Saturday, April 9, 2011

Satay Inn Fail.

I've been craving roti prata for a while now, perhaps because my dad and sister are heading to Singapore in a few weeks and I, unfortunately, have exams :( I was really excited to try out this restaurant after reading reviews that it's the best Singaporean restaurant in town according to Singaporeans. I checked out the menu on their website which looked promising enough as it had all the hawker food staples. The restaurant is a bit tough to find and you have to meander through random malls and the Royal Pacific Hotel before you reach this:

The restaurant looked quite nice from the outside with al fresco dining which would've been perfect for the weather right now. However, there were a couple guys smoking cigars outside so we opted for indoor seating.

Unfortunately, we arrived quite late and they had already sold out of Hainan Chicken Rice!!! In retrospect, this was probably a good thing since it would most likely follow the general trend of our meal - fail. We ordered a selection of dishes, starting with the popiah, one of my favourite things to eat when I'm back in Singapore.

"hokkien popiah" $48

This tasted completely foreign to me. I've never eaten popiah outside of grandma's home so I'm not sure how they normally make it at restaurants or hawker centres in Singapore. But this didn't taste anything like what I was expecting. The skin was different, the fillings were different, and there was no sweet sauce!! Instead they mixed a melon and chili sauce in with the prawns. When asked whether we could just get some hoisin sauce on the side to dip it in, the manager told us they only had sweet chili sauce and invited us to try it. It made the dish taste even more Vietnamese and hardly a hokkien popiah. While the ingredients were fresh and it did taste pretty good, it made me really miss this:

grandma's prepared popiah fillings

my popiah with lots of sweet sauce!!!

assembled popiah ready to eat :)

Next came the roti canai which was a HUGE disappointment:

roti canai $28

This was probably the biggest fail of the night. I was so looking forward to roti canai and the pictures looked amazing in the menu. However, when they were served the first word that came to mind was "pathetic". They were small, super oily, didn't come with curry, and looked (and tasted) like frozen roti's from PnS. Sigh, I should learn to stop letting myself be deceived by menu photos. Couldn't bring myself to finish one.

chicken satay $75 for half dozen

The chicken was pretty juicy though they were much larger than traditional Singaporean satay. Plus, the peanut sauce (which usually makes the dish) was terrible. It was so thick and gloopy, you couldn't even dip your satay in it - you had to scoop it on. I ended up eating my pieces without any sauce...

beef randang $70

As there was no more hainan chicken rice, we opted for the beef rendang. This was alright, pretty oily though that's to be expected. We ordered two bowls of coconut rice ($15 each) to eat with it. While I've never had coconut rice that tasted like the ones we were served, it actually kinda grew on me and was the most enjoyable part of my meal! As for the rendang itself - I think the ready made Prima Taste beef rendang has better flavour :P

All in all, a big disappointment. I might've enjoyed my Disneyland meal more!! Though I suppose expectations play a large role in that. Perhaps their signature dishes like hainan chicken rice, fish head curry, laksa and chai tow kway fare better but honestly, if they can't even make decent roti canai I have little faith in the rest of the food. And they ARE named after their satay which was pretty mediocre at best.

Satay Inn
Shop 3, The Royal Pacific Hotel
33 Canton Road
Tsim Sha Tsui