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good eats in dublin/pleasanton/san ramon NOT ON MAIN STREET review LONG =)

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so i had previously posted something about good restaurants in the tri-valley area NOT on pleasanton main street...

SUCCESS!

rworange gave me GREAT recommendation for singapore old town cafe... i loved it so much that when i'm in the area, i've already been twice!

there has been other reviews of this place... but here's my take....kinda had a different experience my 2nd time, but the food makes up for it!

here's the website: http://www.otcafe.com/

my first visit:

not so crowded... went on a weekend after 7:30 pm... the service was pretty good.. they were attentive... i wanted to get the beef rendong because that seemed to be strongly recommended, but then i saw it had coconut and i can't have coconut =( so i ordered the ginger beef instead... the ginger beef was sooo flavorful! also ordered the mango chicken.. was a bit hesitant because i was wary the sauce would be too sweet, but instead it was mroe savory than anything.. it was so delicious! i also had the fried pearl mee (i think that is what it was.. it was the one with the "mouse tail" noodles) very delicious as well. also ordered a chicken nasi goreng. again, did not disappoint... i tried to make the leftovers last for as long as possible. =

)

my second visit:

crowded! went on a weekend again this time around 6pm. there was a small clipboard on the entrance table and we had to sign in... the wait wasn't so bad.. about 15-20 minutes... this time however, we didn't get a menu when they sat us, and it took us a while to flag someone down to even give us a menu.

we ordered the singapore spring rolls. at first i didn't want it, since i had made some lumpia myself the night before. but these spring rolls were really good! it was all vegetable (radish, rice noodle, and carrot). it reminded me of the imperial rolls that hop sinh in hayward served when they were open (i'm still mourning their decision to close... )...

also had the hainan chicken noodle soup.. i thought the noodles would be flat like chow fun type broad style rice noodles, but it was different. it wasn't a rice noodle and i didn't think it was flat.... the chicken has bones, so if you are not into having chicken with bones then don't order this dish. the dish had a comforting factor because well, it's chicken noodle soup. i imagne it would be good if sick...

also had the shrimp with sambal sauce which had a tasty flavor. we got our mild and you could still feel a bit of heat. also got the old town style pork ribs which were also delicious. very savory.

my favorites (besides the spring rolls) were the pineapple fried rice and the aromatic chicken. i was a bit wary that the pineapple fried rice would be too sweet, but again, not sweet at all. they serve it in a pineapple basket which makes for lovely presentation, but it gets really messy when serving, i think i would rather have it in a regular serving dish so that rice doens't end up all over the table, and in my stomach instead.. it seemed to be a popular dish because i saw pineapple halves on almost each table (i wonder how many pineapples they use per day???)

the aromatic chicken was also very delicious. i enjoyed the texture. it kind of reminded me of korean fried chicken... so i was quite pleased. the chicken was very tender. it may have been dark meat, which is actually my favorite because it is more moist.

the drawback for me is that the desserts are all made with coconut which i can't have.

also, when they are busy, they tend to be more forgetful and less attentive. however, i chalk it up to being a new restaurant and working out all the kinks, so basically it doesn't bother me at all. the only other thing is that the tables are so close together. you can hear your neighbor's conversation without even trying... so don't go there expecting to have a private conversation...

although, having the tables close together also aids for conversation between tables... mostly "excuse me, what is that that you ordered? it looks delicious!" and "so how did you like that dish?"

so even though there were a few drawbacks, no restaurant is perfect. so overall everything was just right and i will definitely keep going back.... =)

i was telling my SO the second time i went that it is good that s.o.t.c opened up earlier than the other restaurants scheduled to open in that center because they can already gather their following.

does anyone know who owns the place? they have the servers/host/hostesses but i wasn't sure what everyone's relationship was. i was so impressed i want to befriend them =) hahaha

i'm so excited to have found this place via chowhound... (MUCH MAHALOS AGAIN RWORANGE!!!)

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  1. Is this the old Thai Basil Express. Is it in the Cinemax Shopping Center?

    2 Replies
    1. re: chef chicklet

      i'm not sure.. it's actually in the new ulferts center on dublin blvd and tassajara.. right next to the new palo alto medical foundation health center...

      1. re: kinipela

        hmm. Well regardless thanks for the post, I'll sure check it out, looks and sounds pretty good to me!

    2. Thanks for the great report. It gives me more incentive to get up that way. I might have passed on the pineapple fried rice, but will give it a try. Maybe I'll order it to go and see how it is packaged.

      1. been there 2x now and agree this little place is a nice find. Hope it doesn't get overshadowed when the big Koi Palace (/Garden? whatever it's called) opens next door. The two dishes I absolutely loved:
        -Butter Prawn; sounds simple enough eh? but they did this one up in a way I had never experienced. the dish was garnished by this very light, buttery stuff that looked like ultra-fine angel hair pasta, or even Nido (bird's nest). we asked the waiter what is was and he said it was 'noodle' made with egg...but not traditional egg noodles as in egg+flour, just egg that's somehow been turned into this light yet buttery gossamer thread.
        -String Bean Belachan- standard Malay restaurant dish; beans cooked in slightly spicy shrimp paste. (similar to 'bagoong' for u filipinos). the reason I mention it though is that when we were there, the beans were actually a replacement for Kangkung, which the menu warns is only seasonal. Since I still have fond memories of eating this leafy veggie as a child in Asia, I really want to go back soon to see if the Kangkung Belachan is now available!