I like counting my pennies. I don’t splurge needlessly and like a good friend who travels the world to visit her children, one of whom owns a home sitting on several acres in Connecticut, I like to share the fact that I spend very little on clothes and accessories.
With footwear, I stretch a little, after a terrible fall I suffered in the lane between Lucky Plaza and Tang Plaza some three years ago. It was largely due to the non-grip on the soles of my pair of trendy but cheap sandals.
As visitors to this blog would know, I eat more often at food courts than high end restaurants.
I know exactly how much chilli, spring onion and Chinese parsley cost in Faiprice as compared to what Cold Storage charges.
So, when I say something is a steal, I’m usually right.
A right imperial steal is what’s being served up at a new cafe in the former PUB Building, now called 311, diagonally across from 313 @ Somerset, the hot and happening place of today (tho that hasn’t stopped two food outlets from closing).
I would never have contemplated going over to 311 — because it looks so staid — if not for the fact that after my lunch with Z at Flying Chillies she said she was going to cross the road to 311 to meet her sister-in-law.
So, i was galvanised to recce and then visit and that’s why I was at 311 again today to have lunch, the second time in a month.
There are many cafes there, but on both visits, I settled for Imperial Treasure Windows of Hong Kong, a noodle house like those Crystal Jade is famous for. But the similarity stops there.
Imperial Treaure Windows is ginormous, with a lot of space between tables. The ceilings are high. The aircon effective. We order and pay at the door, find a table and the food is then delivered to us. Plain water is free. Each diner is given a chopstick pack comprising a pair of chopsticks, a spoon, a paper serviette and a toothpick.
The service is polite and jolly (similar to that dished out at Crystal Jade’s cafes).
But prices are far lower at ITWindows and quoted net. A large delicious creamy century egg and salted meat rice porridge in typical Hong Kong style, for example, costs just $5.50 while soy sauce steamed chicken noodle, soup or dry, is $6.
The lunch for three of us today came to $17.50. The first lunch cost $18, as all three of us had the chicken noodle dish.
Now compare these prices to what we paid at the 5th floor food court at 313@ Somerset earlier last week. Again the three of us ate together, me, mum and her maid. We had yong tau foo and the bill for 2 combis (mum and I were sharing) came to $11.50. Had we taken 3 combis, the total bill would easily be as much as what we paid today.
Yet instead of just placing our order, we had the stress of having to queue and then assemble our own combi, completely unsure how much it would come to as the basic minimum of 6 pieces excluded noodles or beehoon, and nobody told us that it’s an extra. Other additionals were also priced differently.
Then, there was the need to take the two steaming bowls of combi to our table, keeping an eager eye out for the bat blind office crowd as it rushes from table to the stalls or vice versa.
So give me ITWindows any time. And should I need to splurge, there are pricier dishes too. But that will have to wait till I feel less abstemious.