February 17, 2015

The Restaurant @ SPGG, Dover Road ~ Enjoy Affordable Chinese Zhi-Char Dishes In Air-conditioned Comfort!

The four of us gathered for lunch at one of the more unlikely places ~ The Restaurant @ SPGG within the deep recess of Dover Road. I mean, who would especially go to the guild for Singapore Polytechnic graduates just to have a meal when we're not one of the members or working in the vicinity? But it was the first time I was told that there is a Chinese restaurant within the premises itself so I thought I should just check it out. And it turned out to be quite a good meal in a most relaxing environment.

As it was my first visit to The SPGG - Singapore Polytechnic Graduates' Guild, I "kaypoh" a bit on the facilities they have for its members. Its clubhouse seems to be rather well-equipped with rooms for meeting and study purposes, as well as facilities for recreational activities including pool, gymnasium and bowling alley.

Several dining options are available and opened to the public. The restaurant that we went is simply called "The Restaurant", which gives off a very nostalgic 1980s coffeehouse vibe.

It serves mostly Chinese zhi char-style dishes, and also Asian classics such as the Nasi Goreng Istimewa ($12), a one-dish meal of fried rice accompanied with sides of satay, fried chicken wing, sunny-side-up and achar (pickled vegetables) which is suitable for an individual diner.

But if you come in a group like us, I'd suggest ordering a few dishes to share. Golden Fried Chicken Roll with Salted Egg ($10.50) and Crispy Brinjal with Spicy Chicken Floss ($6.80) are not particularly outstanding, but both were adequately enjoyable for us to finish each piece off.

We also ordered the comforting Three Egg Boxthorn with Prawn Meat Egg Flower Soup ($10.90).

Our unanimous favorite dish was the Stir-fried Four Season Vegetables ($8.50). Superbly executed, the medley of string beans, winged beans, ladyfingers and eggplant was stir-fried to a wonderful aroma and piquant taste in hae bee hiam, a spicy dried shrimp paste. The crunch of the vegetables was still retained, giving a satisfying feel in every bite. This is a must-try!

The Braised Red Glutinous Rice Wine Chicken in Claypot ($10.50) lacked the distinct flavor that the traditional Hakka dish should have, and came across as a half-hearted toned-down version.

Steamed Red Snapper with Tom Yam Paste ($25.80) fared notches better in its unique gravy. We thought it tasted tom yam, but with strong hints of assam as well. After debating among ourselves and finally asking the chef, it turned out that the gravy was a mixture of both! Authenticity issues aside, it was a sourish and spicy concoction blanketing meaty fish meat and chunks of eggplants and ladyfingers which we all enjoyed.

Desserts such as Chendol ($6) and Steamed Egg Ginger Mango Pudding ($4.80) were decent but not memorable. The Red Bean Pancake ($11) found favor with with one of us for its crisp, flaky skin, but I had much better renditions elsewhere.

The main draw of The Restaurant could be its decent food at attractive low prices. Most of the dishes are what we would have paid for at most coffeeshop zhi-char stalls, but the plus point is that we get to dine in air-conditioned comfort here. Good option for a quiet, fuss-free meal if you drive and staying in the West.

The Restaurant @ SPGG
Address: 1010 Dover Road, Singapore 139658
Contact: +65 67969961
Website: http://www.spgg.org.sg/dining/the-restaurant
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 12pm-3pm, 6.30pm-10pm / Sat, Sun & PH 11.30am-3pm, 6.30pm-10pm

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