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Chili’s Grill & Bar @ Tanglin Mall September 6, 2013

Posted by gurkhason in food.
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My very first experience dining at Chili’s Grill & Bar was almost 20 years back (omg!  age revealing) when it was located at Orchard Parade Hotel.  I was working part-time at SingTel back then when SingTel was doing this network conversion from ETACS to a new GSM and PCN network.  So when I got my very first paycheck, I rallied the whole big group of us to splurge on a dinner at Chili’s.  As a teenager, it feels good paying for dinner like an adult.  I can remember the dinner place was like greasy and smokey and my favourite is their dessert called “Piled High Yogurt Pie” – a yogurt blended with Oreo Cookies and piled high like a mound and drizzled with coupious amount of hot fudge.  I probably visited Chili’s a few times thereafter to have this dessert.  Too bad they didn’t have this dessert now.

Chilis Grill and Bar Fire Grilled Corn GuacamoleFire Grilled Corn Guacamole ($11)

In my most recent dining experience at Chili’s Grill & Bar, I urged my friends to have these tostada chips with guacamole with corn.  The chips were very crispy and addictive that we can’t stop helping ourselves to more until our main course arrived.  Although the highlight is the fire grilled corn guacamole, however my friend and I much prefer the salsa fresca which is slightly spicy and refreshing.

Chilis Grill and Bar Baby Back RibsMix & Match Baby Back Ribs ($39)

We also had the mix and match baby back ribs because we found it to be more value for money since you can have a choice of two different flavours of  baby back ribs. The ribs were meaty and tender and we quite like the BBQ flavoured ribs.  You can choose the side dishes and we had the seasonal vegetables and thick cut fries.  We were quite surprised that broccoli actually made it to the list of seasonal vegetables though.  Vegetables are rather blend, I suspect they just boiled it.

Chilis Grill and Bar Classic FajitasClassic Fajita ($27)

When the Fajitas was served to us, I was quite appalled by how the dish look.  Quite frankly, the presentation of the food is just as important as how it taste.  So this fajitas was served with just green peppers and onions with strips of chicken on top just doesn’t quite make the dish to be appealing.  Quite frankly if I didn’t pay for this, I probably wouldn’t pay any attention to it.  Least they can do is to add a variety of coloured pepper to it, don’t you agree?  As for the taste – one word:  ordinary.  I shall keep it as simple and effortless as how the dish look.

Chilis Grill and Bar Grilled Salmon w Garlic and HerbsGrilled Salmon w/ Garlic & Herbs ($28)

Wanting a healthier choice to complement the more sinful choices earlier, we had the grilled salmon.  Yes, with the unimaginative seasonal vegetable (boiled) and corn on cob.  Salmon was over-cooked tasted quite dry.  The fish is also mildly marinated so can’t really feel any garlic or herbs.  As for the corn on cob is really hopeless.  They probably cooked it the whole day so it was mushy when we ate it.  Seriously, $28 for this salmon w/ garlic and herbs?  Who are you kidding Chili’s?

Chilis Grill and Bar Molten Chocolate CakeMolten Chocolate Cake ($16)

I have got rave review about this molten chocolate cake from my colleague.  So I insisted on this order even though we had plenty to eat for the three of us already.  But there’s always space for dessert right?  So I was all prepped up and excited to dig into this dessert; although it came rather prematurely before we finished our dinner proper as the restaurant is closing.  They were really forcing the dessert on us as they need to close the kitchen.  Talk about customer service huh?  Anyway we foresake our dinner since they were really throw away material anyways.  Saved for the fact that the chocolate cake is warm and moist and tasted chocolatey, we certainly didn’t see they kind of molten chocolate we expected.  This looks more like a open top chocolate cake, with hot fudge poured into the crater and covered it with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

I always expected better service from American restaurant because I supposed they should have inculcated this service-oriented culture into their training.  According to my friend, Chili’s in Singapore does not charge any service charge, so technically diners and guests should put a tip on top of the bill.  But alas, I received the most ghastly service ever in my whole life.   We never gave any service staff a hard time, we were even nice to them.  But we were more humoured then pissed with the service.  Let me give you a few instances:

1.  When we were ordering, we were a little slow and quite undecided on the side orders for the dishes.  The waiter who was taking our orders started talking into the mic (which I supposed is for him to communicate with the kitchen).  He said loudly (not in a whisper) “I am taking the order now!”  I was quite surprised because I thought he was rushing us by telling us that he was talking OUR orders.  Anyway when I stare at him for a second, he didn’t seem apologetic about it in any way.

2.  We actually ordered the Fajitas later when we realised we didn’t have enough to eat.  As we were half way through ordering the Fajitas, the “morbid” waiter that served us earlier screamed into mic this time “the phone is ringing, the phone is ringing”.  I don’t know how this is the business of us ordering a fajitas.  But he hurried to answer the phone call which I think is of higher priority then closing our order.

3.  When my friend noticed her glass of water was not clean (there’s is like oil floating on the mug and a layer of white stuff on the mug), we highlighted to a chirpy waitress telling her we want to change as the mug is dirty.  Then she proceed to take her suspicious mug of water and give it a little shake.  Peering into the still cloudy water, she flashed to us a toothy bright smiled and said “But it’s ok now right?”.  Imagine how shocked we were.  Certainly she was very unimpressed with the fact that we did buy into her antics, and took the mug away with her suspicious look.  Until today, when I see my friends, we never fail to repeat this landmark joke!

4.  When we were calling for our bill, we noticed the same “morbid” waiter and highlighted to him that we wanted the bill.  He mumbled hurriedly “my shift is closed, I will get my colleague to assist you”.  Then the next thing is I noticed him sitting at a corner tallying his bills.  Never see him inform anyone.  (Maybe he spoke into his mic?).  But when we see the next waiter passed by, we signalled to him for the bill.  Only then did this morbid waiter shouted at the colleague that we needed the bill.

Quite frankly, I feel money can be better spent elsewhere given the mediocre food and service you probably get to receive at Chili’s.  And the food is not cheap!  One redeeming point though is that the restaurant we visited does play quite good american music.  While I can’t say the entire experience is negative, as I had mentioned earlier; we were more amused with the service and thought it provided for good laughable memories.  When I feedback to a friend of my experience at Chili’s, what he said striked me as true “what do you expect?  This place is run by kids!”  Well perhaps in a literal way.

And thanks for bearing with my most wordy review! 🙂

Chili’s Grill & Bar | Tanglin Mall
163 Tanglin Road
#02-23 Tanglin Mall
Singapore 247933
Tel: +65 6545 4118
Opening hours:
Monday – Thursday: 11.30 am to 10.00 pm
Friday – Sunday: 11.30 am to 10. 30pm

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