Country Manna

August 01, 2012 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Country Manna
66A Serangoon Garden Way

3 Temasek Boulevard
#B1-058A Suntec City


154 West Coast Road
#02-44 West Coast Plaza


http://www.countrymanna.com/


Country Style Cooking Makes A Comeback... Hopefully

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 6
Ambience & Setting: 6
Food & Beverage: 6
Service: 7
Value for Money: 7
Spent about SGD $20 per person.


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There used to be quite a few Country Manna outlets in Singapore years ago. Today, this is the only Country Manna outlet in Singapore. This Country Manna in Suntec City has only been open since April 2012, having moved here from their old premises in Killiney Road. This 2012 Country Manna is of course, different from the previous Country Manna outlet located here at Suntec City years ago.

Country Manna does simple, country style meals. Fittingly, the ambience is simple, designed to look like a country home. Service is friendly and polite; acceptable standards.

Food quality and portions are slightly above average. Country Manna is most well known for their Country Style Chicken Soup With Pastry, and they are one of the earliest restaurants to have a pastry shell baked on top of their soup. Still as tasty as I remember. The rest of the food ranges from decent, to above average.

For a mid range cafe, Country Manna is pretty good. Not fantastic, but not terrible either... They fall into the no-man's land of 'just alright'. Fitting for a place that does down-to-earth, American comfort food. But can they regain their lost glory as in years past? With their current standards, not likely.


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Now, I admit there are definitely better restaurants out there than Country Manna. But Country Manna holds special memories for me, being the restaurant of choice for special occasions when I was growing up.

My grandparents (being British educated and influenced) liked this place a lot. So we celebrated birthdays, father's / mother's day, getting good grades in exams, etc... All here! Well, not exactly at this Country Manna in Suntec City, but the former outlet at Serangoon Gardens.

Country Manna Cup



The famous Country Style Chicken Soup (it even says so on the menu); it was creamy and savoury, and filled with chunks of celery and chicken meat. This is the one dish most closedly associated with Country Manna, and it is still excellent. Hearty and satisfying, it epitomizes 'comfort food'.

Country Style Chicken Soup With Pastry


Pastry


Country Style Chicken Soup



The Manna Spring Chicken is a house speciality. Roast chicken is very difficult to cook just right, as it's easy to overcook and dry out the meat. Fortunately, this was still juicy when I cut into it. It was well seasoned, and tasty. While the meat was juicy throughout, especially in the thigh and drumstick, I noticed the breast was slightly drier, but still acceptable. Thumbs up to the chef!

Manna Spring Chicken 01


Manna Spring Chicken 02



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Update Jul-2015: Country Manna is probably the most persistant restaurant I've ever known, as after a string of closed outlets, and several years of hiatus, they've made a comeback... again! This time, Country Manna has opened in West Coast Plaza! Ambience at Country Manna is rather dim, with colours of dark green, deep brown, black, not much lighting, and marble topped furniture with plush comfy chairs. As they've hired older workers, staff are friendly and experienced, I was pleasantly surprised when making payment that they addressed me by name (observing from my credit card). The food at Country Manna has been tweaked slightly, but still remains tasty. However, they no longer plate dishes on their signature earthenware dishes, having switched to rather generic dishware instead.

Country Manna Signage


Country Manna Menu 01


Country Manna Menu 02



They don't offer complimentary water here, so you're better off getting the Country Manna Free Flow Soft Drink (SGD $3.90), where you have a choice of either a range of soft drinks, or coffee / tea. Or you could get the normal cold / hot Country Manna Free Flow Water (SGD $0.50), which isn't complimentary, but at least you can drink as much as you want!

Country Manna Free Flow Soft Drink


Country Manna Free Flow Water



The famous Country Style Chicken Soup With Puff Pastry (SGD $5.90 / $6.90) is once again on the menu. The texture of the soup / broth is a little thinner than I remember, but it still carries good, solid chicken taste, and isn't too salty. Filled with chunks of celery and chicken, and paired with a crisp, flaky puff pastry, this remains pure comfort food, and a great appetizer.

Country Style Chicken Soup With Puff Pastry 01


Country Style Chicken Soup With Puff Pastry 02


Country Style Chicken Soup With Puff Pastry 03



Staff got my order wrong, but quickly moved to correct it, and apologized politely. Thumbs up for them! I ordered the Fish Fingers (SGD $9.90), but the kitchen prepared Chicken Fingers (SGD $9.90) for me instead. Luckily, when I bit into it and realised it was wrong, staff helpfully replaced the dish. Both are similar, in that chicken or fish chunks are breaded in a herb crumb batter. The moist chunks are strong with the flavour of herbs, particularly rosemary, and the batter crunches softly. You still get the taste of the chicken or fish, but only towards the end of a mouthful, because the fragrant herbs hit the palate first.

Chicken Fingers 01


Chicken Fingers 02


Fish Fingers 01


Fish Fingers 02



The free-flow Salad Bar (SGD $12.90 Ala-Carte, $5.90 With Meal) is well worth adding on. There is a good variety of fresh vegetables and fruits here, all served cold / chilled.

Salad Bar


Alfalfa Sprouts


Button Mushrooms


Coleslaw


Corn Kernels


Purple Lettuce


Green Lettuce Fricassee


Pineapple Chunks


Tuna Potato Salad


Tomato Celery Salad


Spinach Leaves With Sesame Seeds


Waldorf Salad


Salad Plate



The house speciality of Manna Spring Chicken (SGD $11.90 / $16.90) still remains very good. The lovely chicken skin is aromatic with the fragrance of herbs and spice, though the fat under the skin doesn't come off easily. The chicken meat is tender, tearing off easily, and is juicy near the bone, moist in the middle, and dry towards the edges. Still very tasty! Served with a fresh, sweet, crunchy coleslaw and peach slices, along with a buttered baked potato. Above average dish!

Manna Spring Chicken Half 01


Manna Spring Chicken Half 02


Manna Spring Chicken Half 03


Manna Spring Chicken Half 04



The Country Baked Ribs (SGD $21.90) features a half-slab of tender, smoked pork back ribs, with meat that pulls away from the bone easily. Marinated in a blend of honey, tomato, Worcestershire sauce, and barbecue sauce, the resulting flavour is tangy, sweet, and slightly sour, akin to Asian / Chinese / Hainanese style barbecue sauce. There is a lot of fat under the meat, which lends flavour and locks in moisture, making the meat tender and juicy, but fortunately, is also easily removed if you don't want it.

Country Baked Ribs 01


Country Baked Ribs 02


Country Baked Ribs 03



The execution of the Baked Salmon (SGD $16.90) was flawless. The light pink fish flesh is semi-firm, moist and tender, flakes off nicely, and you get the aroma of grilling and fatty salmon oil. However, it falls flat on the ingredient itself... if you're lucky, you get a fresh slice, and if you're unlucky, there'll be a fishy smell. If they can get fresh salmon fish fillets consistently, this would easily be among the better renditions, but as it is, this dish is best avoided.

Baked Salmon 01


Baked Salmon 02



The Buffalo Wings (SGD $9.90) are more accurately fried chicken wings, marinated with herbs, and served with a sweet, tangy, barbecue chili sauce on the side. The chicken meat is moist and tender, coming off the bone easily, and the crisp, savoury skin is fragrant with the aroma of herbs. But it's not the traditional American style Buffalo Wings... poor choice of name. Still worth ordering.

Buffalo Wings 01


Buffalo Wings 02






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