The girlfriend's birthday just passed by over the weekend and this time, the place of choice for dinner was well, unusual given our preferences. The reason was a pure economic one. As I have already spent a fair bit on other parts of the celebration, we decided to utilize this $100 cash voucher that my reservist unit gave to use at SAFRA clubhouses. Looking through the list of restaurants, we decided to splurge it at Jack's Place! (But the plan backfired, read on)
Entering into the SAFRA Jurong outlet was akin a step back in time. It wasn't as nostalgic as dining at the Ship Restaurant, but the place remained pretty much like what I have remembered it to be in the early 90s. Green-checkered table cloth, wooden furniture and the dimmed atmosphere that was typical of Hainanese-Western restaurants in those days.
Another table was also celebrating a birthday and while bringing out the cake, the management played the super old-school birthday song over the sound system. You know, the one with instrumental music and kids singing? I wonder if it was still stored on a cassette tape!
This amounted to about a glass and a half each. I thought it was good to come up with such a serving quantity and I have yet to see it anywhere else. Note that this falled under the "freshly squeezed fruit juice" section, while there was another relatively cheaper selection of "refreshing fruit juice". Go figure.
Lobster Bisque ($5.50), Cream of Shitake Mushroom ($4.50)
The rich and thick flavour of the bisque was at first delightful with the occasional bits of lobster meat, until we got tired of it halfway through. Seasonings were also not mixed properly as we had mouthfuls that were overwhelmingly salty. The other chef recommendation also turned out to be a rather ordinary mushroom soup.
Complimentary Garlic Bread
Served together with the soups, the two large slices were warm and fluffy with a generous amount of garlic spread. I like!
Mushrooms With Slipper Lobster & Crabmeat ($9.50), Onion Rings ($4.20)
A signature starter supposedly, this was downright disappointing. I was quite sure the saucepan was merely for decorative purpose, as the lukewarm button mushrooms and melted cheese were just too bland. Don't even talk about the seafood stuffing that were almost non-existent.
Onion rings because we felt like it! However, they served it lukewarm (again) and upon telling the nice waiter, he sent it back to the kitchen without a question and got it returned crispy hot!
Grilled Cod Fish with Watercress Sauce ($22.00)
The girlfriend continued her love for cod fish with this house specialty. Two large fillets that were fresh and tender, drizzled with a refreshing Chinese-influenced sauce (Watercress soup, anyone?). Didn't quite melt her heart the way Dunearn did a year ago, but still more than satisfied!
Lobster & Steak Combo ($38.00)
As for myself, I had the most expensive single item on the menu! Served on a sizzling hotplate, the grilled lobster was crunchy and meaty, though the brown sauce was a tad salty for my liking. The other co-lead, New Zealand striploin, was done medium and fared average. That's fine since I didn't have high hopes for NZ beef anyway!
Both dishes were served with baked potatos that were later offered toppings of sour cream, bacon bits and spring onion. Classic goodness!
Bill for two was $108.40 after taxes, too full to attempt desserts. And just as I was about to happily top up $8.40, the waitress told me that my voucher could not be used as it was lacking the stamp of my approving officer. Sheesh, punked by SAF even as a civilian..
To be fair, Jack's Place is a good place for fuss-free western options, as long as you don't pick on whether your steak is of USDA Prime quality. Their value-for-money set lunches and student meals are still very much sought after! In fact, I thought that it makes a nice training ground for kids, learning the ABCs of western dining before moving on to more sophisticated meals.
Most importantly, its who you eat with that matters!
Jack's Place 333 Boon Lay Way #2A-01 SAFRA Jurong Club Tel: 6795 9226 Outlets Islandwide