Sunday, October 02, 2011

HooHa / The West End

C says:

Located at Pasir Panjang Village – the row of conservation shophouses at the junction of South Buona Vista Road and Pasir Panjang Road, HooHa and The West End are affiliated restaurants that seem firmly entrenched in the 80s and proud of it. We came here expecting nothing but a simple meal at a neighbourhood joint, and left very pleasantly surprised.

The decor is unapologetically kitsch, complete with wrought iron lamps with flickering plastic orange flames. As for the waiters, they’re a breath of fresh air. It’s unfortunately quite rare these days to encounter non-foreign talent waiters, especially in non-fine dining establishments, who know what they’re doing and actually care about doing a good job. The waiters here fall into that rare category, and one of the ladies serving us actually carried a pocket torchlight to help customers check their bill. Talk about dedication.

On their billboards, they proudly claim to serve “The best tenderloin steak in the region”. We've always mocked it - what region, the West? The Pasir Panjang Village region? Still, we had to see what the fuss was about.

It probably wasn't super high grade steakhouse meat, but it was still pretty damn tasty. The beef was tender, perfectly charred and still medium rare and juicy. The baked potato was a bit of a let down though.

A ordered the rack of lamb, and when he took his first bite he went so quiet that I thought there was something wrong. Turns out he was just stunned at how unexpectedly good it was. Again perfectly cooked, well seasoned and very flavourful.

We shared a brownie with ice cream, which was again very good in an old school way.

Besides their lofty tenderloin steak claims, I love how refreshingly unpretentious this place is. They’re not trying to serve fine dining or innovative cuisine; just very hearty and almost retro fare, done really well.

Given that they weren’t full on Sunday night, they’ve somewhat puzzlingly opened a third outlet, Good Ol’ Cafe, at YESS Centre right next to Ju Shin Jung. The menu is apparently similar, but with an emphasis on French cuisine. We haven’t tried it (it’s taken us this long to even try HooHa) but it looks forlornly empty whenever we drive by. Still, hopefully all three outlets will benefit from the opening of the Circle Line shortly.

A says:

The place looks dodgy, like a low-rent Jack’s Place. So we were very surprised when the food turned out to be of pretty good. My rack of lamb was especially awesome. In fact, the only letdown were the mashed and baked potatoes.

I’d recommend this place for a old-school restaurant dinner, a chillout neighbourhood meal, or a highly ironic steakhouse experience.

HooHa Cafe
220 Pasir Panjang Road
Tel: 6475-2210
Open daily: 12 pm to 2.30 pm; 6 pm to 11 pm

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