dibs, duxton hill

good flavors of the rich and heavy variety at this restaurant along ann siang hill – it’s a trendy place run by young hipster-types, with a clientele that suits the dark decor.

this was shot AGES ago – so I apologise for the photos, but how else would I tell you about this place?

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casa tartufo, duxton hill

meh-er than I expected italian restaurant specialising in tantalizing truffles (it’s in their name) at a little corner near club street. I’ve walked past this place numerous times after dinner in duxton hill or keong saik, and it’s always looked like a romantic (read darkly-lit), cosy, little place to eat.

the food doesn’t quite live up to expectations, however – and those expectations are bolstered first by its focus on truffle (which really, can do no wrong) and the very lovely ambiance of the place.

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my awesome cafe, tanjong pagar

I think it takes guts to use an adjective like awesome in one’s name – especially because it invites comparison where there might not have been any.

like, do I usually give cafes concessions for serving not-nearly-up-to-the-mark food? yes – because they pander to the hipster and the cool, and so sometimes the food gets overlooked for the decor or the drinks. but when a place calls itself awesome, it sets up expectations that might be difficult to fulfil.

but that’s not to say that the food here is bad, because it isn’t: it’s hearty and quite filling and rather delicious, BUT the name just makes me wonder if I’d have naturally said that it was awesome (or would anyone, unless they had lived as a or was stuck in the persona of a teenager in 90’s america).

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potatohead folk, keong saik road

eh, okay, burgers at this trendy singaporean outpost of a balinese cool hangout. located at hipster keong saik road, in a building that once belonged to a much-loved cze char place, this place is fashionable and knows it.

the food isn’t bad, but it’s rather pricey for what is essentially an upscale burger boutique, with a menu comprised of a dozen burger options and some sides and desserts to go with. and while it isn’t as overwhelming impressive as the hype made it out to be, it does make for a decent enough meal (just a rather expensive one, and with pretty bad service).

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latteria mozzerella bar, duxton hill

yes, the tiramisu is as good as it looks.

perfect-for-a-date, perfect for your friday night (and hey! valentine’s day is just about peeking round the corner) italian restaurant in the hip enclave that is the top of duxton hill. I like the buzz of the place, I liked the food, and it’s just the right mix of date-conducive and comfy that spells relaxation after a long day.

it was good from start to finish (which is more uncommon than you’d think), and if you’re gearing up for next week’s chinese new year celebrations – it’s a good place to get your non-chinese fix.

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restaurant ember, hotel 1929

to follow on the local-gem theme started with yesterday’s post – ember is a stalwart in the dining scene for good reason: great, comforting, well-executed food and always-pleasant-and-friendly service in a modern space that manages to be business-like in the daytime and romantic at night.

the size is a boon – it manages to keep buzzy with its constant stream of diners, but the smaller size mitigates any too-much-loudness that would come with larger crowds. this was my first visit since the new chef stepped up to the helm – to much initial trepidation, which later proved entirely unwarranted – and the place retains both character and quality.

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the lokal, bukit pasoh

eh-alright brunch food at this newish brunch place at bukit pasoh. it’s a menu of rather typical cafe-style food, as well as an assemble-your-own-breakfast section of breakfast meats. I can’t say I was impressed – service was rather spotty, even though the place is small – and the food was pretty normal-going.

if you’re in the neighborhood, and there are seats – then it’s an option for a meal. but if there’s a queue – well, I can’t say I’d be bothered.

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kong chow wui koon, or how to be a tourist

make it an awesome sunday by playing tourist about your town – as we did while traipsing about chinatown after lunch.

we happened by the kong chow chui koon, founded in 1840 (though the centre’s only been around since 2013), and it’s a restored, well-maintained building with quite a few treasures. the caretakers on the ground floor are happy to pass out pamphlets and share information, and you can go upstairs to the other cultural halls.

there’s quite a bit of lion dancing paraphenalia, and a dance studio type space on the second floor where we pretty much made monkeys of ourselves.

very, very cool.


Kong Chow Wui Koon
321 New Bridge Road
Singapore 088758
tel +65 62239806

p.s. lion dancing is this ceremonial performance held during important chinese festivals/ milestones, such as the opening of a business of during our very festive new year celebrations. you can usually catch it at your local chinatown!

jigger & pony, amoy street

noisy, boisterous, darker-than-the-photo-appears hip cocktail bar in amoy street. depending on your age (mental or biological), you’ll either love this place or hate it.

I used to love it – I came here when cocktail bars were still a fresh and new thing, and it was one of the first few places I visited when I started to appreciate drinks (so to speak, given that my taste still runs to the scoffed-at sweet side) – and it introduced me to the spumoni, a grapefruit-based cocktail that was imminently drinkable. it was loud-buzzy, which is to say that you could still lean over for conversation, and there was opportunity to speak to the person actually making your drinks.

flash three years or so ahead to my latest visit about a month ago – and boy, are things different. I admit to feeling quite a bit older, to preferring a more loungey, relaxing place I can indulge in a glass of muscato – but the noise level is exponentially magnified, the place is filled with younger (I say younger, but I’m really still in my mid-twenties) ladies dressed rather minimally (by which I mean amount of cloth rather than aesthetic style), and it’s almost impossible to get service.

in its defense, it’s still buzzy (though in an almost clubby, out to have a GREAT time sort of way), and the place is nice if you’re out for a loud night out. but if you don’t want to shout over to your friends (and still not be able to make yourself heard), and you’re into something a little less manic, I’d choose somewhere else.

p.s. I already know I’m grumpy.

Jigger & Pony
101 Amoy Street
Singapore 069921
tel +65 6223 9101
$$: 20-40 per person

yan palace restaurant, chinatown

such a gruesome shot, and yet, so delicious. just had to put it out there.

really, really surprisingly good chinese food at this dodgy-looking, super old-school restaurant in chinatown. the place definitely seems to have had better days – the exterior is just as worn and outdated as the interior, the servers are cantankerous and grouchy, but the food – the food is good.

and – I meant surprising in the sense that I didn’t actually expect the food to be good, with expectations further tempered when I saw the restaurant, and it all turned out to be decent – with some dishes actually much better than average (objectively, all other things aside).

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