Thursday, September 14, 2006

Colbar, Portsdown Road

Sequestered somewhere in Portsdown Road just before Temasek Club, it's little wonder that this unique little eatery is not so often heard of and mentioned in the press. Word around is that this small eatery has been in operation for somewhat 58 years and the current building it is currently residing was rebuilt brick by brick to resemble the original one it occupied. Singled storied and very mundane looking, Colbar is an easy establishment to miss while driving down Portsmouth. The official address of Whitechurch road also tends to be a little misleading as Whitechurch is essentially a loop and the end of the loop which meets it's beginning is junctioned along Portsmouth. Confusing?

This is the second time Chris and I are attempting a visit to this little known place. The obscurity of the location did not deter it's reputation from the old timers which must have by certain word, passed on the knowledge of it's presence that it even graced the digital domain of Time Magazine. Obscure and mentioned on Time Magazine on the internet. Confusing? Yeah...

One of the quirks that makes this place unique is the furnishing that the establishment has. Contained within what is supposed to be the mess hall of the colonial barracks of history, the interior is a sight which many a local have not seen or will not be likely to see elsewhere in the country. Not for an eatery at least. Upon entrance to the eatery, one will be greeted by sights familiar in the oldest of coffee shops nowadays. Food is ordered at the counter and served it seems by a couple of youthful lads in jeans, t-shirts and chains. Well, it's not a uniform, but it's young people in contrast to the elderly that work in the kitchens and the counter. The establishment's seatings are separated into the smaller spaced interior and a more spacious al fresco of sorts with tables and plastic chairs mostly under a roofed shelter.

So what is it really to be expected from this little aged sanctuary that's secluded in a little travelled to part of the country? I hear that the chicken curry is fantastic. Unfortunately, my whims did not direct me to that. We ended up grabbing the oxtail soup, lamb chop, ham steak and a couple of ginger beers.

The oxtail soup came warm and was definitely really pleasant for the cool evening. It didn't really have anything remarkable to speak of, but for soup at that price, it was definitely value for money. The lamb chop was noted by us to be of better taste than many other western food places that are priced similarly. In fact, I do not recall any other coffeeshop/hawker centre based stores that does it quite like this place does. It even comes with green peas that aren't of the frozen variety. One can taste the lamb which was not drowned in some sauce or another. The Gammon steak is a rare treat here. It seems that this particular dish is rather uncommon and this is probably the 3rd time in my life which I've had the chance to eat one. It came slightly charred with fried pineapples (haha) which I thought went really nicely. You can see from the pictures that they sides on the plate are chips. Chunky cut potatoes which aren't the usual french fries.

If you're in search of a quiet idyllic location for a decent meal away from the noise of the city, this is the place you can check out. What it promises is a time capsule experience which is not likely to be replicated in fashion by other eateries. I did wish I had more room to sample some of the more uncommon sounding fare. Mayhaps, I'll just be back another day.


Anonymous said...

Old place with a nice feel to it, especially on a nice cool evening like the day that we went. Add to the fact that the chefs and owners are probably hainanese, the food has quality and substance. However, the price does leave something to be desired.

LiquidShaDow said...

Yeah, it was a little bit pricey for that kind of food. I'm not sure if Colbar factored into consideration charges for their particular brand of ambience though with their level of