Full disclosure: The review below is from about 16 months ago (not exactly cutting-edge content, I admit), and is an expanded version of a post I made on the HungryGoWhere website in December 2012. I guess I’m still angry…
…So there we were, a long way from our home in sleepy dormitory Bishan, enjoying a taste of the easy life in the East Coast part of Singapore. My then-girlfriend was house-sitting and cat-sitting for a friend for several weeks. Rasmus, Lily and the kitten Fluffs were safely fed and had been left to battle each other to death back in the house, a three-storey, tropical cat Valhalla in Woo Mon Chew Road. I’ve always like that street-name: it tickles me as it makes me think of the master criminal, Fu Manchu. So anyway, we popped out for a spot of lunch while the slaughter went on. And everyone likes Thai food, right? So we tried Lemongrass Thai Restaurant on Upper East Coast Road. Well, speaking of criminal…
Food - bland, limited in appeal, expensive, and unlike anything I have ever had in a Thai restaurant before or since (and that isn't meant to be a compliment).
My companion’s meal was so un-memorable that I have long since forgotten what it was (there simply aren’t enough megabytes up top to retain that sort of thing now I’ve hit middle-age).
As for me, I had the Thai spring rolls to start with. That should have been a safe choice. Now there is always a risk of spring rolls being bland, tough, chewy tampons of saliva-sponge, of having nothing to say to your taste buds, and that’s what the dip is for, to bring the spring rolls out of themselves and get them to speak. Well, the dipping sauce tasted of nothing (it wasn’t even overly sugary like it sometimes is), and the establishment wasn’t even aspiring to a basic chilli or garlic flavour with it, and so, I’m afraid, the spring rolls remained mute. Not to worry! I, at least, have got plenty to more to say about the food.
In fact, my main gripe with this place has to with its offer (at that time) of a very generous 20% discount if you spent at least $50 in the restaurant and pay in cash. And my gripe also has to do with the said head waiter.
I was told by this honourable gentleman that the deal didn’t include drinks (NB: there was nothing about this in the small print on the signboard outside); so I pointed out that the drinks were only $8 - net $52.20, so we were still eligible for the offer.
His Excellency then informed us that prawn crackers weren't included either (NB: there was nothing about this in the small print on the signboard outside). Our new friend did not explain why starchy, deep-fried snacks with minimal nutritional content should be excluded in this way – maybe they don’t count as ‘food’ in his eyes, and who was I to gainsay his culinary prejudices? So anyway, that was another $2. Leaving us at net $50.20 - still eligible for the offer. Phew, thank God, eh?
Perhaps the problem is to do with the widespread lack of good restaurant service in mid-range restaurants all over Singapore. In any case, in my opinion, it isn't worth coming here: there is not one really good thing I can say about this place. There are so many other great places to eat East Coast way that there is actually no need to give any custom to this establishment. If you want a good Thai restaurant, try good old Jim Thompson on Minden Road - or if you feel like slumming it, try Thai Express.
Certain varieties of lemongrass are sometimes used to ward off insects. Well, I can personally confirm it: Lemongrass is, indeed, repellent.
http://www.lemongrass.com.sg/index.html - it seems only polite to list their website here. I took two images from their menu, and the picture of the East Coast branch.
http://www.hungrygowhere.com/singapore/lemongrass_thai_restaurant_east_coast/review/id-060c0200/ - this is where the original, abbreviated review was published.
Some better Thai restaurants in Singapore:
http://www.jimthompson.com/restaurants_bars/singapore.asp - superb restaurant
http://www.thaiexpress.com.sg/ - always feels to me like the Thai cuisine equivalent of somewhere like Swensen’s
http://www.siamkitchen.com.sg/ - a lesser version of Thai Express
If you agree or disagree with what I said, why not leave a comment? It would be great to hear from you!