Let’s Have A Rendezvous!
The restaurant started in 1950’s the old Rendezvous Hotel as a coffeshop in Bras Basah Road to its current address here at Eu Tong Sen Street. Its popularity has not waned even after so many years.
The last time I had a Rendezvous was when they were located in the shopping mall of The Westin Stamford & Westin Plaza. That must be at least a decade ago.
You go to this “buffet” counter, choose your food and take your order card along and leave it in your table. The waiter/waitress would then serve your food and take the order card to the cashier. After you are done with your meal, you pay at the cashier’s.
I was a little ahead of the lunch crowd and got a seat next to the glass wall overlooking Clark Quay.
I had cancelled on Jerry last Wednesday as mentioned in The Pleasures of Being Together post, so this was a make up lunch. Since I was buying, Jerry left me to do the ordering. I asked if he was allergic or had any particular dislike dishes and he said no. I went ahead and ordered what I thought he might enjoy and he did, all except one which he later divulged he doesn’t eat and I had to eat it all by myself. Can you make a guess?
Sambal Cuttlefish/Sotong S$4.50
Sambal and Cuttlefish both my fav and in this combo, what can I say except “Shiok!”
Sayur Lodeh S$3.60
“Coconuty” fragrance and mild. The cabbage and carrots were very tender, the way I like it. The ladies fingers must have been added much later as they were still crisp and not slimey. Good!
You can choose not to have Sambal topping.
The brinjal were fried in oil so they were a little oily.
The flesh was soft and smooth. I could easily break the skin with my fork and spoon.
Sambal Goreng with Prawns S$4.20
French beans, taukwa (firm tofu), tempeh (fermented soya bean cake) and small prawns cooked in sambal. I like the way Rendezvous do it. The vegetable was crisp, prawns succulent and not dry. Most other places tend to over cook this dish rendering the vegetable limp and prawns dry.
It looked fiery, hmmm… it’s not but don’t take my word for it. Lim had a different capsaicin heat tolerance from mine. He’s breaking out in perspiration!
Korma Chicken Thigh S$8.50
The Indian version of korma chicken is curry made with yoghurt, coconut and spices. I wonder if the Indonesian uses yoghurt too. I did not detect any sourness or tang from it. Whatever, this dish is great for those who like milder curries.
Sambal Prawns S$6 each
The sambal was similar to the one used in sambal sotong but there’s a slight “prawny” fragrance to it, probably from the juices of the prawn heads.
Sambal Fried Fish S$4.50
Like the brinjal (eggplant/aubergine), you can opt out on the sambal.
Definitely meat but was it considered Curry or Rendang?
Mutton Curry S$4.50
This dish is in between curry and rendang – too rich for curry and a little watery for rendang. The spice infused mutton was not gamey and was fork tender while retaining the chewy meaty texture. Lim went for his dental this morning and could chew on them quite effortlessy.
Cucumber Salad S$1.50
Tongue savers, hahaha…
You know what? Let’s have a rendezvous! I just realised, this very second as I am preparing this post that they had forgotten to give me my soup. I am going back to get my soup! Wow! You must think me crazy for this uproar over a soup…
I could still remember the taste of aromatic lemak (rich in coconut milk) curries – very different from the Indian, Nonya or even Malay style. The rempah (spice pastes used in many dishes throughout the Southeast Asian region) used may be similar to the Nonya and Malay cuisine but the tastes differ vastly. Curries, whilst prominent in the Southeast Asian cooking, depends a lot on the wet or dry rempah mix to give the cuisine it’s uniqueness. At Rendezvous Hock Lock Kee, the curries although spicy (as in spices and not chilli hot) are never tongue numbing and that’s what I enjoy about eating here. For tongue numbing cuisine which I also like, I go for Thai food (although I must add that not all Thai food are fiery hot).
Some of the wonderful dishes from Rendezvous HLK are Chicken & Beef Rendang, Sambal Sotong, Sambal Prawns, Chicken Korma, Chicken Goreng, Curry Chicken, Chicken Liver, Sambal Fried Fish, Curry Fish, Sambal Goreng, Sambal Brinjal, Sambal Eggs and Soup (looked like Soto Ayam but was told it’s Beef Soup).
Getting the definition of “rendezvous”, the dictionary dispensed, “A prearranged meeting place, especially an assembly point for troops or ships” and no wonder…
Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee’s history began more than 7 decades ago, when it started as a coffee shop in Bras Basah Road. It soon became a very popular meeting place for the thousands of British troops stationed in Singapore then.
The gradual withdrawal of the Australian, New Zealand and United Kingdom (ANZUK) Forces from South-East Asia in the 50s soon influenced the decision to phase out the Western cuisine served. The name, Rendezvous, coined for the convenience of these patrons then, soon became a household name that is synonymous with Nasi Padang, from the early 50s right to this day.
With the troops withdrawal, the late Mr Seah Soo Khoon, the father of the present owners, made the unprecedented move to introduce to the shores of Singapore, a new mouth-watering cuisine from Western Sumatran, the Nasi Padang, which soon became a hot favourite among its local patrons.
Today, the popularity of Rendezvous’ nasi padang has spread far and wide to countries like Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and more… Take a trip down memory lane with us and savour the scrumptious aromatic spread that our neighbouring countries’ foreign dignatries have been indulging in over the years.
Info on Rendezvous Hock Lock Kee taken from their website. Click here to view their menu and address.
Our table was full of “sampling” dishes. It’s like what a rice table in Indonesian padang shop would serve except here, you cannot return “uneaten” dishes.
The food was so delicious, we polished off everything.
The place was full when I left. It’s lunch time! Glad I beat the crowd. Now it’s time for coffee 🙂
Happy eating 🙂
P.S. The food that Jerry disliked was the brinjal.
Rendezvous Restaurant Hock Lock Kee
Address: 6 Eu Tong Sen Sreet,
#02-72 to 75/77/92,
Tel: +65 6339 7508
Fax: +65 6339 7808
Daily 11:00 am – 9:00 pm