Sunday, July 08, 2007

Aston Food

Everyone said to go to Aston's Specialties in Katong for good Western food - "quality and value for money" is their tagline. They even serve premium beef such as wagyu. HM who is constantly on the quest for the perfect burger had been keeping an eye out, and a ear cocked, for reviews of Aston's burgers. It was she who pronounced that we (we, meaning the two of us plus ES) would be checking Aston's out on Saturday night.

Now, this is the little eatery that has become so popular, it recently upgraded from a coffeeshop to a cafe style setting. Business is so good they no longer take reservations. When I arrived there at 6.40 p.m., about 15 minutes after HM and ES had started queuing for a table, I took a quick count: 30 people in all. We twiddled our thumbs as the queue inched forward. For a fleeting moment, we contemplated throwing in the towel and detouring to one of the nearby Peranakan restaurants. Just then, we were given menus. This kept us occupied and distracted for a while. Then, our orders were recorded on an order slip which was handed back to us for safekeeping. We felt like we had committed ourselves to stay. 10 people between us and the front door - a woman from the back of the queue trotted forward and plaintively asked how long her party would have to wait if they stayed in the queue. Two hours, she was told. HM decided to rush over to Katong Mall to check out the little girls' room there (she's funny that way). She was back before we were seated. Eventually, we would count ourselves lucky to have waited for only one hour, from the time we started queueing to the time we were served our food.

IBC rootbeer

earl grey tea

apple juice

While we waited, we made do with our drinks. The rootbeer was good, not too sweet at all. The tea came with warmed milk, a small touch that impressed HM to no end. (Oddly enough, Aston's considers earl grey tea "specialty" tea.)

my prime ribeye "Xtra cut"

HM forbade me to order any of the premium beef. Her rationale: this being our first time there, we should try their more down-to-earth menu items first, just to test the water. Fair enough. The steak was 250g of pretty decent ribeye, done to a medium rare, although I specified medium. That's not a sin in my book. If a restaurant has to make a mistake with a steak, I'd rather it err on the side of caution i.e. undercook it. At least that shows respect for the meat. I had no complaints about the beef and the rather tasty brown gravy. The two sides that came with the steak though could have been better. (There's a choice of sides.) The mash was so-so and I prefer the pasta in my pasta salad to be rather less limp and soggy.

ES' pepper chicken burger

The chicken burger was good. All three of us liked the pepper seasoning and the chicken was nicely grilled.

HM's ieat super burger

The super burger - 250g of sirloin, bacon, grilled onions, cheese, lettuce, tomato - was the best of the three dishes we had. As HM pointed out, the beef was much better than that used at Botak Jones; Botak Jones either uses too much filler or a poorer grade of beef (I'm not sure which) in its patties, although, admittedly, Botak Jones is cheaper. The bun could have been better though; white bread, even sesame buns, don't do it for us. We prefer something with more texture, more flavour, like the ones used by Carl's Junior. Still, the ieat super burger was definitely good.

All in all, I'd say Aston's tagline is pretty darn accurate. We're not talking gourmet here, but the chefs have got some good moves. The ingredients are indeed of better quality than we'd expect for the usual "western food" stall. And, most importantly for an eatery competing in the cheap but good category, prices were very reasonable. The chicken burger was $4.30, the super burger was $12.50, the prime ribeye was $12.90, and, get this, Aston's doesn't charge for service or taxes. In total, our bill came up to $35.20, for three people. Would we go back for more? I would, to indulge in some premium beef, although I would try different sides the next time. Oh, and we'd make it a weekday night the next time...



Anonymous MM said...

MM is appeased to know that this was only the _first_ visit to Astons, with more to follow I hope.

11:50 pm  
Blogger blobbes said...

well now, MM, you were traipsing around Chiang Mai in search of enlightenment when we went. not our fault... :)

6:08 am  
Anonymous ES said...

Published in this week's 8 Days, ways to beat the queue - go at about 5.30pm or head down to their kopitiam outlet in Serangoon Garden - 56 Serangoon Garden Way, New Huack Hin Coffeeshop, Stall 5/3 or wait for the Joo Chiat restaurant to open in August (it will take reservations).

7:54 pm  
Blogger blobbes said...

HM says we can wait till August. We've got a long list of spicy and cheap food options to explore, now that KKN is gonna be away. I wonder if KKN is reading this...

10:49 pm  
Anonymous MM said...

It is August.

2:22 pm  
Blogger blobbes said...

Aston's blog says mid-August. No sign of the new restaurant as yet...

8:23 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home