Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Kain, Rice Table!


Located along the first level of the south wing of Mall of Asia (facing the bay), this resto can be tempting to try as the interiors spell tastefully done. Despite the clean and white facade plus a rather good selection of furnishings, do not let your eyes be deceived. Presentation has its purposes.

The emptiness of the place should've given away the fact that their food sucked. Yes, the photos might look alluring and delicious but it all stops there. Schnapps to The Rice Table though for presentation efforts and for the concept of the Rice Table Set where a pair (or plus one) can easily sample 12 different dishes in super small servings at a fair price.

We really wouldn't have minded the miniscule servings in each plate since altogether they can make your belly burst, but the food isn't really anything more special than your typical cafeteria meals. Yeah the food is palatable but nowhere near cuisine, Asian or whatever. So it's totally not all its sparked up to be.

For starters though, the complimentary prawn crackers were a delight. Served with a hot chili dip Southeast Asian-style, these fritters were enjoyable to munch on. But aside from that, everything else was Bah with a capital B.

The Rice Table starts you off with 2 of the 12 meals, a brothy and gingery soup concoction that isn't really anything to rave about, save for that amusing slice of corn that one can easily nibble on.

As you slurp your soup down, the waiters bring in the medley of dishes that's supposed to impress the hungry diner. But ah, the expectant palate awaits, only to be disappointed.

On this side of the table holds the chicken satay, pork in some sauce, and a tofu omelet. I'd hardly even call that chicken satay -- skewered chicken popcorn plated with a lousy excuse for a satay sauce, nothing more than what tastes like poor watered-down peanut butter. There are about 5-6 small pieces of pork in that other plate, but the meat is only about 30% of one piece, with pig fat composing the rest of the 70%. The sauce, well, it's forgettable. The tofu omelet could've passed as yummy and tasty if it wasn't swimming in the glorious cooking oil it was fried in.

This foursome here includes a cucumber salad, an eggplant dish, beef curry and vegetable curry. A cucumber salad isn't really hard to do, it's a simple mixture of vinegar, a bit of water and some sugar to sweeten it. So I really can't understand why their dish failed, it was as bland as bland can be and the cucumber slices were wilted and mushy to the touch. The eggplant dish can be labeled as tasty, but nothing out of the ordinary. I was annoyed by the curry dishes! I looooove curry, I love how it can be a melting pot of flavors and spices, I love the colors, the scent, the taste, I love curry! So in that regard, Rice Table's curry dishes are not curry. We were robbed of the powerful intensity of flavors that a curry dish can bring. These were weak and watery. We were more annoyed because the "beef curry" seemed to be just the same curry base as that of the vegetables', only they put in two chunks of dry flavorless beef, which weren't even coated with the sauce. They just stood there all dry and bored. Annoying!

Finally, this side here holds a plateful of cold and chewy dilis which we were expecting to be at least crispy, some Pandan Chicken that we thought could've saved the meal because of one small juicy piece, and the Vietnamese spring rolls which weren't anything more than a layers of fried wrapper with hardly any filling in it. The Nasi Goreng was not Nasi Goreng as I've come to know it. The Rice Table's version of this flavorful rice dish is just soy-sauced long-grain rice. Booooring!

So yes, that's quite a mouthful of what I have to rant about. Their saving grace? The gracious and attentive service staff... and maybe their interiors as well.

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