I’m a real fan of establishments that deliver great value to their diners. For those who understand, they know this doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. What it means is that a diner is delighted with the satisfaction and taste that he/ she gets out of the dish in question, much like what Flock Cafe and Le Steak managed to provide. And in my humble opinion, I think Swensen’s is one of those brands that works on delivering great value to their diners. However, this belief was recently challenged during my hunt for the best steak in Singapore.
During the past couple of months, I kept looking for beef in some of the more exclusive sources. These included gourmet websites, ‘elegant’ dining spots and even sourcing meat via F&B connections. I realised that this wasn’t bringing too much value to my readers and things needed to change. So what I started making a mental list of places which delivered a lot more than their price promised and committed to including them here. Right at the top of this ‘value list’ is none other than the family-friendly, halal-certified gem of a diner, Swensen’s.
While I was hoping to write a post just spilling with praise, my experience parried that thought and here’s what happened.
During past visits, I’ve tried their pastas, fried chicken, various appetisers and even their salads! But since writing this blog, I realised that I never tried their steaks simply because they never really shouted about them. So during a more recent trip there, I went with the Ribeye Steak.
The description in their menu doesn’t give a lot of details about their meat and from what I gathered, I’m guessing that it’s Australian beef. When the steak arrived, I was pretty excited to start slicing into it. The charred grill marks across a tender slab of meat looked so inviting, especially when it’s plated just beside vividly coloured cherry tomatoes. I chose their sambal sauce just to see if the combo would work. If it didn’t and the meat was below expectations, I would have topped up with another sauce.
But the beef gods must have been smiling because the steak was awesome. The meat was tender, well-seasoned and juicy. As far taste went, I knew there was no need for adding any sauce. It reminded me of the great-value steaks I tried at Lenas and at Le Steak. At this point however, things started going downhill; the done-ness was more medium-well (instead of the medium I asked for) and the sides were less than average.
The potato wedges weren’t even remotely warm and their limp texture was as if they had been left outside for a long while, after a quick visit to the microwave. The cherry tomatoes did look red and plump but lacked the structure to back up appearances. They had the natural sweetness though, so I guess that’s a redeeming factor.
As for the sambal, it was served in what looked like a ramekin full of oil. Not sure why they didn’t remove the excess oil because the appearance definitely affected my appetite. I found it a little spicier than the ‘average’ nasi lemak sambal, though the taste was pretty decent.
My dining partner tried the Grilled Sambal Fish. The fish was rather bland despite what looked like a decent amount of seasoning on the flesh. Though it held it’s form, the freshness was just enough. Similarly, the vegetable sides were just fresh enough to avoid becoming too stale but nowhere close to enjoyable.
The service staff at Swensen’s (Clementi) were as friendly as ever. Pretty prompt and very polite so I’m sure any foodie will agree that it’s a huge plus. The setting is what you would expect a family-friendly diner to be like. Ambience was vibrant and bustling, so a great place for gatherings of individuals who prefer ‘noisy’ over ‘fancy’.
Should You Try It?
When I consider all my past experiences combined, I would say definitely. Their starters and pastas are decent to say the least. I just wasn’t sure what happened to the sides during this last visit. I won’t lose hope and will go back there sometime soon. Hopefully this was a one-time thing.
3155 Commonwealth Ave West,
Clementi Mall, #05-31/32/33,
Mon – Fri: 10:30 am to 10:30 pm
Sat – Sun: 9:00 am to 10:30 pm
Tel: +65 6659 2151
Are you a fellow meater? Subscribe to my mailing list and
join my hunt for the best steak in Singapore.