Monday, June 11, 2007

Review: Garuda Restaurant, Tung Lok

To make up for not liking The Humble House, I figured I should post these back-to-back. I liked Garuda Restaurant, to the same degree that I did not like The Humble House. Let me tell you why-

This restuarant is sited in Cairnhill Road, an easy walk from the main Orchard Road drag and with slightly congested but still easy parking near Paragon, the Mosque opposite and Faber House. The decor of this place is somewhere between tasteful and showy, from the outside it looks regular. On the inside it has little partitions seperated by billowy white curtains, raised paper sculpture lights and big white paper mache feathers, complete with white tables and stiched white leather chairs.

The food, consists of a huge variety of vegetable dishes, like Sambal Terong, Tahu Goreng Bumbu, Tumis Kangkong, Sayur Lodeh, meats dishes, like Satay Ayam, Kari Kambing, Rendang Ayam and seafood.

They also have a fruit counter where they can make you fruit juices and smoothies, or you can try their excellent young coconut.

I am partial to Minangkabau food, it's true but the cooking here really was good and their padang fried chicken was super. The curry was a little watery but the flavour was good and the I really apprecaited the variety and the quick service.

While my favourite Nasi Padang places are down Kandahar in Kampong Glam (they are the best!), there will be many occasions when you just can't make it or drag friends out there. This place has a central location and lovely decor- it's the perfect family-style place that you can go for Sunday lunch or after church.

The service is fast, young and friendly. Extra points for that. The place is very popular with, in fact, almost catered for the Indonesian community, but it is still fairly easy to get a table. It's a place where you have Sunday taitais with their Pradas and bespectacled teenager kids all eating together.

I will definitely be back. The one thing that is Not good though, is their desserts. They are bringing shame upon the name of chendol with their tough, bright green jelly worms and we had this terrible concoction of shaved ice, shreds of tropical fruit and then these liberally sprinkled cheap pastel sprinkles (ew) that bled their bits of colour into the ice. Luckily we only ordered one- it went unfinished and the adults all pulled faces at even the sight of it.

The little 'story' that comes with the brochure is that in 1975, this businessman from Medan, Haji Bachtar's family textile plant burned down. While taking a plane home, there was a storm and he felt the plane, like the mystic bird Garuda, was bestowing celestial blessings on him and hence named his new restaurant business after it.

The restaurant opened in 1976 and today, they have a partnership with Tung Lok in Medan, Jakarta, Lampung and now Singapore. Now, the head of Tung Lok may be Indonesian but that does Not explain how Haji Bachtar became white stiched leather chairs and huge, white paper mache feathers. Perhaps some vital points were lost in the translation *smile*.

This Tung Lok restaurant over all the others, people. Go try it for yourselves.

Garuda Padang Cuisine
Cairnhill Place #02-01, 15 Cairnhill Road
(Ground Level- next to Somerset Grand Cairnhill Service Apartments)
Tel: 6735 4111
Opened daily 11.30-3pm and 6pm-10.30pm
Second outlet at Vivo City

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