more-than-decent brunch at this boutique hotel (the kam leng hotel) in the rather industrial and old estate of jalan besar. it’s a tiny little place with a concise menu – not a great deal of choice but most of them pretty much what you expect/want – and the food was pretty tasty.
I feel, though, that it rather misses its potential for character – despite my qualms about hipsterish places and the ponciness those display, this place rather heads the other way: it’s so commonplace as to inhibit any sort of detailed description.
the place has an incredible capacity for betterment, to my thinking, and all’s the pity. the hotel/building is a fully-restored, beautifully up-cycled vintage – and it opens to a bright blast of airconditioning (so welcoming in the heat). suprette sits in the corner, with a fully-stocked bar and seating spilling over in the hotel lobby – and it could do with either more vintaging or more modern-ing.
as it were, it felt like someone started with thinking it ought to live up to its retro setting but then gave up halfway – so the bar looks gorgeous but the furniture is uninspiring, and there’s absolutely no atmosphere at all: it feels rather like those hotel restaurants you get the breakfast buffet at.
but setting aside, the food deserves commendation. I’m naturally predisposed to any establishment that serves me muesli for breakfast – but this one is objectively good, with grated granny smiths over a well-soaked mix of dried fruit and oats. delicious.
my side of housemade baked beans were pretty darn good too – deeper and smokier than heinz, with intact but tender beans without that usual drowning of sauce that so mars less successful versions.
across the table was a welsh rarebit (from the lunch menu) that went down pretty well, with lots of cheese grilled atop bread served alongside a big portion of fries.
the only let-down food-wise was the pecan pie – which we had high hopes for. you’d expect it nearly impossible to wrong with sugar, butter and nuts, but the rendition here had this weird jelly-like glaze that held the nuts together – as opposed to the traditional (and for good reason) caramel – that was slightly off-putting in texture, and definitely didn’t have the melting richness of pure cooked sugar. terrible pity, but at least there was ice-cream (generic commercial vanilla) and you could pick out the nuts if you were so inclined.
I don’t want to undersell this place for the food was really quite good (pie aside), and I have high hopes for the rest of the menu. but its rather uninspiring furnishing means that this place is better to visit just for the food, and even then there are better options out there. great if you’re in the area!
383 Jalan Besar
tel +65 6298 8962