Full Seletar Hill Restaurant review here
Tucked away in the quiet neighbourhood of Seletar Hills, the Seletar Hill Restaurant is an unassuming place that has been dishing out great tasting Chinese Szechuan and Hunan dishes for over 20 years.
Oddly, the Singaporean husband-and-wife owners / chefs of Seletar Hill Restaurant actually received their culinary training in Szechuan cuisine and Hunan cuisine from... America. As such, you'll be able to order American-Chinese dishes here, like General Tso's Chicken or Orange Crispy Beef, which are also among their signature dishes.
Ambience at Seletar Hill Restaurant is rather dated, with faded newspaper articles on the exterior and simple Chinese decor within. They also have a verenda for outdoor dining. The interior of Seletar Hill Restaurant is completely enclosed, without any windows, and seats about 30 people or so. Also, I noticed that some other people just came to order take-away.
Service is polite but rather unhurried, as Seletar Hill Restaurant mainly caters to the surrounding neighbourhood. Wait staff are mainly from China, and may not understand English. They are quite efficient though.
The menu at Seletar Hill Restaurant is extensive, with more than 20 signature dishes, and about 50 normal ala-carte dishes. Most of their specialties are Szechuan or Hunan dishes, but they also have house-made desserts and American-Chinese dishes. Attempting to try all their signature dishes alone would probably require 3 or more visits, without even ordering from the normal ala-carte menu.
Food is generally quite good quality and tasty, you'll be able to taste the wok skills of the chefs. The normal sized portions are enough for 4 people, and prices are quite reasonable, especially for the various set menus. If I had to pick the 3 most outstanding dishes, I would recommend:
1. Fish Maw With Shredded Chicken And Fresh Crab Meat Potage (Soup)
2. Camphor Tea Smoked Duck
3. Dong Po Stewed Pork Belly
It's best to reserve a table in advance if you plan to dine on the weekends. I'll definitely love to visit Seletar Hill Restaurant again!
A colleague had recommended Seletar Hill Restaurant so a couple of us got together for lunch one weekend to give it a shot. This place apparently sells "westernised" Chinese food like General Tso's Chicken as well as Szechuan dishes which the owners picked up whilst cooking in the kitchens of Chinese restaurants in New York. Having lived in the Americas for quite a few years, that little bit of history honestly didn't quite assure me.
The Place - Facing a neighbour park/playground along Jalan Selaseh (along Yio Chu Kang Road and a few lanes down from Orchid Live Seafood @ Jalan Kelulut), Seletar Hill Restaurant (or SHR for short) is an unassuming eatery that has a typical, dated interior that is commonplace in many older Chinese restaurants.
Cold Dish - A rather typical old school Chinese restaurant starter; the appetiser platter aka "cold" dish. Consisting of the usual sliced prawns with thousand island sauce, ngoh hiang (五香), jellyfish etc. Everything was palatable but nothing quite memorable honestly.
Fish Maw, Fresh Crabmeat, Chicken and Mushroom Potage - Not too starchy with relatively generous shreds of crab meat, chicken and pieces of fish maw. I personally prefer double boiled soups (like the ones from Lei Garden) but this was pretty decent.
Camphor Tea Smoked Duck - One of SHR's signature dishes. On my first bite, I could make out the pleasantly faint smokiness that permeated through the entire piece of meat. However the entire duck didn't seem evenly smoked as parts of it seemed a little bland. Also, the meat did come across as a tad dry. Still a very decent eat nonetheless and definitely one of the better ones I've had.
Claypot Duck Wing with Sea Cucumber - I personally wasn't a fan of this dish. Although the duck wing was well braised, the gravy came across as one dimensional. Don't quite fancy sea cucumber as well.
Fried Red Garoupa with Sweet and Sour Sauce - The fish was quite fresh and sported a crisp exterior drizzled with a mildly sweet and appetising sweet and sour sauce. Not too bad honestly.
"Tung-po" Pork Belly with Steamed Buns - Another of SHR's signature dishes, the Tung-po pork belly with steamed buns aka kong ba pau (扣肉包) was melt in your mouth tender but the gravy did seem a little bland. Nothing quite like the one I usually have from Beng Hiang (I have yet to visit them since their move to Jurong so I am unsure if standards have been maintained).
Our set lunch for 6 pax cost just over $240, which honestly wasn't too expensive given the quantity of food. However food quality isn't much to shout about and I guess SHR is just another ulu Chinese restaurant; worth a try but not worth a revisit in my humble opinion.
See all my pictures here
This restaurant was so bad it prompted me to sign up for a hungrygowhere account to write about it.
Firstly, if you are looking for Sichuan food, go somewhere else - anywhere.
It is what I would imagine Chinese Cantonese settlers in San Francisco or London Chinatown trying to run a Sichuan restaurant. It is like Jackie Chan's Rush Hour - if you know what I mean. Only people who had never been to China can be hoodwinked.
The only saving grace is that they actually have Mainland Chinese staff that actually spoke Putonghua.
But what really tipped me off the scale was the tea..............
We were served a Rickshaw brand tea bag, and charged $1.50 per person - $6 for 4 pax. I know. Its not a lot of money. It's just enraging that the BOSS responded that "we have been doing this for the past 20 years. this is how we charge."
20cents tea bag charge $6 - and she feels this is perfectly justified.
This attitude is also reflected in their food.
If I could, I would rate the following way
Food/Beverage ................... -9 (MINUS 9)