Daily: 10:30 - 22:30
Swensen's has developed over the years to become a restaurant chain offering not only ice cream, but fun and friendly casual-dining with a wide selection of hearty food, desserts, beverages, ice cream cakes and takeaway novelties.
I'm here more for the salad bar buffet, seems like the salad is fresher and of better quality than most other salad bars I know, my girlfriend commented that it's better than their other vivo city outlet.
Anyway the mains are pretty decent and comes with the salad bar buffet, good quiet ambience especially on week nights, can get very crowded over the weekends though, think they are currently running a 1-for-1 main course promotion for lunch at the moment.. I forget whether it's a credit card promotion though..
I arrived with my buddy on a weekday, a Wednesday I think. It was 11.15am. We were the FIRST pair of customers. Whole restaurant emply.
Settled down, looked at the Menu. Limited range, perhaps only three types of pastas and say 4 types of meat/steak dishes. Limited indeed but well, no crime for restaurants to have compact menu, if one wants range, can always go elsewhere.
At 11.15am for an early lunch, steak wasn't palatable to me. I feel like eating spaghetti. Lunch set was spaghetti something but "black pepper" sauce. I'd prefer something more familiar, tomato based sauce. I asked the waiter if he can change the sauce from black pepper to tomato based. He flipped the menu and said, then you need to order this one, a tomato based spaghetti BUT for 2 person. I looked around the restaurant to be sure; it's just the two of us. Surely, I wouldn't be inconveniencing the "busy" Chef by asking for him to scoop out tomato sauce instead of black pepper one?
I told the waiter that the tomato based pasta is for 2 person. He said that's correct. So I once again asked him if he can change the black pepper to tomato, he said "no". Then I asked, can I then order the tomato one but put less spaghetti so that it's only for one portion hence no wastage. He said cannot. My buddy and I just smiled, stood up and left with a "thank you". We weren't upset. However this waiter said "so sorry Sir, hope you understand..." If he would have kept his mouth shut, I would. But he didn't and so I said "Well, honestly I cannot understand.... no common sense lah".
We walked across to the Hong Kong cafe. We achieved our objective of having a nice lunch to catch up and eating food. No need to get upset over silly things, not worth it.
Six of us plus Baby needed dinner at T3, so we dropped by at Earle Swensen's. The place has a nice casual feel to it, with no floor-to-ceiling walls making it feel open even if the spacing between tables were actually not that wide open.
First look at the menu, we felt that this joint was pricey compared to similar food at regular Swensen's. On closer inspection though, we found that most of the things we thought expensive either came with salad bar buffet or were big enough for two people, so I guess they could justify it.
The Wife and I shared a baked rice with chicken. The serving indeed was reasonably big, but the taste let us down. The baked rice was overly soggy and creamy, with the cream flavour overwhelming all the other ingredients. It didn't help that the chicken meat tasted bland. We also didn't like the fake bacon bits they used; I am guessing they used it as substitute because it was a Halal eaterie, but we personally prefer them to forgo adding any bacon altogether.
I didn't taste the others' food, but they didn't seem inspired by their respective food either. One person who had the package including the salad bar was similarly unimpressed with their offering. Particularly the crispy items in the bar e.g. potato chips seemed to have lost their crispiness. The one item that earned some thumbs up was the crispy wanton skin.
Service was friendly and effective. They got the baby chair already setup at our table while we were waiting to enter. The staff were full of smiles, especially to Baby, and did their job well.
As a place to meet and catch up with friends, Earle provides good atmosphere, but I would suggest to skip the food and try their ice cream instead.
My family and I found the food quite pleasant. We had the fish main courses (salmon, cod), fried chicken and fish and chips. Great thing is the salad came free with the main course. Nice selection of greens, fruits and beans. You can eat greens at the beginning and end with fruits after your meal.
Have been there twice in the last 6 months - mainly because the kids like airport and also ride the sky train.
Would consider it very reasonable value for nice food and surroundings. We felt stuffed after each meal.