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Cheerless Chow

Cheerless Chow

The less-than-decent chow spots that I had the misfortune of eating at while on my gourmet expeditions.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

I’m a sucker for specials, which is why I ordered a bowl of seafood don at @aburien.sg, which is much better known for its glorious grilled meats. There’s a Hokkaido seafood special running right now, and the Salmon Hotate (scallop) Crab Don is one of the mains on the menu at $28++.⠀

It’s passable, but the thing that really annoyed me was that the shredded crab was out of place in the bowl. It seemed isolated from the salmon & scallops, and felt more like an attempt to crank up the price to twenty eight bucks as opposed to being a component in a cohesive whole. If they had drizzled the same passably palatable teriyaki sauce on the salmon over the crab as well, this bowl would’ve fared far better.⠀

They’re generous with the shredded crab, and the scallops are ample enough, which does make up for the salmon slices being thinner than average. At @aburien.sg, you can’t beat their meat, and you can take that to the bank.

Of the tea-sorry, three, musketeers, the impressive sounding brown sugar boba matcha latte was the one that least impressed from @boberteasg. As @visualindulgence succinctly put it: it’s watered down. And he just came back from Taiwan, the land of 800 episode soap dramas and bubble tea, so he knows what he’s talking about...I think.⠀

It’s true. Sad, but true. The matcha latte was diluted, and tasted a lot more like milk with a bit of matcha flavouring. The trademark bitterness of matcha was missing, and that’s when I knew it wasn’t quite all it was made out to be. And considering that the cost is close to six bucks a cup, it just isn’t good enough at the moment.⠀

Still, the pearls (or boba, if you’re a young kid who knows nothing of the reign of Sweettalk) were the saving grace. Bouncy, charmingly chewy and appealingly sweet, these balls were a blast.


JJM is about a day old, which means they’ve still got plenty of time for improvement. Don’t get me wrong, their dishes are decent enough, but they’ve got a fair bit of untapped potential. Located within Hotel 1887 itself, they seem to be an extension of Hotel 1887’s bar as my beer came from the existing hotel bar. Pro tip: place is a little hard to find, so just walk straight down the Smith street stretch until you hit the outdoor seafood restaurant.

I’m basing these initial assumptions off their wine chicken ($7.90). The rice wine pleasantly perfumed the broth the chicken & mushrooms sat in, but the taste was lacking. More salt would definitely help, and throwing a few slices of lup cheong (Chinese preserves sausages) in for extra aromatics would be perfect.⠀

As for the chicken itself, it was slightly overcooked. Bear in mind that @jjmnoodleplace is a day old, and as such, has some ways to go with their food which is why I’m a bit lenient here. Also, portion sizes are pretty small, so don’t come hungry. Or come hungry, and pound down $2 shots of beer. That’s right, 200ml shots of what tastes suspiciously like Asahi beer are only $2! ⠀



The asparagus har gow (prawn dumpling) was likely the only noteworthy dish I had the night I tried the (relatively) new @sumdimsumsg. Fresh, juicy shrimp was encased in a serviceably thin rice flour skin alongside the tart asparagus. A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one.⠀

I liked these har gows, and I tried my hardest to like @sumdimsumsg. Believe me, I tried so hard, and got so far, but in the end it doesn’t even matter. I hate to say it, but the food just isn’t good enough especially considering both of its competitors just three doors down. I’m sorry darling, it’s not me, it’s you. I’ll be here without you.

In today’s edition of #meatlessmonday , we’re taking a look at @thegoodburgersg The Black Tie ($18 for one ‘patty’). I’ve already covered how the Impossible ‘meat’ is basically just btec meat, even though I’m impressed that they managed to get it close to real meat. Now, we’re diving into the meat (or lack thereof) of the matter, and taking a good look at how sharp the Black Tie is.⠀

The brutal truth is that the truffle infused burger was rather forgettable, and failed to hit the piquant peaks that the Classic & the One Night In Bangkok did. The truffle was purposely toned down, and the reasoning behind that (if I remember correctly) is so that the truffle wouldn’t overpower the burger. @thegoodburgersg were right, but not in the way they expected.⠀

The burger overpowered the truffle aroma present, and even then the burger itself wasn’t as punchy on the palate as the other two options. The rocket leaves were blasting all the other flavours in the burger outta the stratosphere, and it wasn’t very well balanced. The truffle aroma certainly needs to increase, and perhaps a little stronger flavouring on the burger would pay dividends. In its current state, I’d pass on the Black Tie.

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If you’re a mentaiko mayo maniac, then you’ll love @theoysterbank ambrosial Aburi Salmon Don. A few good strips of salmon are blowtorched to perfection before being drowned under a deluge of mentaiko mayo. Yes, there is rice somewhere under that mound, dude trust me lmao.⠀

However, if you like everything perfectly balanced, as it should be, the Aburi Salmon Don is too much of a good thing. Yes, you CAN have too much mentaiko mayo. Plus, at $17.90++ for a dainty ricebowl sized serving, you ain’t getting much bang for your buck. Their lunch promos look a fair bit better though.

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Bismillah Briyani is Michelin bib gourmand awarded for their briyani (duh), and of course I had to go see if it was the real life, or if it was just fantasy. The interior decor probably dates back to when the last of the actual bohemians sang a rhapsody, and it really shows.

Their signature kid goat briyani is fifteen (!!!) dollars for a regular sized plate. Fifteen? You GOAT to be kidding me, Scaramouche. Yes, all seven sizeable chunks of kid goat were stunningly sapid and tremendously tender, while the rice was felicitously fluffy and shockingly spicy. Still, it’s extremely expensive and not worth the moolah, especially if you’re just a poor boy from a poor family.

It’s not the price that is the reason why I’ll never go back, however. No, the food was quite remarkable, so it ain’t that. No, it’s because the most gargantuan fucking cockroach in Little India decided to smugly plop itself on the empty (thankfully) seat opposite me and engage me in a staring contest which it lost. After it scurried away, the putrid fucker actually tried to climb onto my shoe!

Mama, I just killed a pest. Put my foot down on its head, squished the bastard, now he’s dead. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was how I knew I outstayed my welcome at Bismillah, and it was high time for me to didi mau. Goodbye everybody, I’ve got to go.

Tl;dr: fuckin bugs man, them bugs are everywhere


Buffet Town’s Friday-Sunday dinner buffet is about $50 including all the plus plus-es, which is considerably cheaper than most hotel buffets out there. Still, this buffet’s only really worth it if you smash nothing but the oysters & sashimi. Everything else is either painfully pedestrian, or just substandard.

Okay fine, the tempura’s actually surprisingly stellar. Most of the grease has drained out of the prawn & pooled at the bottom of the basket, so you’re left with a crisp and relatively oil-light tempura. It’s oddly sweet, but it’s subtle enough to look the other way on. The lobster bisque ain’t too shabby either, with a nice briny flavour & and a subtle sweetness to flavour the restrained creaminess, but yeah.

Yeah nah mate, I ain’t shellin’ out fiddy for this again tbh fam.

On today’s episode of Outrageously Overrated Eats: Le Shrimp Ramen.

The Le Signature Trio ($19.90++) is a bowl loaded with all of Le Shrimp’s greatest hits: their prawn broth, handmade la mian, a pair of yuge prawns, prawn paste balls & shrimp shui gaos/dumplings.

While the plump & portly prawns were fantastically fresh, the shrimp dumplings & prawn paste balls were tasteless and uninspired. The handmade ramen was acceptable, and the broth, which so many have praised to high heaven, was awfully average. While it was flavorsome, it certainly loses out to a good bowl of prawn noodles from a good hawker.

Was the ramen delicious? Debatable.
Worth twenty bucks? Probably not.
Worth all the noise that’s been made about it? Hell naw.
Hotel? Trivago.


I’ve been gorging myself on Wow Wow West’s fantastic food ever since I was a young lad, and they’ve managed to keep their sublime standards up. Until today, that is.

Their fabulous fish & chips ($8 now) was my all time favorite, so I was looking forward to many good and delicious things to come. Well, said good & delicious things never arrived. First off, I don’t know how they screwed around with the breadcrumb coating that the fish is cocooned in, but they’ve definitely screwed it. The once glorious breadcrumb coating was more like a batter, and it was nowhere near as crunchily satisfying as I remember it. It was even soft and bready at certain points instead of being charmingly crisp.

Secondly, and most shockingly, the quality of the fish fillet has fallen straight through the fricking floor. The fillet of old used to be moist and passably flaky, but the current iteration is mortifyingly mushy. That alone was enough for me to say “I’m sorry, it’s not me, it’s you.”

Also, the fact that someone forgot to salt the fries certainly didn’t help at all. Well, that’s another childhood memory ruined.


You’d think that a stall that takes the better part of an hour to serve you your food would be, at the very least, decently delicious. Well, 132 Claypot Rice is here to laugh in your face and downright disappoint you.

I’ll admit, I had a craving for claypot rice and I decided to heed a top 10 list on one of Singapore’s biggest food blogs for once. That’s mainly due to the terribly tragic and horribly heartbreaking closure of my favorite (and best in Singapore) claypot rice over at ABC market. When I got to Old Airport Road, I ordered the two person portion, got the little electronic buzzer and happily settled down to await my little earthenware vessel of heaven.

Approximately 50 minutes later, said buzzer starts vibrating like a single woman’s battery operated boyfriend, and I eagerly took said claypot back to my table, mixed it up and slapped a yuge spoonful down onto my bowl. You see, that’s where the trouble began. There was a nice aroma of charcoal smokiness, and the charmingly crispy bits of rice stuck to the sides of the claypot, but there was NO SEASONING.

I’m not even exaggerating, it was beyond bland. The dark soy sauce was really only there for cosmetic purposes as there wasn’t even a hint of sweetness. The rice was boringly bland, and the chicken was so tasteless that a whole gang of brothas and sistas from the ‘hood would probably lynch mob you for disrespecting chicken like that. The only real saving grace were the slices of lup cheong, and there wasn’t even remotely near enough of that to even begin to salvage this dish.

This review might sound incredibly harsh, but it only just begins to scrape at the surface of my disappointment. After seeing all the good reviews online, and the hangry anticipation after waiting nearly an hour, my disappointment is immeasurable, and my day is ruined.


This being on the ‘Cheerless Chow’ list might be harsh, but it wasn’t good enough to earn a spot on the ‘Hawker Hits’ list, sadly enough.

Fried Kway Teow • Fried Oyster orh luak isn’t a completely lost cause, as the flavor was acceptable, and there were a few crispy bits that make a plate of fried oyster great. However, the oysters were awfully anemic, and the chili was painfully average.

Stick to the char kway teow, kids.


Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol.

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