Red Star Restaurant

F April 16, 2012
 
0.0
 
3.1 (13)
373 26

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13 reviews

 
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1 star
 
(0)
Overall rating 
 
3.1
Food / Beverage 
 
3.4  (8)
Ambience 
 
3.5  (9)
Service 
 
2.7  (9)
Value 
 
2.8  (9)
Overall Score 
 
3.3  (13)
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Ordering
Traditional
Overall Score 
 
4.0
I came here for my birthday lunch one year with my family since I've heard so much about this Dim Sum place and wanted to try it out for myself. The first impression wasn't really great - the place was really crowded, as it was lunch hour, and it was rather noisy and hot.

We were sat down at a table after awhile, and I quickly learned how food was served here - on pushcarts. My parents who were with me told me that this was how they usually served Dim Sum in ancient times. It was an interesting experience for me to see waitresses pushing carts of dim sum around the restaurant and stopping to serve customers who raise their hands.

The food there was okay, nothing really great, but not bad either. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and might come here again if it wasn't so packed.

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Yes
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old gem!!
(Updated: May 09, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Ambience 
 
4.0
Service 
 
4.0
Value 
 
3.0
Overall Score 
 
3.5
Red Star restaurant has been around for decades and the reason is simple. It serves simple food at its best!

It is located about ten minutes away from my place and it is a place my family and I always frequent on one of the weekend mornings. Service is quick as they have those push trolleys being pushed around constantly. You tell the waitress what you want and it the steaming baskets would be placed on your table almost immediately. You don't have to order and wait for the food to arrive. Of course, if the food you want is not available on the trolley, the order will be sent to the kitchen. I love the fried carrot cake as well. They have a trolley with a pan attached to it. The carrot cake will be fried as they walk around. The carrot cake has crispy edges (my favorite part!) and a nice and moist centre. Very satisfying.

Simple food like steamed dumplings, roast pork buns and congee are the star attractions of this restaurant. It's all old-school food, nothing fancy-pansy and novel about it. The atmosphere of the restaurant is very nostalgic as well. Nothing modern at all. It's all decorated the old-fashioned way. Utensils used are heavy as well. All in all, a great no-frills place for authentic Cantonese food! Do come along with a chinese-speaking relative or friend though, as the waitresses and waiters are mostly chinese-speaking.

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Yes
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Not Worth the Price
(Updated: February 26, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Food / Beverage 
 
3.5
Ambience 
 
3.0
Service 
 
3.5
Value 
 
2.5
Overall Score 
 
3.0
Red Star Restaurant is one of the restaurants my elderly relatives usually patronise for dim sum. I have not been there for almost a year, and recently I went there to 'lo hei' with my relatives and friends for Chinese New Year.

The cute part was only my grandaunt knew all of us, the others didn't know everyone, so what happened was three of us arrived early, had no idea we did not know one another, and opened up 3 separate tables, with one ordering Pu'er tea, the second one ordering Pu'er tea with Chrysanthemum, and the third ordering Jasmine tea. It was only when my grandaunt arrived that the misunderstanding was sorted out, and our table ended up with 3 teapots of different teas.

As we were ordering our dim sum dishes from time to time, I began to have a strange feeling. In the past, all the aunties and uncles who took our orders spoke Cantonese--without fail. This time, there were some China people who served us, and we had to give our orders in Mandarin. It felt really strange, because I always had the innate feeling that people who run and serve in dim sum restaurants MUST know Cantonese. Maybe I should move with the times. My grandaunt, who always seem to know everything, told me that according to the grapevine, the older staff who knew Cantonese were unhappy with one or two of the owners, and left the restaurant, hence the owners had to hire new staff, who hailed from China. The plus point was the China staff were very cheerful and enthusiastic.

Another issue was the food quality had become erratic quite recently. Sometimes the food tasted nice, sometimes it did not. One example was the egg tarts. One batch was delicious, the next batch we ordered were not so good. The presentation of the food was also not of restaurant quality--they looked like they were prepared in food courts. Fortunately for us, the food in general was edible, so no one complained.

Sometimes, the owners will come to our table to chit-chat with us, and on this recent visit, one of the owners, a very nice man, came and 'lo hei'ed' with us.

I am in general not a fussy eater, hence the food at Red Star was acceptable to me. But what I did not like was paying the bill--the price was high and definitely not worth it, for the quality of food that were served.
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Pooh-pooh, for an old and established brand, I would have expected better.
Overall rating 
 
1.5
Food / Beverage 
 
3.0
Ambience 
 
2.5
Service 
 
0.5
Value 
 
1.0
Overall Score 
 
1.5
I'll pooh-pooh the part of their listing that reads [i]"... are wheeled around by loud, scowling aunties with hearts of gold."[\i]

There is nothing really remarkable about Red Star especially the Dim Sum. The food was slightly above average, and the service terrible. When we asked some of the aunties for items, especially Char Siew Sou and Har Gao, we were told to wait for the correct lady with the trolley. Yet, somehow or the other, she'll always miss out our table and go in other directions or she'll finally make it to our table and there is no longer any more of the items that we want.

The staff ignore us regularly and seems to be irritated when we asked them to refill the teapot with hot water.

I'll really understand if we went on a weekend. But the fact was that we went on a weekday and the service was so poor! The staff to table ratio is spectacular yet they would always seem to be busy doing things like filling soya sauce bottles laying tables etc. Their congee is their saving grace but even it was a tad cold.

Probably will not return unless an elder family member specifically request to go or when there is news that the service improved.

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Average Spent Per Person:
30
Best Part:
Lukewarm congee
Recommend to Friend:
No
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Where's the star?
Overall rating 
 
1.5
Food / Beverage 
 
2.0
Ambience 
 
2.5
Service 
 
2.5
Value 
 
1.5
Overall Score 
 
1.5
I guess because this is one of the oldest canton restaurants around, many people started deluging in to get the nostalgic feeling. It's an overrated restaurant. The food is expensive and not worth the price.

Unless you are looking to have dim sum in a noisy, 1970s looking place, don't bother visiting. If you are looking for yummy dim sum, the little dim sum shops along Geylang road can beat Red Star easily and won't have you burning a hole in the wallet.

I come here just because it is an old shop and my grandma likes the roasted duck noodles.

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Recommend to Friend:
No
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Old hongkong feel.
Overall Score 
 
4.5
Let me start with their negatives first.
Don't, don't ever try their ma lai koh. Being one of the cheapest item on the menu, I was keen to try it. It came in a UFO like shape. First bite- wrong texture. Second bite- wrong taste. Third - hopeless. I'm not the picky type but this cake was simply too horrible for me to swallow down anymore. There was a siu ish aftertaste, characteristic of too much leavening agent present. The texture was dense and wet through, unlike the soft and fluffy interior which can be found in even mass produced packets.

On to their plus points. Once you step in, you'll be greeted with throngs of people, tables spread across the whole room. It reminded me of the eating places of the past, there was a rustic feel to the whole place. Their signature pulling factor would have to be that their dim sum is not ordered from a menu, but are placed on push carts. Once the pushcarts leave the kitchen, be sure to be quick if you want the best items, hot.

Their Liu sha pao did not disappoint too. Hot and flowy salted egg yolk custard on the inside, it burst and flowed out as I pinch the little floury bun open.

Come early and remember, ladies, don't wear a belt.
A
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Rare Nostalgic Gem
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Food / Beverage 
 
4.5
Ambience 
 
4.5
Service 
 
2.0
Value 
 
3.0
Overall Score 
 
4.0
Service was poor, if you do not call for them, you will not be attended to. Ever. Most waitress only speak Chinese but thankfully there's English translations for the food on the menus. The fact that the dim sum is brought around in trolleys means you can preview the food right before ordering which is a nice feature. However, you will probably end up ordering something you never thought you wanted just because the cart was the only one there and you were really hungry and the next cart's orbit looked like 10 minutes away. But I guess thats how dim sum is supposed to be eaten in the old days, with long waiting times where you slowly enjoy your meals over a long chatting session and a few dishes. So it certainly has its own appeal.

Definitely something the younger generation will not appreciate, I felt impatient and the whole ordeal seemed so inefficient, no wonder the queues were so long!! GRRRR!! Yea and the queues were very long even at 10am in the morning on a Sunday, with mostly older generation Singaporeans driving all the way around Singapore just to eat here - a testament to how popular it is.

Food was a bit pricer with most dishes being $4 or $4.20. There was only one type of chilli and it was mostly chilli and mayo that went with most dishes. Most of the dim sum dishes however were among the best I've eaten and if you go in the morning, there is a wide variety of dim sum, 4 pages long! Red Star is easily within the Top 5 dim sum restaurants in Singapore, although they aren't the best. The dim sum basically seemed a league above the usual ones we even with the limited sauce selection the dishes were extremely appetizing and so were the desserts.

Definitely a place worth visiting at least once just for the nostalgic experience. Dim sum is good but not cheap, service is poor, wait times are long - just like it was in the 60s! But the "blast from the past" especially if you are a child of the 60-80s was heavenly and even more so if you are a tourist visiting and want to experience the traditional atmosphere and eat dim sum in in probably Singapore's most legendary dim sum restaurant which has been conveniently sealed in a 1960 time capsule.

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Yes
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Do not expect high class service.
Overall Score 
 
4.0
Yep, do not expect high class service in this restaurant that dates back into history. Enjoy the rowdiness instead. Why do i say that? That is because this place is a classic restaurant. Many seniors patronize this restaurant and some were even regulars. They are mostly accompanied by their children and grandchildren on the weekend mornings.

I was there with a female friend for breakfast. We met Kim Ng and her family and grandmother in the lift on the way up to the restaurant. Guess that's how popular this restaurant is, whether it's with the elderlys or the celebrities.

We ordered a lot of dim sum there and what was memorable was the xiao long bao. The xiao long bao we had was not the usual soup filled kind. The bao was kind of soggy and there was no soup. The filling was not to my liking either. It was not soft and chewy but crunchy and hard.

Other than that, the rest of the dim sum were great and i love it. Love the classic pushing of trolleys filled with dim sum around the restaurant and shouting out what the aunties had in their trolleys. I had never experienced something like that before.

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Recommend to Friend:
Yes
O
Top 100 Reviewer 57 reviews
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Poor service and slightly overpriced food in a vintage Chinese restaurant setting
(Updated: December 13, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Food / Beverage 
 
4.0
Ambience 
 
4.0
Service 
 
3.0
Value 
 
4.0
Overall Score 
 
4.0
I have been to Red Star twice. The first was on a Saturday, at about 2 pm. We headed there with the purpose of eating dim sum but their dim sum starts early and ends early. I asked one of the staff for the timing that they are open for dim sum for and she (prc) rolled her eyes and pointed at the menu on the table which stated the new timings for dim sum. I quelled my anger and settled for lunch instead with my friend.

The food was not bad, and pricing though not cheap, was still affordable. However, I expected the pricing to be cheaper for an old restaurant.

The second time my friend and I headed down, we made it for dim sum (we were there at about 10 am). We had to queue for a short while and were brought to a table at a corner of the room. This made ordering difficult. The ladies will push the carts carrying the dim sum and because the restaurant is so big and the corner tables are all jam-packed together, they will just avoid pushing between the corner tables. In the end, we had to go to them and get the dim sum that we wanted to eat. And we were not alone; others were doing it too.

The dim sum was alright, pricing was not cheap either.

All in all, taking into account the lack of service, the slightly pricey food for that food quality, and the stressful feeling I felt while eating dim sum, I doubt I will be back.

The only saving grace is the vintage Chinese restaurant setting. I have never been to a Chinese restaurant in Singapore with a setting as vintage as this one.

Optional Information:

Average Spent Per Person:
25
L
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Fortunate
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Food / Beverage 
 
4.0
Ambience 
 
5.0
Service 
 
2.5
Value 
 
4.0
Overall Score 
 
4.0
From what I know, Red Star has ceased to operate just recently and I was one of the fortunate customers who managed to get a taste of its Dim Sum before it closed.

Unlike other Dim Sum eateries, Red Star was pretty much like a high class restaurant and I really loved how the entire hall was furnished such that it was suitable for a wedding anytime.

My family and I ordered quite a number of dishes and one of the best food that I would name would be none other than its century egg porridge.

However, other dim sums tasted average and did not meet my expectations as I have always read articles commending its dim sum. I was a little disappointed but overall, it was an enjoyable meal as the food were still acceptable.
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