Thursday, September 14, 2006

Colbar, Portsdown Road

Sequestered amidst Portsdown Road just before Temasek Club, it's not much wonder that this unique eatery is not so often heard of and mentioned. Word was that they have been in operation for around 58 years and the current building it is currently residing was rebuilt brick by brick to resemble the original one it occupied. Single storied and very mundane looking, Colbar can easy to miss. The official address at Whitchurch road could be a little misleading as Whitchurch is essentially a loop and the end of the loop which meets its beginning is along Portsdown. There's where Colbar is. Confusing? Not if you see it in person.

This was the second time Chris and I were attempting a visit to this not so well known place. The obscurity of the location definitely did not deter it's reputation. Old timers which must have by 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 made this place unique were the furnishings. Contained within what is supposed to be a 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 is greeted by sights familiar in the oldest of coffee shops nowadays. Food is ordered at the counter and served by a couple of youthful lads in jeans, t-shirts and chains - young people in contrast to the elderly that work in the kitchens and behind the counter. 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 to be expected from this little aged sanctuary that's secluded in a not so well travelled to part of the country? I hear that the chicken curry is fantastic. Not today 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 was served warm and was pleasant for the cool evening. Didn't have anything remarkable to speak of but for soup at that price, it was pretty decent value for money. The lamb chops tasted better 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 canned green peas. One can taste the lamb which was not drowned in some sauce. The Gammon steak is an unusual treat here. This particular dish is uncommon and this could be the 3rd time in my life which I've had one. Came slightly charred with fried pineapples (haha) which I thought went nicely with the salty ham. On the side are chips. Chunky cut potatoes which obviously aren't French fries. If one is in search of a quiet idyllic location for a decent meal away from the noise of the city, this could just be that place. What it promises is a time capsule experience which is not likely to be replicated in fashion by any other eateries here. I did wish I had more room to try some of the more uncommon sounding food. 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