Tue - Sun: 12:00 - 14:30
Tue - Sun: 18:00 - 23:00
Sat & Sun: 11:30 - 15:00
Inspired by British café culture, Keong Saik Snacks is a laid-back snack bar introducing a curious twist on traditional English food with an unpretentious environment, and serving familiar yet new, clever food options.
For the full review, visit my blog here
A growling stomach and hunger pangs after a whole day of outdoor adventure racing brought me to Keong Saik Snacks to satisfy my post race cravings. A British Bistro with modern contemporary twists, the basis of it pass hints at satiety and hearty portions. Unfortunately, at the end of the meal, I was left sorely disappointed, albeit with spirits lifted only due to the laid-back atmosphere of the place. With such huge shoes to fill given it's management by Michelin Starred Chef Jason Atherton and rising waves of expectations as we settled into the bar counter seats soaking in the estactic rush of the kitchen (reminding me so much of my mind-blowing experience at Movida in Melbourne); I was really hoping for an extraordinary meal.
The Kimichi Burger ($20) was decent in my opinion. A good thick juicy patty cooked to perfection with the kimchi (of shrimp based origins) being a good alternative to caramelised onions or pickles. Still, portions were small (yeh.. I know they are acclaimed to serve 'snack' sized items), and did nothing for my voracious carnivorous appetite especially after the race.
Jason's Very Hot Dog ($19) fared much better, chorizo based sausage with lashings of delicious guacamole, "spicy' green chili or jalapenos and crispy shallots. This was good per Se, but left a nagging feeling on both me and my partner. given its humble beginnings for an extravagant price
Desserts as urgently requested by me were the Hot Doughnuts with Cinnamon and Vanila Chantilly. French inspired, these hot pillows of fluffy sweetness arrived at our tables quickly. Like French Beignets, the doughnuts were delicious on their own rolled in a crisp coat of cinnamon sugar. What failed it was the accompaniment of Vanilla Chantilly that somehow carried a sour note to its flavor profile, the speckling of vanilla beans deceiving the diner and its texture trending more towards a broken cloud than voluminous ripples of cream.
To those seeking to get a taste of Chef Andrew Walsh's fare, hop over to Esquina; instead and give the more insolent sibling, Keong Saik Snacks a miss. That being said, service standards are top notch for a pint-sized bistro; staff were well groomed with admirable flair and armed with substantial knowledge of their products. Overall, this would be a one-off experience for me. I should visit the rest of Atherton's collected accolades though...
I really wanted to like this place, it was cosy, a comfortable degree of casual and easy enough to get to. To be fair, the food was hard to fault and the desserts excellent. Credit must be given where credit is due - the chefs are clearly competent. Sadly, the service was greatly lacking, to the point where the whole dining experience collapses. A concept dining establishment such as this is not merely selling food, it is selling an experience. Their food prices are on the high side (Red Snapper Fish and Chips - $30) and so clearly, you are not just paying for food. Frankly, portions are also puny (fish from the fish and chips is the size of an adult's palm). The hearty eaters in the group had to go for supper after dinner because they were still hungry. Unless you wanted to burn money on multiple sides, don't expect to be full. But yes the experience, it was inconsistent at best but for most part, reeks of disrespect for guests. Firstly, water. If you are going to charge $7 for water, have the courtesy to inform your guests. You should respect them enough for them to make an informed decision. When your guests turn down the offer of sparkling water, please counter offer table water instead of staying silent. When you do something like this, you clearly care more about making a quick buck rather than the service experience. It also borders on the dishonest. Secondly, take orders accurately. At the end of the meal, we were wrongly charged for an additional 3 course meal which we didn't order. Everyone but one person ordered a course dinner - therefore it's as simple as counting the number of persons minus one. However, staff was insistent that one person also ordered a course meal. While the waiter agreed to take it off the tab, his displeasure was evident and he made no attempt to hide it. Seriously, why would anyone choose an establishment such as this to get a free meal. Again, reeks of a patronizing attitude towards guests. Lastly, no one in the restaurant said good bye when we left - it is almost as if the displeasure from the order dispute has incapacitated the staff's ability to be courteous. This courtesy was extended to most other guests but not to us. This reeks of a lack of professionalism. The two good things, well-prepared food and two birthday desserts on the house, were sadly overshadowed by the negative as the group agreed that on the whole, it was not a welcoming place. Overpriced food that was not compensated by a delightful experience, unprofessional staff, disrespect for guests... It all made everyone feel somewhat cheated. The unanimous decision after the meal was that this is neither a place we want to visit again nor recommend to our friends. A pity because the food, while in puny portions, was really not half-bad.
Click on this link for more scoop! http://mychefdoeuvre.com/2014/01/15/keong-siak-snacks/
While coming across Pollen Street Social in London, I remembered that there is a local joint also opened by Jason Atherton and I though to drop by and have a taste. I was a little apprehensive at first as the reviews were mixed. However, I probably did arrive at the right time as the Set Lunch Menu was so worth every penny and I felt really satisfied with my meal, which of course was compounded by good company.
While the service was so so, I must say the atmosphere was lovely; but then again, Keong Saik Rd is one of my favourite places to hang out.
The food at Keong Saik Snacks is fresh and the quantity is sufficient. Overall value for money. Bring your kids in the afternoon or just enjoy a quiet dinner for two in the evening.