Monday, 24 September 2018

CBD Lunch Ideas at The Basement

Hong Leong Building recently completed the revamp of their basement food hall, called The Basement. It is a floor with a wide selection of food where the CBD working crowds' tummies are assured to be well pampered. Having recently been working in the area myself, I've had the pleasure to frequent it so often I can write about my dining experience.

Pho Thai 

Pho Thai is a combination of 3 restaurants selling Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines. The Japanese food which many of my colleagues also tried doesn't exactly have positive votes. In fact, most complain that the rice is too hard. While my bowl didn't have such complaint, it was too watery. The chefs are not very skilled which frankly for their price point, can be quite a harsh assessment. However, given that there are 2 other restaurants there, the jap food relative to the other choices seem to fail badly.

On a separate occasion, I tried the Thai Basil Pork rice. It was satisfactory. I wasn't expecting much from a lunch crowd eatery and the least it can do is get the basics right. I'm pleased with the level of spiciness of the pork, flavour and the sunny side up that it comes with.

Baba Bento

Baba Bento was one of my favourite meals in The Basement. For a start, it's my first ever Bunga Telang rice. It comes with 4 choices beef rendang, ikan assam pedas, ayam kapitan and ayam pongteh. I settled for the Ikan Assam Pedas set which also comes with keropok and drink. The spicy assam fish packs a lot of flavour and the fish is cooked till tender, just the way I like it. I also enjoyed the sambal egg and chap chye that completes the meal. The entire lunch was fairly enjoyable and the biggest headache for me is the availability of seats at this highly popular lunch spot.

Ah Bamas

My colleagues later brought me to Ah Bamas and they rave about the awesome food as well as the extremely hospitable lady boss who can cook you any Indonesian cuisine you can dream up if you buay paiseh request for it. The Ayam Penyet we tried was pretty impressive! The chicken packs a very crispy exterior although I found the meat rather dry. What really makes the dish a winner is the chilli. The chilli has a wicked spiciness that all my colleagues couldn't get enough of. In fact, a couple of them went for 2 to 3 extra chilli servings because it goes so well with the rice and the chicken. Be warned though, the spiciness can be challenging for some to manage.

Turkish Cuisine

Then there're also the random days we couldn't get seats and have to settle for Turkish Cuisines. Turns out that the food is pretty good. The roast chicken with rice was very tender and it goes very well with the tartar and chilli sauce that the dish comes with. While Turkish food is simply not my kind of food, the meal was still a very competent effort.


Crave is known to serve pretty fantastic Nasi Lemak. There're a total of 6 sets you can choose from, mainly either fish or chicken. I settled for the chicken filet set which I was very happy with. The chicken is fried excellently with crispy skin and tender meat. I find that their chilli packs a punch that makes the entire meal a joy to eat. You can take my word for it coming from someone who doesn't really eat Nasi Lemak by choice.

As a whole, The Basement is a very interesting place to have lunch. Most of the food range from $7 to $15. Not exactly the cheapest place to dine at considering there's Lau Pa Sat next door. I guess their merits is really a centralised dining hall with a myriad selection. You definitely won't grow bored dining here everyday but you might go broke.