Jelita seems an unlikely place to go to, with the main draw being Cold Storage, a video-shop, couple of other shops. However thats precisely where Friends are situated. A Modern European restaurant which proclaims to offer casual fine dining, Friends @ Jelita is just a stone throw away from the popular Holland Village, but offers you the serene environment which the latter could not afford with the omni-present large crowd there.
Having signed up as a member with Friends online at its website, i received a $50 voucher for every $150 spend, or a 1-for-1 Executive Set Lunch/Dinner promotion. Armed with the coupon, my companion and me made our way to Jelita, and arrived at 1250pm. Being a monday, we were not surprise to see the restaurant quite empty, but there were still some patrons though. The staff there told us that Monday is usually a good time to visit Friends as there are less customers, and you probably will not want to come here on a weekend as that’s when the families bring their kids along.
The first notion that striked me was the decorations and furnitures presented in the restaurant. The comfy grey large seats definitely make us feel at home. The lighting was dimmed, which creates a tranquil atmosphere. On the other hand, it pose a predicament to food bloggers because the poor lighting makes the photos turn out not-as-good, that is not a problem if you are a pro at photoshop.
There are two types available, the Classic Set Lunch and the Executive Set Lunch, with Executive being more expensive among the both, undoubtedly the level of standard demand will be higher. It was only sensible to order the Executive Set Lunch since it was 1-for-1. But i was intially sceptical to how good the Set Lunch can be, as the a la carte menu are all priced reasonably higher than that of the set lunch. Friends proved me wrong in this, the executive set lunch ($24.90++) albeit being limited in options, is certainly value for money.
Each Set Lunch comes with the Australian Garden Salad. Topped with dried fruits, raspberry vinaigrette, the hors d’oeuvre is positively a good way to begin the meal.
Mushroom soup with a hint of mashed potatos. This was good until we tried the other wild forest mushroom soup. The latter makes the mushroom soup seems ordinary. Actually its not bad, just that the mushroom soup meet its match with the wild forest mushroom, which is a tad better.
This is the one that makes the Soup of the day seems inferior. Well, you always expect more especially when there is an additional upgrade of $2. The Wild forest mushroom soup does not fails to deliver taste-wise, it is a good appetizer as the soup helps to unlock our tastebuds for the rest of the meal.
For our first main course, we had the Sautèed chicken fillet which was complemented with dried chili, rosemary & garlic anchovy. The first bite of the chicken tells it all, the fillet was tender and soft, It was unlike what normal chicken taste like, Friends re-defined the chicken experience, this certainly impressed me.
The sauce of the chicken fillet was equally good. The dried chili, rosemary & garlic anchovy combinations creates a unique taste. Sometimes the sauce of a dish gets so strong that it cover the meat, but thats not the case at Friends. The chicken fillet with the sauce seems to harmonize and blend with each other, which brings us the Sautèed chicken fillet.
Topped with Cajun crust & lemon butter sauce, the Oven Baked Salmon fillet is another winner which bright up our meal. The cripsy cajun crust on the exterior of the salmon was complemented by its soft interior.
The lemon butter sauce has a cheesy taste, and we almost mistook it for cheese. Both mains are accompanied by mashed potatos toppled with mixed vegies. My companion had a slight issue with the salmon though. Being a big fan of salmon, she remarked that the fillet was slightly dried as compared to the other salmons she had previously. Otherwise, the salmon will be faultless.
The pretty sight makes us admire the Cappuccino for a while before we harden our heart and stirred the coffee.
To end off our meal, we had egg crustard for desserts. This one is good, egg crustard underneath the breaded top. Every spoonful of egg crustard taste warm, like straight from the oven. We felt that it’s rather similar to whats more commonly known to us, egg tarts.
Total bill for two executive set lunch was $60.6, under the 1-for-1 promotion, we paid $31.70 for the delightful lunch. The set lunch and dinner at Friends are definitely value-for-money, and should worth your try unless you want to go for the a la carte menu. The service-wise are definitely one of the better ones which i encountered on my food experience so far, the staff are polite, knowledgable and a smile is always on their face which make diners feel welcome.
By the way, we took slightly more than 1 half hours to finish our lunch, so i thought it might not be so good if you visit Friends during your lunch work break. This is one place where they waited for you to finish the starter before serving on the soup, the main, the dessert and the drink. So really it all depends on how fast you approach your dishes. My companion and I were starving when we start the meal with the salad and soup, so we were wondering when will then they served the main course. Well, if the main course is what you want, advice will be to finish the starters fast and get on with the main.
All in all, the dining experience at Friends is no doubt a pleasant one, which my companion and i both very much enjoyed. I would say this is the place where you can really have your Casual Fine Dining without really burning a hole in your pocket. For people who felt that fine-dining equates to dress-up, this is not a issue at Friends. Whether you are decked out in suits and ties, or your comfy jeans & t-shirts, you’ll be welcome at Friends all the same. On a side note, if you are driving, remember to call the restaurant for directions, as free private parking are available for diners. The next visit to Friends again, will be for their executive set dinner, or A la carte menu. And lastly i’ll like to thank my companion for accompanying me on this lovely lunch. In the company of a good friend, it just makes the meal at Friends better.
293 Holland Road #02-04
” Modern European Cuisine at its finest “