Monday, September 19, 2005

It's a Steamy Affair in this Basement

Chien Kee Steamboat
6001 Beach Road
Golden Mile Tower, #B1-20
Opening Hours: 11.30am - 10pm
(Everyday except Chinese Festive Seasons)

The old building didn’t seem to have much life as we entered it, but down in the basement, there is certainly a sign of life there. When I stepped out of the lift, all I could see were tables and more tables covered with raw food, satay, chicken and the hot steamboat. We walked around to try to find an empty table and the front desk so we could either register our name with the wait list or at least to get them to find us a table, but we tried to look for either a table or a person to help us, we uncovered that the restaurant is sprawled across the whole of the first basement: tables were lined up outside closed shops, tables were in vacant shops, and everywhere you looked there were tables, and more tables. There isn’t much of a system except those of nature: survival of the fittest. You have to be sharp and perceptive to place yourself in a strategic position to wait for a table that is about to finish, and make sure you mark out your territory, such that when others pass by, they know you are waiting and won’t prey on your table as well. Once you get your table, sit and wait patiently: there is some sort of system, once someone spots that you have got a table, they will come over, clear it, and take your orders.

Nosh: Raw food for steamboat is ordered in terms of fixed priced plates, all you determine is if you would want a seafood mix, or additional beef. In addition to the raw food that is served on really retro aluminum plates, you can order their Hainanese chicken rice and some satay to go along with your steamboat meal.

The steamboat food is fresh, but the range is limited, and so for a person like me who likes variety, it was too simplistic. However, the chicken rice, satay and the chili condiment was pretty fantastic. The rice is fragrant and is a wonderful base for the blander boiled foods that you cook in the steamboat, and so eaten together, it is a pretty well orchestrated symphony.

Pay: S$10-S$15 a person.

Service: Slow and generally not too friendly since they have about a hundred tables to deal with and so they are pretty glad to just do the job and turn the table around.

Side note: An interesting basement eating experience, but not to be repeated in the near future.

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Blogger Tym said...

This place is a classic! But I also like my steamboat spreads simple, so as long as the rice and chilli sauce is good, I'm happy.

Speaking of happy, note: do not eat at Happy Pay Steamboat.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the satay sure looks good. may i know what's in the seafood menu? thnks!

at this price range, i guess it isn't fair to fault them on their services.

Marina South isn't any better, and look at how the dump load the meats, squids, prawns etc ... machiam food for refugees LOLz

anyway, do allow BYO fans right? I hope no charges for using their electrical outlet hehehe ...

7:37 PM  

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