options under their belt.

I couldn’t.

I was prompted to sign up for an account, including giving my credit card details and choosing my meal plan before I could view the restaurants. I was definitely not comfortable doing that. Why do I even need to sign up for an account?! It’s like having to sign up and give your credit card details before you can browse Qoo10. I got around this by browsing through my friend’s app (she was already a member).

Strike two. Restaurants offer only one option per day. If you don’t like beef soup, then restaurant A is out for the day. The whole idea is to allow the restaurants to prepare the required demand so they don’t run into issues of insufficient food. Sure, I’ll just wait until a day where restaurant A finally offers that meal I really wanted; the meal they are well known for.

Wait long long.

Most, if not all, rotate their menu between two to three options across the days. It’s always either Green Curry or Tom Yam Chicken. After a while, you can guess tomorrow’s menu, and it screams boring. Also, this means that people with preferred dietary options have a super small selection to choose from.

Strike three. Some restaurants offer very limited sets. And I mean the likes of 10 meals a day. To give you context, MealPal opens the kitchen at 5pm sharp daily. Once an item is sold out, the pin would be greyed out, like in the screenshot below:

Needless to say, the greyed out restaurants offer something really value for money. So I tried to grab a meal. I went in daily at 5pm sharp. Got my co-workers to do so as well. None of us successfully got it for as long as a week, until Lady Luck smiled at one of my co-worker. When she went to collect her meal the next day, she asked if they (the restaurant) could release more meals.

The answer is no.

MealPal had capped the number of meals they (the restaurant) offered per day. The restaurant explained a little more, and I figured that MealPal wouldn’t be able to cover the costs if more sets were released. Sure, I’m fine that it makes perfect business sense, but as a customer, being unable to get my favourite meal even though I went in at 5pm sharp daily for a week no less, is just ridiculous.

Strike four. I was primed to think that I had only 12 meals per month. If I used up all 12 meals before the billing cycle ended, I would have to wait till the next cycle before my meals would be reset. Not too bad, I can choose to have other types of food however I pleased on the other non-MealPal days.

Nope.

The moment you finish your 12th meal, MealPal will start billing you for the next 12 meals. What this means is that even if you haven’t reached the 1 month mark, you might be billed again depending on how quickly you finish your meals. Not quite the typical way of how subscription services work.

Strike five. By this time I was starting to fume. I explored the notion of cancelling my subscription, and started looking through the app for that “unsubscribe” button. Couldn’t find any, so I tried looking for the “FAQs”.

There were none.

Wtfbbq? How could it be so difficult to unsubscribe? What was MealPal trying to hide from me? Desperate, I clicked on everything, and finally, the “Tems of Use” (who reads these anyway?). Cue enlightening background music. The answers were all there, within the 946261957462 paragraphs of words.

“For a cancellation to be effective for your next Membership Cycle, it must be received at least 7 days prior to the end of your then-current Membership Cycle or before you reserve your last meal in your cycle, whichever comes first. To cancel a membership, i) email hi@mealpal.com with “Cancel Membership” in the subject line; or ii) access “My Account” from the MealPal dropdown. To cancel your membership in My Account, click “Change Plan for Next Cycle”; then “Hold or Cancel My Account”; and then “Cancel Account”. ”

Oh I must have missed the “My Account” button on the App. So I checked again and:

This was the last straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Come on MealPal, isn’t it obvious that everyone works on their mobile smartphones these days? Going to a desktop meant that I’ll have to make that dedicated, special trip to my study room, and that I’ll have to key in my password (which I may have forgotten by now since mobile apps are unlocked via thumbprints these days).

Bonus strike. You have to unsubscribe at least 7 days in advanced, either before the last meal or before the billing cycle ended, whichever comes first. What is this 7 days notice about? MealPal are you paying me a salary? Do you need 7 days because you need to find a replacement for me? The last I checked I am in fact paying you close to a $100 a month. And note this ridiculous condition if you decide to unsubscribe but later for some reason think that you want back in: you have to pay $19 to re-join.

Still thinking of subscribing to Mealpal? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

To be honest, towards the end of my first month I was screaming to be released from MealPal. It was pure torture, having to settle for food that I didn’t really like (or rather, was bored of), coupled with the accumulated disgust I had for them.

So it’s goodbye MealPal, you won’t be missed.

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Gyu Bar, Stevens Road

Go!!

Gyu Bar sits within the premises of Novotel and Mecure Hotel along Stevens Road. It can be easy to miss if you’re driving quickly along the main road, so I hope with the picture below you’ll find it easier to locate it.

As the name suggests, Gyu Bar specialises in beef. The main attraction of this place is that it brings in A4 Kumamoto Wagyu from Japan, which they proudly serve during dinner along with a glass of sake. Unfortunately, I visited this place for lunch and it only offers rice bowls during daytime.

Interestingly, the menu has Korean starters, and some of the rice bowls are rather Korean-ish.

Assorted Namuru, $16.

Kimchi, $10.

Signature Beef Salad, $26.

Signature Roast Beef Don, $35.

This bowl lives up to its signature title. Slices of slow roast beef alongside a special gravy by the chef, need I say more? The beef slices had that melt in your mouth texture and the gravy was simply delicious.

Sukiyaki Don Set, $30.

I’ve honestly never eaten sukiyaki in a rice bowl before. The sukiyakis I’ve eaten thus far were all cooked in those shallow sukiyaki pot, a bit like hot pot style. So this was definitely interesting for me.

Yakiniku Chicken Don Set, $24.

This rice bowl came infused with truffle! What a pleasant surprise. The chicken pieces were also juicy and tender, just the way a good yakiniku chicken should be.

Ishiyaki Bibimbap Set, $22.

For the bibimbap, the staff will actually help you to mix the rice and spread it against the hot stone bowl. You are to wait for a couple of minutes for the rice to “chao ta” before digging in. Super fun to watch.

All rice bowl set comes with salad and miso soup. Each bowl also comes with an onsen egg which you have to mix into the rice, making the whole bowl really creamy. Now imagine having that with the slow roast beef slices (Signature Roast Beef Don). Oishii!

That said, Gyu Bar is not a place where you would have lunch at everyday because of the price, and also because the lunch menu is pretty much as above. I would definitely drop by for dinner one day if I feel like indulging though.

30 Stevens Road, #01-08, S(257840)

Closed Mondays.

Tuesdays to Sundays: 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm

+65 6732 0702

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Chiak, Mapletree Business City

Worth a try.

Design Your Own Healthy Bowls are on the rise and Chiak at Mapletree Business City is no stranger to the game.

The clean, spacious outlook really draws you in and true enough, by about 1230pm the place was packed with long snaking lines no less.

The fun part of such a place is the choosing of your ingredients really. You’ll never know how the combination of your favourite food will turn out, which in turn drives up the anticipation. Fortunately, Chiak prepares your food quickly.

If you’re someone who hates decision making, there are preset bowls for you to choose from.

Chicken chestnut patty, soba, grilled eggplant, shimeiji mushrooms, corn, furikake, crushed peanuts, miso ginger sauce.

Red miso salmon, romaine lettuce, sous vide egg, Chinese kale, edamame, stewed peanuts, Thai basil leaves, balsamic soy sauce.

Green Curry chicken, organic brown rice, wakame fungus salad, mixed mango salad, cherry tomatoes, coriander leaves, toasted sesame, spicy like sauce.

Teriyaki chicken, vermicelli chicken soup, shimeiji mushrooms, broccoli and garlic, corn, coriander leaves, toasted sesame.

Red miso salmon, soba, broccoli and garlic, grilled pumpkin, cherry tomatoes, furikake, coriander leaves and plum sesame sauce (this was from their list of preset bowls).

Chiak bowls are simple, unpretentious, light and healthy. Because of this, they tend to be on the bland side, and the flavours don’t come through easily. The mains are certainly interesting with chicken chestnut patty and prawn otak but the rest of the components are a bit lacklustre. Plus, as concurred by my colleague, the topping options are quite… stingy? In his words, “so bo hua to choose coriander leaves or chilli padi”.

I’ve been to a couple of Design Your Own Healthy Bowl places and Chiak isn’t on my favourite list. However, I wouldn’t mind dropping by for that boost of healthy shot.

40 Pasir Panjang Road, #02-37, S(117383)

Mondays to Fridays: 8am to 8pm.

+65 6358 2313

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Maru, Icon Village

Go!!

Maru is an Asian fusion eatery that is newly opened in Icon Village at Gopeng Street. Like its food, the vibe of the place cuts across two or more cultures; the name sounds Japanese but the interior feels very backstage broadway. There’s even a cosy corner for added privacy if needed.

Maru’s menu is separated into lunch and dinner, which I think gives better focus and efficiency during the respective peak hours. I tried their lunch.


Bonito Grilled Eel Fried Rice, $13.

When I read that it was fried rice, I instinctively prepared myself for minced unagi fried rice topped with bonito flakes (come on, at $13 in Tanjong Pagar, who wouldn’t think so?). Surprise surprise! Two chunks of eel with bonito flakes, chives, furikake, omelette shreds and seaweed. Mix everything together and viola! You’ve got yourself a delicious rice bowl.

My friend tried the Uni Ikura Angel Hair Pasta ($26) and she said it was super good! I guess it’s another excuse for me to return to this place for lunch again.

Mixed Lotus Roots and Potates with Truffle, $8.

These thinly sliced vegetables with truffle oil are so crispy and addictive! I normally wouldn’t finish sides, but I couldn’t stop for this!

Popcorn Shrimp with Wasabi and Sour Cream, $8.

My impression of the shrimps is that they were very well drained. Throughout my whole meal, the prawns stayed crunchy and pleasant to the bite. I felt that the prawns can stand alone actually, no need for the sour cream sauce and corn bits.

Overall, I really like this place as the fusion food they serve is really quite creative. They have other items like iberico pork ramen and grilled pork jowl which sounds delicious. Might head here for dinner as well as!

Icon Village, 12 Gopeng Street, #01-05, 078877

Mondays to Fridays: 1130am to 11pm

Saturdays and PHs: 4pm to 11pm

Closed Sundays.

+65 6327 1123

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