E & O Trading Company
When E & O Trading Company first opened its doors back in March of 2005, I was quite surprised and extremely delighted to hear about the restaurant's concept -- a marriage of flavors from all over Asia, from India in the West to Indonesia in the East. Word of mouth quickly spread (it wasn't good) and I immediately lost all interest in visiting the place.
Now two years later, I found myself at the restaurant for lunch with a friend on a rare afternoon that was being spent outside of the office.
The decor is made up of dark wood, coffee colored leather, rich red and grass green fabrics, sections of stained bamboo, hanging globes of light and a few parasols too. It is at once busy, yet modern, warm and inviting.
After looking over the menu, and placing our orders, a dish full of "chips", if you could call them that, were brought to the table along with your choice of three sauces, chutneys or sambals.
The sauces here were done quite poorly, with the exception of the cucumber and mint raita (though it was a little chunky). I'll let you guess what the others were based on the offerings listed below:
spicy herb & tomato sambal
vinegar & green chili
roasted chili & cilantro
thai chili & coconut
grilled tomato & coriander
kaffir lime & tamarind
salt, pepper & lime
For lunch, we decided to have one of the popular lunch sets (all US$13.00). Here is the fried rice with housemade BBQ pork and prawns -- no doubt a take on the Indonesian fried rice dish, nasi goreng.
The fried rice arrived piled high on the plate and topped with a crown of chopped tomatoes, crisp fried shallots and thin curly cues of green onion. It was evenly and subtly flavored, and contained bits of scrambled egg along with slivers of round onions. Hidden deep within were a few slices of lean BBQ pork (Chinese-style char siu), but none of the prawns that were supposed to be part of the dish!
This dish here is the tandoori-style chicken with saag aloo and curried vegetable salad.
Whhen the chicken arrived at the table, I thought the presentation looked OK, but after taking the first bite, I felt cheated. First, the chicken, and everything else on the plate, was stone cold. Come on folks, you could have at least popped it into the microwave for a couple of minutes. Second, the chicken was dry and almost flavorless. I say almost because there was just a hint of flavor there, though it didn't really taste like tandoori anything. Finally, the "curried" vegetables had a mild curry flavor that was watered down (take a look at the pool of curry "water" underneath the dish of raita). By the way, I'm not sure that what I got was really saag aloo either. It was more like a few chunks of potato that had been stir-fried with some spinach.
The service here was slow. The most mindboggling thing was that the fried rice took longer than the tandoori chicken to arrive at the table! Our water was refilled once throughout the entire meal and, in my opionion, the food was barely passable. The saving grace was that the charge for the fried rice was removed from the bill due to the "accidental" omission of the prawns. Were the two dishes even worth the $13.00 paid? Hardly.
E & O Trading Company
1200 Ala Moana Boulevard, Building 4, 2nd Floor