Singapore Daily Deal Review – 4 & A Half Gourmands

Only $9.99 For 3 Martinis or Margaritas purchased from Plus.Bigdeal.sg

Four and a half Gourmands on Hong Kong Street is a strange little space that feels too enclosed to succeed as a restaurant/bar hotspot, in spite of its central Clarke Quay location. Its roadside al fresco dining area may provide a more promising proposition, perhaps on days where one is not strangled by the unholy trifecta of heat, humidity and haze, but truthfully speaking, were it not for the “3 Martinis/Margaritas for $9.90” I had purchased, 4 ½ would never have been on my wining and dining list.

The choices that were advertised were strawberry, lime and lychee for either cocktail, with the additional option of espresso and chocolate for the martini range. I’m all about drinking dessert, so I was palpably disappointed when the wait staff informed me that only the fruity options were available. I had a strawberry martini that was solidly all right (especially for the price) but my two companions’ lychee margaritas were quite insipid. It could just be that martinis are far harder to mess up than margaritas, but I have tasted far, far worse (and far, far more expensive) drinks on this island.

We had the option of ordering an order of truffle fries for $5 (between $1 or $2 off the normal price) which we took up, and we ordered some other dishes to supplement this – Vietnamese chicken wings, garlic prawns, shepherd’s pie, quail’s egg wontons and Wagyu beef cubes (between $5 – $7.50 a dish). These appetizers ranged from pretty delicious to thoroughly lukewarm and finally, a pointless waste of money.

The truffle fries were good for fries, but truffle fries are like fry royalty, and come with imminently high standards. They were tasty, but the seasoning lacked either enough truffle oil or additional seasoning, and weren’t anywhere close to as pungent or addictive as truffle fries are supposed to be.

The meat appetizers were the highlights of our meal. South East Asia sure does a mean deep fried chicken wing, and the Vietnamese wings put on an excellent showing – when I was a child I had a Thai domestic helper and she made my favourite chicken wings in the world, and while these didn’t come close they reminded me of my childhood in all its glory, succulent, and perfectly fried. The Wagyu beef cubes were moist and good, if conservatively portioned (and they did look rather sad sitting quietly on the limp lettuce leaves).

Garlic prawns, quail's egg wontons and Vietnamese chicken wings.

Garlic prawns, quail’s egg wontons and Vietnamese chicken wings.

The quail’s egg wontons were just intriguing; what a bizarre idea, encasing quail’s eggs in wonton skin and deep-frying them, but then again, perhaps anything wrapped, presented as a dumpling and deep fried can’t go too far wrong. I liked them, although I still can’t wrap my head around them.

Quail's egg wontons - surprising, but good.

Quail’s egg wontons – surprising, but good.

The shepherd’s pie was pretty abysmal, with the thinnest layer of meat I have ever seen, and topped with processed, powdered cheese that shouldn’t be allowed near a pie. And the garlic prawns, well, they should speak for themselves visually, small, sad little things beached on a lonely plate that only seems to get larger the longer you look at it.

Shepherd's pie, drizzled with obviously canned cheese.

Shepherd’s pie, drizzled with obviously canned cheese.
Garlic prawns, passable but frankly I would have passed.

Garlic prawns, passable but frankly I would have passed.

I did, however, enjoy how quiet the place was, and my friends and I had a really nice, laid back evening. Furnishings-wise 4 ½ tries to be a classy place, with a monochrome colour-scheme, lush sofas and designer seats, but has too much going on, coming off as classy for a KTV lounge at best. (It doesn’t help that its neighbour, Fragrance Hotel, is in clear view of its patrons.) I would recommend sitting near the window and facing the street to alleviate the claustrophobic feeling of the interiors somewhat.

The bar for bar food in Singapore really isn’t set very high, but if you avoid my mistakes (the shepherd’s pie, prawns) and go for 4 ½ ‘s simpler, greasier offerings, you might have a reasonably enjoyable night that is, at the very least, affordable. It’s a pity that its Hong Kong Street location will never amount to a legitimate drinking hole, on the strength of its bar alone and the pokey-ness of the interior space, otherwise its decent bar food menu might be quite a boon. That said, they do advertise an alcohol buffet deal that I may return for, if I want to get plastered really, really desperately.

Check out some other deals by Plus Big Deal SG

This daily deal review was posted by Janice

Interested to write for us?  We’ll pay for the cost of your deal!  Contact the Team @ Deals Lion City to make it happen.

Landscape Lookout – Daily Deal Sites in Singapore – July 2013 Edition (part I of III)

As a frequent buyer of daily deal discounts, I figured it would be helpful to give others a periodical profiling of the various daily deal sites that are in Singapore, their status, and the quirks of the offerings that they present.  At the moment, it appear that the daily deal websites in Singapore are undergoing a consolidation, with the number of operations jumping to as high as 72 during the peak of 2010, reducing to 39 in 2011, and even less so in present day.

all deals asia singapore

AllDealsAsia – The most interesting part about All Deals Asia is that they are an aggregator first, but also offer a healthy diet (usually 200+) of their own deals.  They have a strong diversification of their deals and are particularly strong in the food & restaurant deals and short destination travel daily deals to Batam & Bintan.  Since inception in 2010, they have undergone a round of investor funding already so they definitely have some staying power in Singapore’s Daily Deals industry.

best bargain singapore

Best Bargain – Established in 2012, Best Bargain is a relative newcomer to the Singapore daily deals marketplace.  However, at 300+ deals strong, they’re certainly looking to make a big splash.  With the major competitors already established since early 2010, it’ll be hard for Best Bargain to break into the market.  However don’t count them out as they’ve certainly been able to source some quality deals so far; with the right marketing strategy, they could climb right into the upper echelon in Q3/Q4 of this year.

Plus big deal singapore

Plus! BigDeal – These guys are a subsidiary of NTUC Link who run a successful consumer loyalty program in Singapore.  They are experts when it comes to knowing what makes consumers tick so they definitely have that aspect of their business locked down.  Like many daily deal sites in SG, BigDeal serves up deals in abundance, usually close to 200 to be exact.  They have been around for awhile but haven’t changed much, so it certainly looks like their website is due for an overhaul sometime soon.

deal guru sg

Deal.com.sg – Outside of Groupon SG, perhaps one of the most successful if not the most successful daily deals site operating out of Singapore is deal.com.sg operated by DealGuru holdings.  In 2012 they held the largest share of the group buying market and with the heated competition in 2013, will be hard pressed to repeat the same feat again.  Thus far this year, the number of offerings from them has decreased to an average of 150, but the quality and usefulness of their deals remain high.  They have been particular strong through the years with their dining discount deals, and this has lead them to branch out to other services such as Dealivery. Deal.com.sg is also looking to expand their deal empire to Malaysia with MyDeal.com.my, a successful daily deal spin-off.

What are your experiences with the daily deal sites mentioned above?  Have you bought something from them and were happy?  unsatisfied?  Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments discussion!

Join us next week as we look at 4 more daily deal companies: the sleeping giant Groupon Singapore, medium sized players JuzToday & MoxDeals, and small upstart ShoppeTreatz.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Deals-Singapore or any of its associated entities.

Singapore Daily Deal Review – Suanthai Restaurant

All-You-Can-Eat Dinner Buffet at Suanthai Restaurant purchased from AllDealsAsia.com

Suanthai Restaurant is located at a convenient spot along Killiney Road, which is only a few minutes’ walk from Somerset MRT station if you are taking public transport. Upon entering the restaurant, I can’t help to feel quite at home with the cozy ambience. To enjoy Suanthai’s buffet spread, there must be a minimum of 2 diners and it is a must to make prior reservation because the restaurant gets really packed during peak hours and you would not want to be waiting for a seat by the space at the tiny entrance.

Suanthai Restaurant Seating

The ambiance, quite nice

When one speaks of ‘All-you-can-eat’ buffet, naturally it means free flow of food. It was undeniable that Suanthai provided me with a wide range of Thailand cuisine, 28 choices to be exact. But the shocking truth was that, not everything on the menu was ‘All-you-can-eat’. When I took a look at the dishes that were restricted to one time order only, I came to a realization that those were the popular Thai dishes (E.g. Green Curry w/ Mixed Seafood, Boneless Stuffed Chicken Wing & Chicken Wrapped in Pandan Leaf). Adding on to the disappointment, the buffet does not include any basic form of beverages. You either purchase a bottle of mineral water or pay an additional fee of $2.99++ for free flow iced lemon tea which comes in a jug.

Menu of Thai Dishes

Menu with one time only orders

Bottle of mineral water & ice tea

Water & Ice Tea to keep us cool

As the service crews were mainly foreigners, there was a slight language barrier when orders were taken. A lot of hand gestures were made before the message got carried across, however their speed of serving up the food really earned them a pat on the back. As my partner and I were settled down at a small single table, the table was quickly filled up with dishes from their prompt service but it did not leave us with any comfortable space to dine as we need to keep a lookout, ensuring that the dishes placed at the edge would not fall off. I would be more appreciative if the crews could be more watchful by serving up new dishes only when we have finished our current ones or clearing off empty plates to create more dining space for us.

Table full of Thai Dishes

Table full of Thai Dishes

Green Curry

Green Curry

Personally I love their boneless stuffed chicken but sadly, it belongs to the ONE-time order category, so I really had to take my time to savor that dish. Another down side of the restaurant is that, all their dish comes in really small portion and so you need to keep calling for the waiter to order more. Strangely, some of the dishes served that day were kind of cold, but because the dishes still tasted good, I didn’t really kick up a fuss about it. Beside the Thai Spring Roll which was pretty normal and tasted like those sold in Old Chang Kee, the rest of the dishes were satisfying. Their Green Curry with Mixed Seafood and Deep Fried Whole Fish with Sweet, Sour & Spicy Sauce are worthy for recommendation. Their dessert corner was not very surprising; there were only 3 choices to pick from: Mixed fruits, Red Ruby and Steamed Tapioca. Being a red ruby fan, it was definitely a happy moment to find out that the dish was available there. As the dessert corner requires customers to ‘do-it-yourself’ (DIY), I was able to determine the level of sweetness for my dessert. The only reason that is preventing the dessert from scoring a full point was that – the ice shavings were not fine enough. Some of the ice were still in tiny cube shapes and so I had to bite and crew my way through the dessert.

Thai Fish

Thai Fish

Awards won by Suanthai

Impressive display of awards at the door

It was a wonder how a restaurant which received so many culinary awards can be so careless with tiny details such as customer’s dining comfort level and the standard of their food (being served cold). If you are not a big eater or do not have a big appetite, this is the right restaurant for you. The multiple plates of tiny portion food would surely fill up your tummy and prevent wastage of food, which can be charged at $2 per person. Although this dining deal bought excludes the GST and service tax, but when you do a little calculation after paying for these charges, the overall price for the meal is valuable. I would make a repeat purchase for the deal because the ambience really appeal to me, the price is reasonable and some of the dishes are worth a second chance.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Check out some other deals by All Deals Asia

This daily deal review was posted by Adeline Tan

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Coupon-ing: Print or Online?

Since 1987, the US newspaper industry has been in slow decline and most believe it is due to the development of the internet. Even newspapers are creating online editions to keep pace with their readers. As the internet business continues to boom, daily deal websites are becoming the rage. With the group buying phenom hitting nearly every country, print coupons are becoming seemingly obsolete. But, perhaps it isn’t the internet or the daily deal sites making the print coupons obsolete, as it is the print coupons themselves.

One great example of this was I was using a Groupon deal to a local restaurant I had never tried before. I was talking to the owner of the restaurant, asking how successful the Groupon advertising had been for their establishment, and she said over 500 people had dined in as a result of the deal. She went on to say that she recently put a coupon in the local paper for nearly $1,000.00 for a “Buy 1 Dinner, Get 1 Dinner Free” deal. Unsuccessfully, the coupon only brought in about 5 customers, costing her way more than she made.

hong kong print or online couponsEven though the Groupon copy-cat websites may seem to do marginal in comparison with Groupon, they have a larger market share than coupons from the local newspapers. Considering the larger distribution due to e-mail, these deals reach consumers much faster and more frequently. On the other hand, some will argue that almost 60% of consumers mention print coupons as their main source. This could be because consumers are able to purchase more using print coupons. They can visit a grocery store and purchase a weeks worth of groceries, whereas the Groupon deals are aimed at one particular item or service. Additionally, older consumers who are less acquainted with the internet are most likely to stick to their reliable source of coupons – print ads. They are less likely to jump on the technology bandwagon and print out electronic coupons.

There really does not appear to be a real threat to either electronic or print coupons. With the rise of couponing and shows such as “Extreme Couponing”, consumers are more encouraged to reach for their Sunday newspaper to stock up and save on their weekly groceries and personal items, as well as activities and restaurants. On the other hand, with the rise of online deals, other consumers are logging on excessively to anxiously await the next daily deal. In a falling economy, everyone is reaching for deals from wherever they can find them. As deals become available, it seems the source is not that important.

Hihi Singapore!

We are very excited to launch our new site for all the savvy shoppers of great Singapore. What started out as a simple idea to bring together a few deals to make a deal seeker’s job easier, has now grown into two websites that has each city’s best deals in one place. From Deals Hong Kong to Deals Malaysia, each of our sites will make finding all of the deals that you want so much easier.

Daily Deals For Starters

I love deals in SingaporeThere’s probably a zillion different group buying & daily deal sites out there in Singapore, and you would need to spend hours on each before you can wrap your head around all the different deals. That’s why we think you should let us do it for you! Just sign up for your daily deals newsletter (don’t worry, it’s very easy), tell us what kind of deals you want to see, and voila, everyday we will search, sort, and send to you only those deals that you wish to see. It’s really as easy as 1,2,3.

 

The Main Event

Deals Lion City knows that a good deal is only a good deal when you can find it and buy it! So if you’re into the thrill of searching for that great deal yourself, then with just a few clicks in the All Deals section, you can filter all of Singapore’s deals by deal type, deal provider, deal price, deal savings and deal expiry. For the newest deals of the day, be sure to take a look at the Today’s Deals section. We also tell you the top 50 most popular deals in the city based off of how many deal seekers bought onto that deal in the Top Deals section. With so many ways to filter & sort, there’s no way you’ll ever miss out on a deal!

The Cherry on Top

So you’ve bought some deals and now what? Well, have your say and opinion heard! Share with your fellow deal seekers in Lion City about all of the good, the bad, and the ugly that you’ve experienced. You can write all about it under the deal Reviews section. And just in case, be sure to read a few reviews before you buy your next deal to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Ever bought a group deal but realized afterwards that you don’t want it anymore? Well, we all have our reasons and if you’ve been in that situation before, no need to worry because Deals Lion City has got the answer. You can resell your unused, valid vouchers in the Deals Lion City Marketplace section. You get to choose the price you want to resell the voucher for and who knows, you may just end up picking up that deal you missed out on before at an even lower price from another reseller.

When you boil it down, our main goal is to make Deals Lion City a helpful resource to help you find the very best deals in town! So if there’s anything you can think of to make the deal finding experience on Deals Lion City even better, please drop us a line at enquiries@dealslioncity.com.

‘Til next time, happy deal hunting!