I’ve always derived a feeling of comfort from enjoying old school Western food at coffee shops and hawker centres. There’s something about that unique Singaporean take on Western food that brings me a feeling of sentimental joy and nostalgia. Hence, I was excited to try SS Western 66, a halal old-school Western stall in Circuit Road Market & Food Centre.
Located within a short distance from MacPherson MRT, SS Western 66 has amassed popularity online for its generous portions and variety of old-school Western fare. You’ll spot SS Western 66 by looking out for a bright green signboard with a multitude of dishes plastered on it.
With a wide selection of classic Western dishes to choose from, like chicken chop, chicken cutlet, fried fish, steak and burgers, I was spoilt for choice.
What I tried
The first dish I tried was a classic among most old-school Western stalls: the Chicken Chop Set (S$6). This set consisted of a grilled chicken chop covered in brown sauce, a side of fries, baked beans, coleslaw, and a fried bun.
The food was served on a gigantic plate, which I was rather amused by. However, in comparison to the display picture on SS Western 66’s signboard, the chicken chop was much smaller than I’d expected.
The chicken chop was cooked really nicely as the meat was tender and soft, with a lovely flavour from the marination. The chicken was covered generously in a pool of glistening brown sauce, which was surprisingly very sweet. I’m more used to savoury, slightly salty sauces on my chicken chops, but SS Western 66’s brown sauce was significantly sweeter with less of a savoury or smoky flavour.
I found the sauce to be too sweet for my personal liking, but it was definitely an interesting take on the classic brown sauce.
The fries were easily my favourite part of the dish. They were crisp on the outside, yet maintained a softness on the inside, and managed to remain crispy even after around 30 minutes of being left alone. Each long, golden stick was perfectly salted and extremely flavourful.
Though I found the sweetness of the brown sauce rather jarring initially, it made an excellent dip for the fries as the saltiness of the fries contrasted perfectly with the sweet sauce.
I found the baked beans to be rather average as they tasted like regular canned baked beans. The coleslaw consisted of crunchy lettuce in a runny, milky dressing. Similar to the baked beans, they didn’t stand out much, but as elements of an old-school Western dish, these simple additions to the chicken chop certainly added to the comforting nostalgic factor.
The final element of the Chicken Chop Set that I tried was the fried bun. If you know me (or if you’ve read my author bio), you’ll know how deeply passionate I am about my bread. I’ll admit, whenever I dine at old-school Western stalls, the item that I am always the most excited to dig into is the gloriously crispy fried bun served on the side.
Unfortunately, SS Western 66’s fried bun did not manage to meet my bread standards.
Though the exterior of the bun looked promising with a tantalisingly shiny surface, I was rather disappointed when I had a taste. The bun was rather dry and the oil had not been absorbed deeply into the bread, causing it to be quite plain on the inside.
The lack of oil absorption meant that only the thin surface of the bun had a slight crunch and added fragrance from the oil, while the rest of the bun was just tragically average and dry.
Despite the disappointing bun and plain aspects of the other sides, I found the Chicken Chop Set to be reasonably priced at S$6, given the amount of ingredients that I got to savour in one dish.
Next up, we tried the Black Pepper Sirloin Steak (S$13). In SS Western 66’s display picture of the dish, the steak and sides were all served on a hotplate. However, to our surprise (and disappointment), this dish was served on a regular plate like the other items we got. Pretty misleading, not going to lie.
Like the Chicken Chop Set, I found the Black Pepper Sirloin Steak to be smaller than expected. The steak was served with the exact same sides as the Chicken Chop Set, which meant that the vast S$7 price difference between the two dishes lay solely in the cut of sirloin steak alone.
The steak was cooked well done, causing it to be slightly on the tougher side. We had not been asked for the desired level of doneness when ordering, so I can’t be sure if the stall owners of SS Western 66 take requests for the doneness of the steak.
Though the steak was rather chewy, I still thought that it had an excellent flavour and a lovely, lightly crispy and slightly caramelised surface.
The black pepper sauce which covered the steak generously tasted like the brown sauce on the Chicken Chop Set, except with an added kick from the ground black pepper mixed within. I thought that the added pepperiness balanced out the sweetness of the sauce really well and made the entire steak more flavourful.
Although I quite enjoyed the steak, I didn’t find it to be worth S$13. At more than double the price of the Chicken Chop Set, I would have expected a much bigger cut of steak. Suffice to say, I’d choose to order the Chicken Chop Set again over the Black Pepper Sirloin Steak if I were to visit again.
The final item that I tried was the 1/4 Chicken with Spaghetti (S$6.50), which came with a large serving of spaghetti covered in bolognese sauce, a large piece of fried chicken and a side of coleslaw.
Appearance wise, this dish wasn’t as visually exciting as the previous two dishes, but still looked like a classic, simple plate of spaghetti.
The spaghetti portion of this dish was sadly very ordinary. The bolognese sauce tasted like canned spaghetti sauce with a slightly watery texture. It was rather sweet and one-dimensional, which reminded me of food from a school canteen.
I had mixed feelings about the piece of fried chicken. The skin of the chicken was beautifully fried to golden brown perfection, with a crispy texture and flavourful seasoning. However, the chicken meat was on the drier side. Due to the odd cuts on the chicken, not all exposed surfaces of the meat were covered in batter, resulting in certain parts of the chicken to be overcooked and slightly tough.
Hence, this resulted in some parts of the chicken being more tender, while other parts were a little dry.
Although the 1/4 Chicken with Spaghetti tasted like a dish that any amateur chef could easily whip up using store-bought spaghetti and canned tomato sauce, it was still rather comforting in the sense that it tasted like a familiar, simple plate of tomato spaghetti. However, for S$6.50, there are definitely better hawker centre spaghetti dishes out there.
Although SS Western 66’s dishes did not particularly blow me away, they certainly served their purpose of being simple yet tasty meals. The nostalgia factor of this stall gives it some extra points as old-school Western food in Singapore is always a delight. However, I probably wouldn’t travel all the way to Circuit Road Market & Food Centre just for them again, unless I were in the vicinity.
Expected damage: S$6 to S$13 per pax
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