It’s peculiar to see how the same brand name can differ so much in another location. Central at Takashimaya is always filled with crowds, but this branch outside Giant Vivocity is a lot quieter.
The unique feature of this branch is the Pick Up Sticks, signature of what you see in the street stalls at Hong Kong. They probably were ‘inspired’ by the people at Old Hong Kong Tea House at Marina Square.
Each stick costs $1.80, and 3 sticks for $5. The variety includes pig skin, octopus, fried wanton, beefball, fishball, cuttlefish, pig’s intestine, hokchew fishball, tofu fishcake and prawnball, either plain or dipped in mild curry sauce. It’s lamentable how the sticks cannot be ordered from the menu. I was told to unsettle from my seat to step outside the restaurant to order from the kiosk, competing with those who might be buying taking away.
Three out of three of the best sellers were not available – a major spoiler. Little wonder why I had to walk out to choose. The foodsticks tasted bland and it almost felt as if we were eating the same item prepared in different textures. The available dipping sauces (peanut, chilli, mustard and sweet sauce) were also a let down. Apart from the predictably safe chilli and sweet sauces, the other two were watery and mild, completely failing to rescue the food sticks.
The Fried Chicken with dan dan noodles ($8.50) alone was a borderline saviour to an otherwise unsatisfactory meal. The fried chicken was not crispy although it seemed to have been cooked not too long before it was served, nor succulent. It could also have been cut into smaller bite-size pieces. The noodles sat in a spicy sauce, but it was simply hard to be enjoyable as every bite was oozing with oil.
Another distinctive feature here are the durian dishes – Durian Fried Rice ($8.80), Durian and Grass Jelly ($4.00), Durian and Beancurd ($4.00), and Durian with Sago Cream ($4.00). It’s fine to be creative at times, but some things just don’t go well together.
I was told off not to take pictures as I was framing the tofu. But I was just shooting the food! Apparently, many other reviewers faced the same fate. There could be a better way to approach, a sign, or a polite request. My friend suggested, “Probably there is something to hide”.
Central at Takashimaya had a more vibrant and colourful ambience, serving hearty fare. And with better competitors at Vivocity, people may just give this one a miss.
Central Restaurant, 1 Harbourfront Walk #B2-13/14 VivoCity S(098585) Tel:+65 63768270
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm
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