Don’t get me wrong. I am all for upping the status of Singapore street side food, making it more ‘atas’ and upmarket. While many are willing to pay bigger bucks for easier-to-prepare food, such as burgers and pastas, the same cannot be said local food such as satays and Hokkien mee – which can be quite labour intensive.
We love our chicken rice, whether it is from the hawker centre at Tian Tian or a restaurant at Chatterbox.
Newly opened Pappasan Restaurant at Dorsett Hotel (not to be confused with PappaRich) brings our favourite local food to another level. Make that two levels.
For the ‘cheaper’ range, you get your ala carte offerings of Chicken Rice ($16.50), Ipoh Hor Fun Soup ($13.50), Signature Fried Koay Teow ($18.50) and Vegetarian Fried Rice ($12.00). You must be thinking if that is ‘cheap’, then what does it mean by ‘expensive’.
Be ready for the next dimension of Singapore local delights – Richman Fried Rice ($38.00, that is with Maine lobster), Richman Teochew Chicken Porridge ($38.00, it better comes with abalone and yes it does), and Richman Birthday MeeSua ($38.00, with Maine lobster and prawns).
Just to make it a little more obvious, they named this series “Richman”. (I suggest if there is a dessert section, call it “Richtaitai”.)
Objectively speaking (ignoring the price), the Pappasan Chicken Rice which uses poached 90 days farm chicken is quite tasty, though not the Chatterbox level yet. My favourite part was ironically not the chicken meat, but the fragrant rice – not the fluffy kind, drier but still flavourful. The specially homemade chilli sauce and dark soya sauce are winners as well.
The Signature Fried Koay Teow ($18.50) was decent, but lacks the wok-hei and intensity of aromas that would match up to the usual hawker centre standards. The ingredients of fresh prawns and scallops from Queensland were generous though, and that is about it?
I had to send the chicken wings ($8) back because it was slightly bloody. And what is with the ordinary chilli sauce that feels it is off a bottle? Give me authentic sambal or use the chicken rice chilli at least.
So I spent 60 over bucks eating 3 dishes of hawker food with 2 drinks. The relaxing ambience and chic décor earns it some points though. But Pappasan has to move beyond just attracting the occasional tourist and corporate clients. They have to do up a wider spectrum of local delights, and do them really well.
Dorsett Hotel 01-01, 333 New Bridge Road Singapore 088765 (Outram Park MRT), Tel: +65 6820 1316
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