09 July, 2008

COLBAR Eating House - An Over-rated Colonial Bar


Small talk: HFB celebrates yet another milestone today - this is his 200 posts. Thank you all for your support!!!

What started out in 1953 at Jalan Hang Jebat (a mere 5 minutes from its present location) as a canteen and unofficial mess for the old British army troops in Portsdown Road – it was literally dismantled part-by-part, and reused for the reconstruction of the new COLBAR – Colonial Bar for short, further down along 9A Wessex Estate – to make way for the construction of Ayer Rajah Expressway.

To salvage this part of Singapore’s history, roof tiles, timber screens and solid timber swing doors were reused as treasures for this rejuvenated iconic eating place.

However, to redevelop means to inject new life, and consequently a new outdoor terrace evolve to provide diners with an alternative experience of alfresco dining.

Still a cult hit with the expatriates’ community, this place also seems to attract locals with a penchant for nostalgia.

Essentially a dining place that offers basic staple food in an enchanted setting of large field and colonial houses nearby – it even comes with an old-school tyre swing near a tree that we as kids used to see in our neighbourhood playground.

For $9, we ordered one of their most popular dishes, Chicken Curry (we swap the steam rice for 2 slices of White Bread instead) and honestly I wasn’t impressed. Although ‘lemak’ with coconut milk, it tasted slightly sweet for my liking and portion wise it was pathetic – and my favourite potato was nowhere in sight.

The other popular dish, Pork Chop with Chips and Mushroom ($9) was another disappointment. Although the fries were homemade, its mushrooms were normal canned mushrooms. The pork chops were also slightly tough and tasteless without the gravy except if you chew on the part near its bone – which my dad dutifully took care of it.

Undeterred, we figured the Pork Cutlet ($11) could be better and we would just about right – chips and mushrooms were still the same but taste wise the cutlet version was just slightly tastier. However, the outer layer of bread crumps was all puff up from the meat, which should not be the case as one end up eating the two separately.

We also ordered a few Asian dishes such as the Bee Hoon in Cantonese style ($6). It was bad to be honest as the vermicelli was tasteless and definitely no hint of ‘Wok Hei – I would rather eat my own brand of charred version anytime than this tasteless fare.

The Fried Rice Special ($5) was a total joke to be honest. A dollar more from the “normal” version that comes with additional ham and a sunny-side-up, the rice was served lukewarm and probably pre-fried. The only saving grace was probably the runny egg yolk.

The only thing I like about the Fried Bee Hoon ($5) was the generous servings of vegetables, however that is probably to compensate for this very oily dish.

In my opinion, if you can overlook the overpriced yet mediocre food, COLBAR actually provides a very nice environment for families with kids, as well as dog owners to chill in during a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Food: 2.5/5 (Barely decent)
Service: 4/5 (Orders came fast and staff were surprisingly quite friendly)
Ambience: 4.5/5 (Nice and somewhat enchanted dining experience)
Price: 1.5/5 (Not value for money for the quality of food served)
Total: 12.5/20
9A, Whitchurch Road
Wessex Estate
Singapore 138839

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Anonymous said...

chicken merry land is the only yummy value for money meal to have at colbar, IMHO.

Kuek said...

Looks lousy....

Anonymous said...

maybe thats the kind of food Colbar has been serving since day 1 but of course we are now paying so much for such medicore food is definately not worth it.

His Food Blog said...

Maybe. But my uncle, who is in his 50s now, mentioned that their food used to be much better. The "Bee Hoon in Cantonese style" used to come strong with "Wok Hei".

Anonymous said...

Colbar is a great place to sit and drink and chat with friends. I agree about the food. There is much better for similar prices elsewhere. But the beer selection is actually excellent. There are many varieties of British ales and ciders. Many of them would be hard to find elsewhere, and they are priced around $10, which for a hard to find British pint in Singapore is quite reasonable.

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