Truly Test Kitchen: Gen-Y hawker daredevils

This review is going to be short and sweet. Mainly because most of you who have dined there have called it as it is. Truly Test Kitchen, set up by the two tenacious owners of Truly Curry Rice formally located at Telok Blangah Drive Food Centre have since moved to 'greener pastures',which in retrospect appear to be devastatingly dreary circumstances - stranded right in the middle of Taiseng industrial estate. Located on the level 7 of Jun Jie industrial building, chills run through my spine as we rode up the passenger lifts with a peculiar long pole straddling the entrance way to prevent delivery men from their hooligan ways. Let's be honest, to say that Truly Test Kitchen serves up 'budget cuisine' wouldn't be doing it justice since I've had personal experience working in the central kitchens of Taiseng before, my only form of sustenance in the afternoons being $2 economy rice from nearby staff canteens, which proved to be beyond satisfactory on your meagre breaks. Then again, what the owners have done right is to harvest customers from both sides of the spectrum. Using attractive pricing to lock down the 'locals' and using their hipster image, touting a gansta name and riding on waves of social media to draw in the unsuspecting victims who want a slice of the provincial pie. For that, I salut the steadfast efforts of the two Gen-Y hawker daredevils.

Taking charge of the entire coffeeshop, the couple spare no expense in dealing with outsider tenants who might hamper their overall reputation. Instead, they strive to create a holistic approach to canteen food, providing everything from curry rice to western food and even handmade meatball porridge. This 4-prong approach seemingly effective in spreading out the workload.

"VALUE": the word so stressed upon when Joel, owner of the rogue hawker stall talks about his fixation with providing meals by the people, for the people. Elevation of prices even by the slightest amount, a representation of his failure in being a hawker.

Open stunningly early at 7am for breakfast, Truly Test Kitchen gets all the chops for being really hardworking young chaps. The impression enveloping me with guilt factor after learning that Joel submits himself to 16km of running on a daily basis to keep himself sane; mad props for that. Earnestness aside, the kitchen churns out delicious heartwarming fare such as this traditional delicacy of Deep Fried Yam Cake ($2) at enormously affordable pricing. Knowing that it had been painstakingly chopped, steamed and freshly battered and pan fried daily makes the product even sweeter, the laborious taste of dedication coming through. 

Another perennial favourite is their Signature Curry Noodles ($3.50), pinching only slightly at the wallet but filling the stomach with so much gratification. Feeling a little under the weather? - you've got the mighty comforting 牛肉碎粥 ($3) to the rescue. Not so much your Teochew-style porridge but more of something you'll tuck into when you're little. Perfect if only they have spoonfuls of marmite to accompany that. I would, however, avoid the Curry Chicken Chop Noodles, the seasoning on the extrinsically al-dente noodles neither vinegary, sticky sweet nor salty, meandering on borders of  mediocrity as the fried chicken chop, and accompanying band of accomplices swoop into the rescue. Unfortunately, overly deep fried luncheon meat bearing resemblance to a doorstopper and dried mushrooms, carelessly hacked and still dry, are not able to salvage the situation.

Stick with your guns and get the Curry Rice instead. Nothing beats a plate of rice loaded with chicken cutlet or braised pork belly and a mountain load of chap chye with a mixture of two curries slathered on generously. First the assam curry for a tinge of piquant tanginess and then the usual suspect ladled over, drenching the lot. At Truly Test Kitchen, the curry rice almost always provides a sense of satisfaction, the no-frills rendition making you wish you had a bottomless stomach. 

Finally, we've arrived at Truly Test Kitchen's most talked about offering: the Chicken and Waffle ($4.50). Admittedly the cheapest rendition you can get, you'll come to realise that the fried chicken cutlet hails from the curry rice store hence cost can be kept to a minimal. A flatpan of golden brown chicken, bone-in is smashed and fried til' concedingly golden brown. The pertinent edges of skin forming crispy crackers, perfect for dunking into extra curry (if yur partner has chosen the curry rice route). Whilst the waffle is the usual sort, a baking powder raised fella with a mild crisp edge when hot, resolving itself to a limp mediocre state when the temperature drops. It can be resurrected though, with generous drizzles of maple syrup. Still for $4.50, you get your money's worth - not the mention the crazy load of fries that accompany the lead. That being said, $4.50 doesn't buy you true Southern comfort, no peppering of chives nor the soft tangy nudgings of buttermilk and paprika are present; hence by all means, I'm willing to double up or more for my Fried chicken and waffle fix. Visit here to find out my top 5 favourite waffles in Singapore!

Will I return to Truly Test Kitchen again? You bet my bottom dollar, I will.Only because Truly Test Kitchen is living proof that the strawberry generation can take a hard-knocked life, it is heartening to witness youngsters taking over a dying trade that might eventual be forgotten when the older generation of hawkers pass on. So go forth, venture into the concrete jungle and buy yourself a curry peng lunch.You can thank me for it later.

Btw, use my promo code "Flawed" on the Holler.Out  app to enjoy 10% off your bill with a minimum spending of $5. Spread the word around, would you?

Truly Test Kitchen
153 Kampong Ampat #07-05
Jun Jie Industrial Building

Operating Hours:
Mon-Sat: 7am - 2 30pm
Sun: Closed

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tried this recently.

Location not the easiest to find. Lift is partially hidden on the other side from entrance after the aquarium supplies shop.

Price is very affordable, yet some of the portions were not as fabulous as reviewers / bloggers having & describing. Perhaps need to whip out camera and claim as reviewer to get that portion.

Waffle chicken is indeed huge, but mostly it's the waffle size. Curry rice also get generous rice portion.

Taste wise it's a hit and miss, some are great, the fries are too salty.

Anyhow, great efforts by these youngsters.
Might give second tries, only if happened in vicinity.