Fifo Food Review > Botak Jones (Ang Mo Kio)
Botak, but big and bold!
Restaurant Review by jaesonli December 07, 2007 2040 views
Botak Jones has quite a cult following in Singapore, with an ang moh owner pledging "American style, restaurant quality food" at coffee shop prices.
Location-wise though, all the outlets are really not places that you'd just happen to pass by, so the number of Botak Jones loyalists thronging the place every evening must account for something.
I finally decided to check out for myself what that something is, and dragged my lazy bum on a lazy Sunday afternoon to Ang Mo Kio.
Blue, bold, and big are three words that immediately come to mind when I think of Botak Jones after lunch today. The blue stall front was the catchiest in the HDB coffee shop, and boasts the highest technology. Waiters -decked in blue polos and bandanas- happily keyed in my order into the computer. From where I was, I saw that the kitchen interior resembled a restaurant's: a chef was busying himself within one of those metallic setups you see in Hollywood movie kitchens.
I called for How's Salad? ($4), Stuffed Jalapenos ($6.50), and Rosemary Lamb Chops ($11.50).
I almost gasped when the plates arrived - the servings were gargantuan. The house -or How's- salad was a huge mountain (think 5cm tall and 15cm in diameter) of iceberg lettuce with handfuls of carrots, olives, onions and feta cheese cubes and slices of tomato. I chose vinaigrette over the boring thousand island dressing, which made all the difference to this starter. The spicy and tangy mustard seeds that compose the wasabi tasting vinaigrette brought nibbling on carrots and lettuce up to a whole new level. And the addition of cheese added a nice complexity of taste and texture to the otherwise bland lettuce-berg.
Chilli lovers -like myself- would absolutely adore the stuffed jalapenos, which are Mexican peppers. Deep fried to resemble tempura ebi, make no mistake thinking this is a tame dish. After all, jalapenos are reputed to be the second hottest chillis in the world. Stuffed with mozzarella, the moment you bite into one of these a gastronomical explosion occurs in your mouth. The hotness amd saltiness of melted cheese that spurts out shocks your tongue and after a few seconds you realise the reason why your tongue's still numb - the spiciness of the peppers takes time to set in. Hot stuff and not for the faint hearted.
The Rosemary Lamb Chops were served with coleslaw and fries tossed with chilli powder. Another huge serving. I requested for my chops to be medium cooked but they overdid it, so it wasn't as succulent as it could have been and was a tad too chewy for my liking. To their credit, the shitake-onion-pepper and rosemary sauces were excellent complements to the meat, accentuating the smokey flavour that lamb lovers adore. The coleslaw was poorly done and limp with little flavour but the fries fared slightly better with a nice sourish kick from the chilli flakes.
Yummy? Definitely, for hawker fare. It beats any other western hawker stall hands down for sure. But its claim of being the "same or better as any full service restaurant" needs some correction. The establishment has yet to smoothen out a few rough edges like their limp coleslaw, and lacks precision in its preparation of items like my lamb chops.
Botak Jones being high-tech and angmoh-run make a coffeeshop experience very novel. But all novelties run the risk of being boring one day. The B-word, I hope Botak Jones will never have as a description.
I'm the 'e' in my moniker - the quirk in a common name.
I like sampling strange, random things and experiences. And meeting eccentric folks, instead of boringly bland people.
- American Cuisine
- Block 608 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5 S(560608)
- Tel: 67551225
- Opens: Mon-Sun 11:30 - 10pm Official Website