A new beef noodle restaurant has commenced business in the Ion Orchard. It is located at basement 3, next to the Imperial Treasure Noodle restaurant. Hock Lam Beef Ion Orchard claims to be Singapore’s oldest Teochew Beef Kway Teow with its roots dating back to 1911. We can’t verify that statement, but there are certainly some very old photos, such as the one above, displayed in the restaurant that suggest their business had indeed started a long way back.
The Hock Lam Street Beef Noodles restaurant is nicely decorated with warm wooden finishes that makes it feel inviting. They also display some retro photos and restaurant paraphernalia to add interest to the place. It was a pity that the part of the storage area including the chiller for drinks were left exposed at the back, spoiling the otherwise calm and uncluttered restaurant setting.
A standard bowl of beef noodles costs $9.90. You get to customise your bowl of noodles by choosing the noodle, the broth and the toppings. First, select your preferred choice of noodles – kway teow, yellow noodles or bee hoon (thick version). Then the broth – superior herbal broth or thick herbal gravy. For toppings – select from mixed beef, beef ribeye and brisket, ribeye only, ribeye and beef balls and beef tendon. You can add $2 to get a set meal which gets you an additional egg, two slices of orange and a drink.
Another option, braised Angus Beef With rice is available for $12.90. The set meal version was $15.90. We ordered one of this and a beef noodle set.
For our beef noodles, we opted for kway teow with superior broth with only ribeye slices. The taste of the broth was robust and rich. A lot of time and work must have gone into making it. It is already quite viscous so I can’t imagine what the “thick gravy” version would be like. The kway teow was thin and smooth – not as thin as the ipoh hor fun variety but sufficiently thin to be almost translucent. The ribeye slices were very tasty. Since it is ribeye, there are some fatty bits which add flavour and tenderness to the meat.
The Angus beef set came with a braised egg and some sliced tofu. The beef was of course the main attraction and I must say it was good quality beef – very flavourful and with a good balance of fat. My only complaint is that the portion was very small. The beef was sliced so thin that they disappear quickly in your mouth. There was probably more beef in the beef noodles than on this platter.
The verdict? It is clear that we liked the food. We are happy to eat here again. The only thing that kept nagging us was the mental comparison of the price of beef noodles here and with traditional beef noodles at food centres. Clearly this is unfair as the ambience here is quite different and rent at the Ion can’t be cheap.
Objectively speaking we can’t fault them for this kind of pricing as a comparable bowl of ramen would cost considerable more, yet are drawing in the crowds. In this regard, we hope Hock Lam Beef Noodles Ion would help us make the mental adjustment by making the restaurant experience more complete by upping the service a notch and clearing the exposed storage area so that the place does not remind us of a coffee shop. Perhaps only then will we stop making the comparison with prices at the original Hock Lam Street.
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs
Hock Lam Beef
Ion Orchard #B3-18
2 Orchard Turn
Open Hours: 10 am to 10 pm
Nearby Stations: Orchard