I guess I had been traveling and checking out alot of new eating places lately, with Miss Clarity’s Cafe aside, for today it’s the popular Botak Jones western food store situated at Ang Mo Kio Ave 5. (They also have a new branch in Toa Payoh now).
Located in the HDB heartland at the 1st floor coffeeshop of Blk 608. The place is not exactly convenient to travel to unless you have a car, otherwise you will require some bus transfers using the townlink bus services if you intend to commute there.
You will be greeted by a rather unconventional dinner crowd with most of the poeple there eating western food out of black plates and the distinctive queue which snakes out of the kopitiam into the main passageway. You also can’t mistake the staff there too – decked with white or navy blue caps bearing the Botak Jones Logo and T-shirts with the trademark “Damn Good” wordings on their backs.
The store is about 3 times your standard coffeshop store, with the cashier and order booth sticking out of the store by a good few meters. In the kitchen you get to see almost 15 cooks and helpers rushing food inside, each with their own specialisation and task to do (e.g. one doing only fries, salads, grills, etc).
We got our food before the hour, with the average waiting time for a table being recommended at about 1 hr- 1hr 15mins on average. Servings are what they truly shine in – Typical American style you would expect from an American “botak” boss. Background wise, the store is founded and managed by an American fellow who married a Muslim wife here, having settled here to start this booming business. I’ve seen other western food stores like Mad Jack, etc but the crowds here are amazing, it’s even worst than your typical famous Ba-cho-mee, chicken rice or lor-mee store, the wait time is too long for comfort (thats provided you can find a table there) with that of course, expectations of the standard food will rise.
Cooking is largely done by staff who sticks to the recipe, but personally speaking there is other actual selling factor in the food besides the trademark spicy fries and the classic mozzarella cheese and dough laced on top of the chicken chop you order (which is actually their 2nd most favorite dish there) the chicken is reasonable but very dry even going with my lemon tea drink. The $4 salads are very good, the greens are all fresh and firm, no signs of faded or old/yellow lettuces at all.
Fish and Chips is their most popular dish, topped with large servings of colesaw by the side. The fish is on the crispy side, with is good by otherwise the fish servings are rather flat and wide – giving it a large appearance but with very little depth or “thickness” within the slice for fish meat to cut through and favour. Maybe it’s a personal preference, but the portions of the main servings of meat are not exactly satisfactory being mostly the chips and colesaw making the bulk of your fullness.
And don’t let their “western coffeeshop food store” tag fool you. Though situated in a kopitiam, you can’t exactly compare Botak Jones to a conventional hawker western food store, but more like to a mini restaurant or cafe which found itself smacked in the wrong kitchen. I mean how many coffeeshops out there needs 3 stores for a kitchen, have a cashier in front of the store, employs 5 over dedicated waiters, have their own staff attire? That will justify the $7-$12 price in comparison and the food standards are whee one bit higher than what you get from traditional western food stores as well. One of their main selling food is the friendliness of the staff and waiters as well, which you definitely have a fun time talk to them with regards to Botak as well!
There you have it, Botak Jones AMK Ave 5, recommended but prepared to keep your entertained for the long wait!