Happy Chef, Western beside Hill Street Tai Hwa BCM Review – Unhappy Me


<Why queue for Tai Hwa BCM when you can eat this Western?> was meant to be the title of this article. Happy Chef looked like it had the makings of a good Hawker western stall – good community reviews (score wise it is in fact higher than the michelin Tai Hwa), good reviews from bloggers, rare hawker Western menu items like Schnitzel and Kiev, and situated in a place that crowds go to thanks to Tai Hwa. Apparently they even worked in Sydney before 2006 and got voted as Sydney’s Top 10 by the Sydney Morning Herald and appeared in many TV recommendations!

Happy Chef Menu
Happy Chef Sides

That all seemed like good until I ate here, resulting in disappointment for community and blogger reviews. I guess there was a reason why Tai Hwa retains a queue while Happy Chef doesn’t get to enjoy a spillover effect.

Chicken Kiev – S$11

As I sat and prepared to eat, a person standing in line for Tai Hwa asked, “is that from the western stall? What is that?”

I paused for a moment. Do I tell him that this is in fact a Chicken Cordon Bleu, or do I tell him that it is Chicken Kiev, as listed on their menu? The key difference being that Cordon Bleu is a meat dish that has deep fried or baked meat wrapped around cheese and ham, while Chicken Kiev is chicken wrapped around butter then deep fried or baked.

The garlic bread given is alright, chicken breasts are well seasoned and tender, but that is the extent of the good. While the cheese oozing out of the Chicken “Kiev” might be appealing to many, it tasted like processed cheese. Ham was relatively tasteless beside the well seasoned chicken breast, and while the breading was crisp, there were bitter aftertastes with the unnecessary addition of presumably chili flakes. A brown sauce by the side seemed like it might help a little, but it tasted stale and doesn’t quite add anything to the overall experience.

Fish Schnitzel – S$7

Sutchi fillets are used here, resulting in a very watery flesh with no texture and a relatively thick breading. Mashed Potatoes, taste like instant.

In case you’re still wondering about the guy who asked, I replied, “chicken kiev”, still unsure of the correct answer. Hopefully the guy is smart enough to google chicken Kiev and realize it is in fact not what they are selling. Or maybe he will chance upon this review, and continue his two hour queue for Tai Hwa.

Rating for Happy Chef

I rate food based on how far I am willing to travel, as well as whether I think the price I paid for it justifies it. You can read more about why here.

Travel-meter:
Go queue for your Tai Hwa.

Worth-it-meter:

The price is… alright, but don’t expect anything of the quality.

But I’m just a fat boi… What do other people think?

Lots of good reviews, but I don’t think they are accurate, having eaten here.

The Media
iEatiShootiPost – Old post (2006).
EatBook – Actually corrects the Kiev to Cordon Bleu. 7/10
MissTamChiak – The steaks seem good.
SethLui – Pork Ribs seem good, but not the rest.
DairyCream – Can’t be sure if standards dropped.

The Community
Google – 4.2/5 with 76 reviews.
SBestFood – Got a list of awards and recommendations by TV shows and the such.
Burpple – Most seem to like it.


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