#04-02 Cathay Cineleisure
8 Grange Road
Sun-Thu: 1130am to 1030pm
Fri-Sat & Eve of PH: 1130am to 1am
Reservations: +65 6736 3800
So have you guys watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens?! No spoilers, don’t worry. I won’t even tell you if I thought it was good or bad (although it’s killing me not to say anything, judgy as I am). What I will share with you, is how excited I was. I re-watched all 6 movies to refresh my memory and get psyched for Episode VII. Heck, I even dressed up as a modern day Princess Leia to the screening! Behold:
Yes. I had dinner with a friend before meeting another friend for the movie proper, and I warned both of them to prepare for major embarrassment.
My dinner date and I decided on the halal-certified western food chain Eighteen Chefs, which has an outlet conveniently located in Cineleisure Orchard. The restaurant is literally next to the box office area on the 4th floor. It was perfffff.
In case you guys didn’t already know, Eighteen Chefs is a homegrown social enterprise, with a story that really gives me the feels. It was started by former drug addict Chef Benny Se Teo as an avenue for his entrepreneurial spirit, as well as to create employment opportunities for other ex-offenders and at-risk youths. The name was inspired by Eighteen, the name of the gang Chef Benny’s dad used to belong to (how interesting!). The restaurant now has several franchises in Singapore, and all of them are committed to hiring ex-offenders and troubled youths as part of their staff. You can read all about it here, it’s really very riveting and heart-warming.
I mean, isn’t it just great?! I love that this whole enterprise is empowering those trying to turn their lives around. Without these opportunities, former convicts might be discouraged from trying, from sheer lack of hope. I am really grateful for Chef Benny’s vision and dedication to the cause.
Aaaaanyway I digress. Like I said there are many branches of Eighteen Chefs today, totalling 9 which span the whole of Singapore (for real, from Simei to Serangoon to Orchard to Jurong East to Bukit Panjang, whew!). You can check out the outlets here: Eighteen Chefs Outlets, and take a look at the menu online here: Eighteen Chefs Online Menu.
My friend and I shared a starter – the Calamari Rings (S$4.80).
The calamari rings were aiiight. Very ordinary, and I didn’t really expect much for the extremely low price point of S$4.80. The batter was a little bland, and the squid rings weren’t particularly plump or flavourful. Thank goodness for self-service chilli sauce station! Maybe they could improve the batter a little to make it more savoury? But for that price I will let the pedestrianness of the calamari rings slide. 7/10.
For my main, I got the Striploin Steak (S$15.80), which features an NZ chilled beef cut alongside some seasonal vegetables, and comes with a mystery black (pepper?) sauce:
Full disclosure – I love steak, and will readily eat it even if it’s overcooked. For real, even steak from a regular coffeeshop like Mr Teh Tarik is like, wow sedap, for me. This devotion served me well when I realised the steak from Eighteen Chefs, which I had ordered in ‘medium’ doneness, came fairly overcooked:
I still ate it anyway. I think it wouldn’t have been half bad if I had ordered it in medium rare, so if you guys like your steak juicy, please get it in medium rare! I was sad it came with the grilled potatoes instead of fries or mash, but potatoes are potatoes and I love them regardless. Also, the seasonal vegetables were pretty sad and vaguely reminiscent of hospital food, but I still ate them anyway, blandness notwithstanding. The mystery black sauce that came with the steak, which I will assume is black pepper sauce, tasted pretty awful so I didn’t pour too much of it over my steak. Instead of being a fiery peppery sauce, it tasted like… kicap manis (sweet light soy sauce) with salt and a little bit of pepper. Not ideal. 6.5/10 for the steak!
During my first visit here I had the Heart Attack Fried Rice For 1 (S$15.80) which came with 200gm of New York strips, and the meat was infinitely more juicy and flavourful then. I would counsel going with that if you’re hankering for some meat.
My friend got the Japanese Curry Beef Rice (S$13.80), which features rice drenched in thick curry and topped with tender grilled beef strips:
This was an infinitely better choice! Japanese curry is always so yummy – in case you’ve never had it before, it’s thicker, smoother, and less piquant than regular curry. Eighteen Chefs’ rendition was very tasty and flavourful, and really quite comforting on rainy days, which feature aplenty during this time of year! Because the beef was soaked in curry it was also more tender and juicy than the bujang (solo) Striploin steak. 9/10 for this hearty curry dish.
Although I didn’t really like my steak, I feel I would definitely come back again to have more of the Curry Beef Rice and the Heart Attack Fried Rice. Definitely skip the calamari unless you’re craving, or don’t mind that it’s not great because it costs less than S$5. The menu is pretty extensive so there is a whole lot of other options too if you find something else that appeals to you!
Conceptually I also support Eighteen Chefs’ yellow-ribbon cause, so I will probably come here once in a while, especially when I’m watching a movie at Cineleisure. I hope you guys will do it too!
Below are some sub-par shots of the menu which I took, in case you guys are too lazy to go to the website!