Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eighteen Chefs - Noble Cause, Subpar Food.

Eighteen Chefs is a restaurant (chain) with a difference - its' founder Benny Se Teo started the restaurant with the aim of providing troubled youths and ex-convicts a place to earn an honest living, and thus act as a stepping stone to re-integration into society. Is there any restaurant out there with a cause more noble than this one?

Unfortunately, that's about all the good I can say about it. The restaurant is a "no frills" concept which means that you have to order at the counter, pick up your own condiments & cutlery, etc. Which in itself isn't a bad thing, as long as the food is good.

Main courses can be ordered with a Combo - the Combo B (SGD3.80) adding on a can of soft drink and a bowl of the soup of the day. We're guessing today's soup was cream of vegetable - emphasis on the "guess" bit because the soup was pretty much plain cream soup with some onion and other unidentifiable random vegetable bits floating around.

In hindsight, the Snack Platter (SGD11.30) was probably not the best of choices; we were hoping for some creativity but found absolutely none. The fries, chicken & fish nuggets and onion & calamari rings tasted pretty much exactly the same as if you had picked up frozen bags from the local supermarket and deep fried them at home.

For SGD6.50, the Bolognese Cheese Fries was the only dish we ordered that was decent. Yes, I know it looks a little messy, but it had a very nice balance of meat, bolognese sauce and two different cheeses. Not gourmet by any measure, but would do nicely as an afternoon tummy filler. The fries did get a little soggy towards the end, though.

My Tom Yum Seafood Aglio Olio (SGD13.80) was another disappointment. I've never been served Aglio Olio with Fusilli. Nor have I ever been served tougher pieces of squid (the bits of squid in the dish were literally like chewing on rubber). The peas were a questionable choice as well, and the mussels weren't cooked with the pasta but just placed on top (very plain tasting, hardly any seasoning). At least the prawns were fresh!

Overall, at about SGD18 per person the darling and I come away with a bitter taste in our mouths. No matter the charity angle, food needs to be good in order to warrant a second visit, which will most likely not happen. Shame too, because we did see some interesting fusion items on the menu like the Cheese Baked Chili Crab and Root Beer Battered Fish & Chips.

Eighteen Chefs has three outlets in Easpoint Mall, Tiong Bahru Plaza (covered in this review) and Fusionopolis Way. Certified Halal by MUIS.


  1. yikes, i wonder whether it's because the youths in the kitchen aren't trained well enough to cook, or whether they lack the interest for it...

  2. Awww, shame on the food. But hey, you guys have a Gorgeous header! Love the look of this blog! :)

  3. Thanks! :)

    Anyways yeah, if the food was "okay" I'd totally come back again to support the cause, better these kids be waiters & cooks than to be jobless on the streets. But sadly my stomach & taste buds disagree :(