Something not so spicy this way comes.
With my first actual paycheck on hand, or rather, in the bank, I was on the prowl…for clothes. Yes, I’ll always enjoy the occasional epicure, but for me, my first love will always be fashion. And like most guys, I’ve been bitten by the “GQ bug”, a condition that drives men to dress and style themselves in a GQ Magazine-like fashion. It’s not cheap, you know, desiring the look of a dandy, although I do admit I tend to slip into the
NewUrbanMale Superdry styling of fitted tees, shorts and a pair of tailored sneakers.
My “go-to” site is Asos (I’ve been wanting to try Taobao/Tmall but there were just too many choices available that I gave up), but I was feeling a little restless this weekend. Oh, how I longed for the multi-sensory sensation of shopping in an actual brick-and-mortar: poor, but occasionally surprisingly great and under-appreciated service staff; being shoulder-to-shoulder with “the people”; the commutes; carrying multiple paper bags of shopping…I missed all that. So, I headed down to Jurong East, where every mass-market to high-street brand that has a physical presence in Singapore, is concentrated within just two, inter-connected malls. I also wanted to catch the new X-Men film.
For lunch, I was seduced by the Straits Chinese-themed pad of Curry Times at Westgate. It’s a quaint little spot, with a whimsical take on the heritage of traditional olden day Singapore (read: any time from the 1950s to the 1990s, really). Curry Times calls Singaporeans to arms, to hold on to traditions in a time where it couldn’t be more important, and unite under the undying spirit of curry. The menu is an exploration of what’s what in the Singaporean Chinese vernacular, as well as new dishes that celebrate modern Singapore’s original fabric and diversity. Being alone (as usual), I decided to dive straight in for the signature curry chicken.
Before we go into the food, I’ve to admit it takes some strong guts to actually come here. Curry Times is OldChangKee’s first dine-in concept, and while the food’s perfection, the group’s lack of experience with the dining-in restaurant business really shows. The service standards are, from the beginning, appalling. You think rude staff is bad? How about wait staff who never acknowledge your presence in the line, never make eye contact with you, and walk around the restaurant doing nothing but, walk around? The line in front of me gradually emptied as people in the queue gradually lost patience (plates uncleared, several tables empty, ice-cold drinks and piping dishes waiting to be served, and still, the staff continue to walk round and round).
The curry chicken’s good, very good in fact. But it’s so hard to focus on the food as the staff continue to stroll round and round the dining floor, or noisily arrange cutlery in the middle of the floor, or place dishes on your table wherever they feel like instead of actually serving.
What am I paying GST for, man!