4 Fingers at Orchard Gateway

4 Fingers
#01-04/05 Orchard Gateway
218 Orchard Road
Singapore 238851

Opening Hours
Sun-Thu: 11am – 10pm
Fri, Sat and Eve of PH: 11am – 11pm

**Edited to add: 4 Fingers Orchard Gateway is now certified halal, after a few months of working towards certification! You can verify from the MUIS’ list of halal-certified establishments (if this link doesn’t work, click here and select the list from the column on the left, under Consumer!) **

Mini-review for you guys today, but first, Happy New Year! I hope you managed to catch up on some sleep and fully recharge so you can hit the ground running in 2016. I made sure I stayed home all weekend last Sat & Sun, and it was the best thing ever! Super restorative.

So remember when I watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens? After the movie, my friend and I were feeling fairly peckish, despite my having had a pre-movie dinner at Eighteen Chefs. By the time we left Cathay Cineleisure, it was already 1030pm and not a lot of places were open for supper. We walked over dejectedly to the MRT station and lo! We realised 4 Fingers was still open! I love 4 Fingers, and I think it’s the best fast food chicken around, after Arnold’s Chicken! (Another review for another time)

You can check out their menu here but the online version is useless since it does not have any pricing. Here’s a photo I took of their large standing menu from the Orchard Gateway Branch:

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They serve their chicken in 2 types of sauces – soy garlic, and hot. My personal preference is the hot one, as the soy garlic is a little too salty for me, so I got their speciality – 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken Wings/Drumettes (S$9.95), which comes with a side of fries and a soda.

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OMG YUM I can’t think of anything I’d want to have more at 1030pm on a Friday night

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A closer angle

The fries were adequate; I do have a slight preference for thicker-cut fries, but these were decent. THE CHICKEN THOUGH!!! So tasty and crispy!! I don’t know how they do it, but the skin is always so crispy. I like that the chicken isn’t absolutely drenched in the hot sauce, so you won’t have too much of a mess on your fingers at the end of the meal. Instead, you have the sauce lightly coating some parts of the chicken, leaving it delightfully crispy. I wouldn’t say the hot sauce is terribly spicy, but it’s pleasantly savoury and just the tiniest bit sweet. 10/10 on the strength of the chicken.

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Princess Leia unceremoniously digging into a plate of chicken wingggssssss. I love.

So they have 5 outlets as far as I know – one in Ion Orchard at B4, one in Plaza Singapura at B1, one in Changi Airport T3 at B1, one in Westgate on the second floor, and finally this one in Orchard Gateway at B1. Go get them!! They also do large takeaway boxes – we’ve pre-ordered a box of 100 wings (S$99.95) for a house party before, THE DREAM.

4 Fingers
#01-04/05 Orchard Gateway
218 Orchard Road
Singapore 238851

Opening Hours
Sun-Thu: 11am – 10pm
Fri, Sat and Eve of PH: 11am – 11pm

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!**

Puncak at Far East Plaza

Puncak Best Noodles & Halal Muslim Food
#05-94 Far East Plaza,
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Open daily 10am to 10pm
Tel: +65 6738 4348

Last Friday my lunch buddy and I made our way to Far East Plaza to have our regular Cahaya session. To our chagrin, it was CLOSED!!! With nary an explanation! We’re hoping that was a one-off occurrence and not portentous of a permanent shut-down.

Struggling to quell our staggering disappointment, we slunk over to Puncak right next to it, having long ignored this rival establishment.

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Just a sliver of closed shutters to the right, where Cahaya is 😦

The first thing we noticed was that it felt much smaller and less bright than Cahaya. The second thing was that the prices at Puncak were slightly higher than Cahaya’s!

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But anyway we were hostage to our tremendous food disappointment and already built-up cravings, so we got what we’d always get, first of which is the small Fried Wanton (S$5).

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Lighting here was great and rather conducive to #flatlay, in case you were wondering

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Omg why so crispy and perfectly golden-brown!

The wanton texture was perfect – crispy, light, and not too hard. The filling was orange and tasted a little bit of carrots, which I’m not a fan of, but otherwise the paste inside was pretty decent. If you recall from my previous Cahaya post, we HATE the black dipping sauce that comes with these wantons, so it was ever to Puncak’s credit that they served it in a separate dipping cup instead of directly on the plate. This way the black slick would not contaminate our beloved wantons. Plus points for that. 8/10

We ordered a plate of fried Hokkien Mee (S$5.50) too:

 

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OMG guys. The Hokkien Mee is LOADED with ingredients, and is so moist and delicious! The sauce was extremely flavourful and prawny, whereas the sambal was really shrimpy/belacany. Compared to Cahaya’s, Puncak’s definitely fared better. Gosh, to think I was all ready to write off Puncak as a poor man’s Cahaya! Boy did I have to eat my words. Notably, Puncak’s rendition had rings of squid in addition to the fishcake and prawns. Gosh, sorry Cahaya, but 10/10 for Puncak’s hokkien mee.

All in all, I definitely had a good meal at Puncak. The waiting time however left much to be desired; we waited about 25 minutes after ordering, for our food to arrive! I’m not sure if that was due to excessive orders spilling over from Cahaya’s closure, but yeah it was not great. Because of my loyalty to Cahaya, I’m not sure if I’ll go back to Puncak, but yeah you guys should check it out!

Puncak Best Noodles & Halal Muslim Food
#05-94 Far East Plaza,
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Open daily 10am to 10pm
Tel: +65 6738 4348

Cahaya Restaurant at Far East Plaza II

Cahaya Muslim Halal Restaurant
#05-91/92 Far East Plaza
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Opening Hours
Daily 11:30am to 09:00pm
Notes: No GST, no service charge, cash only!

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Average spend per pax: S$8.50

A quick review for you guys today on my favourite Far East Plaza food joint, Cahaya. If you remember, in my last review of Cahaya, I talked about the beef fried rice with chicken topping as my plate du jour. Recently my lunch buddy and I hopped onto a new ride – a plate of Hokkien Mee (S$4) each, and a small serving of the Oyster Omelette (S$6) to share.

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So much green and yellow it’s like I’m in Brasil (spelling so step)

Here is a closer look at the Hokkien Mee (S$4):

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First of all, give it up for halal hokkien mee!!! The unhalal ones are so very unhalal, since they are fried in lard, and it’s hard to even find no pork/no lard versions, so to have a halal-certified version is God-sent. I love Cahaya’s hokkien mee since it’s really very moist; the noodles and taugeh are soaked in flavourful broth so that each bite is really juicy and savoury. Most importantly, the taugeh is well-cooked and not bitter with rawness eww. As you can see, they are also really generous with the fish cake, which I love. In addition, there are two small prawns included, but I wish they also had squid, which would complete the plate. Beggars can’t be choosers though, because I think for S$4 a plate, you’re really getting your money’s worth.  A special mention is merited by sambal that comes with the noodles, which is REALLY yummy – spicy and a little sweet, with a hint of belacan. Pro-tip: ALWAYS ask for extra sambal! 9/10

One day I was reading in the New York Times about how Chomp Chomp the hawker centre actually opened up a restaurant in Greenwich Village, in NYC, and I got this MASSIVE craving for oyster omelette, so instead of our usual side of fried wantan, we went for the Oyster Omelette (S$6) in a small portion – there’s also an S$8 serving – :

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Yummm look at the crispy edges and the slightly browned parts!

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Oystersssss

The omelette is way delicious, and very umami. The oysters themselves were surprisingly decent, contrary to my expectation that they were going to be mediocre or not so fresh, since I figured a place like Cahaya would probably not move much oysters in their inventory. I stand corrected, and am very happy to to say the oyster omelette at Cahaya is very good, especially when you have it with the special chilli dip that they provide. My only wish is that they would garnish the omelette with a few sprigs of coriander, because that would be SO DOPE. 9/10

Ultimately Cahaya Restaurant remains my Far East Plaza favourite for lunch, but of course you guys can check it out anytime between 1130am to 9pm, I love the place because it’s simple, cheap, and SO good.

Here’s a look at the menu again!

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Cahaya Muslim Halal Restaurant
#05-91/92 Far East Plaza
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Opening Hours
Daily 11:30am to 09:00pm
Notes: No GST, no service charge, cash only!

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Average spend per pax: S$8.50

Cahaya At Far East Plaza

Cahaya Muslim Halal Restaurant
#05-91/92 Far East Plaza
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Opening Hours
Daily 11:30am to 09:00pm
Notes: Cash only!

Halal Status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 10/10

Average spend per pax: S$9

Back when I was an angsty teen I used to go to Far East Plaza a lot with my friends after school, mostly for food and for some shopping. Our favourite place to eat was Dahlia’s Cafe, which used to be on the 5th floor right in front of the lifts. I would always get the Bee Hoon Bandung, which was absolutely perfect – the soup was so good and so spicy, and I swear I would spend the first 5 minutes just sipping on the broth before getting started on the noodles and the other ingredients. Yum. Unfortunately, Dahlia’s Cafe closed a couple of years ago to be replaced by some cafe I don’t even bother to remember the name of.

Nowadays I like to get my cheap-but-good food fix from Cahaya Restaurant, just around the corner from the erstwhile Dahlia’s Cafe. The menu is pretty standard:

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With these old nostalgic places I tend to be a creature of habit, so whenever I’m here I always get the Beef Fried Rice With Chicken Topping (S$6), although I did go through a Chilli Crab Sauce Rice (Jimba Rice) phase a few months ago.

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Mmmm what’s better than chicken? Chicken AND beef!!

This plate literally has everything – it’s got moist, fluffy, spicy rice, it’s got juicy beef slices at the bottom of the plate, and then it’s got tasty chicken slices on top! For you healthy types, you’ll be pleased to know the rice comes some bits of mixed vegetables, so everyone can party! It’s a dish for everyone, and my absolute favourite thing to have at this place. I can safely say it’s one of the most satisfying plates one can have for lunch (the Novena Nasi Padang comes close) . The price point is also very attractive – S$6 is a small price to pay for a plate of goodness, my friend. 10/10

My Far East lunch buddy and I like to share a small plate of Fried Wantan (S$3) on top of our rice when we’re feeling greedy:

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YUMMAYYYY pockets of crispy golden brown crunch

Truth be told they’re not very generous with the filling, but hey it’s a whole plate for $3! The texture is spot on – so, so crispy and surprisingly not oily! 10/10

I have to warn you guys though, the plate of wantan comes with this horrid, bitter black sauce. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be, maybe tar, but you HAVE to ask them not to add it, since it’s a default sauce that comes with every order of wantan!

Sometimes, we would forget to tell them not to add it, and then this happens:

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Worse than BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill 😦

Basically the perimeter of the plate becomes just another surface for us to wipe the icky black sauce off our wantans. My advice is to eat the wantan with this amazing chilli sauce available on every table:

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There are two communal cups of sauces at each table – one is filled with this spicy, delicious chilli sauce; the kinds they serve with Hainanese chicken rice. I LOVE dipping my wantans in this sauce, and also drizzling it over my rice sometimes. It’s really very very good! The other cup is filled with green chili in vinegar, or lada jeruk in Malay, which is not really my thang, but those who do love it will be pleased they have it here!

Overall Cahaya is a reliable go-to place to get your hawker food fix at really affordable prices, and it’s situated in the Orchard area too, so it’s very convenient if you’re doing some shopping or watching a movie in the area. Service is efficient though not the friendliest at times (depending on which server you get), but it’s ok since they get my food to me real quickly and that’s what matters in a place like this! Plus there’s no gst/service charge here so one can’t fault them for not trying to charm you! You guys should definitely check this place out 🙂

Cahaya Muslim Halal Restaurant
#05-91/92 Far East Plaza
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Opening Hours
Daily 11:30am to 09:00pm
Notes: Cash only!

Halal Status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 10/10

Average spend per pax: S$9