Previously known as Manhill Restaurant, Hillman 99 is a Chinese restaurant along Pasir Panjang Road, near Haw Par Villa? It is now known as the Hillman 99 Restaurant, but the Manhill name is still alive, on the signboard and on the menu. We took a walk down memory lane recently.
Is it the Hillman 99 Restaurant or is it still the Manhill Restaurant? That was the question on our minds when we decided to revisit the old restaurant in Pasir Panjang which we last visited 30 years ago. According to the Hillman Restaurant website, their first outlet opened at Cantonment Road in 1963. In 1973 they opened the branch at 99 Pasir Panjang which they named “Manhill”. There are now two locations in Singapore – Hillman Restaurant at Kitchener Road and Hillman 99 Restaurant at Pasir Panjang Road. I guess they use the same name but with the unit number “99” in the address to differentiate between the two restaurants. There is a Hillman restaurant in Osaka Japan.
We arrived for lunch at Hillman 99 restaurant on a weekday, hoping to avoid the crowds. The restaurant itself was relatively quiet but there are also other food places and parking was limited. Unable to find a parking space nearby and we decided to do take away instead. We subsequently discovered a large parking lot about 100 m up the road which we might use for a future visit.
The interior of the former Manhill Restaurant in Pasir Panjang still has a very retro feel. The last time I was here was more than 30 years ago with some colleagues. I cannot remember exactly what it was like and what has changed, but it still has a restaurant from the ’80s vibe.
Customers have long memories. I believe that like us, many still remember this restaurant as Manhill. Which may perhaps explain why they still have the Manhill Restaurant signboard above the front door and also the menu. Here are pictures of some sample pages from the menu.
Lunch from Manhill Restaurant or Hillman 99 Restaurant
This is a picture of our takeaway food from Hillman 99 or Manhill Restaurant – paper wrapped chicken ($16 for 6 pieces), claypot beef brisket ($16), pork ribs ($16) and Yang Chow fried rice ($9).
The pork ribs (picture below left) was a very good choice. The meat was tender and well marinated. It was charred at the edges to create a smoky flavour that reminded us of bak kwa. Manhill’s paper wrapped chicken (picture below, right) seems to be highly rated and so it was the dish that we had to order. The chicken itself was good as it was cooked just right and very tender. But it was rather oily and salty.
The beef brisket was probably the weakest dish that day. The beef was tough and the gravy was not very rich. Much better was the fried rice – very well fried with the rice very dry yet still fluffy. With so much recent publicity about egg fried rice, I think this is one of the best we have eaten recently. In fact together with the pork ribs – they are the two dishes that are making us think of going back to Hillman 99 restaurant or Manhill restaurant.
Hillman 99 Restaurant (Pasir Panjang)
99 Pasir Panjang Road,
Tel: +65 6474 6835
Opening Hours: 11:30am–1:45pm; 5:30–9:45pm
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog