|The facade of a sweltering afternoon.|
Written by Mu Yao, 26th June 2012
We received an invitation from Felicia from the Tea Party Cafe to try out their new dinner menu.
|Trying the new dinner menu.|
|The lunchtime crowd! Popular place!|
|The cute wall murals adorn this cheery place.|
This is my first time being to Tea Party Cafe, and I liked the cheery, homely, no-frills atmosphere. The many mini-murals and paintings on the walls were a nice touch to the lime green walls in the thick of the lunch hour crowd. I guess, looking at the prices here, it is a pretty affordable answer to have a good and hearty lunch, fuss-free and unpretentious. Especially when it's first located in the heart of the city, at China Square.
C, my dining companion, had the Pork Chops ($13) while I tried the Sirloin Beef Steak (200gm) ($21.50). We also requested for a tasting portion of their recommended and apparently quite popular Beef Bolognese ($8.90).
|Pork Chops ($13)|
The mashed potatoes and the boiled sides of vegetables were the same for both my steak and the chops. The mashed potatoes were not as finely mashed, but it gives that homely, chunky texture. Simple seasonings, like butter, salt and pepper were used. It's au naturel, just like the vegetables, which to me, tasted a little raw. I mean, if you like health food, this sure floats your boat, but I would have preferred a little more salt or something in it. :) It could have be boiled longer too. But the sides are a healthy choice, so I'm not complaining, if you are the health conscious sort of course.
|The Sirloin Steak ($21.50)|
As for the beef steak, I do feel that for $21.50, it is a little on the steep side, because I would actually expect a New York Strip or Ribeye for that price. The natural direct comparison would naturally be to chains like Astons'. The meat was tough and almost sinewy, as I would expect from a sirloin that was well done. However, keeping in mind that this is a more muscled cut of beef, I would think that serving it medium as the default wellness of the beef would be a much better thing. Otherwise, one might consider changing to proper cutlery?
The beef steak's redeeming quality was that it was fairly well marinated and savory. It's an okay effort for casual bistro fare, but not something that will stand out, only mediocre.
|Beef Bolognese ($8.90)|
Perhaps the strongest suit of this restaurant is not its mains, but its pastas. The beef bolognese, apparently very popular and rightly so, is one of the best I've ever had. There's a sweetness to this dish that complements the savoury dimensions of this dish, not to mention the fairly generous chunks of minced beef mingled in the strands of pasta. And the pasta - soft with still a bit of bounce, a slightly softer version of al dente. All pasta should be this good. Hello Pastamania, you've got a choice - lower your prices or lose business. Kthnxbye.
And of course, as a sweetener there's also a free flow of soup. But I mean, not just any kind of soup. It's has probably one of the best French Onion soups I've ever tasted, giving the finer restaurants a big run for their money. The sweetness is amazing, light and not too earthy with the onion taste. There was also a home-style chicken soup though, which was, after tasting the French Onion Soup, pretty average.
I think the whole proposition with the Tea Party Cafe is that it has always prided itself on serving good, hearty, unpretentious food with good value, and it should stay that way. The pastas certainly leave me wanting to go back for more. If I were to be in the area sometime, I would definitely drop by, for a fuss-free meal that provides great value.
Unpretentious, fuss-free, convenient, popular - this will be the reasons why this little cafe will succeed and do well in the cut-throat environment of the F&B world.
Tea Party Cafe, China Square Central
3 Pickering Street, #01-27,
Tel: 6536 5667
Open: 8AM - 10PM (Mon to Sat)