Javier’s Rotisserie & Salad Bar

With all the food-related pleasures on Orchard Road, Cineleisure sits firmly in quick-bite territory. So the slightly exotic name “Javier” comes as a surprise. Wading through crowds of teeny-boppers and jail-bait, we found Javier’s waiting in the basement, an unassuming minimalist orange and white color scheme more suited to a froyo joint. Then we spotted the three-meter-long salad bar. The manager led from the front, welcoming us and providing a brief summary of the food on offer. Basically, the deal is, you order a meat main, and you fill up the rest of your plate with as much salad as you can handle. You can just have salad too, of course. We settled on the quarter chicken ($12.90) and the “big eaters” special of a quarter chicken and half rack of ribs ($24.90), and just to balance all that meat with some greens, we had a Fil-e-Plate salad ($8.90). We know what you’re thinking: Salad must mean a bunch of leaves and maybe a carrot or two. Wrong. The veggies on offer include cherry tomatoes, broccoli, button mushrooms, olives, corn and carrots in addition to pre-made salads (potato and pasta were the highlights). And that’s just the “cold” half. On the “hot” side, there were mashed potatoes with gravy, sautéed onions, Brussels sprouts, garlic bread, wedges, hashbrowns and more. Everything may have been kept heated beneath a sneeze guard, but there was no lack of freshness, and the meal had the makings of that hearty nosh that “Mum used to make.” As we tucked into our succulent black pepper sauce roast chicken with meat that peeled smoothly off the bone, we almost felt like we were in an American diner. The half rack of ribs was among the best we’ve had—tender and meaty with bourbon barbecue sauce you could smell from a mile away. Oh, and they’ve got beer too ($6). Javier’s is 100 percent casual, but with top-notch service and excellent food (price and location considered) it proves that casual can trump up-market.