Ever since the review in Sunday Times on good quality steaks at reasonable prices, people, fueled by the love of a good bargain, have been flocking to Aston's in droves, creating long lines thanks to the fact that the restaurant doesn’t accept reservations.
Since it’s located in the (gasp) East, A and I have been wary of going on our own, scared that we’ll be called out for not being locals… My East-sider friend SS and her fiancé HH, who was in town over the weekend, were nice enough to bring us there on Saturday night to initiate us (thanks for dinner, SS!).
We got there at 6.45 and a considerable queue had formed already. It moved along fairly quickly, though, and we were seated in about 20 minutes or so. It helped that they came to take our order while we were waiting in line, so that saved some time after we were seated as well.
Aston’s manages to occasionally bring in wagyu steaks at fairly reasonable prices, relatively speaking of course. Reasonable compared to what you’d have to pay for wagyu beef at more chi-chi establishments. Today, they were selling some Grade 7 wagyu rib-eye for $58.90 per 250g piece. We passed on that, and instead opted to share a bunch of main courses. SS ordered the Double Up Chicken – 2 huge chicken thigh pieces, one prepared cutlet style and one chop style. This was by far the best value – all that, with 2 sides, for only $9.90. The chop was a bit generic but the cutlet was quite good.
A went for the ieat super burger. Some background on this – Aston’s is a hot favourite of the popular blog ieatishootipost. One day the author decided to ask Aston (assuming the owner is called Aston…) to make his ideal burger. It went down so well with customers that it was named the ieat super burger, in honour of said blogger, and is now a permanent feature on the menu. It consists of 200g of handchopped sirloin, proper salty bacon, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cheese, hickory smoked BBQ sauce and topped with fried onion rings. At $12.50, it’s not the cheapest considering it comes without any sides, but it’s still one heck of a burger.
HH and I went for the rib-eye steaks – I chose the Long-Fed Rib-eye that was on the Special’s menu, for $29.90 for 250g. HH chose the Premium Rib-eye Extra Cut, which is on the standard menu (regular cut is about 150g, extra is 250g), for only $15.90. In the photo below, my steak is on the left, and HH’s on the right. As you can see, mine was slightly thinner and therefore a little overcooked for my liking. It was a little dry, but still flavourful. HH’s was much better – thicker, juicier and sweeter. Strange, considering that it was half the price.
We eyed the sausage platter that another table was having, so halfway through our meal we ordered one too – the Grand Sampler, for $12.50. It came with 4 different sausages, all quite interesting and tasty in their own right. The snail-shaped one was probably the best, and I liked the chicken and cheese one too. The sausages are from the Butcher House on River Valley Road, and their sausages are all home-made in their factory in Macpherson.
When we finished dinner at about 8.30 pm, we noticed a number of empty tables near us, so we figured it’s actually better to come here later rather than earlier next time. To our surprise, when we left there was still a queue! Very strange. Maybe they want to give the impression that they’re really popular, knowing Singaporeans’ obsession with queuing for food (see Donut Factory at Raffles City…)
All in all though, I thought the food was good for the price you pay (no premium steaks for me next time, though). Service was varied – there were some good waiters and some blur ones, but I would definitely come back. Maybe on a weekday night after work, since it’s fairly close to the city, when hopefully the queues are shorter.
Since the restaurant is kerb-side, parking is non-existant, although we’ve discovered that you can park at Katong Mall.
Queue sucks. While the food is generally good for the price you pay, I don’t think it’s worth queuing so long for. I can see why it’s popular, but I’d rather settle for something half the price at a food court/hawker centre (I recommend the Western Food stall at Old Airport Road), or pay more and have a better overall meal (like at a place with Angus in its name).
119/121 East Coast Road
Tel: 6247-7857, 6346-2131
Opening hours: 11.30 am to 11 pm