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.
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.
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)
9A, Whitchurch Road
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