Common Man Coffee Roasters Joo Chiat

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Common Man is no doubt one of the OG cafes for good brunch and coffee. I first visited the first branch at Martin Road way back in 2013, and even wrote a post on it here! Earlier this year, I re-visited the same branch and found it reminiscent of my first visit – the crowd, the consistency of the food, the same vibes.

Since its inception in 2013, 2 other outlets have sprung up, namely Common Man Stan on Stanley Street and the newest Common Man Coffee Roasters Joo Chiat in the East, where I was kindly invited to for a tasting. 

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Joining the enclave of eateries in the East Coast neighbourhood, the third outlet exudes a different kind of vibe from the first two – more spacious, breezy and chill. With bold splashes of dark blue and brass, the interiors are decorated with a contemporary industrial look. 

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We started off the tasting at the dedicated filter coffee brewing bar, the centrepiece of the café. We were served the Slow Brew ($9) by the barista,  with notes of tropical and dried fruits. 

I also could not resist getting myself a coffee from the Espresso Bar. I went for the Hot Mocha ($6.50), one of my regular orders at CMCR. It tasted as consistent as my previous orders. 

A new item on the CMCR menu are the Sourdough Pancakes, available in both sweet and savoury options. 

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The Savoury Sourdough Pancakes ($24) comes with crispy bacon, fried egg, pure maple syrup and seasoned creamy butter while the Sweet Sourdough Pancakes ($24) is topped with chocolate almond ganache, almond praline, vanilla ice cream and zesty citrus marmalade. In contrast to the Common Man Fluffy Pancakes which I have tried at CMCR @ Martin Road, the sourdough pancakes may not be as fluffy in texture but makes for a healthier alternative. We preferred the sweet version.

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A vegetarian option is the Umami Mushroom Avocado Toast ($22), which was indeed umami thanks to the flavourful oyster and maitake mushrooms, red onions and pickle and togarashi. The focaccia toast is also made with sourdough.

As for the Turkish Common Man Breakfast ($28), it is a not so common combination of a phyllo wrapped soft boiled egg, crispy feta, pumpkin hummus, fresh cucumber, pomegranate and fresh herbs, and pita bread on a plate. My favourite was the chewy wholewheat pita bread.

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We also had the Smash Burger ($28) but unfortunately the house made beef patty was rather dry. 

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A spin on the classic Caesar Salad, the beautifully plated Common Man Caesar ($25) is a huge bowl of butterhead lettuce, chicken breast, grilled brussels sprouts, creamy Stracciatella cheese, focaccia croutons and herb salt.

With this latest café addition to the East Coast, the area would surely be livelier, and hippier.

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185 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427456

7.30am – 5pm daily

Asylum Coffeehouse

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Alongside other well-known coffee establishments such as Chye Seng Huat Hardware and Apartment Coffee in Jalan Besar is the (perhaps not so new) Asylum Coffeehouse which opened early this year. 

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Intending to serve as an asylum from home for guests to escape the hustle and bustle of modern world, the space is small and cozy. I am not trained in design, but thought that the combination of straight lines and curves complemented each other. The combination of white, brown and grey in the interior also gave off some Scandinavian vibes.

Unfortunately with the current 1 meter apart safe-distancing measures, it further limits the indoor seating capacity. My heart ached to see duct tapes of crosses and boundaries stuck on the benches. 

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Service was warm and friendly, especially since the staff explained the menu to us thoughtfully. I ordered the White ($5 for 3 oz, $5.50 for 5oz, +$1 for iced/oat milk/macadamia milk) and thought that while it was decent, it could have a stronger, more acidic body. 

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Besides coffee, there are 2 signature sandwiches on the menu, of which I had the Cubano ($16) – comprising mojo pork, gherkins, Emmental and mustard sandwiched between ciabatta slices. The alternative is The Overload ($16) – with smoked barbecue pulled pork, mac and cheese, homemade bbq sauce and slaw.

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The display counter held some cakes and pastries which we skipped to save space for our next café. We came across The Block OG ($6) – a sugee cake made with almond, butter, rum, Italian meringue, edible flower, a Croissant ($5) and Croisini ($6.50).

There is also an alfresco area, which provides a minimalistic background for your OOTDs, but is less ideal in the recent days of sweltering heat.

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311 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208970

8am – 4.30pm daily

Tapas 24 – From Barcelona to Singapore

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Tapas 24 is the first Asian outpost of the Barcelonian concept helmed by Michelin-starred Chef Carles Abellán. Though friends who visited the original concept in Barcelona gave praises, I kept my expectations low prior to my visit to the Robertson Quay outlet, mainly due to the mixed reviews online.

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Entering the vibrantly coloured all-day restaurant bar, I was hosted by a staff who enthusiastically explained to us most of the dishes in the menu. Even considering that this was a media invite, the service was sincere. Spoilt for choice, we went for most of the recommended dishes. 

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Touted as one of the biggest must-try items here, the Tapas 24 Bikini Sandwich ($16) with black truffles, iberico ham and buffalo mozzarella were decently good, but not amazing. I wished the thin fillings were more substantial in amount.

Two types of croquetas (i.e. Spanish croquettes) were on the menu – the Croquetas de Jamon (Spanish ham) ($10) which I would usually pick, and the Croquetas De Pollo ($8) which I decided to go for based on the host’s recommendation. The croquettes are made of slow-braised pulled chicken (yes, hand-pulled) in home-made velouté, then lightly breaded and deep fried. This was a delight as the pollo (chicken) filling was adequately tender and moist, with a crispy batter outer layer. 

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We were told that the Crispy Calamares ($16) is a dish less well-received by Asians due to the saffron mayonnaise that might come off as overly rich. And so we just had to order and try it for ourselves. Turned out that the saffron mayonnaise had an interesting taste profile which we liked together with the huge chunks of deep fried battered squid, but might be “gelak” for 1 or 2 pax. Instead, I recommend sharing it between 3 – 5 pax.

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The Secreto Iberico ($26) is another one of my favorites in Spanish cuisine. I loved the pairing of flavours with chimichurri and creamy mashed potato in Tapas 24’s version of this dish, but wished the portion size could be larger.

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Yet another dish I enjoyed was the Clams “Ajillo” in Sherry ($32) – fresh clams flambeed in sherry wine with garlic, fresh artichoke and iberico ham. Though my partner thought that the clams would go better with white wine than sherry. 

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Probably our favorite dish we had was the Gambas Al Ajillo ($18) featuring plump, juicy garlic prawns in olive oil. Order some bread and dip it in the sauce for that extra carb satisfaction. 

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As though we did not have enough of gambas and carbs, we proceeded to try the Paella De Gambas Al Ajillo ($40), which came with prawns and paella rice cooked with seafood stock in the Josper oven. Disappointingly, the paella did not match my expectations – I’ve had better ones in other Spanish restaurants in Singapore. We didn’t manage to finish most of it.

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Thankfully, there is always a separate stomach for desserts. Between the Chocolate, Sea Salt and Olive Oil ($10) and the Brie Cheesecake ($18), we opted for the former as huge chocolate fans. The 3 dollops of rich and smooth dark chocolate ganache, topped with olive oil roe and sprinkled with sea salt, appealed to and was welcomed very much by our dessert stomachs. 

Though the price point is slightly steep in comparison to the portion sizes, I must admit that most of the dishes we tried were comparable to those of a good Spanish restaurant in Singapore.

Thanks to the Tapas 24 team for the invite and hosting.

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60 Robertson Quay

#01-04

The Quayside

Singapore 238252

Tues – Sat 12pm – 11pm, Sun 11am – 11pm (Closed on Mon)

+65 6513 6810/+65 9821 8471

Little Rogue Coffee

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Right after my previous café visit to Tigerlily Patisserie in the Katong area, I planned my next café trip to the same area again – there is just lots to explore in this enclave.

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Reaching slightly before 11am on a weekday, I had braced myself but still surprised to find most of the seats filled. Luckily, we managed to settle at the communal table where the centrepiece is situated, with adequate social distancing between patrons.

With no proper doors or windows, the café allows much natural light in in the day, casting light and shadows on the concrete floor, wooden upcycled furniture and plants. Interestingly enough, I also spotted parking lots for bicycles, a play area for kids and a community library for café-goers to deposit or borrow books. This fits in the owners’ vision to bring the local community together while serving F&B. 

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There are 2 main sections to the food menu – All Day Breakfast served from 9am onwards, and Mains, served from 11am onwards.

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From the former, I just could not resist but order one of the most photographed dishes here – the Soft Scrambled Eggs & Ikura ($14). Even though I would have preferred the scrambled eggs to be creamier, fluffier and less watery, the combination of ikura, truffle cream, chives, sourdough with the eggs made a hearty and visually appealing breakfast dish. 

While my Oat Latte ($6.50) was alright, but the Okumidori Matcha Latte ($7) left a greater impression. I later found out that Okumidori is a ceremonial grade matcha which is considered rare.

As we reached before 11am, the mains were not available yet but we were allowed to place advance orders for them which arrived promptly on our table at 11am. 

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We thought that our Beef Cheek Linguine ($24) was rather well-executed, especially with the tender braised beef cheek in beef jus. 

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I am not one who would usually go for vegetarian options on the menu, but the Miso Roasted Cauliflower Steak ($18) had caught my eye when I was doing prior research on the café. There was a play of different textures and flavors from its components (i.e. the crispy kale topped with a generous portion of cheese shavings, crunchy nuts and pomegranate seeds, smooth humus, roasted cauliflower, bittersweet espresso vinaigrette). 

The menu also offers a couple of desserts (an affogato, a waffle and ice cream), and daily bakes such as tea cakes are displayed at the counter. We were too stuffed for them. 

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There has been a sprout of cafes recently, and I’m glad to have discovered one that is above average. 

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336 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437109

Wed to Mon 8.30am – 6pm, closed on Tues

+65 8899 1143

Tigerlily Patisserie

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The East is blooming with new cafes, and I’m taking slow and progressive steps to visit them one at a time. My most recent one was at Tigerlily Patisserie, a bakery-café which started as an online bake-box business. 

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Greeted by floral and pastel-themed interiors, I was livened up by the botanical designs and the splash of yellow-orange against a deep forest green along a wall. Surprisingly, the café was fully packed at noon on a weekday, with a line forming in and outside the premises. 

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We had some coffee and realized it was on the mild side – my Oat Mocha ($7.50) tasted more like a hot chocolate. The Oat White ($6) was just as mild.

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Then Maxine, the owner and head chef, brought out 2 sandwiches to start our meal proper. The Salmon Tzatziki ($14), with ingredients of house-cured salmon gravlax, dill tzatziki, avocado slices and citrus segments between homemade ciabatta bun were light on the palate and made a refreshing appetizer. 

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Not just your ordinary homemade grilled kimchi cheese sandwich, the Monsieur Kim ($15) has kimchi and Parma ham sandwiched with a trio of grilled cheeses that made a great combination –  brie, comte and caiocavallo. It felt like an elevation of a simple breakfast dish.

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Moving on to the pastries and desserts which I was most excited about, we first had the savory Tomato & Artichoke Tart ($7) – made with heirloom tomatoes baked atop tomato concasse and with pickled artichoke hearts. 

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As for the Yellow Peach Danish ($8), while I wished that the danish puff pastry would be airier with flakier layers, the seasonal yellow peaches were soft, mildly sweet, and perfect for summer.

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An IG-worthy signature of Tigerlily is the Beehive ($11). Have fun smashing the beehive – within which you can find lemon, thyme and litchi honey jelly, a lemon sponge and honey parfait encased in yuzu mousse. I would recommend to eat the inner layers together with the yellow shell (made of white chocolate) as some may find the combination of ingredients within to be on the sour side. 

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Personally, I preferred the Pink Guava & Pear ($10) to the Beehive. This terrazzo-inspired dessert (matching the terrazzo designs of the tables) has pink guava cream and jelly with cubes of fresh pears encased in elderflower liqueur and pear mousse. Loved the sweet-tart, tropical flavors. 

Overall, I was impressed by the intricately presented pastries and desserts and would love to try the rest on my return visit – the Forest Berry Taco, Mochi Blondie, Garlic Herb and Cream Cheese Babka… which were unfortunately wiped off the display around 1.30pm when I ended my meal.

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Heartfelt thanks to Teresa and Maxine for hosting us.

350 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427598

Tues to Sun, 9am – 5pm

+65 8887 0988

Siri House at Dempsey – New Weekend Brunch Menu

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I took a long break since my last post, but a recent brunch I had at Siri House in Dempsey was scrumptious enough to compel me to write and recommend it to all of you. Launched 2 years ago by Thai property luxury developer Sansiri, Siri House is a lifestyle, social and dining space housed in the former premises of House at Dempsey. 

A short tour through the space revealed a sales gallery doubling up as a bar where guests can enjoy tipples and a private dining session in a replica luxury Sansiri apartment, the main dining area, an outdoor terrace and an art space and shop to feature artists’ works on a rotational basis.

We were there for the new weekend brunch menu featuring Mod-Asian fare, and picked out dishes and drinks which were recommended to us.

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From the extensive cocktail menu, we had the – 

Summertime Madness ($12) – a herbaceous and citrusy take on the Aperol Spritz;

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9-Volt ($22) – a Szechuan pepper gin drink which fired and awakened our taste buds;

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Blush ($22) – which featured clarified tomato juice in elderflower, gin, Seedlip Garden and vodka, and

Hunting Season ($20) – our favorite of the 4 cocktails we tried due to its refreshing kick. It uses Fernet Hunter as a base, together with clarified grapefruit juice, sherry, champagne vinegar, salt, sugar, gin & tonic.

Meanwhile for the food, a side of Scrambled Eggs ($6) arrived first. Without bearing much expectations, we were delightfully surprised by the creaminess and silkiness of the dish that persisted despite a long photo-taking session. Got to be one of the best scrambled eggs I’ve had in a long while.

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Seemingly a simple dish (but I reckon not), the SH Salad ($18) made a light and crisp appetizer with a mix of textures from the tiger prawns, candied ikan bilis, Belinjo crackers, mixed greens and soy ginger dressing. The prawns used were really fresh.

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Served piping hot from the fryer, the Arancini ($21) made with dashi infused japanese rice mixed with octopus was crunchy on the first bite, and revealed mozzarella in the centre of the rice mixture. The use of Japanese ingredients in this classic Sicilian snack was brilliant. 

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The Scallop ($29) caught our eyes with its interesting list of ingredients – wild caught hokkaido scallop carpaccio, yuzu kosho, dashi jelly, smoked ikura, sea grapes, and hamachi bacon. There was a burst of flavor from which element, but we felt that the hamachi bacon topping was overpowering the other tastes and textures.

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The star and our favorite dish was the Unagi Risotto ($33). The savory risotto, made with rice infused with a mixture of burnt onion dashi and tomato consomme and seasonal mushrooms, made a great complement to the sweet soy-glazed grilled unagi. It has got me very tempted to attempt a Japanese-style risotto in my kitchen.

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For desserts, we had the Bomboloni ($16) – Italian-style doughnuts that are gaining traction in Singapore recently. They came with 2 fillings, namely cashew chocolate ganache and mixed berry jam. 

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Compared to the former dessert, we preferred the Tropical “Tau Huey” ($15) which is an Asian take on the panna cotta. (The Bombolinis were heavy on the palate and stomach.) Macerated mango with chilli and passionfruit granita were used to pair with the coconut panna cotta and the tropical flavors were refreshing.

From now till 13 June, Siri House is offering delivery (bit.ly/shdelivery) and takeaway (bit.ly/shtakeaway) options in view of the no dine-in measure.

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Special thanks to Natasha and the team for hosting us!

Address: Block 8 D #01-02 Dempsey Road, Dempsey Hill, Singapore 249672

Opening Hours: Mon – Thu 11.30am to 10pm, Fri – Sat 11.30am to 11pm, Sun 11.30am to 4pm

Baker’s Bench Bakery

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When all three times were the charm. 

Located along the row of shophouses on Bukit Pasoh street, the cafe opened in January this year and since then, I have totalled 3 trips to this bakery cafe to-date with different groups of friends – that says a lot. Priding themselves in the quality of their handcrafted bakes, all bread and pastries here are naturally leavened with sourdough freshly baked in the cafe.

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Out of the whole lot I have tried on my visits here, the Sticky Bun ($5) is surprisingly my utmost favorite. Displayed gloriously on the counter as a whole loaf, it was the first thing that caught my eye and settled my first pick. The sticky sweet toffee, mild crunch of walnuts, aromatic hints of cinnamon and soft, pilowy textured sourdough bun made a brilliant pastry that was not cloyingly sweet. 

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Seeing that it was the last piece behind the glass counter, I also quickly scooped up the Twiced Baked Hazelnut Croissant ($5.50) into my order. It was crisp, with a substantial hazelnut filling.

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Other bread and pastries I have had here include the 

Vegan Banana Bread ($5) – despite being vegan it was rather moist with a distinct flavor; 

Croissant ($4) – unlike the usual croissant since it was made of sourdough. Admittedly, I would have preferred a more buttery, flakier version;

and Palmier ($2.50) – a very crispy, flaky and buttery delight that I wish I had bought home a bag of. I am, however, ashamed to say that I was not acquainted with this French pastry prior my visit.

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Apart from the saliva-inducing breads and pastries at the display counter, there is also a proper menu serving sandwiches, build-your-plate dishes and even burgers. Amongst the sandwiches, I had the K Pork Belly ($14) comprising sous-vide pork belly, coffee glaze, garlic chips, kimchi mayo, apples and pears, and the Croque Monsieur ($12) with sauce mornay, smoked ham and gruyere. Both were decent but I preferred the latter for the overflowing, savory layer of gruyere cheese that paired well with the sourdough. 

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The Glazed Back Bacon Burger ($14) stood out the most to us in the list of burgers. Not failing my expectations, it came with a generous serving of thick slices of back bacon stuffed between two sourdough buns. The bacon was tender enough, not overly salty and made for a satiating dish.

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With the menu selections being satisfying yet affordably priced, I guess it was a no wonder that I have recommended the cafe to many. If you’re feeling a little stuffed, prioritise the pastries and cakes and leave the mains to another occasion. 

Address: 6 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089820

Opening Hours: Wed to Sat 8.30am – 5pm, Sun 8.30am – 4pm

Daizu Cafe

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Though several new cafes have popped up on shores post-lockdown era, not quite a few appealed to me. Daizu Cafe became that exception when I was recommended to it – my friends were right when they showed me photos and remarked that the cafe’s aesthetics seemed to be my kind of aesthetics. 

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Arriving just before the crowd on a Sunday morning, I managed to grab a window seat and that window of opportunity for a few snaps of the near-empty cafe. Boasting 2 storeys and a small alfresco area, the wooden tables were spaced comfortably in the minimalistic-ally designed cafe. The cafe also appeared welcoming to patrons studying/working “from home”. 

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Of the drinks we ordered, I loved my friend’s Dark Mocha ($6.50 hot, $7 iced) for its smoothness, mild acidity and bittersweet tones of chocolate. Unfortunately my order of Uji Matcha Latte ($7 hot, $7.50 iced) with Soy Milk (+$1) felt more of a watered down version of an instant matcha mix. 

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While the Drinks, Pastries and Cakes and Tarts are available all day from 10am, the Brunch, Pasta, Rice Bowls and Sides menus run from 11am onwards with a moderate selection of food. We had the Petit Breakfast ($10), Mini Unagi Bowl ($10) and White Truffle Fries ($10). Despite the “Petit” and “Mini” designations, we felt that the portions were generous and sufficiently filling along with a couple of sides. Prices were also on the comfortable range – the rice bowls and pastas were all priced below $20. 

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What were memorable: 1. the smooth, creamy scrambled eggs in the Petit Breakfast; 2. the fresh, tender and sweetly glazed grilled unagi from the Unagi Bowl. 

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From the small selection of cakes and tart, we picked the Lime Meringue Tart ($8.50) which had a good balance of tartness and sweetness, thus ending our meal on a satisfying note. 

And so, I have been recommending this place to friends looking for weekend brunch at comfort prices. I also reckon it a conducive environment for working/studying on weekdays. Another plus point – in the proximity, you will find more cafes to cafe-hop (Old Hen Coffee, Gather the Misfits, Brunches Cafe, Enchanted Cafe).

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Address: 129 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218407

Tel: +65 8155 8233

Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm daily

Lucali BYGB

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I chanced upon the profile of this restaurant during their pre-opening phase: An outpost of Lucali in Brooklyn – a popular neighborhood eatery characteristic for its thin-crust pizzas and BYOB policy. A collaboration between Mark Iacono from the parent Lucali and Gibran Baydoun of BYGB Hospitality. A grand opening so highly anticipated that bookings were mostly full for weeks.

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Hopping in the line of high hopes, I made my reservation 2 weeks in advance and on the day itself, brisk walked through the Kallang Riverside Park to the old industrial building at Kampong Bugis where the restaurant is tucked in.

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The interior – wooden tables and benches, part concrete part tiled floors, bright and airy with lots of natural light streaming in – sets it apart from the rustic BK neighborhood vibes of the main branch and was right up my alley.

Parked at a table for 2 with a view of the Kallang River (riverside dining at its best in Singapore), we looked through the simple, concise menu – a pizza, calzone, 3 types of pastas, a few appetizers and a few desserts.

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Drinks-wise, no BYOB here, but instead there is a fair range of sodas, homemade bottled cocktails and wines to choose from the fridge.

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The Original 18” Pizza Pie ($55), served at only 1 size, is the signature. Don’t forget to add toppings (at $5 each), otherwise your pizza will come plain with just sauce, basil and cheese.  From the list of toppings – extra side of sauce, pepperoni, anchovies, onions, sweet peppers, mushrooms, olives – we added pepperoni and mushrooms. Freshly wood-fired and out from the oven, the pizza was quite satisfying, from its crispy thin crust to the sauce. The size was also more manageable than expected for the both of us (females). However, admittedly, we could list better pizza joints we’ve been to.

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We also had the Cacio e Pepe ($35) comprising long fusilli seasoned with pecorino and black pepper. The highlight was the perfect firm, al dente texture of the fusilli, which I’ve not experienced in a long while. This could have been a superb pasta except for the unfortunate fact that it was too salty.

That was how my bill came up to be $115 – including water charged at $2/pax, GST and service charge. Prices are surely on the higher end here, even higher than in NYC. (Eg. The pizza with 2 toppings here costs $76.50 after GST and service charge, while that from NYC will cost about $53 SGD after tax, 20% tips and exchange rate conversion).

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I enjoyed the food, but can’t help feeling this sense of getting pinched as I left the place. Oh I miss rustling among the hippies in Brooklyn.

66 Kampong Bugis, Level M, Singapore 338987

Wed – Fri 5pm to 10pm

Sat – Sun 11am to 10pm

Tel: +65 8284 1325

Sokcho Blues

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It has been close to 2 weeks of a partial lockdown in Singapore, and time has gradually freed up for me to do some writing. To mourn the cancellation of my Korea trip that would originally start in a little more than a week’s time, I am reminiscing the 2 days 1 night in Sokcho last year. One of my favorite cities in Korea till date, part of me secretly wishes for it to be kept hidden from tourists, while the other part would like to express its quaint beauty to the world.

나만 알고 싶은 속초.

My first time taking an express bus out of Seoul from the Express Bus Terminal, the 3-hour ride was surprisingly smooth and comfortable, with a rest stop in the middle – that is coming from someone with motion sickness. We reached the quiet coastal city just in time for a late lunch.

365붉은대게공판장 – 청호동 1341-1

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A stone’s throw away from the Sokcho Express Bus Terminal, it is a restaurant bearing a good reputation from being featured in one of celebrity chef Baek Jong-won’s TV programmes. They serve just crabs here, 3 types – the 킹크랩 (King Crab), 대게 (Snow Crab) and 홍게 (Red Snow Crab). Prices here are not cheap and there seems to be other places with better reviews for crabs, but I picked this place out of convenience.

We opted for 2 red snow crabs (70,000KRW), which are a delicacy caught in the East Sea of Korea, right off the coast of Sokcho. Ahjumma also taught us how to eat the crab legs conveniently.

Sokcho6 Don’t end the crab feast without ordering 게장밥 (Fried Crab Roe Rice, KRW2000 each). Generously fried with bits of crab roe and stuffed into a shell, this was a mouth orgasm.

We ended up paying about 35,000KRW per pax, which is still considered value-for-money compared to Singapore.

라마다강원속초호텔(Ramada Gangwon Sokcho Hotel)

– 대포항희망길 106

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Our one-night accommodation was right next to 대포항 (Daepo Port), where a fish market and fresh seafood restaurants lined the circumference of the port. Apart from the scenic view of the circular port against the backdrop of the 설악산 (Seorak Mountain) from the hotel, our hotel room had a serene view overlooking the 대포항등대 (Daepo Port Lighthouse) standing in sea of sometimes aquamarine, sometimes dusty blue, depending on the light and angle.

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외옹치 바다향기로

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A 15 minutes’ walk from the port led to the entrance of a trail that runs along the coast, passing by the grandiose Lotte Resort, then along 외옹치해변(Oeongchi Beach) until it connects to 속초해변(Sokcho Beach). With the right weather, the trail makes for a relaxing stroll.

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소야삼교리동치미막국수 – 청초호반로 76

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From the heart of Sokcho Beach, our dinner venue was a short bus ride away. It was our first time trying Makguksu, a cold noodle dish made with a high concentration of buckwheat and a specialty of the Gangwon Province. The signature of this restaurant is its 동치미 막국수(Dongchimi Makguksu, 8,000KRW) – a bowl of makguksu served along with a pot of dongchimi, or radish water kimchi. Together with the dongchimi, the bowl of noodles was extremely refreshing.

Sokcho18On the side, we had 메밀전 (Buckwheat Pancakes, 8,000KRW), which were savory, earthy and nutty at the same time.

칠성조선소(Chilsung Boatyard Salon) – 중앙로46번길 45

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Next morning, we had breakfast at possibly the most popular café in Sokcho. This café was indeed a shipyard right up till recent years, thus explaining not just its name but its raw structure. The complex is vast, with a gallery displaying the shipbuilding that once took place in the same space, an indoor café and outdoor sitting areas overlooking the 청초호(Cheongchoho Lake).

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Sokcho27Among the items we had – Chai Café Latte (6,500KRW), Black Bean Macaron (2,500KRW) Egg Tart (3,000KRW), and Gateau Au Chocolat (4,000KRW) – the Portuguese egg tart was so unexpectedly good, I was relieved that my friend and I each bought one for ourselves.

아바이마을 (Abai Village)

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After noon, we headed to this village which has a historical story of its own from the days of the Korean War. Without prior research on places to dine in this area, we picked and entered a store randomly. I had the 명태회 냉면 (Naengmyeon, or cold noodles, with pollock) which had a fiery kick to it.

영금정 (Yeongggeumjeong Pavilion)

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An impromptu stop, this is a traditional pavilion from which the scenery of the endless East Sea calms you right to the bones. And if you have extra time, there is the 속초등대전망대 (Sokcho Lighthouse Observatory) nearby too.

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Right before the journey back to Seoul, we made a quick pit stop at the 속초관광수산시장Sokcho Tourist & Fishery Market, which is not shown here as the lively throng of the crowd filling the main aisle of the market made it quite impossible for photo-taking. There, we tried a bit of  오징어 순대 (Stuffed Squid), waited in line for 술빵 (Alcohol Fermented Bread), and brought back to Seoul a box of 닭강정 (Fried Chicken in a Sweet Sauce) from the famous 만석닭강정 (Manseok Dakgangjeong).

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