Usually, I’d rather not blog about mediocre food, but this was one so awful that I felt I have a social responsibility to warn potential patrons about yet another of BreadTalk co’s half-hearted attempt.
I have a long perception of their premium price but usually low quality food, but was somehow taken in by the picture of their Laksa and decided to trust them one more time. When I was at their outlet, I found their Laksa set meal cost $6.10, and came along with a cup of Barley drink or ice lemon tea. I felt the price was unreasonable (restaurants apart, not even the best Laksa in Singapore charges that much!), so settled for their Mee Rebus set meal instead, which was ‘slightly’ cheaper at $5. I thought if it failed me, then at least George Quek, the owner behind the franchise, would earn $1.10 lesser from me. LOL!
It was very miserable for $5. So bad that I felt I chose not to take any picture of it at all. Firstly, the gravy was mediocre, nowhere near the usual standard you would expect from any Malay stall in a coffee shop or hawker center, not to mention the price was very much higher. The fragrance of the gravy could only be considered good enough if it had come out from an amateur cook’s first attempt. Then, after charging $5 for what I learned to be very miserable portion of noodle with a glass of Barley drink, which looked half the portion on their display placard (does George Quek know what is the difference between a slope and a hill?), also they would be so stingy not to include peanuts nor coriander leaves as part of their ingredients! How much does peanut cost? S$25,000? Or George Quek had never tasted a genuine Mee Rebus in the first place? And let’s not even mention any concern of nuts allergy since they were selling peanut butter toast anyway.
After the meal, I left feeling cheated. So frustrated that, for once, I didn’t want to clear my tray upon leaving (I always do that in hawker centers and food courts). Yes, the rental may be high, and kudos to George Quek for generating job opportunities, I might as well help him with that, and he can really do with the over-charging to get additional cleaners. Really, the whole ingredients (including noodle, a mediocre portion of Tofu, green chili, sliced egg. Period) probably cost < S$1, I am willing to pay for quality food and keep my mouth shut if it’s of decent quality, but in this case, it’s truly implausible. It’s only slightly better than Singapore Armed Forces’ free cook house food long before they sub-contracted out their food catering back in the early 1990s, And I swear even the street vendors’ version I tried way back in the mid 1980s tasted better for a mere $1.20 then.
Note: This is NOT from Toast Box, but how a NORMAL Mee Rebus from a food court is like, for merely $3.50
Now, let me share how a moderate Mee Rebus should look like. The above picture was taken from a normal food court (definitely not George Quek’s franchise), the portion was more than double that of Toast Box, with better gravy and more ingredients than Toast Box’s miserable version, and a more appealing outlook, tasted a few times better! No, I ain’t not bragging.
On a subsequent visit, I asked the cashier whether I could just have the stand-alone Bee Tai Bak (a kind of white, short and thick vermicelli) Laksa, minus the mediocre drink, and was offered the price of $5.10 too.
Laksa Bee Tai Bak, $5.10 (or $6.10 with a glass of drink)
Hmm… at least something. It’s really worth trading in the mediocre drink for a slightly better meal like this at the same price of the set meal for their terrible mee rebus or mee siam, here with ingredients such as Tau Por (tofu puffs), fish cakes, half sliced egg, and three small prawns, but no cockle, the quantity of the ingredients still easily more than double that of the mee rebus. Seriously, having tried their lousy mee rebus, nothing much could have come worse. Despite that, I am not saying their Laksa deserve a mentioning. If I have to use one word to describe it, it will be mediocre. But at least the food portion is reasonable. The gravy is slightly spicy, though not hot enough to make me sweat, and the prawns tasted not fresh. Overall, the quality still lack behind general stalls from a normal food court, moreover with its price very much higher. Granted, given the name, perhaps I couldn’t expect any quality in their food other than their toast, but having also tried that before, it was about the worst among the local coffee franchise one can find in Singapore. Really, I still have that feeling of sponsoring much to their rental or to their shareholders’ pocket. Not a franchise I would recommend.