eBlackBoard Reformatted: New Chef and New Menu!

This stall is closed


eBlackBoard is a great case study for those who intend to write a thesis on how Blogging and the Internet are influencing the way eateries are evolving. For those unfamiliar with the background to this, here is the flashback before we begin this episode.

Back in September, I got news that there was this new eatery in Bedok serving up Restaurant style cuisine at hawker prices. So I was there within the first few days of opening. At that time, I was pleasantly surprised by the value for money stuff this new kid on the block was dishing out and the blog was an instant hit on the forums.

Unprepared for the crowds, eBlackBoard stumbled upon work flow problems compounded by inconsistent supply and manpower issues. Standards fluctuated and the feedback was mixed.

Now after 3 months of hard knocks, it has eventually (I hope) found its wings with a New Chef and a revamped Menu. With trepidation, I agreed to go down to shoot some pictures for their new menu as a favour to Bryan. This time though, I brought along some other people with me so that our readers will get opinions from more than just one person.



The thing that got the forummers excited the first time was the $11, 300gm ribeye steak. Most people felt that this was too good to be true. And it WAS too good to be true. The feedback over the internet was that readers wanted better quality, juicier steaks, so eBlackBoard had to switch from frozen meat to chilled meat. You see, you can't have it cheap and good at the same time and that is a sad fact of life (especially when it comes to steak) In the end they settled on chilled NZ Ribeye for $12.90. Still one of the cheapest around, but with a smaller portion.

I think the steak quality has improved markedly and you will notice that the grill lines on the steak are perfect this time around compared to the pics on the old blog. The meat has a good beefy flavour and it is tender and juicy. It is a good steak for that price. 4/5



I have to give credit where it deserves and the new Sphaghetti Carbonara deserves credit. The pasta was perfectly Al Dente and the cream sauce was full of bacon flavour and not overly rich. Definitely one of the best Carbonara you can get for $5. 4.25/5



The last time I complaint that the lamb was dry and emaciated. This time round they were nice and juicy. The mint sauce has also improved and I thought the meat was marianted very well. As is always the case with lamb, my complaint is that the portions could be a bit bigger. Always not enough! $11.90. 4/5



I am impressed with the new Chef, Gerald who was previously working at Le Meridian Hotel. He does all the sauces himself. The peppar and mushroom sauces that accompanied the steaks were done from scratch and they were very good. They now use a proper tartare sauce for their fish and chips which is also made by him. eBlackBoard now offer 6 sides of which you can choose any 2 when you order the meal. The picture above is of the Cherry Tomato Raisins which Gerald makes himself. These are sliced thin and added to the coleslaw. For me that was a sign of better things to come.

Conclusion

The whole eBlackBoard saga has been a learning experience both for Bryan (eBlackBoard boss) and myself. At the time I had just started ieatishootipost and did not expect the kind of feedback following my blog. These are some important lessons I learnt.

1. Be careful when raving about brand new eateries. There might be some problems that take time to iron out and the initial publicity may create situations that overwhelm the fledging crew.

2. Consistency in the quality of the food is paramount but the blogger can never predict if the food reviewed one day will be the same the next. Food and service tends to deteriorate during peak periods. So when you blog during quiet periods, the food may tend to be better and vice versa.

3. The strength of the review lies on the subsequent feedback of readers, so this should be encouraged as much as possible, which is why the comments on the blog is opened to anyone who wants to make a comment whether good or bad.

4. Small eateries like eBlackBoard which focus on Value for Money seem to be more popular amongst forummers. Some other eateries of similar characteristics which are hotly discussed have been Botak Jones, Astons and Basil Alcove.

Now we wait to see if eBlackBoard can deliver on their new menu consistently. The popular saying is true: You might fool me once, you might even fool me twice, but you are not going to fool me the third time!

Readers may also want to check out tamago's blog for his take on the food, by clicking here

If you wish to read the previous blog please click
here

Update: 5 Sep 2008.

eBlackBoard is now under new management and has moved to Blk 25

Big D's Grill now occupies the coffeeshop. You can read the review here

e.Blackboard
Blk 18 Bedok South Road
#01-87
91776074 (Bryan Lim)
Opens for lunch till 9pm daily
Closed on Mondays



Disclosure: The food was provided by Bryan for free since I was shooting photos (for free) for his new menu.




36 comments:

smart said...

Had to accept ieat's invitation to try eBlackboard. The Ribeye was good, tender and juicy.For $12.90 it is value for money. I also like the Fish and Chip. The batter is very light and the fish is fresh. Crispy on the outside and juicy in the inside. The Carbonara is also another item that I enjoyed. I usually dont try that for my meal.Bryan is a young entreperneur who dare accept criticism and improve his food. Well go try and check for yourself and let Bryan know how he can improve his food.For me it is value for money.

coldnights said...

I had eblackboard on Friday; 8th Dec.
The cheese bratwurst sausage was a tad too salty for my liking, and it tasted way better without the sauce provided.
The fish and chips were fine, but the side dishes were extremely lousy.
Potato salad was too hard; to the point of having to chew hard on it.
The mashed potato had too little sauce; but otherwise ok.
(:

iwatch_ueat said...

Had an invitation from ieat too! I like the steak (coz it’s the best part of the meat). It’s juicy and tender. For a 200gm, I think it’s a bit pricy but still don’t mind paying for it. For the Fish & Chips, I like it “the then” rather than “the current”. Somehow or rather, will not go for it unless someone wants to belanja me. The best is the Carbonara! It’s really nice and I think the new chef did it really well! Oh ya! I’ve got the recipe for the Cherry Tomato Raisins. I have to give him a 5 if I could. Really, it’s nice. Too bad he’s not selling it. Will try at home once chances come thru.

Holy Drummer said...

Hmm... Les, looks like this post warrants a re-visit on my part to offer an... updated critique for e-Blackboard =)

And must I mention, I'll spare some stomach space for Hill Street while I'm there. =p

CaeSiuM said...

Just had dinner at eblackboard today and I was quite disappointed with a few things.

This was my fifth time eating there since they started and the fluctuation in standards is no joke.

I ordered the spare ribs for my mum and the cajun chicken for myself.

Gone is the mozarella for the cajun chicken and it is replaced by a slice of what looks like kraft cheese. *frowns*

To give credits when due, the chicken was very tender and juicy as usual so it was a bit of a consolation.

Mum gave me some meat from the spare rib and while the sauce is fine, the meat part taste mediocre with this distinct plasticky smell that I didn't like and definitely not worth the $12.90. Maybe it's just me.

The side dishes are the worst for me. They are COLD! Not sure if it is the acceptable norm but I was quite put off by it. I'm fine if the coleslaws, mashed potatoes, salads etc are cold but certainly not cold fries and cold potato wedges. If it's any useful information, I went there around 7:15pm.

I hope my next experience there will be a better one...

Charles99 said...

Actually i was really tempted to go all the way down to tampines to try this featured stall. But from the reviews, its too mixed and inconsistent to pay a visit. I guess the safe choice is to just pay Aston's a visit.

I hope the stallowner bryan really reflect on all this reviews and get it straighten out.If not, soonner or later, his business will be 1 of the many casualties in FnB

Tristesse said...

Happened to chat with Byran on IRC this moring, he assured me that standard has indeed improved, and its definitely much better than Botak Jones. He mentioned that i would definitely go back for more after trying.

Anonymous said...

sailor said...went over yesterday (14/12) after readin the blog. i was greeted by the rather empty coffeeshop.

but e food did deserved "a tumbup" and wad i would call "they went extra mile". i asked for fries w/o salt, they prepare "new" fries for me.

CaeSiuM said...

The good reviews about the pasta got me excited and I was kind of craving for pasta for lunch but didn't want to go hong lim food centre to my usual pasta place so I decided to give eBlackBoard a try.

Service was prompt and good which makes dining there pleasant.

I don't really like cream-based sauce so I didn't get the carbonara and decided to try the seafood marinara.

I took a whiff of it when the food came and was ok with it. Tried the pasta and didn't find it al-dente at all. Passable but ordinary. Sauce was fine but I prefer my tomatoes diced not a whole slab.

The ingredients used was generous though, many pieces of nice bite-sized fish(from dory fillet possibly) and the calamari was lovely. The prawns used was a major disappointment in that it's kind of tasteless and felt it has been frozen for long.

I've also got to keep in mind that pasta is not their "specialty" in the first place. In conclusion, it's passable and still value for money at $6 but doesn't give you the added satisfaction of savouring a good meal.

OT: I thought I'd just mention where my favorite pasta place is. I've said that it's at hong lim food centre which is right behind Chinatown Point. The stall name is Pasta Express, their spaghetti vongole has my vote.

I kind of feel sorry for them because they are living in the shadows of their more popular neighbors namely Ah Kow Bak Chor Mee and the crayfish hor fun. Do give them a try sometime.

sketch said...

Dun mean to be a wet blanket but i just tried the fish 'n' chips last saturday. Frankly speaking, it was disappointing. Thought the portion was rather big but the flour batter was really tough. Couldn't cut through it using my plastic knife (coz i "ta bao"). The batter was actually chewy and i had to chew quite a number of times before i could swallow it. The coleslaw and fries were average and the fish was not spectacular too....

While waiting for my order, saw one uncle returning his plate of what looked like fish and chips back to the owner (now i understand why)... juz before i left the coffeeshop an auntie called a staff over and complained that the meat was very tough...

Guess they really had a "tough" day.

Reader said...

Disappointing service. I ordered french onion soup together with my steak. And my main course came first! When I asked abt my soup after some time, he was like "oh its not served yet?" Then he went to check and told me it's not ready and if I still want it. Of cos I don't need an appetizer anymore then sicne my main course is already here.

Steak is fine, but not all that fantastic IMO.

CaeSiuM said...

It's an irony that on the same day that sketch went for food at eblackboard, I saw this note around 6pm in the afternoon that said, "Thank you for the overwhelming support, we're closed for today as we have sold out our food".

Anyone who went there recently care to share with us your experience? I'm living nearby and am a bit apprehensive about trying them out again.

Anonymous said...

Went down to eBlackBoard yesterday (20/03/2007) afternoon for lunch but to our disappointment it was close even the staff was there. As a group of us was going there for lunch but it was a waste as the store was not in business. These is our third times there and I am very disappointed as we travel from Tampines just to try but is was closed. The first time no one there but just a signboard saying will be back at 5.30pm. Second time it said under renovation will be open next week therefore with the hope, we went back the third time and guess what happened.....Yes it was closed again and this round my friend went to ask the staff he said due to business was slow, they are not opening for lunch only will be open for dinner. Maybe next month will start again for lunch. WHAT IS THIS? Please update the opening hour than. I could see alot of disappointed faces last afternoon as most of the JC students were there like us hoping to have a nice meal but than too bad. Next time anyone mention about eBlackBoard I will always think twice or more before going cause I do not want to disappoint my stomach again.

temp0ry said...

Went down to the "so called popular" western food eating place a few times but the quality of the food is still very inconsistant. Such a disappointment haiz...The long waiting for the food is really not worth it.The last time i went down was with my groups of good friends,until now i still feel so embarrassed that i told them that the food here at Blackboard was good and worth the long waiting time but to my surprise so many problems we encountered in the food served to us.The pork chop and cajun was not fully cooked,the lamb with asian pesto served without the mint sauce, spaghetti vongole the clams are not fresh and in fact the smell of it was horrible. I believed that the clams have already gone bad but don't understand why the still serve it to the customer, i saw a few customer complaining about the rotten clams to the staff.This incident really makes me wander if the current chef Gerald is it really a chef from a hotel kitchen or maybe he is kicked out from the hotel because of his "WONDERFUL" cooking skill, Does he really knows how to cook? Does he deserve the compliments previously? I guess we should think twice or maybe thrice before going down to Blackboard for meals. The boss of Blackboard u better do something about it before he tear down the reputation of your store

By disappointed Guy

smart said...

Unfortunately Gerald dont cook all the time.He left it to some of his assistants who have no dicipline, passion nor quality. Bryan the owner should wake up.

Anonymous said...

Went on last friday after seeing many recommendations on the net about this stall.... Ordered a "JUMBO fish 'n' chips"... and the very 1st bite was already disappointing. Portion was rather small(still cant understand why is call Jumbo till now), flour batter was really tough like what others mentioned...The coleslaw and fries were average too, and the fish was just plain normal. Sorry, no chance for me to return to eat again.

Anonymous said...

Tried the place 3 times over the last 2 months.. while the food is above average, frankly the attitude and service is very diappointing!! First time, we ordered the salad, beef and mushroom soup.. while the salad and beef was alright, the mushroom soup was burnt. I highlighted to the 3 different staff that came by (including the cashier) but not once did anyone of them apologise or offer to refund :( Second time we tapow the carbonara.. it was dry and tasteless .. thought we would try again one more time, just a couple of weeks ago, after ordering, we decided to move to another table, one which the eBlackboard staff was clearing up.. well, since he is from the same stall, I mentioned to him that we've decided to move over to this table and could he please note to bring the food to this table instead of the other one ..he refused and then he threw down his table cloth and told me, "You go and tell the cashier else you clean the table yourself and I go and tell the cashier.." !!! What an attitude.. what's more, it's not as if there was many people and they were very busy, or I asked him to go now and let his colleague know.... Frankly, I find their attitude is very disappointing.. Food, no matter how good, with bad attitude, would not taste good.

Marie said...

I think they are opening another branch at Waterloo Street. Please cfm.

Sharon Tan said...

Went there with me friends on Fri night. I tried the lamb chops and they're good. Meat was full of flavour and the mint sauce is good. Meat can be a little more tender, though and sauce a bit less soury. But the surprise was the chips. Nice and crispy! And they are flavoured with a special cajun spice (I think) which makes it different from other chips. Frankly speaking, I usually never finished the chips. Less carbo, less guilt! On the whole a good experience. The menu is not your typical hawker centre western menu, a bit more upmarket, I would say. So dun expect to see the usually chicken chops. Will still go back and try the rest. Maybe the ribeye steak.

fruity said...

I'm just wondering how many cooks & chef they have? Guess it's because they have so many varieties that all preparations and cooking cannot be handled by just one chef.

Hence I felt that the inconsistency of food is due to the over-ambitious owner. If he cannot guarantee the skills and the passion of the cooks he hired then he should limit the variety of the menu so that the main chef and those more committed cooks can handle all.

justlovefood said...

Went down a couple of times, during weekday evenings and Sunday afternoons.

There is some inconsistency in the standards on different days. There was one Sunday where we had garlic bread that was soggy and looked soaking wet with grease. The mushroom soup was good but not the onion soup.

Had ordered the steak (medium rare) during our first visit and it came looking really rare cos it wasn't served on a hotplate. They were nice enought to recook it for me when I requested. The sambal chicken is nice cos the gravy has a little satay sauce taste, kind of unique, not the usual sambal chilli.

Overall isn't too bad.

blogist said...

I ate there a couple of times in the previous month, but their quality tonight was utterly horrendous. The 'french onion soup' tasted like East Coast Park's seawater with a good dose of extra salt and some onions.

The staff refused to exchange it for any other soup, and asked for 30 cents more to "upgrade" to cream of chicken. No apologies, nothing.

Then the pork chop and lamb chop came. Overcooked until it was like eating salted leather - dry and unappetizing.. See for yourself how it was charred like crazy (photo).

Anonymous said...

i went over to this place some time ago.tried their cajun chicken,it was RAW chicken! and the grilled lamb portion is so small.unlike what they feature on TV. i will NEVER return back to eat already. 2 thumbs down!

Anonymous said...

Very, very disappointing. Went there yesterday at about dinner time with my brother with high expectations. 3 of Bryan's staff were just sitting around in front of the stall, chatting (no crowd). We both ordered Ribeye Steak (S$14.50) and I probably only downed S$5.00 worth. The well-done steak was tender but totally tasteless! The mushroom or black peper sauces did not do much either. Very obvious the cook just wanted to get our orders over and done with. Guess we'll never be going back again.

ieat & itreat said...

I heard that the stall has been sold to a new owner.

Anonymous said...

agree wif all your comments, was really good and value for $ initially, great steak and best cabonara, though service was not good. later, think was sometime after the appear on tv, std dropped, soup was extremely salty and refuse to change, no apologies, carbonara was like soup pasta.

very sure changed hands, but they denied.

The Verandah Cafe Singapore said...

Hey, e.BlackBoard has moved! With a brand new menu and a new chef(he's a gold medalist from an FHA competition held in Canada!), the food is good and tasty! Particularly love their new kid on the block, the Crispy Chicken Cutlet! Huge and juicy on the inside! Oh and their new address is at Blk 25 Bedok South (just few blocks away from the old outlet).

Christna said...

HELLO ALL.
Yep, e.blackboard has changed hands lah.

No longer the same bos nor crew anymore.

Is the food better or worse?

Anonymous said...

oh, just visited them yesterday.. I can say that the food is better! My little brother loves the crispy chicken cutlet so much that he wants a second helping. My mom ordered the Spaghetti de Pepper and it's just great, not too heavy and sinful as the carbonara. I had the lamb chop and it very tender and juicy too.

Go try them now as they are offering a 15% discount for lunch and a 10% discount for dinner.

Heard from the friendly cashier that they will be running a Student-only 20% discount for student in school-uniform when school re-open this monday. Check them out, students!

Anonymous said...

seems like they had just set up a blogspot site.. www.eblackboardsingapore.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

has the e blackboard shifted or closed down? its no longer at bedok south...

Caroline said...

I would like to know if E.Blackboard is still there in Blk 25 Bedok South Road?
I went to their blogspot but its no longer there.

ieat said...

The stall is closed!

Stingray Wallets said...

Thank you for sharing this informative article.I would like to read your article regularly............

Stingray Wallets said...

Thank you for sharing this informative article.I would like to read your article regularly............

Anonymous said...

does anyone know about their branch in waterloo st? is it still in operation? or are they still in existence at all?

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