Address: 264 Middle Rd, #01-01 David Elias Building, Singapore 188990
Opening Hours: Daily 11:00am – 9:30pm
Official Website: roastedstory.com
@candidcuisine meat is good. you need meat in your life. meat makes you happy #sgfoodie #wheretoeat #charsiu #roastduck ♬ edamame – bbno$
When people ask me where to find good quality roasts in Singapore, I point at the airport’s direction. Fly out of Singapore and head to Hong Kong. If you’re near North America, Richmond in BC is your best bet… where most of the HongKong citizens fled beyond the Great Wall in the past decade. I swear, the smell of roast duck in a small shop in Richmond reminds me of Causeway Bay.
In Singapore, if I respond with Mott 32, I get the usual are-you-paid-by-mott-32 stare. Duck is too expensive. You need at least 1 month’s lead time before you can eat at Mott 32. Blah blah blah. And then there’s Kai Duck in Ngee Ann City. My sister loves the restaurant; I only like its fancy duck salads wrapped in nori. The roast duck, hardly warmed under pin lights.
@candidcuisine I've tried pizza cones and pasta cones and I don't really like them. But Kai Duck's duck salad cone is pretty cool #pekingduck #wheretoeat #tiktoksg #chinesefood ♬ Comment te dire adieu – Françoise Hardy
But yeah, there’s no such thing as good quality duck in Singapore. Because 96% of the produce hails from Perak and Johore, you don’t really get the freshest bird. Mott 32 tries its best to do so, raising birds for exactly 42 days, and yet people don’t really like the leanness of the meat. Factor in the labor cost and that is another story. If fatty duck suits you, ala Imperial Treasure or Kai Garden in Marina Square, then I’d say you’re already eating the good quality ones.
Everyday duck, barring the cheapest ones you’ll get in hawker centers, there’s not a lot of choices mid-range. You can get the acceptable roast duck at Kam’s Roast (whose quality in Jewel Changi has been dying IMO) or So Good, minus the service charge. (They have been expanding at a crazy rate that I’m growing nervous at their pace. Expansion comes at a price — quality.)
Roasted Story brings much excitement for me. Roasted Story’s price range places it in the lower mid-range category of restaurants, where double, triple, quadruple roast combos will only cost you less than 20 bucks. Complete with a half boiled egg, bok choi and fragrance rice/noodles. Of course, there’s the service charge to take note of, and that can become a stretch even for LaSalle students around the block. It’s a tricky spot they have to manage, and not even Bu Jian Tian Char Sius flambeed tableside can entice more customers to come. Foot traffic at the Middle Road is like slipping a thread in a needle hole on weekends, more so on weekdays. It brings the question: why come here to grab a char siu wonton mee when you can get it for a fraction of a price in a hawker center?
Signature Bu Jian Tian Char Siu – $21.80
Location matters. That’s where Roasted Story finds itself in a dilemma. This type of restaurant is better suited in a shopping mall or CBD (subtitle: workers with higher monthly salaries), where families and group of friends can gather together for a platter of roasted meat and cast aside the worries of a heart-stopping bill. I felt it was a waste of potential, seeing the triple platter in front of me.
Triple Roast Meat Platter – $21.80
I love the duck skin, a far cry from my favorite restaurant in Vancouver, BC, but one I’d return to with a larger group. There was nothing to call out from the char siu. A taste of the Bu Jian Tian char siu puts the rest to shame, and I recommend to get that signature dish rather than the regular char siu. The pork belly is too lean, though the skin is crispy enough to keep me going in my meal. Herbal sauces accompany your platter, but I felt it wasn’t that necessary, unless you eat it a bowl of white rice. Meanwhile, many prefer the fat drenched wonton noodles and the mee pok to go with the platters, and I agree.
Here’s the million dollar question I ask in every single restaurant I’ve been to, a key metric I believe all restaurant owners should strive to improve, especially if they want to last more than a year: Would I go back to Roasted Story?
Yes and no. If I happen to be in Middle Road, yes. If I happen to be in the company of people who like to feast on roasted meats, yes. But an everyday meal is a stretch. And there I wish they’d open in a more accessible location, as Omote is about to do in their Raffles City outpost. Yes, hidden gems have a place in the industry, but sometimes they’d have to step in the limelight to shine.