Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee is one of those grand old restaurants in Singapore that has a special place in the hearts of many Singapore residents. Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee started more than 70 years ago, as a coffee shop in Bras Basah Road. They switched from western cuisine to serving nasi padang when the British troops left Singapore. We are not old enough to remember them as a coffee shop in Bras Basah, presumably located where Rendezvous Hotel now stands and from whence it got its western name. But we remember them at their subsequent location in Raffles City in the late 80s. They moved to their current premises in The Central along Eu Tong Sen Street (opposite Clarke Quay) around 2010.
Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee in The Central looks very much like how we remember it at Raffles City. The furniture and the flooring are very much the same, but the current food display seems to be smaller than the previous one. They still have the coin operated weighing scale!
Here is the menu for the Nasi Padang at Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee. Ordering is done by going to the food counter and pointing out the items that catch your interest. Tell them the number of people eating and they will decide the portions to be served. The bulky items will be cut into manageable-sized pieces.
Here is a birdseye view of what we ended up with – Korma chicken breast (not spicy) ($7.90), rendang chicken thigh (slightly spicy) ($$9.90), beef rendang ($4.90/piece), begadel ($2.50/piece), cuttlefish sambal (very spicy) ($9.80), cabbage ($$6.50 for medium-sized portion), salad ($1.60) and steamed rice ($1.60 each).
For drinks we had the guava juice ($4.20), lemon barley ($4.90) and Tiger beer ($6.90). The cucumber and onion salad provided a refreshing start to the meal.
The chicken bagadel is one of the must eat items at Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee. Each piece is quite heavy, but like potato chips, you cannot stop eating once you have a taste of it.
The sambal cuttlefish was the spiciest dish that day. Most of the curries at Rendezvous are quite mild so it is good to have some hotter dishes to spice up the meal. The cuttlefish itself was fine, but slightly over-cooked with a slight chewy texture.
Rendezvous Restaurant served three kinds of chicken – we ordered two of them – Korma and rendang for variety. The third kind is curry chicken. We like all of them, but the Korma is always special as it something we seldom see elsewhere. The Korma gravy is smooth and not spicy. The rendang has slightly more kick but still manageable by most people.
Finally, after all the fried food and curries, a little sweetness to cool things down. The chendol ($5.50) comes in a large serving. So we shared it. It is traditional chendol – shaved ice with red bean and the green jelly and sweetened by gula malacca. The chendol brought our meal to a close with fond memories of the good old days.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
#02-72 to 75/77/92, The Central
Tel: +65 6339 7508
Opening Hours: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Nearby MRT Station : Clark Quay