So, in the forever quest for dinner places, the Bear and I hit Paradigm Mall last night. We ended up at a place called 13 Stages, which turned out to be a Singaporean-based brand.
What pulled us into 13 Stages were their claims of serving coffee from all 13 Malaysian states. However, when we went there for dinner, not everything on the menu was available – there were quite a few items that were listed as coming soon (including mini buttered mantou).
Tasting the food
I had the Imperial Chicken Rice (I think, forgot to take the name down properly). The rice is well-cooked and fragrant. It goes well with the sauce from the chicken. The chicken thigh was very soft and tender – I could tear it apart easily with my fork and spoon.
Despite its looks though, it was a little bland for my taste. I was actually expecting the smell and taste of the ginger to be stronger. However, this turned out to be a plus for me – for the first time I was actively mixing ginger into the chicken and rice and the flavours were very filling. It’s not as spicy as Bentong-style ginger chicken but it’s good enough.
This was an interestingly-flavoured dish. The chicken was crispy and served warm but the rice was a little cold. Despite its name though, the tomyam flavour was… missing. It was a bit spicy yes, but it lacked the tang and kick you would expect out of tomyam. The Bear found it so-so only.
Coffee verdict – Terengganu vs Johor
This was a very interesting matchup. The Terengganu coffee ended up being stronger in taste without the smoothness of milk that the Johor coffee had. Johor coffee, despite looking extremely milky, was actually very smooth and easy to drink, like a far better quality of the canned Nescafe coffee I usually have. Maybe the next time I’ll try the Perak coffee.
With that said, I ended up falling asleep easier than I expected so I’m not sure if the caffeine was too mild or is it my body acting weird… (I tend to stay awake far too late if I take coffee anywhere remotely near bedtime).
The menu in Malaysia and Singapore are named slightly differently. I noticed when researching that the Malaysian kitchen offers fried chicken, which isn’t talked about in Singapore, so I assume they don’t have it. 13 Stages Malaysia is also a full-service restaurant (somewhat) compared to the self-service places in Singapore. You sit down, write your orders on a piece of paper and then give it to a server (basically the same as every other HK-styled restaurant).
For the price and location, it’s actually pretty decent. Would I go again? Sure, it’s near me and it’ll fulfil the chicken rice craving when I don’t want to slog through the traffic to get to the Jalan Gasing chicken rice shops.
Would I recommend you coming out of your way to try this? Not right now. While the coffee is great, it’s not something you’d battle crazy traffic for. If you’ve got a few hours to kill or if you just wanna hang out with friends it’s a pretty good option though.
One great thing about the bill though: No service charge or tax (for now!).
As 13 Stages has only been open for a few days since I wrote this, I will probably check back again to see if they’ve improved. They have a lot of potential, but will definitely need to tweak the flavours to appeal to the Malaysian market, especially in a competitive foodie mall like Paradigm (can’t believe I just wrote that).