BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY IS DARK, MYSTERIOUS AND ALWAYS INTRIGUING.
Hot on the heels of the nostalgic trend to convert old shops into hipster cafes, Sin Lee Foods revived an weather-beaten kopitiam in Jalan Bukit Ho Swee famed for its lor mee and prawn noodle since 1963. Apart from the aged signboard and original wire grille painted black to match the distressed industrial interior space, traces of the past were barely noticeable.
I came with high expectation for the fried chicken and waffles. The generous slab of chicken thigh is juicy and evenly seasoned, but was let down by the stodgy waffle. The cold slaw and diluted maple butter on the side were both too insignificant to make much of a difference. While the croissant royale (Smoked salmon and poached eggs with hollandaise sauce) fared better, it is common café fare that one can easily get elsewhere. Perhaps some fusion spin to leverage on its predecessor food offering like Lor Mee pasta could inject more creativity for the menu. Food prices are also on the high side for a neighbourhood café, even without GST and service charge.
Although it’s heartening to see aspiring F&B owners trying to preserve heritage by taking over aged shops within matured estates , it takes much more for a café to survive the heat, after the initial retro hype wears thin, especially at the rate new cafes are sprouting up like wild shrooms all over the island.
SIN LEE FOODS CAFE
Blk 4 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee #01-164 Singapore 162004
Tel: 6377 3170
Tues to Sun – 10am to 9pm (Closed on Mondays)
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LIFE IS SHORT. DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!
Nowadays, it is almost mandatory for aspiring café owners to set up shop below a HDB block. Novelty aside, the more affordable rental and the old world charm that tags along with it is non-existent in a shopping mall. Think, Maple & Market at Cassia Crescent and the more recent Tian Kee & Co at Dakota Crescent. The Tastemaker Store while retaining its original nostalgic vibe, also manages to inject a modern Muji-like style with its clean uncluttered interior that is a welcoming change from the industrial retro style look bastardized by way too many mediocre cafes.
Lovers of soft boiled eggs and Kaya toast would be delighted to find a creative spin on this traditional classic. The all too familiar fragrant kaya is replaced with lemon curd and clotted cream. The tangy and creamy combination worked perfectly together albeit being let down by the stale muffin bun. The caffeine department also needs more work as my weak and insipid latte didn’t do much to perk me up. Apart from the usual suspects of sandwiches, pizzas and cakes, I am more intrigued by the Asian savouries of Glutinous Rice and Yam cake. The inclusion of these 2 popular Teochew snacks could largely be due to the no of Teochew in the neighbourhood well known for Teochew porridge and Bak Kut Teh stores, both of which I find mediocre and over priced.
The Tastemaker Store is a refreshing alternative from the popular Tiong Bahru enclave, saturated with cafes should you need a quiet respite from the maddening crowd. Hurry down before the hipsters catch wind of it.
THE TASTEMAKER STORE
Blk 22 Havelock Road #01-705 Singapore 160022
Opening Hours: 9am to 9pm daily
Taking over the space vacated by Baker and Cook and Bomba, I had a sneak preview of PS Cafe gorgeous new outlet at Martin Road before the opening on Friday 27 June. In the ever changing dining scene in Singapore, PS Café managed to maintain its competitive edge against many new entrants to the market with its trendy concept and homestyle staples. You know you are in good hands when the dining ambience is comfy and relaxing while the classic dishes never failed to impress. At PS Café, there’s always a happy ending to your meal with their array of lip smacking pies, cakes and puddings. Time to put that diet plan on hold and make brunch plan soon.
PS CAFE PETIT
38A Martin Road
Tel: 8188 6191
Breakfast: 8am to 11am
Lunch and Dinner: 11am to 10.30pm
Tel: 8188 6177
Lunch and Dinner (Mon to Sun): 11.30 to 10.30pm
Weekend Brunch (Sat and Sun): 10.30am to 4pm
This was an invited media tasting.
SALT GRILL & SKY BAR
Perched right on the 55th floor of ION Orchard, Salt Grill & Sky Bar is accessible via a private high-speed elevator. The full glass ceiling-to-floor windows allow one’s to soak up the picture perfect view while dining in a modern stylish setting. By day, the quiet ambience is ideal for a quick business luncheon. When dusk falls, what can be more sexy and romantic with the world glittering beneath your feet while indulging in modern Australian cuisine or post dinner cocktails with your date?
With their new Afternoon Platter ($30++ per person, inclusive of coffee or tea) there is one more reason to unwind and temporarily forget your worries while tucking into a 3-tier platter of sweet and savoury nibbles.
The 1st tier tantalizes your tastebud with Chocolate & Jam Lamington, Raspberry Macaron, and Mini Lemon Curd Tart. Savoury canapés takes centre stage on the 2nd tier. Smoked Salmon, Cucumber, Chive, Crème Cheese on Rye, Coronation Chicken Sandwich, and Ham & Ham & Turkey Croque Madame. The 3rd tier with more saccharine offerings of Chocolate Delice, Passionfruit Jelly, Almond & cranberry Florentines will satisfy even the sweetest tooth. Slather on some cold clotted cream and tangy strawberry preserves before tucking into the hot buttery scones.
With the breathtaking Singapore skyline view as your backdrop, playing catch up with friends over high tea has never been more enticing. Slip away for an hour or two to experience Salt Grill & Sky Bar high tea session today.
2 Orchard Turn Level 55 & 56
ION Orchard Singapore 238801
Tel: +65 6592 5118
Daily: 11.30am – 2pm, 6pm – 10pm
NARA THAI CUISINE
When it comes to high tea, most go for the all too familiar continental style with western pastries. Thai High Tea is rare in Singapore. Nara Thai at ION Orchard breaks the stereotype with their attractively plated Erawan Afternoon Tea Set. It is affordably priced at $12.99 with 11 pairs of sweet and savoury items that are just right for 2 to share.
It was a shame there were more misses than hits. The chicken breast satay is dry and under seasoned. The nondescript peanut sauce failed to lift the flavour. The Toong Tong (Thai Golden Bag) reeked of stale oil, while the Thong Muan (Coconut Wafer Rolls) and Kanom Bueng (Thai Crispy Pancakes) came out of a snack pack off the supermarket shelf and were there only to fill up space. The Tha Koh (Thai Coconut Pudding) and Ma Hor (Minced Pork and Peanuts on Fresh Pineapple) failed to make an impression either.
The safest bet was the Mango Sticky Rice. At least it was done right. For that price, there’s really not much room for complaint. If you have a picky taste bud, their ala carte menu would probably do a better job in satisfying it.
2 Orchard Turn #B3-21
ION Orchard Singapore 238801
Tel: +65 6634 5787
Daily: 11.30am – 10pm
UNCLE TETSU CHEESECAKE
Hailed from Kyushu, Uncle Tetsu has been winning hearts in Japan since 1990. The craze for freshly baked Japanese cheese cake made with premium cheese and eggs from Hokkaido and Miyagi were equally frantic in Taiwan, Bangkok and China with snaking long queues. The outlet in ION Singapore opened just a few months ago makes it easier for cheesecake fans to get their hands on some melt-in-the-mouth airy goodness.
Freshly made each day, the cheesecakes are steamed before being baked, resulting in an airy soufflé-like texture compared to the denser New York style cheesecake which is heavier on the palate. When eaten warm, the egg aroma is stronger. The cheese flavour comes out more intense after chilling.
It is great as an afternoon perk-me-up snack over a cup of green tea. Someone please stop me before I raid my fridge for another slice.
2 Orchard Turn #B4-35
ION Orchard Singapore 238801
Tel: +65 9871 2221
Daily: 10am – 9pm
ABOUT ION INSIDER
The ION Orchard blog is a social media initiative to engage readers with creative content, dishing out nuggets on the latest happenings. A new F&B outlet for that insatiable appetite, rubbing shoulders with celebrities at red carpet events, exclusive fashion soirees, be part of the inner circle by keeping up-to-date with insider tips. Unveiling soon in the month of July.
This was an invited session.
Thank you Coleen and Chermaine (ION Orchard marketing team) and Sweta (Vocanic) for the kind invitation.