British Hainan – Dining with a touch of Nostalgia
Meet Vanessa and her Mum, owners of family-run restaurant British Hainan. Tucked away in the estates of Joo Chiat, dining here feels like we are transported back to 1960s as everywhere is filled with vintage collectibles, from old gramophones, mixers… to even the public pay phone that we used in the past.
Father of the family, Fredrick, is a collector of nostalgia. He even has a warehouse where he stores all his collectibles. The parents have been wanting to start something together as a family, so when opportunity came, they grabbed it quickly and started British Hainan. Their children left their jobs to do this together, very united!
The restaurant serves a variety of British-inspired dishes such as IPA chicken, Hainanese oxtail stew etc.
Dinner started of with some thin-cut strips of Truffle Fries ($10) topped with sprinkles of salt and lashings of truffle oil, served in a rustic basket. The fries were crisp enough, and the saltiness and truffle aroma were balanced, without overpowering each other. We feel like a kid munching on this indulgent treat.
The restaurant has also collaborated with British restaurant, Streets of London, for selected items on the menu including IPA Chicken ($13.90), which is a plate of grilled boneless chicken thigh marinated with Indian Pale Ale infused sauce. The sauce has a teriyaki base and is slightly sweet. We enjoyed the mashed potatoes which is perfectly seasoned.
A must-order is the Oxtail Stew ($24.90). One taste and you can understand why this is a signature dish. It is full-bodied, filling and gorgeous to look at. The oxtail is cooked for about four hours, so it is tender, and the sauce has a slight sweetness. A bit more balance would be better. Another of their signature item is the Lamb Shanks ($28.90).
I am dying to practise my barista skills after I come back from Melbourne and Vanessa has kindly allowed me to use their espresso machine to make a cup of latte. British Hainan serves coffee from Toby’s Estate. I am quite pleased with my cup of coffee, especially my latte art! I spilled many cups of coffee when I was doing it in barista school so I am very surprised that I can make a decent rosetta this time. Pretty even tamper and integration is not bad. Good job, Maureen! *pat on the shoulder*
There are many areas where food can be improved, especially in terms of taste and presentation. But what’s most important is, the owners are willing to take feedback and improve. The warm and friendly hospitality from the owners is definitely the reason for my return. It makes us feel as if we are having dinner at a friend’s house. I believe service is an important part of a F&B business and when you have good service, it is already half the battle won.
Note that they are only opened for dinner on Sunday.
Address: 75 Carpmael Rd 429812
Tel: 6336 8122
Opening hours: Mon, Wed-Sat 11.30am-10pm; Sun 6pm-10pm. Closed on Tues.