Eighteen Chefs: Finally Baked Rice I Like

by Ruth on September 22, 2013

in Food, Reviews

During our most recent staycation at Mandarin Orchard Hotel, we found ourselves at Cineleisure looking for a place to have our lunch.

We didn’t have to look hard. The moment we entered the lift, we were greeted by Benny Se Teo – not in person – but by his prominent photo in an advertisement for Eighteen Chefs.

If you don’t know who he is, Benny Se Teo is an ex-convict who not only successfully set up a few restaurants, he also hires delinquents and ex-convicts so as to offer them a second chance and help them integrate back to society. I found that very inspiring and meaningful.

I remember watching his interview on TV and telling myself we had to try his restaurant one day. So finally there we were, by chance and I was glad we did. In fact, I enjoyed the food so much the first time round, we ended up going back there the following weekend!

The Vibe

As a casual dining outlet serving Western food, the decor is modern and simple, with booth seats lining one side of the restaurant. Youngsters make up the bulk of the customers here, and it’s no surprise given its location. But we also spotted a few more mature diners.

The Food

Eighteen Chefs offers an extensive menu. Besides the usual fare like burgers, steaks,  pasta, you can also find local/Asian items on the menu, such as Japanese curry beef rice, and sweet and sour chicken served with rice, veggies and a sunny side up. Then there’s also the ‘All Day Breakfast‘, ‘Design Your Own Pasta in Broth‘ and ‘Design Your Own BakedRice/Pasta‘.

As my boy loves cheese, both of us went for the cheese baked rice and created our own dish following the steps given in the menu. The hubby designed his own ‘pasta in broth’.

At Eighteen Chefs, customers will write orders on a form, bring it to the cashier to make payment, collect their cutlery, water and sauces, then return to the table and wait for food to be served.

On our first visit, I ordered cheese baked rice to be shared with Kenan. We went with creamy white sauce and salmon (you can opt for additional ingredients, prices vary according to the ingredients). The baked rice came in a thick layer of cheese while the rice was moist and flavourful. They were also very generous with the ingredients. Kenan and I fell in love with the baked rice and one bowl was just not enough for the two of us. Thankfully we were having dessert.

The second time, we ordered one baked rice each. I went for double cheese baked rice in red and white sauce and minced beef (picture below).

 This was the Seafood Aglio Olio that hubby ordered.

Besides the baked rice, I also fell in love with their Black Beauty  - homemade brownie with two scoops of ice cream and chocolate sauce.

It was probably one of the best brownies I had. Moist with the right amount of sweetness and chewy in texture, it was yummy! My only complain is it’s too small a piece! The three of us literally had to fight for each bite. I wish the brownie is twice the size and even if it came with just one scoop of ice cream, it will still make me a very happy woman (… make that three very happy people).

By the way, Eighteen Chefs offers a kid’s menu as well (the image below is taken from their website) and it’s quite extensive.

The Verdict

I was not into baked rice; I never found any of those I had in the Hong Kong-themed restaurants here good. But Eighteen Chefs changed that for me and I’m now a convert.

As for my hubby who ordered pasta  on both occasions, he said the food was just “average”. So I guess it really depends on what you picked. There’s some gems here.

My only complain is the unnecessarily high volume of the music (it was loud both times we were there). You can forget about enjoying a nice, long conversation here – unless you don’t mind shouting to one another.

Overall, I feel that Mr Benny has put in a lot of effort into Eighteen Chefs. He tries to give value to its customers through quality food (some unique dishes and concepts) for the whole family at reasonable prices – there’s GST but no service charge.

More importantly, I support  Mr Benny’s vision of helping ex-convicts and troubled youths. I believe everyone deserves a second chance.

Eighteen Chefs
8 Grange Road,
#04-02 (Cineleisure, in front of Box Office)
Singapore 239695

Tel: 6736 3800

Opening hours:
Sunday to Thursday
11.30am to 10.30pm

Friday, Saturday & Eve of Public Holiday
11.30am to 2.30am


(they have another outlet at Tiong Bahru Plaza)

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