There was a period of time when I travelled to Malaysia frequently. But due to work, I have stopped going there for over a year! Last weekend I finally went to Johor Bahru with a friend.

New eateries have opened at City Square, a shopping mall there in which the Singapore government has a 70% stake. It also happens to be the tallest building in Johor Bahru.

Season’s is one new restaurant at City Square that I haven’t visited. Interestingly, it bears a strikingly similar menu to Swensen’s.

Season's menu

I initially thought that season’s is the Malaysian wing of Swensen’s. You can find identical baked rice dishes, pasta items and other main courses here at half of Swensen’s prices!

They have most of the Swensen’s dishes too, although some of the ones that are missing happen to be my personal favourites – fried calamari rings, rodeo wings and crayfish pasta.

Here’s a closer look at the burger menu. Besides the fact that little Malaysia flags have been used, don’t the burgers look familiar?

Season's burger menu

The desserts menu appeared to be an exact copy of Swensen’s. All the names and pictures, right down to the ice cream descriptions were identical! Even the menu cover was printed with the name “swensen’s” instead of “season’s”.

Season's dessert menu

Would someone please clarify if there’s any relations between Swensen’s and season’s? If there isn’t, the amount of copycatting we’re looking at is so extensive and blatant, it is a joke! For the time being, I can only assume that season’s is in fact part of Swensen’s.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Salad (small)

To give an example of how every item on the menu is half its price in Singapore, a cream of mushroom soup would cost S$4.50 in Singapore, and only RM4.50 in Malaysia (the exchange rate I got for that day: S$1 = RM2.24). It actually tasted pretty decent. But then again, how wrong can such a basic item go?

Breaded Chicken

Breaded Chicken

Being a chicken lover, I didn’t have a hard time picking out the breaded chicken. I was pleasantly surprised when it was served to me within 10 minutes. Wow! That had to be the shortest time I ever had to wait for my food. Brownie points to season’s for such quick service!

Then, I realised why they could serve it within such a short time.

Breaded Chicken drenched in oil

The entire slab of chicken and French fries were practically soaking in oil! They had served the dish directly after deep-frying without even bothering to drain off the oil. Argh! What a greasy mess!

If this had been in Singapore, I would have asked for the dish to be returned to the kitchen. But I was in Malaysia. I didn’t want to appear like a fussy and bratty Singaporean who’s full of complaints, lest further reinforcing the “ugly Singaporean” image. But really, I was grossed out!

Curry Chicken Baked Rice

Spicy Curry Chicken Baked Rice

The curry chicken baked rice was quite simply curry chicken layered upon some moist rice. If it wasn’t for the oval-shaped bowl that baked rice is usually served in, it would have passed off as any regular cooked rice.

At this point we knew that this place simply couldn’t be a part of Swensen’s. The food at Swensen’s may not be knock-your-socks-off fantastic, but it certainly wouldn’t be of such shoddy and sub-par standards either.

Folks, stay away from this place! Although as far as “away” goes, we’re already pretty far off. Season’s is all the way in Malaysia!

Urgh! Argh! It’s been almost a week and I’m still grossed out when I think of that greasy chicken!

City Square
108 Jalan Wong Ah Fook Level 3
Johor Bahru, Malaysia