I always have a soft spot for Duxton Hill. It’s serene environment is both charming and inviting in the day time. When night falls, it comes alive with numerous F&B and drinking holes for people to unwind and enjoy a good night out.
With its bureautical sounding name, Department of Caffeine strives to take its food and drink seriously. It serves coffee from Australian coffee roaster Five Senses. Our latte and mocha is strong and full bodied. The plus factor. Both are adorned with pretty latteart which I’m an absolute sucker for. It shows the extra touch put in by the barista to complete the whole coffee experience. Being 4 days old, the full food menu is only available from 15 April. We opted for the healthy maple pecan granola with vanilla bean yoghurt and jasmine tea poached pear. The buttered rum banana waffle with ice cream seems rather decadent for breakfast but we decided to indulge since its the weekend after all.
The framed funky illustrations of piranha and carnivorous plants adds an edgy vibe to the industrial inspired interior of copper counter, customized steel and wooden furniture. This ID look is popular with the numerous cafes popping up over these 2 years. While nice, it risks becoming a default look which is too uniform looking. To survive the cut throat F&B industry, the ambience, customer service and food has to come harmoniously together to create the unique dining experience.
With KIASU ESPRESSO at 100AM and THE PLAIN at nearby Craig Road, Duxton Hill is fast becoming a caffeine hot spot. Report to Department of Caffeine for your caffeine fix now.
DEPARTMENT OF CAFFEINE
15 Duxton Road Singapore 089481
Tel: 6223 3426
Mon to Fri – 10.30am to 7.30pm
Sat to Sun – 9.30am to 7.30pm
After a failed attempt to visit Mustafa Centre due to the horrendous traffic, we roamed around the Little India vicinity and ended up at The Broers Cafe. It serves the usual staples of sandwiches, pasta, salads and cupcakes. Nothing really stands out so we skipped the food since we were still full from lunch. However, the iced coffee was a great relief from the scorching heat. The nondescript interior decor doesn’t leave much of a visual impact. I was more intrigued by the row of restored Peranakan shophouses along Petain Road with lovely wall and floor tiles. It is indeed a very charming neighbourhood to reside in, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy main stretch of little India.
THE BROERS CAFE
3 Petain Road
Phone: 6295 5426
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Mon: 10am – 8pm
Wed – Thu: 10am – 8pm
Fri – Sat: 10am – 11pm
Sun: 10am – 8pm
If you are saddened by the closing down of Papa Palheta at Hooper Road and put off by the maddening crowd at Chye Seng Huat Hardware, rejoice in the birth of their new pop-up coffee kiosk at New Majestic Hotel. Grab a cup of specialty coffee and enjoy some fresh pastries from Cocotte, all at the hotel lobby tastefully decorated with chic furnishing. A guerilla collaboration with Loh Lik Peng chain of boutique hotels, Papa Palheta will be moving to Wanderlust Hotel and possibly Hotel 1929 in a few months time.
Should you failed to grab a seat, opt for take-away and soak up the indie vibe around the charming Bukit Pasoh and Keong Siak neighbourhood with a cuppa in hand.
(NEW MAJESTIC HOTEL)
31 Bukit Pasoh Road
730am to 4.30pm daily
Kiasu Espresso is the latest collaboration between Harry Grover of 40Hands and the Spa Esprit group. Located in the spanking new 100AM mall next to Amara Hotel, the indie vibe is lacking compared to their sister outlet 40Hands. With just a row of counter seats facing the main street, it is more of a take-away coffee joint for the CBD crowd when Starbucks is too mainstream for their liking. For now, only croissants is available on the food menu. Hop next door to Skinny Pizza should your stomach be growling for food.
Like the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm. And in this instance, a cuppa freshly brewed Joe from Kiasu Espresso.
100AM Tras Street
#01-03/04 Singapore 079027
Mon to Sat – 7am to 7pm
The 1st time I visited The Big Sheila, it was closed due to shortage of manpower. I was determined to return and boy was I glad I made another trip down. Every dish is a labour of love from the owner cum chef Fleur Glover. From the savouries to the sweets, I was sold by both the homely taste and presentation.
The sliced pear, goat cheese and fennel salad is an absolute delight. Light and refreshing, the taste is further accentuated by the honey walnuts. Our mains were right on par with the salad. Forget the usual shepherd’s pie made with boring minced beef. Tender slow roasted lamb shoulder that have been stewed with red wine, worcestershire sauce and vegetables are used instead to excite your tastebud. Totally infused with the rich savoury sauce reduction, the pulled lamb meat and vegetables are topped with a creamy delicious mash. The sausage roll has well seasoned pork meat rolled within a sesame crusted puff pastry. Each bite is firm and the tomato relish on the side provides just the right amount of tartness to lift the taste of the sausage roll.
When the dessert platter was served, my heart skipped a beat and I had to control myself not to go into a frenzy. My heart goes out to the Frangelico raisins vanilla cake with toffee cream. The plump raisins are soaked with the hazelnut liqueur giving each mouthful a boozy kick. The taste reminds me of a Xmas pudding, but only tonnes better. The baked cheesecake with timtam crust and chocci top is literally love on a fork. Creamy with a light hint of baileys, this is not for the calories coward. The orange and pistachio flourless cake hits my sweet spot immediately. The almond meal used adds moistness and a rich nutty taste to the cake.
For the lazybones, The Big Sheila also does delivery, albeit only within the East Coast and City area. Others who hanker after their hearty mouth watering offerings just have to make the way down to their restaurant nestled within the quiet Opera Estate neighbourhood. Buckle up guys, its well worth the effort and every ounce of calories.
Feed me soon BIG SHEILA.
THE BIG SHEILA
15 Swan Lake Avenue
Tel: 6645 4422
Tue – Fri: 11:30am to 3pm, 6:30pm – 10:30pm
Sat: 10am – 4pm, 6:30pm – 10:30pm
Sun: 10am – 4pm
Closed on Mondays
The orgasmic feeling when you sinks your teeth into a beef patty dripping with meaty juice sandwiched in between a lightly toasted pillow-soft bun is hard to describe. Replay this scene by ordering the Deluxe Cheeseburger ($15.90) topped with generous heaps of caramelized onions and mushrooms. Cut away the grease with freshly squeezed orange juice prepared with a machine imported from Spain right in front of you. Order the burger of the month before it disappears from the menu. The Port Wine Burger ($17.50) patty is flavoured with a 72-hour port-wine reduction and further enhanced with a light hint of blue cheese that is surprisingly not overpowering.
An ex banker turned burger joint owner, Cheng Hsin Yao churned out the perfect patty formula using the excel sheet (an occupational hazard perhaps), after more than a year of experimenting with different cuts of USDA Angus beef. The patty is then given a good smashing, resulting in their irregular shape which seals in all the beefy goodness when grilled.
Omakase Burger target audience is obviously the Bukit Timah affluent crowd. It is quite a hassle to trek all the way to The Grandstand without driving. For non drivers, fret not. Complimentary shuttle bus services are provided from Toa Payoh, Newton and Botanic Gardens – which makes it easier if your burger craving caves in.
200 Turf Club Road
#01-05 The Grandstand
Tel: 6763 2698
Mon to Thurs: 11.30am to 3.30pm (lunch), 5pm to 9.30pm (dinner)
Friday to Sunday: 11am to 10pm
Homebodies is the latest brainchild of Smitten after Henry Congressional, their minimalist uber chic pop-up caffeine joint closed down last Dec when Henry Park Apartment was en-bloc. Though the space an’t huge, with just some bar counter seats and 2 long communal tables, it is a refreshing addition to Boat Quay which is populated with nondescript seafood restaurants and rowdy pubs.
CBD folks now has an alternative cup of Joe for consideration apart from TCC and starbucks. If you are looking forward to an extensive food menu, look else where. Currently, there are only coffee, tea, a small selection of craft beers and gourmet hotdogs. The pork sausage is plump, juicy and firm with every bite. The sauerkraut on top adds some zing to the pork sausage sandwiched between a pillowy soft bun. My wish list. I hope they bring back the savoury scones from Henry Congressional.
Head on down soon before coffee fanatics flood the place.
*Henry Congressional permanent home will find its roots at Eng Kong Terrace near Upper Bukit Timah Road in April 2013.
60A Boat Quay Singapore 049848
Mon to Thurs: 11am – 9pm
Fri to Sat: 11am – 11pm
Closed on Sundays