I never failed to go to Tony Roma's every time I went to Singapore. Why? Because it's the only place I can get my quota of ribs, and not the ones that come from moo moos either but that of oinkus poinkus origin. That's until I discovered ....CHECKERS!!!

When I used to go walking around the neighbourhood with friends (which was a VERY long time ago!), we would walk pass a lonely row of shophouses in the middle of nowhere (ok, Bukit Damansara lah), where the shops never seem to be opened. A friend pointed out one of the shops in the middle and told me that this restaurant, CHECKERS, served great food but there was no menu. You just go there and the chef will cook for you whatever he thinks you should have for that day. And that he's can be very 'thau hong' so you never know when the shop will be open or won't be opened.

Many years passed and soon a restaurant named Hot Chocolate opened up on the left-hand end of the row of shops and later, the Rainbow Cafe on the right-hand end (incidentally, they both have the same owner). People started getting to know the place slightly better.

It was one of those evenings where MBF and I couldn't decide where to eat, what to eat know lah...
"Where you want to eat?"
"Don't know"
"What you want to eat?"
"Don't know"
(I think someone should just open up a restaurant named either "Don't know" or "No idea" - it would make our lives so much easier!)

Anyway, we didn't want to venture too far away from where we were so I thought ...hey, let's see if that restaurant is open. Of course I had been there numerous times to find it closed and I thought that it may have closed down!

So we went and in the middle of this lonely, dark evening, in a row of dinky looking shops, in a small restaurant that had no signboard (the lights aren't working I think!), there was a queue of people waiting to get in! It was packed!!! Ok, so the place only sits about 30 comfortably but still ...

It was all worth it! The ribs are the BEST I've ever tasted and the salads - like WOW! None of that one lettuce leaf, two slices of tomato and cucumber and mixed vegetables business. Fresh salads with combinations of fruits and beans all overflowing off the plate. The ribs are accompanied with a mustard-type sauce and BBQ sauce, all home made. It's not just the ribs, everything I've eaten there has been fantastic, almost orgasmic (think "When Harry met Sally" at the cafe table!)

My absolute favourites (ya lah, I know the menu by hard)
Grilled calamari
Expensive Mushrooms (owner said if he put "Cheap Mushrooms" on the menu, who would order it?)
Ribs - the Porky's Best (though it can be quite fatty ..... oh well!)
Pasta - Aglio Olio
Pizza - by special request only when Sam and Uncle Pork Chop are in a good mood
Drowned ice cream
Chocolate Mud Cake

If the above isn't available, then go for the
Grilled Aubergines (large portions!)
Stinky Rose (especially if you are having a Buffy episode)

I can normally give the fish a miss ..I mean, there's oinkus poinkus, why waste time on fish?

There are also normally specials which have creative names depending on the state of current affairs or current movie titles. We had Lord of the Ribs the other day and We Found Nemo another time.

Much of the cooking is inspired by chefJamie Oliver. I recognised the way "Nemo" was cooked from one of the recipe books (stuffed with thyme and lemons) and also one of the desserts they served on Mother's Day which was a hazelnut praline + cream moussey kinda thing. The salad are JO's style - pluck, tear, a dash of this, a dash of that which gives the cooking a totally different feel, kinda very raw and primitive style, the complete opposite of the Japanes and French styles which is very neat, structured-type presentation. Kinda like Linkin' Park vs Baroque or Mozart. (Apologies to Zal, Cal and CM for this comparison!)

Do NOT expect a fine dining atmosphere, do not bring your date here all dressed up to the nines, the atmosphere is very local neighbourhood eating place, with red and white checkered table cloth, not so comfy chairs (focus on the ribs, the ribs, the ribs ...). The food can take a while if there's heaps of people (of which there normally is) but there's heap of piggy entertainment on the walls and you can make dents into that bottle of wine. Incidentally, another reason why Checkers is SO great is because corkage is one of the most reasonable in town, less than RM10 per bottle. They also serve a rare Belgian beer (if the owners haven't finished guzzling it yet!)

Not the cheapest but is pretty good value when you take into consideration the large portions and taste factor. Be prepared to be set back about RM35 - RM50 per head on average, depending on how much you have. They will tell you when you have ordered enough so no worries about over ordering.

Where is it?
Hee Hee, that's the tricky part. If you're coming from Bangsar, PJ or KL, take the way to Bukit Damansara. For those coming from PJ, pass Victoria Station and Ayuthaya on your left, keep going and hang a left (right will take you to Bangsar). You will pass an Esso station and the turn into Jalan Kasah on the left, keep going straight (keep left) and at the next junction, turn left into Jalan Beringin. Turn into the second road on your left, you will pass Villa Maria Kindergarten on your right. Road will swerve to the left, follow it and you will see the lonely row of shophouses on your right. "Heaven" is the middle restaurant.

It is best to make reservations well in advance else you will find yourselves eating at one of the other restaurants in the row. Tel: 20953304.

Only open for dinner and closed on Mondays.


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