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  • I'll make no secret of it: I rely on Bon App on lot when I'm looking for new restaurants. It's so easy, convenient, and generally pretty reliable at pointing me to new places to stuff my face with delicious food. 


    It's not infallible, and sometimes you have to take a risk to find that out. 

    See, the current (March 2019) Bon App rating for Orchard CRC is 67% positive. Which, for those of you who aren't familiar with Bon App's generally inflated rating system, is pretty bad. I have never gone to a restaurant with such a low positive rating when I had prior knowledge of its low rating. This means that despite Orchard CRC being very close to my hood, and despite it featuring a cuisine type that we just don't have much of around here (Singaporean), I've never visited it in 2+ years of living here. 

    Fortunately, I noticed a recent Bon App review mentioning how pleased they were with their meal, and how the recent change in head chef was a good thing for the restaurant. Well now I had an excuse to visit, and boy am I glad I did. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of my bill, so I've lost the names of some of the dishes, but I'm sure it'll be clear what I'm talking about when comparing my descriptions to the pictures. 

    Egg + niangao (glutinous rice cake) fried two ways was delicious. The white side was a tiny bit bland, but I suspect that's because I tried it after the dark side, which was rich and soy saucy and delicious. Take a bite of both if you want to even out the flavors maybe. I don't know if this is a particularly authentic take on the dish...I'd need a SG friend to verify for me...but I'm not complaining a single bit about what I got here. 

    The char kway teow was also very good. It didn't quite bring me back to the sidestreets of Penang, but it reminded of them, and that's pretty good. Of course the dish cost way more than it would on a Penang sidestreet, but this is Shanghai.  

    The Hainan chicken with rice was so refreshingly good after the last few disappointing ones I've had in Shanghai. The chicken meat was tender, the fat layer on the chicken was thin but just thick enough to provide moisture, and the rice was perfectly slicked with chicken fat the way it's supposed to be. When done right, this dish manages to be both rich (thanks to the hearty chicken fat) and refreshing (thanks to the cool, lean chicken meat), and this iteration ticked the boxes. I felt the side of soup was pretty bland though. 

    The stir-fried morning glory with sambal was the only hiccup in the meal for me, although my girlfriend liked it. I felt it was a bit too spicy, and I do like spicy food, and I do like sambal, but this just wasn't quite doing it for me. 

    The matcha tea was fine, but I'm farrrr from being some kind of matcha expert, so take that with a grain of salt. 

    Overally, I'd give everything 4 or 5 stars out of 5, except for the too-spicy morning glory. The price was very reasonable for how full we were, something in the neighborhood of 180 RMB if I recall correctly. 

    The interior deocration of the restaurant definitely needs work - an odd color palette of orangey-pink (salmon?) and very old decorations. The leather (?) couch seemed like it was on its last legs, artwork and decorations were very faded and worn, and in general the place still needs a makeover. But the chef change, if that's indeed what happened, has been successful, and I'll be back when I have a craving. 4/5

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SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.