Sherman's Food Adventures: White Spot R+D Kitchen

White Spot R+D Kitchen

Over the years, we've seen the metamorphosis of such restaurant chains like Joey and Cactus Club.  Formerly casual and family-orientated, these 2 places did not sport much in the way of gourmet eats.  In fact, I remember that Joey used to be Joey Tomatoes and Cactus Club had cows adorning the walls.  The sudden change in direction for these 2 chains happened many moons ago and they have been attracting a younger demographic.  Now it seems like White Spot wants to get into the action with their new R+D kitchen at The Amazing Brentwood.  We decided to check it out.

Now, the menu does have some specialized items only available at R+D, but much of it is still very White Spot including their signature burgers.  My parents stayed with the traditional and got some Dippin Chicken to start.  Nothing out-of-the-ordinary with this as it sported the usual chicken breast strips that were fried golden brown.  The coating was thin, yet crispy.  Inside, the chicken was tender and moist.  They chose the plum sauce as their dip.

For their main, they shared the 9oz NY Strip with roasted tomato onion adobo, rainbow carrots, roasted baby potatoes and crispy onions.  They asked for it to be prepared rare and it came exactly as such.  Although the sauce was pretty flavourful and spicy, my mom wasn't too fond of it.  Potatoes and carrots were nicely roasted but not overdone either.  Although advertised as 9 ounces, this appeared to be bigger.

My son went with the R+D House Wagyu Burger with aged white cheddar, hickory smoked bacon, arugula, tomato, pickle and mustard onion confit.  This burger was all classic White Spot except for the addition of arugula and the confit.  He found the bacon to be crispy while the confit to be sweet with a bite.  However, the most important part was not that great.  The burger patty was dry and not really discernible as Wagyu.

For myself, I decided on the Gochujang Fried Chicken Burger with Crispy chicken thigh, Gochujang sauce, savoy cabbage and mayo.  This was pretty solid with a juicy chicken thigh that was fried crunchy.  It stayed as such even though it was doused with gochujang sauce.  I know that gochujang has been overused as of late, but I enjoyed the sweetness and heat regardless.  Fries were a bit soggy though.

For my daughter, she went for the Tuffled Mushroom Pizza with cream sauce, seasonal roasted mushrooms, black truffle cheese, roasted garlic and arugula.  She instantly regretted ordering it after biting into the crust.  Honestly, if White Spot wants to compete with the big boys in the chain restaurant world, they need to up there game with the crust.  It was no better than the store-bought ready-to-bake variety.  It was not good.  On the plus side, the toppings were solid and flavours were earthy.

Viv opted for the Crispy Skin Arctic Char with rainbow carrots, roasted baby potatoes & basil hollandaise.  The skin was indeed crispy but you can clearly see that part of it was wrecked by either the cooking utensil or being stuck to the pan.  Not particularly appealing to look at.  Fish was a little overdone, but not by much.  It was well-seasoned.  Veggies were solid being cooked just enough.  

Of course my daughter wanted dessert, so we ordered the Triple Dark Chocolate S'mores Brownie consisting of Ghirardelli triple dark chocolate brownie, marshmallows, graham cracker crust & raspberry coulis.  The light brownie itself was rather sweet, but the tart coulis balanced it off.  I think the marshmallow was the culprit for the sweetness though.  Overall, this visit to White Spot R+D Kitchen was disappointing.  White Spot holds a special place in my heart as I grew up eating Pirate Paks and enjoying their classic dishes.  However, if they are trying to enter the crowded field of more premium chain eateries, they need to do much better than this.

The Good:
- Nice dining space
- Excellent service
- Menu has some new things and classic items

The Bad:
- That pizza crust is plain embarrassing when Pizza Garden in the adjacent food court does it way better
- Overall, the food needs to be better. It is as if they are trying without actually looking at what the competition is doing.


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