I particularly recall fond childhood memories at the former Swensen’s branch at Changi Airport Terminal 2. Yes, the one with the indoor playground at their doorstep. Parents seated at dinner tables, with their heads outstretched occasionally to look out for their kids monkeying around at the play area. Swensen’s was the chosen venue for when parents get a fatter paycheck or strictly for birthdays only because it had Fish & Chips and Banana Split – which were the luxuries then.
Swensen’s today is a far cry from being a mere Fish & Chips and Banana Split restaurant. Being a synonymous household name means they’re constantly expanding their already wide array of Western, Asian and Dessert selections to suit our expanding appetite. You get seriously spoilt for choice when you’re seated holding up the 14-odd paged menu; focusing mainly on the Main Course and Sundaes & Sweet Treats pages. Probably needs about an hour to browse from cover to cover.
You’d think to yourself – hmm now, that Breaded Chicken Meuniere is definitely a must-have and mmmm, wash it down with a generous serving of Frosted Chocolate Malt.
And as you flip the menu to look at other food selections, Mr Waiter comes by with a warm smile and utters an amicable ”Hi Sir, may I take your order now?” Your order gets noted, it gets transmitted to the kitchen and… that’s when you start flipping to look at the sides.
And by then, you’ll think you’d be too full to add on the side orders. Swensen’s sides are severely under-rated, honest! Here are the 4 M’s in that page of 12 sides that never fail to make it into my order list:
Meatballs in Black Pepper Sauce
The dish is pretty self explanatory – succulent chicken with beef meatballs basking in richly seasoned black pepper sauce with a good dollop of kid-friendly mash.
Dare you say no to meatballs?
I had tried incessantly to recreate this delish pop-it-in-your-mouths, but they’ll never turn out just like Swensen’s. Hot and tender shiitake mushroom in a light crisp coating of batter, dipped in trusty ole tartar sauce. The initial audible crunch of batter, a whiff of earthy mushroom aroma; and as you sink your teeth in further, feel the velvety texture of the shiitake, rolling around your mouth with tangy hints of sour tartar.
Mozarella Cheese Sticks
There is nothing more sinfully gratifying than stringing warm mozarella cheese.
And when you break into these fried crisp mozarella cheese sticks, you get just that – warm ooze of pale yellow goodness!
*Gasps* Bet your jaw just dropped and your salivary glands just went on overdrive, right there.
Still on the topic of cheese, though this time baked – are piping hot green mussels under a veneer of cheese and cream and all things magical. The shield of cheese steams mussel on the inside so you get to savour the enticing mix of salty cheese and sweetness from the tender mussel. Use a fork to nudge the base of the shell to loosen the cheesy crusts and slowly slide the whole mollusc into your mouth.
Your tastebuds would flip in excitement, I promise!
4 M’s – Meatballs, Mushroom, Mozarella and Mussels that are definite Must-haves in your next Swensen’s order! Be sure to make some space in your tummy for it!
This post was written for Muzlimbuzz (Travel&Food):
Muzlimbuzz is an e-magazine that caters to the modern, active, socially-engaged and spiritual Muslim. We aim to document and articulate the Muslim experience, particularly of those in Singapore and in the region. Apart from News and opinion pieces, we have daily columns that cover a wide array of topics from Health to Marriage, Spirituality to Technology, Travel & Photo Essays. In a nutshell, there’s bound to be something that would interest you here at Muzlimbuzz.