Since the wife works at HDB Hub, we thought of going to Chums for a hearty Friday dinner (any steakhouse resonates in my being, she'll tell you), since we noticed it during a family visit to Saizeriya a month back. Hey, it's Christmas time and good ol' feasting never goes out of rhyme, aye?
The first thing you'll notice isn't so much the decor, but a rather strategically located wine shop known as 1855 The Bottle Shop right smack within the walls of Chums (the illuminated shop sign is right at the entrance before you even enter!). Aficionados will be familar with 1855 as the year in which the famous wine classification of Bordeaux took place at the behest of Emperor Napoleon III (nephew of the famous general) with the intention of showcasing the best of Bordeaux (deemed the most important wine-producing region in France at that time) to international visitors to the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris (a world expo of sorts). This classfication resulted in what we know today as the famous Grand Cru Classe wines of Bordeaux with 1st Growths like Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Margaux amongst five labels categorised in this rank.
Well, as much as I would like to rattle on about wines (I love wines as much as steak), OpenRice isn't quite the place for a sermon about them as much as about food. So just note that there's a really interesting partnership here between Chums and 1855 The Bottle Shop in sparing no effort to deliver the best combination of steak AND wine. Great! Here are my parting comments about 1855: The wine selection is pretty good (a healthy blend of Old World and New World wines, and hard liquor to boot), although slightly above four grand for a 2000 Chateau Lafite Rothschild is in my opinion, a little pricey compared to market rates. Still, you might wish to settle for a half bottle (375ml) of Chateau Calon Segur (can't remember the vintage) to go with your meal especially on Valentine's Day or Proposal Day (whichever comes first) at a more affordable price of 125 SGD++.
1855 The Bottle Shop
Anyway, the decor of Chums will serve to a fitting prelude to a great meal to come: wood-finished walls juxtaposed with green pillars that lend a soothing atmosphere akin to a fireplace amidst a lonely winter (the rainy weather provided a similar feel to that), but yet, the installation of full-length glass panels facing the Toa Payoh plaza square instead of the same wood-finished walls brightened up Chums with a twist of contemporary chic - the effect of which is rather unique in not fully whisking you to that cottage place (I don't think you'll feel very much in a cottage-mood with a full view of the hustle and bustle of the Toa Payoh heartland amidst commercial buildings in plain sight). Chums is thus ideal for diners finding the notion of a fireplace meal too musty for their liking.
The next sight that'll greet you is the "Salad Bar", which ironically, seems to be the highlight of the place with an elevated platform leading up to it, bright downlights that seem to have burrowed their way out of a jewelry shop, and a bar counter located next to it - instead of the steaks (it's called Chums Steakhouse, no?). This sight promises to be a pleasant one because greens are but a mere offering of this "Salad Bar", which I'll come right to in a minute.
Salad Bar - Overall
Since the wife was already entralled by the "All-You-Care-To-Eat" Salad Bar (that's the actual for it, no kidding) at a price of 17.50 SGD++ for dinner (cheaper for lunch, I recall), it was left to me to actually order the steak which decidingly came in the form of a 250gm Fillet Mignon served medium-rare at 32.90 SGD++. All entrees come with the "Salad Bar" too (just like some insurance riders), so you really get a bang out of your buck here at Chums!
One glance at the Fillet Mignon immediately brings to attention the starved amount of sides (what you see in the photo is exactly what you get: one baked potato, half a tomato, and a miniscule piece of broccoli). "Why", you ask? No prizes for guessing that Chums really does diners a favour in only providing enough sides to NOT make your steak look like an island on the plate so as to maxmise your appetite for the "Salad Bar"! Thank you indeed!
Tender and Juicy Fillet Mignon!
Since Chums IS a steakhouse after all, I shall review the Fillet Mignon first. The tenderness of the steak really gets to you, as my usual 'tear' test of tenderloins, where I attempt to rip the meat instead of slicing through it, was performed with relative ease. Generously coated with brown peppered sauce, the Fillet Mignon does justice to Chums although I'm pretty sure I've eaten more flavourful steaks elsewhere. Perhaps the temperature wasn't quite enough to bring out the full flavour of the steak, although the succulence and tenderness more than made up for this slight dip in flavour.
For readers dying to know more about the "Salad Bar", the first thing that needs explanation here is, "why the inverted commas"? This "Salad Bar", as I've mentioned previously, is rather more of a buffet bar actually: a resonable spread of greens nestled amidst ham, chicken breast, and smoked salmon (yes!), plain pasta with separately placed tomato sauce, a bevy of salad beauties like apple, caesar, potato, seafood, pasta, and hawaiian, generous amounts of nachos and potato wedges, and three (yes, three) different types of soup - Mushroom (the chunks of Shiitake in the pot are really a sight and taste to behold), Clam Chowder (which we found to be a winner in terms of ingredient chunkiness and flavour, even better than some ala carte servings offered someplace else), and Tom Yum (yum!) which, when consumer at the right moment, will serve as a "reset button" for your appetite -allowing you to enjoy more goodies! The vegetarian Tom Yum is rich in flavour and definitely comparable to the other two soups. On top of that, there's ice cream (vanilla and chocolate) with a variety of DIY toppings!! Woohoo! Lastly, as with other salad bars, you get freshly sliced fruits and fruit jellies - for the health conscious (but why would they be here in the first place? Hmmm...). There is a hot beverage section with free-flow coffee and different types of tea too, but diners will need to pay an additional surcharge to enjoy them.
Salad Bar - Front
Salad Bar - Back
Salad Bar - Pasta
Tom Yum yummy!
In all, we (even the wife) ate like no tomorrow, truly befitting of the Doomsday occasion! If you're still reading this and salivating, do yourself a HUGE favour and dine at Chums - now.
"All-You-Care-To-Eat" Salad Bar,Fillet Mignon
Date of Visit: Dec 21, 2012
Spending per head: Approximately $30(Dinner)Other Ratings: