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Home / Western Cuisine / Astons Prime – How Much Better Than Astons Express?
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Astons Prime – How Much Better Than Astons Express?
By Alfred August 22, 2009
Readers' Rating
7.50
(2 rated)
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Editor's Rating
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Astons Prime – How Much Better Than Astons Express?
Fast Facts
Food:
Chicken Chop Steak
Type:
Western Cuisine
Setting:
Restaurant
Price Range:
S$21- S$30
Rating Range:
7 to 7.9
Location:
Orchard
Food Centre:
N/A
Recommended For:
Dinner Lunch
Reviewed by:
Alfred

Western food’s market in Singapore has matured a lot in recent years. Local restaurateurs seem to have taken note of that potentially penetrative market that has been idling for a long time since our colonial days with what the British left us. So the ‘mass production’ ideology become the strategy in an era where outsourcing is the name of the game. So like other things, you get branded Western Food flooding the market in no time. Yet maintaining the quality of the food seems to be the challenge in many cases. It’s no rocket science why quality is eluding many many mass production foods and how often have we heard the phrase ’standard dropped liao’?

Yet really and truly, business is all about making money. If you’re the boss of a business and an opportunity crops up where you can grow your earnings exponentially, wouldn’t you say YES? And the thing is that it is a real challenge to expand any food business and maintaining the ’same standard’ at the same time. Yet at times, in food business it is not even essential to maintain the same quality while you grow your business. Growth of any food business can seriously thrives on craze alone. The key is to strike hard and long before the novelty wears off and when the dust finally settles, you have a system that runs on auto pilot and makes you money, nevermind the quality of the food by then. We all know the story of Singapore’s KFC, enough said.

Sometime ago Astons came onto the Western Food’s market and created a storm. They did something that nobody else have ever done. Delivering quality food at extremely affordable price. It excited a lot of Western Food lovers and they were doing a lot of things right.

Astons has long won over the hearts of many Singaporeans as far good quality’s western food is concerned. From a single successful store, they expanded aggressively to take full advantage of the situation and their action is something that can be considered as capitalising on the ‘Bandwagon Effect’. Now I’ve eaten at many Astons Express and I must mention that I was very very very impressed at the beginning. My first Astons meal was simply overwhelming. It was very delicious and there were serious value for some food that cost you as cheap as $5.90. But of late, the script that we’re all very familiar with in regard to mass produced food seems to have that sorry same in the end. In Astons, the repercussions of large scale expansion seems to take it’s toll(or at least that seems to be the case for me).

Not contented with food delivered at Astons Express anymore, me and a few friends headed for the newly opened Astons Prime at Centerpoint. Astons Prime at Centerpoint is interesting. By their bold move to shift to the city, it’s a clear sign that they’re ready to compete with the very best in the market. The design of the restaurant is outstanding and it seemed that they have decided to ‘upgrade’ themselves. Something that is also very interesting is that the price you see on the menu is net price. Our receipt later showed that there are no charges for service and GST is already included in the price in the menu. At first look, that sounded like a GREAT thing but after looking at the price difference between Astons Specialties, Express and Prime for the item that I ordered which is in excess of $7.90, I doubt so LOL !

The menu at Astons Prime is 70 to 80% different from the Astons Express menu I know all along. I’m not sure if the original menu at Astons Prime Joo Chiat branch was like that too but it certainly disappoints to an extent because one of our friends came here on my recommendation that Astons have superb chargrill chicken. If you are a non-beef eater and you only had one choice in the menu for Chicken, you would also feel the same. We ordered the Angus Ribeye, Ribeye X Cut and Chicken with Apple Sausage.


Chicken and Apple Sausage

The first to arrive was Chicken with Apple Sausage. It came with that all familiar Astons mushroom sauce with something that looked like enoki mushrooms on the chicken. Being a virgin Astons eater, my friend commented that it is good(as expected). I tasted a bit of the sausage and it was indeed quite good with flavours that’s distinct to german sausages if you know what I mean. However that’s about it. It was good but not great, and I am not too sure if I can’t buy a pack of sausages with the same level of ‘deliciousness’ for a couple of dollars from Giant or Cold Storage. There were cubes of apples hidden in the sausage though it definitely did not taste any better than any sausages I’ve eaten without apples. But for $16.90, this must be considered cheap in any restaurants and indeed it is one of the cheapest main course items on the menu. This dish is not on Astons Specialties’ or Express’s menu though over there, they have a Chicken and Sausage Combo which would cost you around $10ish. The appearance of the chicken did looked a far cry from my usual Chargrill Chicken I had at Express though the portion looked huge, not sure if it’s an illusion whereby it’s been enlarged by the gigantic plate that it came on. The skin on the chicken wasn’t charred enough. The chargill chicken I always had beats this chicken hands down.


Rib Eye X Cut 300G

Our Ribeyes arrived and it was beautifully presented. I must also mention that my favourite Astons side dish which is the Potato Salad is not on the menu at Astons Prime. And when I asked the waitress whether the fries has the cajun seasoning on it, she didn’t understand what I was talking about. She clearly hasn’t dined at Astons Express. My friend was praising her medium rare Ribeye steak from the first bite to the last bite though I must say that by now, I’m too familiar with all this ‘Virgin Astons Eater’s’ syndrome because all the people whom I have recommended to eat at Astons had all gave thumbs up like how I did too when I first ate.

But after eating at Astons for almost 20 times, I now know that these are all old tricks. If ever there is one thing that I think Astons is doing it all wrong, it is the same sauce that they’re using for everything on their menu. Granted I haven’t tried everything on the menu but so far, everything that I ordered, it all came with that mushroom sauce which tasted delicious at first but ‘factory made’ after 20 times. The sauce is good but I believe there is an overkill effect to the point where it almost doesn’t matter what I order because I’ll get the same taste afterall. My Ribeye X Cut was nothing short of what I expected. The same sauce I had on my steak is also the same sauce that was poured on my mashed potatoes and it’s all that same sauce I’ve always eaten at Aston. I say again, this sauce is good and I love it but I seriously believe one day I’m going to get sick of it. I mean if you eat sharksfin everyday, you’ll also get sick of it one day right?


The famous mushroom sauce they use for everything.


Fries with cajun seasoning.

The fact is my Ribeye was still quite delicious though when I thought about the same thing can be had at an Astons Express stall just 5 mins down the road from where I stay, it does make me look silly coming all the way here to pay $7 more, not forgetting the cost of petrol and parking.

Our ‘Virgin Astons Eaters’ commented that the meal was good though there was no surprise for me unfortunately. The taste is exactly the same as what I know and if anything, the plate they served our food on is seriously gigantic but otherwise there are no reasons for me next time to drive all the way to Centerpoint when I can get $7 discount for driving 5 mins from my place to an Astons Express.


Rib Eye X Cut 300G


Mashed Potatoes with the famous mushroms sauce.

And lastly my steak was ‘well done’ with sufficient juiciness to form the deliciousness and yes my fries did came with cajun seasoning. :)

Price: $14.90 and above

Recommendation: Ribeye X Cut ( without X Cut is 200gram while X Cut is 300gram, therefore you’re paying $3 more for 100gram!)

Conclusion: My Rib Eye was good though not any better than any meals I had at Astons Express. Our bill was clearly ‘upgraded’ for the ambience and nothing else. If anything I feel that the menu at Express has a better variety though there are appetizers and entre at Prime.

Likes: Beef is juicy and flavour is appetising.

Dislikes: Uses the same mushroom sauce on everything means eaters can get bored one day. From memory, a Diners Burger I had in the past also had the same sauce. Heck it even looked like the same piece of chargill chicken in my burger. Astons does have a habit in reusing ingredients in many dishes and that could be a real stumbling block in sustaining eater’s interest in the long term.

Address Overall Rating


Astons Prime at Centerpoint
ASTONS PRIME
176 Orchard Road
Centrepoint #03-45/46/47
Tel: 62350556


Food:
8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

Value:
7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

Service:
7/10 ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ 

Ambience:
8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

Cleanliness:
8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 

Overall:
7.5/10 ★★★★★★★½☆☆ 


Readers' Comment(s) : 26
Jason says:

Dined there. The sauce is horrible which tasted like gel like that. Taste like some chemical when go into your mouth.

Posted August 22, 2009
Tin says:

A good steak shold not need to use any sauce.

Posted August 22, 2009
Meggy says:

Brought my family to the Joo chiat branch and they didn’t like it. They also don’t like sauce. For those who not been, if you like your slab of meat grilled simply with just the taste the sweetness of the beef rather than be overwhelmed by the sauce, you won’t like this.

Posted August 22, 2009
Nic says:

Haven’t try Aston prime, had at serangoon gardens. It’s not bad, a grade better than normal western food though I would say their standard is not consistent. I still prefer Botak jones, at least their quality more consistent.

Posted August 22, 2009
Tac says:

Industrial standard western food. Aston is a franchise business so don’t expect it to be good forever.

Posted August 22, 2009
La Wen says:

I still prefer the steak from Botak Jones and find it cook better and also more worth the $$$. Last time i ate, Aston chicken chop has shrinked in size liao..

Posted August 22, 2009
Hun says:

Tried the sirloin there recently. Small and thin. Not impressed too. They seem to have problem with quality control. Once I order a takeaware, the staff inside seem like more interested in smsing than working to prepare my food so i get it quicker. I think their standard of hiring is quite low.

Posted August 22, 2009
Dave says:

I didn’t like the chicken I ate there. my chicken was drowned in some kind of artificual sauce and the chicken smell of burned stuff. sorry to sound harsh but it was a disappointing meal. I don think i will going back.

Posted August 22, 2009
Yvonne says:

i patronize the one at katong and bedok before. Not bad though a bit salty. The flavour is nicer than those normal western food stall. Katong one has hell lots of queue.

Posted August 22, 2009
Brian says:

I’ve been to Tampins 800+ Aston and it was horrible! My medium-rare steak was more like a well-done one and the fish and chips my mum had was over-cooked. Coleslaw had a bitter taste too. IMHO Botak Jones is way more worth the time….

Posted August 22, 2009
Alfred says:

I think you are agreeing with me that it tasted very factory made.

Posted August 22, 2009
Alfred says:

How true! Just like a fresh fish shouldn’t need to be cooked in curry!

Posted August 22, 2009
Alfred says:

My friends commented that Medium Rare was really good, and in her own words ‘Not many places actually succeed at medium rare, it’s either rare or medium.’

Posted August 22, 2009
Alfred says:

I had it once at serangoon gardens. It was incredibly busy though my prime sirloin was good that time. Haven’t tried botak jones, what’s good there?

Posted August 22, 2009
Alfred says:

Was it franchised? I thought they don’t d franchising but have shareholders….

Posted August 22, 2009
Alfred says:

What steak in botak jones is good?

Posted August 22, 2009
Alfred says:

Aston soon(the boss) has admitted in one of his interviews that he is struggling with getting enough quality people to run his stalls…

Posted August 22, 2009
Alfred says:

It’s that burned smell that I like about Astons. I think they’re using organic charcoal to cook instead of the using pan like other places.

Posted August 22, 2009
Alfred says:

Sometimes the sauce can be a little salty, it depends what time of the day you visits. You visit at the wrong time, you get thicker sauce and then saltier i guess..

Posted August 22, 2009
Alfred says:

Never like the coleslaw at aston…it tasted funny. Not enough cream used and it tasted like cabbage in vinegar. What do you recommend in botak jones?

Posted August 22, 2009
adeline rebekah says:

yes the sauce sucks. it had that uncooked flour taste. blech.. but my medium rare steak was done the way it should be, medium rare. what i appreciated was that the sauce was separate from my steak. don’t think i’ll go back to prime.

Posted August 22, 2009
Derrick says:

Don’t expect too much from aston lah, they already offer terrific food at terrific prices.

Posted August 22, 2009
Alfred says:

well i like the sauce but having a little bit of overdose at the moment.

Posted August 23, 2009
Alfred says:

You’re referring to prime, specialties or express?

Posted August 23, 2009
Derrick says:

Either of them are astons ain’t it?

Posted August 23, 2009
Jasmine Tan says:

I recommend :

SHASHLIK RESTAURANT for western food.
The chefs are Hainanese. The food is nice but a bit ex however ambience is cosy.

http://www.singaporemirror.com.sg/co_shashlik.htm

Posted August 24, 2009
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