One hell of a way to go

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 February, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 February, 1994, 12:00am

AN invitation to dine at Judgement A.D. could provoke guilty consciences to a fit of nerves and reflection. Suspicions are only confirmed by the moody Japanese designed interior: go to the bar to steady your nerves and you are confronted by iron bridges looming large out of the shadows. What clinches it is the ''last request'' foods of the world menu: fish and chips, congee, spaghetti and bortsch. If the waitresses had carried placards proclaiming ''The End of the World is Nigh'', we would not have been surprised.

Reality is a lot more down to earth. This all-in-one cafe, karaoke, live music and disco (formerly a Japanese beer restaurant) is named after the three owners: Julian (Judgement) Hui, Alvin (A) Lam and David (D) Leung.

This two-floor entertainment theme park offers plenty of choice: you can stay upstairs in the cafe and opt for the romantic tables for two overlooking the traffic of Harcourt Road. Or perch on the spindly iron chairs nearer the bar and watch MTV overhead. Or venture downstairs to the Hadean temptations of a dance floor, two bars, live music, floor shows and karaoke.

If this is your last supper, it's worth knowing that the chefs are predominantly Chinese, so there is a bias in authenticity towards the Orient. This was not the crab cake or escargot to go out on. The crab cakes were cracking their claws for some lemon grass or ginger, rather than just potato and strong mayonnaise. Mushrooms, tomato sauce and vol-au-vent pastry overwhelmed the snails, who, given the choice, would have crawled back inside their shells. For indecisive quail lovers, the quartet of quails isexcellent: three quail eggs, a whole quail, quail sausage and a little cup of quail soup which was delicious.

Then back to the Mediterranean: chicken casserole with preserved lemons was strong on the lemon and spices and came with a mound of raisin-studded pine kernel rice. Then on to a sad soggy puff of mozzarella, tomato and eggplant pie. The herb and olive oil baby chicken was spread-eagled on a bed of mange-touts with huge pungent clumps of roasted garlic, which the snails from the first course would have sprinted for.

For a last pudding many a Briton might choose bread and butter pudding, and a Malay the equally comforting Gula Melaka of sago, sugar and coconut. We, however, went for the pancake with caramelised bananas, which was low on bananas, but the huge cointreau souffle rose to the occasion.

A bottle of house wine is $220. A three-course meal for two with wine is about $800. With the option to eat, drink, sing and dance till dawn, the final reckoning on Judgement A.D. is guaranteed entertainment until you drop.

Judgement A.D., Bank of America Tower, 12 Harcourt Road, Central. Tel 521-0309.