Student-run restaurant serves up big portions in a classy setting.
I LOVE a good deal, especially when it comes to food.
At Temasek Polytechnic's Top Table (formerly a restaurant called Saffron), you only pay $10 for a three-course meal. This is as good a deal as it gets.
It is located next to the swimming pool (look for the west entrance) and is closed to the public for now. It will reopen in November, when the next term starts.
This is a restaurant run by the students at the polytechnic's Temasek Culinary Academy.
Lecturers from the Culinary Institute of America teach the students, and local professionals chip in to impart their skills.
The menu is constantly changing, depending on the availability of the ingredients and what the lecturer wants to teach.
The day I sat down for lunch, I had a pork dish, while my lunch companion had chicken.
Both dishes were not too bad, considering the price.
The lecturers will demonstrate the dish to the students and they will prepare it after that.
Don't worry that your food may not be edible, because the lecturers inspect the dishes before they are sent out.
Big eaters will be happy to know that the portions are generous too. Since I hate to waste food, I finished everything. I ended feeling full.
The add-ons in the menu are worthwhile too. Coffees start from $1.50 and mocktails go for $2.
It is a nice place with classy decor and fancy plates. The servers are intelligent and knowledgeable when you engage them in conversation.
But you would imagine a $10 place would be more relaxed but that is not the case.
There is a dress code (no shorts or bermudas or slippers) for adults but the teen clients are in sloppy jeans and sandals, so I guess those are fine.
The dress code, however, didn't prevent the children in the restaurant to run amok, screaming and laughing. It was very distracting.
And while the service is attentive and sincere, some of the students are too eager to please and their enthusiasm is overwhelming.
I spent half my time chewing and the other half wondering what to say when the guy asks me - yet again - how I liked the dish.
But the boy was so polite and nice about it, I felt bad for feeling mildly irritated.
Another suggestion is curtains for the open kitchen.
It is fun to see chefs at work, but when they're looking bored and tasting food from tongs, it gets a bit much.
This restaurant has the best intentions and it is wonderful that students have a place to hone their skills.
But it could be less pretentious.
It will probably do well to remember that it is, after all, a place which serves a substantial and not-too-bad $10 three-course meal.
To find out more about the Temasek Culinary Academy, log on to tp.edu.sg. To make a reservation, call 67806269 (It's open only from November).
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