For a couple of months, Chef's Gallery, with it's bright lights and vast, clear windows has called to me. So bright. It's rare that a restaurant makes me feel like a moth.
Finally, I went there.
And the food is good enough. We ordered around 10 dishes, and everything we had was solidly good, without there being a real stand-out. It's also a nice, bright dining room with plenty of staff roaming the floor and ample beverages to wash down the goodness.
But it just didn't get me hard.
And, trust me, if there's one thing you want at a Chinese restaurant, it's to be hard.
It struck me that the problem was that it was trying to add a bit of refinement to normal Chinese fair (albeit with some modernish twists in there). And "a bit" of refinement just confused me. When the handmade noodles with pork, dried bean curb and soya bean sauce arrived, I took a look at them, then a bite of them, and realised that I would have preferred to be eating this at a cheap dive of a place nearby in Chinatown.
So they cooked it in a clean wok and there wasn't any cockroaches in the kitchen? Who cares. I kind of want some old lady to slam the plate (that may not be entirely clean) down on the table then walk off. Not these young things roaming the floor.
I've been conditioned to prefer imperfection when it comes to this sort of food. I don't want thin, perfect noodles. I want thick, wildly made noodles with a bit of bite to them. I want huge, random chunks of vegetable and meat in my fried rice, not uniformly-cut pieces of ham.
And even if they are well made, seeing a plate with just four dumplings on it just seems disappointing next to the standard dozen that they throw together elsewhere.
If they refined it to the levels of somewhere like Spice Temple (or in that ballpark) then maybe it would be a different story, but I left with the feeling that my heart will always point me towards the gems of Chinatown instead of Chef's Gallery. Even if the food is good, the prices reasonable, the service efficient and the restaurant comfortable.
RATING: Okay, may go back [?]