Sunday, August 21, 2016

Char - Competent Food, Below Average Service

We were having lunch at Char's "new" location after several moves from Geylang to Guillemard Road to the current (and hopefully) permanent location @ Jalan Besar.

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The Place

Located just a few doors down from my favourite, now defunct burger spot, Suprette, Char's interior sports an industrial vibe with exposed halogen bulbs and cement screed floors and walls, Char's premises is reminiscent more of a pub or one of those hipster cafes/coffee houses that are sprouting up rapidly across Singapore. Decor aside, we had to wait for a few minutes to catch the attention of a seemingly clueless wait staff to confirm our reservation. Questions about the menu were also met with a blank stare.

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Dou Miao Dry Scallops

The obligatory vegetable dish and a pretty decent one at that. The crunchy dou miao was partially immersed in a not overly thick but flavourful gravy with generous amounts of dried scallop shreds. Simple but delicious and best eaten with rice.

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Butter Chicken

Thin strips of tender chicken cooked with curry leaves, evaporated milk and topped with fried garlic and sliced almonds; I liked the creaminess and sweetness of the whole dish. And the curry leaves gave it a nice curry tinge and aroma. Kinda reminded me a little of the Butter Pork Ribs dish from Two Chefs sans the "milk powder" dusting. 

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Quarter Roast Duck

The quarter duck was probably more suited for 2 pax than 4 but nonetheless, I liked the crisp skin and tender meat that didn't come across as too gamey. Very competent dish and one of the better ones I've had so far.

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Double Roast

We chose Char's famous BBQ and roasted pork for our 双拼. The BBQ pork had quite a distinct porkiness that seemed to cut through the sweetness of the mildly sticky sauce, probably due to the high fat to meat ratio. The slightly leaner slices tasted better in my humble opinion (I had the same conclusion after having lunch at Char again recently). 
The roast pork was a little inconsistent with the second row of pork sporting a crisper skin than the first row. But both rows bosted tender meat with a finishing tinge of spice (not too sure what spice though). Pretty good overall but not quite a fan of the above mentioned spice.

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Yong Chow Fried Rice

First looks, the fried rice looked a little anemic and unappetising at best. However it turned out decent with a mild wok hei and reasonable servings of pork, egg, shrimps, mushrooms and greens. It would have been better if the rice had an even distribution of egg.

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Bill

At just over the century mark for a 4 pax lunch, it is honestly quite reasonable, given the quality of food. Of course quantity can always be improved but I think priority on the fix list has to be the service. On my return visit, the staff couldn't decide if the place was fully booked and made us wait at the door for ~10 minutes while she went off to chat with her colleague. When pressed, she offered us a smaller table but didn't offer us additional chairs. 

The food might be good but if service is going to continue this way, I'll gladly take my money elsewhere!


Final Verdict:

Ambience: 6/10
Service: 4/10
Food: 7/10
Value for money: 7/10

Overall: 6/10

Address: 363 Jalan Besar

Contact: 6842 7759

Opening Hours:

11:30 AM - 2:30 PM (Last order at 2pm)

6:00 PM - 10:00 PM (Last order at 9.30pm)

Closed on MONDAY

Website: http://char.eleospages.com/