Just as nobody ever sets out to make a bad movie, I like to think that nobody sets out to open a dull restaurant. But there are moments – like a recent lunch at Charly T’s – when you have to question some people’s judgment.
The restaurant’s logo is ‘Food Journeys’, which roughly translates to food from around the world. This results in a confusing rojak of choices ranging from roast chicken (a pile of which was just sitting around unattractively at room temperature in a big tray at the back of the kitchen), kebab and Spanish omelettes to chicken soup and basil pesto.
The latter’s culinary tautology is a dead giveaway that you shouldn’t be expecting too much from Charly T’s. Though some effort had been made in tarting up the interiors – the giant Iznik tiles on the ceiling were a nice touch – no one would ever mistake this place for anything other than what it is: a no-fuss refuelling stop with enough variety to keep the teens, office set and movie crowd from next door’s Cathay cinema happy.
But if you want finesse, keep walking past.
The salmon yakitori was a surprisingly juicy slab, perfectly seasoned and cooked, but it was accompanied by a messy serving of garlic-flavoured fried rice. Mazatlan grilled prawns looked interesting enough on the plate, but you battled to taste the Mexican connection especially in the mushy, overcooked texture.
It was difficult, too, to place the chicken soup with its undersalted stock and undercooked chunks of carrots and pumpkin. No country of origin sprang to mind, although it did bring back vague memories of a home economics class.
While the steak kebab was tender, juicy and strangely flavourless, the accompanying roast baby potatoes were first rate both in taste and texture – but who orders a main dish for its sides?
As for sweets, everything – from the lonely pair of chocolate muffins to what looked like a cheesecake – was clingwrapped behind the glass counter. They looked neither fresh nor appetising. We ended up skipping dessert, which, for restaurant reviewers, is almost a no-no since we’re meant to try everything. But after that meal around the world, I just wanted off that culinary plane.
|Venue name:||Charly T's||Contact:|
20 Handy Road
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed 11am-11pm; Thu-Fri 11am-2am; Sat 9am-2am; Sun 9am- 11pm|