Saturday, 22 September 2007

Singapore Sizzle!

Are there times, Gentle Reader, when every bone in your body screams out for Char Kay Teow? When those around you keep talking about Hainan Jeefan Shokudo? When the Singaporean Ambassador mentions a little out-of-the-way place?

You can find Hainan Jeefan Shokudo (map) in the alley behind Food Magazine at the foot of Roppongi Hills. There's also a sister restaurant in Ebisu.

My recommendation is that you find it, soon. The continuous cycle of customers probably means it's going to be around for a while yet, but this place is one way to impress even the most insidious Tokyo-Termite (a long-termer who just eats away at the insides of your Tokyo experience) with your knowledge of restaurants.

Accompanied by the Child Bride, I stopped by with The Expat and his Lovely Wife Kath. The Ambassador's right - this is the real deal. The Child Bride grew up in Singapore and Malaysia, and can spot a fake Fish Head Curry at 100 paces. This experience didn't affect her too much, except for a intermittent craving for Bee Hoon at all hours of the night and day. If one can ignore the slightly gauche birdcage lamps on the wall and the dorky "lightbulb" ceiling lights, the fragrances and sounds at Hainan Jeefan Shokudo were all authentic and the bustle was pitched just right.

We started with Singapore's own Tiger Beer. There is a wine list, but it's tedious and I'd stick with beer if you're headed towards curry. Thus fuelled, we promptly started salivating over a menu that promised much. In the end, we "shared" Char Kay Teow, Hainan Chicken Rice, Fish Head Curry, Vegetable Curry, Laksa, and Chicken Curry.

Gentle Reader, I'm not good at sharing (particularly good food!) and see no place for it in a civilized society. Sharing is so~0 lovey-dovey, and is sort of like that weird ritual of twining arms to drink champagne - which wastes time and risks spilling perfectly good champagne. I'm supposed to pretend that I care what others think??? Let them rise and fall on the basis of a poor palate and a lack of decisiveness!

Trust me, I won the sharing competition. This food was good, good enough to get me to recall slightly different variations I've had (out on the East Parkway etc ...) at some out-of-the-way place in Singapore or Malaysia.

Apart from a slight mix-up over the order, utter confusion, and difficulty attracting the attention of the staff, Hainan Jeefan Shokudo is a perfectly adequate Singapore restaurant. [Actually, that probably makes it even more like the real thing.] Except it's in Tokyo - which makes it very special indeed! By the way, try the Lime juice...it's special, and desperately authentic!

Rating: Food: 7/10; Service: 5/10 ; Wine: 6/10; Ambiance: 7/10; Price: 8/10; Total 33/50 (2 Forks)

Hainan Jeefan Shokudo: Roppongi 6-11-16. [Behind Food Magazine at the southern end of Roppongi Hills ] Open 11:30am-1:30, 6-10pm (LO). Closed 3rd Monday. Tel: 5474-3200

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