Updated 9th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.
Driving along Garden City about two weeks ago, I noticed a sign outside a quiet strip mall. It was bright yellow and all the Chinese. I knew this place used to be a really quiet bubble tea house called Iced Cafe. We never bothered visiting Iced Cafe because we were not really that much interested in bubble tea and stuff.
The moment I saw that I swung into the carpark to have a closer look. I like checking out new restaurants.
It was this sign that caught my eyes. I can’t really read Chinese but I sure can read $4.99/lb … and that price was over the picture of a crab dish. That was ridiculously low, I thought. I am not sure if you could even buy frozen crabs at this price from the supermarket, let alone have it cooked and served in a restaurant.
Although I knew that this is just a … loss leader to get people into the restaurant and most likely for dinner only, I went in nevertheless to check it out.
Can someone help translate the entire sign above for us all?
From the outside, this place is totally different. It used to look modernish when it was Iced Cafe. Now it looked very traditional Chinese restaurant.
Although the Chinese name had changed a little, they told us they did not bother to change the English name. It is still called Iced Cafe. However, they added one character to the Chinese name and is now known as Jing Long Fang.
I went to this restaurant alone in the first visit. I was pleasantly surprised at this place that I decided to come back again bringing along Suanne to try it.
What blew my mind was their menu. Specifically, their lunch menu. Almost every item is below $5.00. It is mind boggling because at these prices they are even cheaper than the dishes you get in food court. I wonder how they make money at these prices but am not complaining. No siree.
Click on the menu pages above and you will see what I mean. Many of the dishes are pretty good ones and it is varied.
Take a look at the menu page on the left. They have 13 different types of congee and are between $4.00 and $5.00. What I like best is the page on the right. Every items (about 60 dishes) on that page is $4.99 only!
We checked. This lunch menu is available from 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM everyday, including weekends. At first I thought that perhaps they have this ridiculously low priced for the slower weekdays only.
Actually, their appetizers are more expensive than their main dishes. Strange, huh?
And at those prices you would think that this place is some run down place. They actually look very nice with comfortable plush chair. We figure this was what was left from the Iced Cafe days.
We went to this restaurant on a Friday afternoon. Office workers tend to eat out on Friday afternoon but this place was virtually empty. It felt strange given the large space they have (easily fit in 80-90 people). There was one table of middle age couple and another table of two young office workers.
English is a problem here. The older waitress does not speak English but she was friendly and helpful.
The moment we sat down she asked what type of tea we wanted. This is another pleasant thing here. For dishes this cheap, you would have thought they would serve cheap tea. Instead they gave us options like you see in dim sum places. The beauty of it is that this is free tea. No charge at all. Granted that they are not premium quality ones but still.
How can one not want to root for a place like this? OK, even though I also do think that this is not sustainable in the long run.
Suanne decided to get the Slice Tender Beef Noodle in Soup which is $4.75. Our mind was thinking of the Taiwanese Beef Noodle style and never thought of asking. What was served was not a TBN.
Granted that at this price, their serving is smaller than other places serving regular prices. Being small lunch eaters, to us this is just the perfect size (and price). I so wish we have a place like this near my place of work.
Actually, the noodles was quite flavourful. They have a respectable amount of beef slices too.
The noodles used are the usual wonton noodle type. There is also mustard green which has a hint of bitterness. This is a good $4.75 bowl of noodles.
On my first trip alone, I ordered the Beef & Egg Swirl On Steam Rice ($4.99). I like it so much that I ordered this again the second time round. This was the dish that the waitress recommended me the first time I was here when I asked her what is the most asked for dish. It was hard to choose from the list of sixty $4.99 dishes.
While we were there, we saw another table also having this one.
It is moist and eggy. To me it is sort of like one of the best combination of “Jhup and Rice”. Actually this dish is the rice version of the “what darn hor”.
I think I’ll order this again the next time. Just pure comfort food!
We felt too cheapskate ordering less than $10 for the two of us. So we thought we also order an appetizer. As earlier mentioned, their appetizers are more expensive but really they are not overprices.
Since it was the spot prawns season, prawns is on top of our mind. So we ordered the Marinated Chilled Prawn in Chili Oil ($6.98). These are NOT spot prawns but these are really good prawns. They are reasonably sized for the price and the serving is a lot.
Sucking every drop of the jhup is definitely the best part of eating this. It created a bit of a splatter peeling the shells and all.
I think this is one place worth checking out. Just go and see how cheap they are. The food is pretty decent and the ambiance is great (certainly beats any food court!).
I think this is not sustainable in the long run and given the number of people we saw in this restaurant, they sure have problems getting the word out that they are there. After all they are a bit of the way from No 3 Road and Alexandra Road.