Some expensive dishes in Singapore are just so underwhelming that they’re not worth ordering at all.
A meal at a restaurant should impress, and be worth every penny. Paying for some restaurants’ signature dishes are entirely justified because of the complexity it takes to prepare them, and the experience of savouring each bite. (And when you pay using a dining credit card like the OCBC 365 Card, you get small discounts on your final bill.)
However, there are some expensive dishes in Singapore that are so underwhelming, you have to wonder if anyone even orders them at all.
If you want to dine out without wasting your money, avoid ordering these dishes:
1. Baked Potatoes
Let’s throw steamed vegetables into this pot too; baked potatoes and steamed vegetables are the simplest to recreate at home. You won’t have to pay a premium (it’s $4.90 at Tony Roma’s), and cooking at home is probably healthier because you are able to control the amount of cream dolloped on. Thanks, but no thanks, Tony Roma’s.
Chef-owner Cheng Tsin Yao may assure the best combination of meat in his Omakase Burger (S$14.90), but for the restaurant’s self-service setup and the (small) size of the burger, you’d be better off going to the butcher, customizing your own blend of meat cuts, and forming your own (bigger) patties.
Eggs are probably one of the cheapest ingredients in the pantry, with one of the highest mark-ups. A dozen eggs at the supermarket are priced at S$2.40, while a plate of Wild Honey’s European Breakfast (two eggs, two slices of smoked bacon, sautéed mushroom and two slices of brioche bread) goes for S$20++. We advise you to skip going to brunch altogether.
4. French Onion Soup
This dish may be a staple at French restaurants like DB Bistro Moderne, but it’s really just onions, puff pastry, beef stock and bread, all S$18 of it.
5. Chocolate Lava Cakes
We may love the chocolate lava cake at Laurent’s Café and Chocolate Bar, but for S$13, you could buy as much butter, chocolate, sugar, eggs and flour to make enough for at least six persons. And it’s really easy to make too.
6. Hot dogs
Hot dogs are mostly ground up meat and fillers. While Ikea sells theirs for S$1.50 with a soft drink, Brotzeit serves their with potato wedges for approximately S$19.
If you must, buy sausages from S$8.50 for 400g (approximately four or five sausages) directly from Pan Pacific Marketplace.
Sure, Jamie Oliver is lovable, but it’s tough to get with his Jamie’s Italian’s tagliatelle bolognese pasta (beef, pork, herbs, Chianti and breadcrumbs) at S$19, especially when the sauce is mostly breadcrumbs. You know these chefs order in bulk so the food cost is even lower, right?
Pizza is actually one of the easier and cheaper dishes to make, but Mario Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza charges S$32 for one topped with brussels sprouts, pancetta, panna, red onion, pepperoncini and pecorino.
Never order a regular salad. For the less than what you’re paying to have the tuna tataki salad at Sarnies (S$16), you can buy an entire packet of greens and enough tuna to see you through a couple of meals.
You could have a similar cut of grain-fed steak as the one from CUT by Wolfgang Puck (from S$59 for 283g USDA Prime New York sirloin), or any other restaurant for that matter, for a fraction of the price if you cook it at home. Forty per cent to be exact.