Saturday, March 6, 2010

Little Singapore - Charlotte St, Brisbane

Our first visit to Little Singapore was for Sunday lunch on Valentine's Day. Things started out well. We were seated pretty much as soon as we arrived.

First impressions were really good. The restaurant felt spacious. The decor was very tastefully done. The menu was a sight to behold boasting a number of dishes I've never seen in similar restaurants around Brisbane.

I purposely did not bring my camera that day. All I wanted was to enjoy the food and worry about the photos on a highly probable follow up visit.

As it was our first time we wanted to concentrate on our all time family favourites. I wanted to get popiah (Singapore style fresh spring rolls) for entree but apparently it wasn't available. We settled for Roti Canai instead and weren't disappointed. For mains we ordered Hainan Chicken Rice, Fried Chicken Kapitan, Hokkien Mee and Char Kway Teow.

One thing I really appreciate was how generous the servings were. Might not be enough for two regular sized adults but sure is plenty for one.

All in all it was good but not really memorable.

We gave them another go a couple of weeks later with my parents in tow. Again, we started with Roti Canai and some spring rolls. Kiko was pretty disappointed with his chicken rice the last time so he decided to go for the Yeong Chow Fried Rice instead. My girls shared Hokkien Mee once again, mom had Seafood Hor Fun, dad ordered BBQ Pork and Roast Duck Rice, and I had their Curry Laksa.

Another filling lunch but like the last time pretty ordinary. The laksa was especially forgettable.

When I visit a Singaporean restaurant what I'm really after is a flavour explosion courtesy of Nonya style dishes distinct to the cuisine of this island nation. And that's probably why I'm somewhat dissatisfied with Little Singapore. Their dishes were good but lacked the oomph. The spices seemed to have been mellowed to the point of blandness. I had to ask for extra sambal just to get that spice hit I'm looking for and still didn't quite get there. Their sambal was indicative of the rest of the dishes - more sweet than spicy.

This restaurant has got a lot going for it - central and convenient location, spacious and stylishly decorated premises, generous servings of a wide selection of dishes, and very reasonable pricing. Unfortunately though, I believe they have to work on their flavour department.

One last thing, on both occasions we felt like we had to beg the staff to break a smile. It's a relatively modern Asian restaurant run by a fairly young staff. It wouldn't cost much to show your teeth from time to time.


LittleDisney said...

Hello The Beancounter! I must admit that your post makes me rather regret that I've started my diet today, haha. Anyways, spring rolls, if you were dissatisfied with them in Little Singapore, taste much better when made with friends and family...I would highly suggest the experience! Just as I would suggest a family dumpling making day. I may be wrong, but I believe it is Asian culture to not smile, even when in a dining service. To Asians following older traditions, smiling is seen as 'silly' or 'insincere' and therefore, frowned upon. I am sure they enjoyed your visit.

The Beancounter said...

Hello there LittleDisney! I suggest "everything in moderation" rather than dieting... ;)

You're probably right 'bout the "not smiling" cultural fact...

Tangled Noodle said...

As much as I love the fact that we can eat Singaporean or any other ethnic cuisine so far from their places of origin, it can be disappointing when their signature flavors have been tamped down, perhaps to suit local tastes. Still, your pics have made me hungry!

The Beancounter said...

That's it exactly TN! It's a business after all...