Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pepper Lunch

C says:

We’ve eaten at the Shaw Centre branch many times but somehow haven’t written about it until now. It’s a ‘fast food’ steak restaurant from Japan, with an innovative way of serving their food on patented hot plates that apparently heat up quickly to 260 degrees Celcius. Meat like steak, hamburger, chicken and salmon is placed on the plate together with some bean sprouts and carrots and a dollop of herb butter. The hot plate is brought sizzling to your table, and you have to literally work against the clock to spread the butter on the meat, flip it to sear the other side, then place it on top of the vegetables to stop it cooking any further on the hot plate. It’s quite a panicky job for someone like me, who would rather eat under- than over-cooked meat, but it’s pretty fun all the same.

Another signature dish is the Beef Pepper Rice. Again it’s served on the hot plate, with a mound of rice surrounded by some sliced beef. You’re supposed to stir up the rice because there’s butter buried inside the rice. When the rice is stirred up and nicely starting to brown on the hot plate, you add a few splashes each of their house sauces – a garlic soy and a honey brown sauce – and stir it all up further. Then you just pick up your spoon and savour the ultimate comfort food. Slowly though, that hot plate really does retain its heat and a burnt mouth is hardly comforting…

Pepper Lunch has added a new ice cream to their menu – a rich creamy soft-serve vanilla topped with a dark caramel sauce. This is really quite divine; the ice cream is decadently smooth and creamy, and the sauce is sweet but not cloyingly so. Perfect way to top off the meal.

In addition to the one at Shaw Centre (in the basement, next to Mosburger and the Isetan Supermarket), there’s also a branch in Takashimaya, and two Pepper Lunch Express outlets, at Dhoby Exchange and Hougang Mall.

A says:

Interesting place. Food’s pretty good but not cheap. What surprised me was that the hamburger actually tasted better than then cut steak.

For a soft serve, the ice cream wasn’t to my taste. Way too thick. Just like regular ice cream. I much prefer the light, fluffy stuff from Ichibantei.

And while it’s styled like a fast food joint, don’t expect the food to come fast when it’s crowded. With a full house, our dishes took over 15mins to arrive. Also, you’re definitely going to smell a bit barbequey after. My advice is to go only if you’re going directly home after.

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