Eighteen Chefs (Updated Locations)

**Eighteen Chefs at Cineleisure has closed down, kindly refer to this list for their updated locations elsewhere!**

Eighteen Chefs
#04-02 Cathay Cineleisure
8 Grange Road
Singapore 239695

Opening Hours
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:

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I went easy on the side buns because the actual ones from the movie would’ve looked SO RIDICS.

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.

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Approximately how I feel about this story

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).

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They really look like onion rings don’t they! I hate onion rings. More so when I tragically mistake onion rings for calamari :(:(:(

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:

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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:

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I think this could be medium well? Or well done? It was very 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:

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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!

**Eighteen Chefs at Cineleisure has closed down, kindly refer to this list for their updated locations elsewhere!**

The Ramen Stall

The Ramen Stall
787 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198755
Online Menu: Click here
Reservations: + 65 6655 0800

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 5pm to 6am
Sat, Sun, PH: 12pm to 6am

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 10/10 for the ramen, 7/10 for all else

Average spend per pax: ~$29 per person

Last Saturday my friend brought me to The Ramen Stall which, as promised, serves up a mean ramen, along with other Japanese fare. The menu is really very extensive, and without knowing it was available online, I stupidly took a photo of every single page haha. I’m still putting it up at the end of this post, in case you guys want to browse through without going to the Ramen Stall website.

We got there at 830pm on a Saturday night, and the place was absolutely hopping! All tables both inside and at the outside seating area were taken, so my friend and I had to sit at the sushi bar, which was fine since it felt quite private. We ordered quite a few items to share so here’s a rundown:

We got the Salmon Sashimi (S$9.90 for 7 slices) first, which came on a boat you guys! Super cute.

 

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I’m afraid the sashimi did not taste too fresh. I LOVE sashimi and I wanted so badly to like it, but I could tell off the bat from the pale orange hue of the salmon that it wasn’t going to be great. 6.5/10

At my insistence we also ordered a plate of the Teppanyaki Giant Hokkaido Scallops (S$16.90 for 5):

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First impressions – “omg this looks like super fiery black pepper sauce, will I be able to take it?!” It was intimidating. So I gingerly put the scallop in my mouth, expecting crazy heaty pepper sauce, but surprisingly it was really pleasant. I LOVE when scallops are served together with what is called “the coral”, which is the orange section around the scallop. I found that most of the lightly spicy, savoury flavour was concentrated in the coral instead of the actual scallop meat, which I thought tasted just the slightest bit bland. Texture-wise the scallops were great though, slightly chewy and you could taste the “fibres” instead of it being one fish cake-like lump. I don’t know if that makes sense to you guys :/ 8.5/10

Of course, we HAD to try a classic bowl of Volcano Ramen (S$11) in chicken-based stock. It came in 3 levels of spiciness, and we chose to go with level 2:

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It was SO GOOD GUYS!! The broth was so tasty!! It was thick, not too salty and was just rich enough. Once we mixed the two giant dollops of Chilli together with the ramen ingredients, the bowl started to resemble a cauldron of fiery hot lava. It was fierce guys. I was all but crying while working my way through the noodles – so spicy, but so delicious! The egg was really yummy especially since the yolk was mushy and partially cooked. The seaweed was thick and satisfying to bite on, since it had a little bit of resistance to it. The shimeji mushrooms were perfect – I love all mushrooms – and the corn helped add a little sweetness to pare down the biting hot heat from the chilli. Overall just a great bowl of deliciousness. 10/10

Being the greedy guts that we were, we also ordered the Kushiyaki Set A (S$12.90) which came with assorted skewers of shishamo pregnant fish, shiitake mushroom, chicken yakitori, quail eggs, beef roll with golden mushroom, AND a side of rice topped with scrambled eggs, mushroom and chicken!

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Shiitake mushrooms, shishamo fish, quail’s eggs, enoki mushroom wrapped in beef, and chicken!

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Too much food!

Full disclosure – we were getting pretty full by the time this came, and boy were we NOT expecting the rice to come with all these skewer sticks. We hardly touched the rice, but to summarize my feelings about the skewers, i thought they were all a little average, and a little dry.You CAN make yakitori that’s juicy and delicious, so I’m not sure why all of these were really desiccated. The beef in the beef roll all but disintegrated in my mouth. The shishamo also was so dry most of it stuck to the skewer stick, so the fish broke apart when I tried to slide it off the stick.  Loved the quail eggs though, always and forever. 6/10

All in all I would say I felt like the ramen was the only thing truly worth coming back for – I guess I shouldn’t have doubted the name of the establishment! You can’t go to a place called The Ramen Stall and expect them to have amazing sashimi, you know? That being said, the ramen really was so legit and so delicious, I want to have another bowl of it soon! Plus let’s not forget this place closes at 6am so you can come here at odd hours if you’re hankering for some of that yummy hot broth. YUM.

 

The Ramen Stall
787 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198755
Online Menu: Click here
Reservations: + 65 6655 0800

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 5pm to 6am
Sat, Sun, PH: 12pm to 6am

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 10/10 for the ramen, 7/10 for all else

Average spend per pax: ~$29 per person