Eighteen Chefs is a cafe that takes in ex-convicts during their last few months of their jail sentence to train them in necessary skills so that they can have a new start in life. It is opened by Benny, an ex-convict himself, who believes that it was God’s grace that pulled him out from his heroin addictions and numerous jail sentences. When it was first opened a while back in Singapore, the cafe had been highly raved about, mainly due to the inspiring stories behind Benny, and also the great tasting menu that was often raved about by food bloggers.
James and me happened to walk past one of the outlets at AMK Hub today and I was excited to give it a try! The cafe operates differently from the normal cafés though. There is no waiter waiting upon your table. Rather, you are given a chit sheet together with the menu upon sitting down at your table. After filling in the chit sheet with your orders, you then proceed to order and pay at the cashier. You also have to take your own utensils to your own table.
I ordered Aglio Olio and top it up with a soup and garlic bread, while James ordered Japanese a Curry Rice. The Aglio Olio was too dry and it was by far, one of the worst I’d ever tried. No kidding. The soup tasted just like any Campbell soup, so I doubt it was homemade. The meat used in the Japanese Curry Rice was not the typical chicken meat used, but rather, it tasted like beef. Many Singaporeans do not consume beef due to religious practices, so a note on the menu that the meat was beef would be much appreciated. Again, it was just another average dish.
Setup of the place was another setback of the place in order to maximize occupancy. The tables were too closely placed beside each other for my comfort, which mean I can practically hear the people sitting at my next table conversing all the time. I’m not too sure if it was due to us visiting on a weekday afternoon, but the place was jammed packed with rowdy students. I couldn’t wait to gobble my food down to leave that noisy place, so I didn’t enjoyed the entire dining experience even though I had wanted to chill out initially. Will I go back again? Well, the answer is pretty obvious. I personally think the food had been over rated. If only the effort taken to prepare the dishes were as inspiring as the story behind the man and his cafe…