Well at least I did raise mine. I’ve heard crazy reviews on how it has never disappointed, food & service wise. I can vouch for the latter, but the former Is, disappointing. One of my friends did warn me on not holding too high an expectation before heading there. To be honest, I wasn’t quite on her side, based on what I’ve seen on the net – they just look too good to be true, and very true it is. I might have just slammed it a little too hard, I take some of it back. They’re not that bad, but you can just, somehow, taste the inferiority of the ingredients they use.
Tao’s Restaurant is renowned for its set lunch & dinner (6-course and 7-course respectively). It’s $19.90++ for the lunch, starting from 1130 – 1630 (last order at 1500), and dinner that time onwards at $29.90++. I had mine at lunch time.
COURSE #1: Starters
Bacon & Mushroom Gratin
There isn’t much choice for the Starters, is there I got ‘gelat‘ over it even though it is such a small plate. The bread helps, for sure. And I’m pretty positive that you can ask for more of this pastry.
COURSE #2: Salads
Top Shell Salad with Cold Japanese Noodle
Prawn Roll with Pork Floss
Farm Boy Splendour
Grilled King Oyster Mushroom & Sorbet (for dinner only)
I love Top Shell (especially when it’s stir-fried with chopped chili, but that’s beside the point). Initially, I understood it as cold soba, but as you can see from the above picture, it isn’t. The Top Shell Salad with Cold Japanese Noodle, however, tastes better than it looks (I’ve never been a fan of thick / fat noodles). It’s a pretty decent dish.
A pity though, that they’ve ran out of Prawn Roll with Pork Floss by the time we were there.
COURSE #3: Soups
Shark-fin Melon Herbal Soup
Japanese Fish Consomme
Cream of Mushroom
Cream of Pumpkin
I didn’t get to try the Shark-fin Melon Herbal Soup, but between the Cream of Mushroom & Pumpkin Soup, the former definitely tastes more decent, in my opinion. One thing is too, that I’ve always been a devotee of Mushroom Soup and the opposite for Pumpkin. Nevertheless, I’ve tried some of the Cream of Pumpkin, and it tasted nothing extraordinary.
COURSE #4: Main Entrees
Grilled Snapper with Japanese sauce
Baked Atlantic Flounder with Cheese
Tao’s Grilled Chicken Jumbo Leg
Slow-cooked Pork Back Ribs
Tao’s Oven Roasted Steak
Marinated Rack of Lamb
Crabmeat Aglio Olio
The Grilled Snapper with Japanese Sauce was swapped with Sea Bass instead, because, once again, they’ve ran out of (something). I thought the fish was pretty good – good meat. And same goes to the Slow-Cooked Pork Back Ribs. I really have no idea what sauce it came with, but it was pretty interesting and compatible with the course (I must say that it’s entirely up to your taste on this). The Tao’s Oven-Roastd Steak was so-so, in any case better than the disappointing Marinated Rack of Lamb. The lamb didn’t taste like it’s lamb. I like the ‘foul‘ smell / taste of meats like beef and lambs, but this doesn’t have a single bit of it. It tasted like some meat. In a nutshell: Pork Ribs > Snapper / Sea Bass > Steak > Lamb.
COURSE #5: Desserts
Yangsheng Poached Pear with Red Dates
Green Tea or Yam Ice cream
White Chocolate Mousse
Brownie with Ice Cream
Creme Brule is the dessert to order (at least of the 4 above). Probably one of the few items that is up to standard, in my taste bud’s opinion. The White Chocolate Mousse was diabetic-ally-sweet, something to avoid at all costs (well unless you’re having a heart break and need some serious high level of sugar intake).
COURSE #6: Drinks
Iced Tropical Grapefruit Tea
Iced Grassjelly Mint Tea
Iced Summer Peach Tea
Iced Grape Mallow Tea
Iced Rose Apple Tea
Iced (Hot) Fruit Tea
Once again, like aforementioned, inferior quality of drinks. Nevertheless, they decided on a cute design for the drinks. A tumbler-like container for the drinks, and a small, tiny, shot-like glass for slow consumption of the drinks.
Of the 6 courses, I don’t remember enjoying any 1 of it to a full extent. They were all just, food, made to keep within the low budget they have because of the low price they are charging. One thing I won’t deny, however, is their service. Well most places have varying standards within the restaurant itself, like this. I called the restaurant to check if they have set lunch on this day, since it’s a public holiday. I was told clearly that there is – everything as usual. But upon seated at the restaurant, we were told that they only have set dinner as it’s a public holiday. I politely told the waitperson that I’ve specifically asked over the phone, but he was persistent on his stand, insisting that it couldn’t have been the case. He then went to check and track back the call and who picked up the call, and came back with a changed attitude, offering us the 6-course lunch set once again. So a point here I want to make – this waitperson was rude over the incident (which I was a little affected because I’m usually a very easy-going person when it comes to service), but subsequent waitpersons we encountered were more than friendly and approachable, striking small chats and the likes, which made the overall visit a positive one. I wouldn’t really re-visit the restaurant – if you want to say that it’s cheap, it really isn’t that cheap afterall, twenty odd for sub-standard food. Not really.
Date of Visit: 2011-08-09