Sora Japan Gourmet Hall (Changi Airport Terminal 2, SG)

Short version

A food court of sorts serving just Japanese food, located in Terminal 2 at Changi Airport

Food from a non-foodie perspective: 8/10 – Good food

Price: 7/10 – On the pricier side, particularly as it is a food court of sorts. But it is also in Changi Airport, so I was expecting higher prices too. So a bit tough to rate…

Service: 8/10 – Efficient and relatively friendly.

Ambience: 7/10 – You’re basically sitting in a large food court, but the decor is nice, modern and new, and the place is huge.

Location: 9/10 – On the level above Departures at Terminal 2. You basically look down at the Departures Hall from this level with all the food options. It’s in the public area at Terminal 2, so you don’t have to be travelling to go there. You can catch the MRT to Changi Airport (exit A is your best bet).

Sora Japan Gourmet Hall

Changi Airport Terminal 2 Level 3

Singapore

+65 6386 7005

https://m.facebook.com/japangourmethallsora/

Long version

I felt like Japanese for dinner, so I decided to try this place out. When you first arrive, the front of house will give you this little number tag that you need to present at each stall you visit while you’re in the food hall.

Front of house will actually seat you, although this isn’t as strict as it usually is in a restaurant, given that the place is still food court style. Since I was dining on my own, and it wasn’t particularly busy when I went, I was pretty much directed to choose whichever table I wanted on one side of the hall πŸ˜†

You’re then free to wander around like at any other food court, and choose whatever dish takes your fancy. The only difference here is that instead of paying at the stall, you give them your little number tag, and they just add your order onto it. So you effectively have this open tab at the food hall, and you just keep adding whatever order you want onto this number.

Drinks are served in a separate area, and you also present your tag here when you order. They serve alcohol here, fyi, so it’s a bit more fancy schmancy than your typical food court 🍷

And then when you’re ready to leave, you just bring your tag to the counter, check your orders on the register, and then off you go. My dinner was quite expensive: I paid S$27.70, so it’s not quite food court prices 😳

Sora Japan Gourmet Hall is in Terminal 2 at Changi Airport, overlooking Departures. It’s in the public area, so you don’t have to be travelling to access the food hall. But you have to be willing to go all the way to Changi, if you’re not already staying in the area.

Overall, I had a good dinner here πŸ‘

Oriole Cafe + Bar (Somerset, SG)

Short version

Food from a non-foodie perspective: 9/10

Price: 8/10 – Reasonably priced for a western breakfast in SG. They do charge ‘++’ so note that you will need to add the almost-18% charges on top of their menu prices (I just round that to 20% when estimating what the final damage will be).

Service: 8/10 – Friendly service, and quite quick too.

Ambience: 9/10 – Industrial style decor inside. Has a casual, funky vibe.

Location: 9/10 – Located at 313@Somerset, one of the malls attached to Somerset MRT. So really easy to get to πŸ‘

Coffee: 8/10 – A tad on the bitter side, but just slightly. It was actually not a bad cup of coffee πŸ‘

Oriole Coffee + Bar

Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard

96 Somerset Rd #01-01

Singapore 238163

+65 6238 8348

http://www.oriole.com.sg

Long version

This place is HUGE, and has a ton of tables both inside and out. I reckon there are about 20 tables of 2 inside, and that many again outside. Plus they have another 20-odd bar tables outside as well that can fit between 2-4 people. So there was no shortage of choice of tables.

My little corner in this cafe

I came at around 11am on a weekday, so not quite a peak time, but there were still a few tables already occupied when I arrived. Despite this, I was served quite promptly, and my order came out very quickly as well.

I asked for soy milk in my cappuccino, but apparently they don’t have soy, they have this alternative nut milk called M.A.D. (macadamia, almonds and dates), which the waiter suggested I try. So I did 😊 The barista himself came over to give me my coffee, and he actually gave me a separate piccolo cup with just the M.A.D. milk on its own, for me to try it. I thought that was pretty nice, even though I know it’s more for self-promotion rather than for my benefit 😊

With my usual dud taste buds, all I could taste was the almonds. But those with a more discerning palate would surely be able to pick up the M and the D too 😊

I paid at the counter, which is pretty much where the barista’s “office” is, so we had a bit of a chat about my thoughts on the M.A.D. milk. I was honest, as I always am (in case you haven’t noticed in this blog 😊): it was nice, for a nutty milk, but I prefer soy in my coffee. He suggested that next time maybe I try the M.A.D. milk cold, either with coffee or on its own, as he thinks it’s better served cold. So maybe I’ll do that next time 😊

This cafe restaurant is really easy to get to. It’s just next to 313@Somerset, so you can access it really easily from Somerset MRT. You just have to endure the 10-second walk outside from leaving 313 to the cafe πŸ˜† So you will be exposed to the elements if it’s raining or if it’s mega sunny for those 10 seconds, but really, it’s no big deal.

I paid S$22.95 today, which is pretty standard for a western breakfast in SG. Plus it’s in Somerset, just off Orchard Road really (a popular tourist destination in SG), and close to the MRT, so all up, it’s a reasonable price. They do charge ‘++’ though, so take that into account when tallying the prices on the menu.

And one of the things I like most? Their breakfast menu window is from 8am-6pm! πŸ‘ πŸ‘ Freaking awesome! Perfect on those lazy weekends when you don’t get out of the house until 2 in the afternoon but are still in the mood for smashed avo on toast (which is on their menu, btw 😊)

Pho Street, Centrepoint (Somerset, SG)

Short version

Casual Vietnamese food in one of the malls on Orchard Road

Food from a non-foodie perspective: 8/10 – Decent size portions, tastes good too

Price: 9/10 – Very reasonably priced, even with ‘++’

Service: 8/10 – Nice wait staff, and food came out at a decent pace

Ambience: 7/10 – Casual atmosphere, good for a quick lunch or dinner. Doesn’t feel very Vietnamese, though, feels more like any stock standard cafe.

Location: 8/10 – In Centrepoint, one of the malls on Orchard Road, and Somerset MRT (perhaps exit D) is the closest train station.

Pho Street

176A Orchard Rd, #B1-14, Singapore 238844

http://www.phostreet.com.sg/

Long Version

This is one of our go-to places for casual Vietnamese food. It’s quite central, being close to Somerset MRT and so quite easy to get to. Prices are also very reasonable, which is another one of its draw cards. We each had a main, shared an entree of sorts, and had a drink each, and it cost us just a bit over S$35. And that’s with ++, so it’s definitely good value.

It has a very casual vibe, you order up at the counter (ie there is no table service) and they bring out your dishes to you. Maybe that is one of the contributors (if not the main contributor) to the affordable prices. So this is definitely not one of those places to go to if you feel like being pampered for the evening πŸ˜‚

You collect your cutlery and sauces up near the counter as well, so you can pile on the sauce to your heart’s content πŸ˜† I do prefer having the sauces on my table when I’m having pho though, so I can freely slather them into my bowl without having to continually go back to the counter for more. This is perhaps more valid for the non-foodies out there, or maybe it’s just me πŸ˜‚

It’s not a proper restaurant with four walls etc πŸ˜† It’s more like one stall in a row of about 3, with only a low partition separating the three, as well as from the general public. So this too adds to the casual vibe of the place. But having said that, people don’t tend to walk past the area unless they’re looking for a place to eat, so it’s not like you get a whole heap of passers by gawking at you while you eat your pho πŸ˜‚

The place probably only has about a dozen or so tables of 2-4, and it’s a little cramped, so it’s not the sort of place you’d really want to linger around and lounge there for ages either. Maybe a deliberate design…?? πŸ˜‰ Not that the wait staff are hovering over you and giving you dirty looks to hurry up and clear out – nothing of the sort. But it’s just the general feel I get here. Nothing wrong with that, just sayin’ that’s the vibe that I get here.

The other vibe that I don’t get here is a “Vietnamese” vibe. As in it just feels like I’m in any stock standard cafe anywhere in the world, with nothing in the decor that gives me the feeling of Vietnam. Again, this doesn’t really bother me, just another observation.

But overall, we do like going here for a quick, casual, affordable Vietnamese meal. You just don’t get that Vietnamese vibe when you walk in, but no biggie 😊

Lady M Orchard Central (Somerset, SG)

Renowned for its cakes

Short version

Food from a non-foodie perspective: 8/10 – Very nice cakes…

Price: 7/10 – … But you pay for them.

Service: 5/10 – I think I’m being generous here, but the staff seemed generally uninterested in providing any level of customer service.

Ambience: 7/10 – Nice, light decor; a bit noisy inside, so not the most relaxing place if that’s what you’re after. But it has a good, energetic vibe.

Location: 9/10 – In Orchard Central, so easily accessible from Somerset MRT (exit D is probably your best bet).

Lady M Orchard Central

181 Orchard Road #01-27 & #02-07, Singapore 238896

+65 6509 3673

https://www.ladym.com.sg

Long Version

I decided to stop by here for a slice of cake and a cup of tea, after a rather stressful morning. I arrived just after 3pm on a Thursday, and the place was almost full! I can’t imagine how crazy busy this place is on the weekend 😳

They have this charcoal mille crepe as their special for October, so I decided to give it a go. They’re renowned for their mille crepes, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong with that. And I was right. It was very nice! I would totally recommend πŸ˜‹

I also decided to have the Lady M earl grey tea, which wasn’t anything all that special – but I paid S$6.50 for it 😏

Charcoal mille crepe with the Lady M earl grey tea, with sugar syrup served separately

The decor is modern, and the place is bright, with the huge floor to ceiling windows that make up two of the cafe’s four walls. They effectively take up three floors: they have tables on L1, a mezzanine level, and also L2, with the majority of the tables on their mezzanine level. I was on L2, which had the smallest number of tables (a table for two; a table for three; a table for four; and a bench table that can seat up to ten people). It was quite noisy up there, I suppose the noise from the lower levels carried up. The upbeat music also added to the noise, so it wasn’t the most relaxing visit. But having said that, there is an energetic vibe to the place, so it just depends on what you’re after.

Service was the most lacking of all. I could swear the first waiter who attended to me rolled his eyes, as if having to seat yet another customer was stressing him out. I did walk in from L1, though, and there was a sign saying to go to L2 for dining in, which I was doing. He just happened to attend to me as I was on my way up there. So maybe the L1 entrance should just remain as an exit only if they don’t want people to walk in from there? Or remove the sign saying to proceed to L2, and allow customers to enter from either level.

So I proceeded to L2, and staff up there were just as uninterested. No one greeted me with a smile, and I could barely get eye contact with anybody. Are the wait staff just not very happy at this branch?? Overworked? Understaffed? Underpaid? A combination of all three?

I ordered at my table, and my iced tea and slice of cake came very quickly soon after, so kudos to their promptness. And they cleared my plate relatively quickly too.

So if they could just work on their friendliness, and get the entrance/exit business sorted, then it would be a much more pleasant experience for patrons. At S$9.50 for a slice of cake and being located on Orchard Road, a prime tourist destination, I would expect a much better level of service.

Mustard (Little India, SG)

Relatively casual Indian restaurant near Little India MRT.

Short version

Food from a non-foodie perspective: 9/10 – Really enjoyed the food here!

Price: 7/10 – It ended up being a more expensive lunch than I had expected.

Service: 7/10 – OK, could be better.

Ambience: 8/10 – Casual and relaxed. A good place to go with friends and family, or a first date perhaps 😊

Location: 9/10 – About 100m from Little India MRT (exit E is perhaps your best bet). Very easy to get to.

Mustard

32 Race Course Rd, Singapore 218552

+65 6297 8422

www.mustardsingapore.com

Long Version

I had a hankering for Indian food after watching Masterchef Australia LOL They had an elimination round based on who could replicate a Butter Chicken the best. After that, I really wanted to go and have some Indian food!Β Luckily we live in SG, where there is a decent population of Indians, so you can get some pretty awesome Indian food.

So N was kind enough to ask a few of his Indian colleagues for some recommendations, and the weekend following that Masterchef Australia episode, we went and tried one of them. One of the restaurants recommended was a fine dining option, and I wanted to leave that one for a special occasion. So I chose one of the two more casual options put forward. No reason why Mustard was chosen ahead of the other one, it was a toss of the proverbial coin. But when I saw on Google Maps that it was really close to the MRT, that just clinched the deal for me.

We found it easily enough. We got there at around 1:30pm, and there was already a decent number of patrons in the restaurant. The few vacant tables inside still had to be cleared, so one of the wait staff asked us to wait outside for 5-10 minutes while they cleared a table for us. While we were out there, it gave us a chance to go through their menu. I don’t eat much Indian food, so a lot of the names of the foods are foreign to me. But N regularly has lunch with his Indian colleagues – plus he’s much more of a foodie than I am – so he was much more familiar with the various dishes that they had on the menu.

This restaurant offers both Punjabi (up north) and Bengali (in the east) dishes, and they are labelled accordingly. This may be good for people who want to be able to choose accordingly. I, on the other hand, am just lucky to be able to taste chicken! πŸ˜‚

They also did say at the outset that it would be about 35-40 minutes for the food to come out. We didn’t have a problem with this, as I assumed that there was already a backlog of orders that day when we walked in. Their menu also mentions this, but also explains why: they make your orders from scratch, so everything is fresh. So be prepared to wait a while for your food.

I wrote down exactly what we ordered, as well as the descriptions they had on their menu, as there was no way I would remember the names of the dishes if I had left it up to my memory:

  • Murgh makhani – pride of Punjab – grilled boneless chicken cooked in a light tomato-butter sauce
  • Palak paneer – tender cottage cheese cubes napped in a spinach purΓ©e
  • Aloo gohbi – potatoes with cauliflower, cooked on a slow flame with Punjabi ground spices
  • Roomali roti – special handkerchief bread
  • Butter naan – flaky, soft leavened bread with butter
  • It always surprises me when Indian food comes out in these small dishes, I always think it’s not going to be enough for the both of us. And then we start making our way through the food, and before we know it, we’re both totally stuffed πŸ˜‹

    The food is really nice here. We effectively had Butter Chicken, but it wasn’t as sweet as what I’m used to, and it’s also a little spicy. I’m guessing it doesn’t even rank as “spicy” on the grand scheme of things, but I could definitely taste it. I can handle mildly spicy, but once things start being called “spicy”, then I start to struggle. So for people who cannot handle spicy food, then maybe even this dish could be a bit too much. They do say on their menu to let them know if you want less of a kick, so they may be able to help you out on that front.

    N had the Alphonso mango lassi for his drink, which tasted like a mango smoothie to me. I ended up having an iced lemon tea, which was surprisingly not sweet at all! It was a refreshing change to what I am used to in SG, so kudos to them for making an authentic iced lemon tea.

    Service is ok. The wait staff are courteous enough, we didn’t have any major issues. We did have to wait at the beginning to get a table cleared, so not sure if we just caught them on the tail end of a really busy period. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt 😊

    They had separate cubicles for men’s and women’s, and a shared sink just outside the bathrooms. Note that there is a sink in the women’s as well, but no soap, as the sink outside has the soap. The women’s cubicle was clean, with a few pictures hanging inside, which I thought was a nice touch.

    The restaurant is on the smaller side, with perhaps 10 tables of four inside, and another two tables out at the front. We went during lunch, and it was already almost at capacity when we were there, so I can only imagine how crazy busy it must be during their dinner service. So you may want to book if you want to secure a table, particularly for a larger party.

    Location is excellent, really easy to get to from Little India MRT. Turn right once you get out of Exit E, and a mere 100m down the road will be Mustard.

    They absorb GST in their prices, and only charge the 10% service charge, so effectively it is just a ‘+’. We paid just over S$80 for lunch, which is quite an expensive lunch in my books, but relatively ok for dinner. But the food is delicious, so you are getting your money’s worth.

    Overall, I really enjoyed our lunch here, and I will definitely come back here with friends who want to have some good Indian food in SG. And maybe next time for dinner 😊

    Isuramuya Japanese Restaurant & Marketplace (JCube, Jurong, SG)

    Casual Japanese restaurant in the west of SG, located in the JCube shopping mall.

    Short version

    Food from a non-foodie perspective: 7/10 – Good for a quick, casual meal that’s not going to hurt your wallet too much.

    Price: 9/10 – Pretty good prices for Japanese food.

    Service: 7/10 – Minimal, but not rude. I had a young waiter attend to my order, who seemed really quiet. I had no issues with service.

    Ambience: 8/10 – Very casual and relaxed. Pretty good place to go for a casual meal with family or friends.

    Location: 7/10 – Pretty far from Central SG, but if you’re on the western side of SG already, then it’s fine. It’s only a few minutes walk from Jurong East MRT (exit A), and is in the JCube shopping mall.

    Isuramuya Japanese Restaurant & Marketplace

    2 Jurong East Central 1 #04-19 JCube Jurong, Singapore 609731

    +65 6262 3008

    Home Page

    Long Version

    I was on the train heading out to Jurong East, and I had a very specific dish in mind for lunch. I was picturing this lunch set that I had in Japan last time I was there. It had a whole fish with rice and various other condiments. I was pretty sure I won’t be able to find the exact same set outside of Japan, so I was just looking for fish with rice.

    Luckily I didn’t have to look for too long, I found this place relatively quickly 😊

    I got there relatively late for lunch, around 2pm, so it was pretty quiet when I arrived. There might have been two other occupied tables, but then quite a few more filled up while I ate my late lunch.

    The entrance to the restaurant is actually a small little marketplace where you can pick up a few Japanese groceries if you wish. There isn’t too much on offer, but handy nonetheless, if you want to pick something up on your way home.

    The layout of the restaurant is a little different. It lines the length of the ice skating rink that is on the floor below, so you sorta have a balcony view of the rink. And like a balcony, there is a glass enclosure about chest height, but all open otherwise. So you get the noise from the rest of the mall while you’re eating. I think it adds to the casual vibe of the place, which is perfectly fine. But do note the low height of the balcony if you have small kids. For their safety, you may prefer to be seated down the centre of the restaurant instead…!

    They have a good range of Japanese food, which I’d be happy to try next time. The fish today satisfied my rather specific craving, so I was happy with that 😊

    Oh, the one thing that I was pleasantly surprised to see on the menu: cranberry juice! I don’t normally see that on menus, so I had to order it. I normally have it with vodka, but it was still nice without πŸ˜†

    Wait staff don’t really hover around, keeping an eye out on customers who may need something, so you may have to wait until one of them walks by and just get their attention then.

    They tape your order onto your table and when you’re done, you just take your slip up to the counter and pay there. My bill was S$18.25, and that was with a small appetizer, my cranberry juice, and ++! Not bad. Not bad at all.

    Isuramuya is on the fourth and top floor of JCube, one of the malls in Jurong East. It’s not too far of a walk from Jurong East MRT station, perhaps 5 minutes, but you do have to brave the elements, albeit very briefly, in order to cross the road. And being on the top floor of the mall means you have to either be specifically going to this restaurant, or you just happen to be walking around on the fourth floor already. So it’s not the most accessible restaurant, but it’s not that hard to find either.

    Overall, it was a pleasant discovery, and a restaurant that I would happily go to another time, should I ever be in the mood for some casual Japanese fare in the western part of SG 😊 I wouldn’t go all the way out there just to eat at this restaurant, but if I’m already in the area, then I wouldn’t mind stopping by there again.

    TWG Tea on the Bay (The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, SG)

    Excellent place for some not-too-expensive western fare in a more upmarket setting.

    Short Version

    Food from a non-foodie perspective: 9/10 – Consistently good πŸ‘

    Price: 8/10 – On the more expensive side, even for a western style restaurant in SG. But you get what you pay for: a very nice meal out.

    Service: 9/10 – Very attentive, very professional. Their style is to leave you to dine in peace, not come around and pamper you with service. But they are very prompt in responding to your needs if you do need something.

    Ambience: 10/10 – Classy, peaceful, feminine, elegant. Everything I aspire to be! πŸ˜‚

    Location: 10/10 – Not many places can boast a better location than this place, I reckon. It is virtually right next to Bayfront MRT station, and located in the iconic Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

    TWG Tea on the Bay at Marina Bay Sands

    2 Bayfront Avenue, #B1-122/125, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018972

    +65 6535 1837

    Long Version

    I tend to come here mainly for breakfast/brunch, so I’ve had their scones a bajillion times πŸ˜‚ And they are good scones! Well, according to the non-foodie here 😊 But hey, where else can you get scones in SG?? Please let me know if you know of a place (outside of hotel restaurants) and I shall give it a go 😊

    This restaurant reminds me of two tea salons in Australia: The Tea Salon (which apparently is now permanently closed! Awww I wonder what happened…) and The Palace Tea Room in QVB. It’s got a distinctly high tea feel to it, if that is even such a thing, but that’s what comes to mind when I think of the ambience in this place πŸ˜‚

    They have two locations on The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands: one is in an actual shop with walls and everything πŸ˜‚; and the other one is out in the middle of the mall up on a bit of a podium, with no walls 😊 So you can see around the mall, and watch the other shoppers wander by, eyeing you enviously as you devour all your lovely high tea food πŸ˜‚

    I mainly go to the one with the walls, as it’s the one closer to the train station and therefore much easier to get to. I’ve only been to the no-walls one once. Just a heads up with that one: it can get quite warm there, despite being inside the shopping mall, as I think they are just under the atrium, so they get a lot of more sunlight. Also because of the no-walls thing, I think it also feels a bit more casual at that one, and also a bit noisier, as you also get the sounds from the mall mixed in with whatever’s going on in the restaurant.

    So after having said that, this review is more about the one with walls πŸ˜‚

    Like I said, this place has a high tea feel to it, so I think some guys will find this place a bit too feminine for their liking. There are birds and flowers on the wallpaper in here, lots of plants and faux candles on the wall. Just sayin’. Don’t say I didn’t warn you πŸ˜‚

    But I personally love the ambience in this place. It embodies everything that I aspire to be: classy, elegant, calm and feminine, with excellent customer service to boot. They also have great food 😊 (but this isn’t quite one of my own personal aspirations πŸ˜‚)

    They serve breakfast all day here, which is another thing that I constantly look out for, given that I’m not a morning person. They always have a set lunch menu on offer every time I come here, which I have taken up once. And that was really good. But almost all other times I’ve been here, I’ve gone for breakfast, and more often than not, I order scones 😊 Consistently good food, I have never had a bad meal here. Ever. And I reckon I’ve been here close to a dozen times over the past few years. That’s a pretty damn good strike rate, if you ask me πŸ‘ They do a dinner service too, I believe, but I’ve never been here in the evening, so I can’t comment on what it’s like here after the sun goes down. It’s more a high tea sort of place for me 😊

    Service is very professional and all the wait staff are very attentive. Their style isn’t an intrusive one, they always just leave your table alone to enjoy your meal in peace. They won’t come around every five minutes fussing over you, asking if everything is ok and topping up your tea and what have you. But you can get their attention easily if you ever need something, and they will attend to you promptly.

    Given that they have “tea” in their name, this place has a bajillion teas on offer. Like really, a bajillion πŸ˜‚ So many teas, in fact, that they give you a whole book on all the teas they have in stock, giving you a brief description on almost every single tea blend that they have. Tea lovers would absolutely love this place. But you may also get a bit overwhelmed with the sheer amount of choice, and just end up ordering your usual Earl Grey or English Breakfast πŸ˜† I tend to choose my tea based on the time of day I’m there: one of their breakfast teas if I’m there before noon; and one of their afternoon teas if I’m there later in the day. And I only ever order black teas. But they have a whole range of teas on offer, and you will no doubt find something to suit you and your mood on any given day (or time of day) that you’re there. I’ve never ordered a coffee here, as I think that sorta defeats the purpose if you’re in a place that specialises in tea, but it is available if you just can’t live without your coffee.

    I like this place so much that I almost always take family and friends here whenever they’re in town. I don’t come here every day as it’d just be too expensive to do so, but for the occasional splurge when I want to treat myself and/or others, it’s one of my go to places in SG 😊

    It’s also mega convenient if you’re coming by train. Bayfront MRT is virtually right next to the restaurant: you can stumble off the train and roll straight into the restaurant πŸ˜‚ OK slight exaggeration, but you get my point. It’s pretty damn close. No braving the weather, be it rain or heat/humidity. You come from one airconditioned environment into another, all indoors. You can’t get any better than that 😊

    Have I talked up this place enough?? πŸ˜‚ I’m trying to think of one critical aspect of this place, and I can’t think of any. The lack of bathrooms at the venue, perhaps? You have to use the public bathrooms in the shopping mall, which is a bit of a walk away from the restaurant itself. But apart from that, I just can’t fault this place. It’s always a really nice meal out for me.

    Artisan Boulangerie Co. (Somerset, SG)

    Short version

    This is a local cafe that we go to whenever we want a quick breakfast or lunch (or brunch 😊).

    Food from a non-foodie perspective: 8/10 – Not bad for western food in SG.

    Price: 9/10 – Pretty good value for western food in SG.

    Service: 8/10 – This is one of those places where you order at the counter, ie not table service. Usually quite good, but we’ve been here often enough that I have experienced inefficiency and poor service as well. Food comes out relatively quickly.

    Ambience: 9/10 – It’s a casual cafe with simple, modern decor. It’s quite a large cafe inside, which you can’t really see from the outside.

    Coffee: 7/10 – Not bad. Milder taste, which I prefer, but a little watery.

    Artisan Boulangerie Co

    118 Killiney Road

    Singapore 239555

    +65 6444 8130

    Home

    Long Version

    This is our local cafe, the one that we go to on an almost weekly basis for breakfast or lunch (or brunch 😊). They’re also open for dinner, but we’ve never been here for the dinner service, so my review is really only about brunch.

    It’s good value western food, done relatively well. Prices are not astronomical for western food, they are actually perfectly reasonable. We would ordinarily pay around S$40 for brunch for the two of us, which works out to be S$20 per person. There is no service charge, so you’re just paying for GST, which probably helps with the cost.

    Service is usually quite fast and efficient. It’s one of those cafes where you order at the counter, so there’s no table service. We’ve been here when it’s been busy, and one time the waiter taking the orders and payment was also the one who was retrieving the food if it was something from the cake/pastry display. Not sure if this was a one-off occurrence coz they were down on staff that day or something, or if this is regular process, but you can appreciate the inefficiency of this scenario. I have also had one time when the waiter who took my order got both my coffee and my food order wrong. Just minor errors, but still, a fussy customer would be complaining. Luckily I am a very relaxed one πŸ˜‰ But generally they’re very good at taking orders.

    Food is also not bad. It’s quick and easy, and portions are decent size (note Asian portions, not crazy ass Aussie – let alone American – portions πŸ˜‚). They used to offer Vegemite as a spread on their toast, but they’ve recently removed this fantastic option from their menu, and I am veryΒ very sad about this latest decision. Nonetheless, they have a good variety of options on their menu. Here are some dishes that I have ordered in the last few weeks (note the Vegemite photoΒ πŸ˜”).

    Wholemeal toast, but sadly the vegemite spread is no longer availableΒ πŸ˜”

    Had to try the Aussie beef pie, of course 😊

    There is so much fruit in this bowl that you can barely see the granola underneathΒ πŸ‘

    Coffee is also not bad, slightly better than most places I’ve been to in Asia. A bit watery, but it has a milder taste, which I prefer. A lot of other places make it more on the bitter side.

    They have an interesting bathroom layout up the back of the restaurant. There is one cubicle for men, one for women, and a disabled toilet. There is a shared sink area, and there is also a sink in the disabled toilet itself. The toilet in the women’s cubicle has a very inefficient flush, even when just doing a number one, so I never like using that cubicle. Plus it’s quite small, so I prefer to just use the disabled toilet, which is naturally larger in size. These are the things that a non-foodie pays attention to! 😜

    So overall, I like going here, not just for its location, but also for the convenience and the consistency of the food and service – on most days 😊

    Beng Thin Hoon Kee Restaurant (Raffles Place, SG)

    Short Version

    A hidden little gem near Boat Quay

    Food from a non-foodie perspective: 9/10 – Very nice Chinese food πŸ‘

    Price: N/A – I didn’t see the bill, so I can’t comment on this one

    Service: 8/10 – Staff were very attentive: they constantly topped up our tea and attended to our dishes promptly. It was relatively quiet when we were there, though, so there weren’t as many tables to attend to. It’d be interesting to see what service would be like when the place is buzzing with people.

    Ambience: 8/10 – Felt a bit more of an upmarket Chinese restaurant. It was pretty quiet when we went, so it was pretty quiet when we were there.

    Location: 8/10 – It’s actually not that far from Raffles Place MRT (exit A is probably the best), perhaps a 5mins walk, but you may spend double that just trying to find the place! πŸ˜‚

    Beng Thin Hoon Kee Restaurant

    #05-02 OCBC Centre, 65 Chulia St, Singapore 049513

    +65 6533 7708

    Hokkien Cuisine Singapore

    Long Version

    A friend invited us to this restaurant for lunch. We met him on street level, asking us to just meet him at the OCBC Centre near Boat Quay. It was a good thing he did, coz it probably would’ve taken us forever and a day to find this restaurant πŸ˜‚ We went into a lift lobby tucked away in the car park, and then once we were on L5, you’re still in the car park! But there is this open area of the car park, and at the end of this area is the restaurant. What a unique place to find a restaurant!

    We went for lunch, so it was relatively quiet when we we were there. I suspect they are busier during the dinner session. The restaurant has won a few awards in recent years, so obviously enough people have been here in order for them to have won these!

    There were five of us at lunch, and our friend who introduced us to this restaurant ordered for us all. He knows the dishes that the restaurant is famous for, so he ordered them for us to try.

    We found a hair in our first dish, and we sent it back to the kitchen. The waiter seemed a little upset about this, and even took the lock of hair back into the kitchen! Are they going to go for a manhunt, trying to figure out whose hair it belonged to? πŸ˜‚

    The replacement dish came out shortly thereafter, and the rest of our dishes came out quite quickly after that.

    Staff here were very attentive, constantly topping up our tea and organising the dishes on our table. And once we’d eaten most of a dish, they’d take it away, and bring it back on a smaller plate, so it didn’t take up so much space on the table. I thought that was a nice little gesture.

    As with most Chinese restaurants, it’s really a venue for a large-ish group, preferably four or more people perhaps, as their dishes seem to be more for sharing.

    I would definitely come back here again, and actually escort friends up to the restaurant, as it is not the easiest place to find! And effectively being in a car park was a rather unique feature of this restaurant πŸ˜†

    Town Restaurant (Fullerton Hotel, SG)

    Short Version

    Pretty extensive buffet spread in one of SG’s iconic hotels.

    Food from a non-foodie perspective: 9/10 – Amazing range of choice at this buffet.

    Price: 8/10 – It was S$79++. The “++” means they add 7% GST and a 10% service charge, bringing it up to just over S$90.

    Service: 7/10 – Should have been higher, but one waiter with poor service can ruin it for all the other waiters.

    Ambience: 8/10 – Not too noisy inside, even on a Saturday night when we went.

    Location: 8/10 – within walking distance from Raffles Place MRT (exit B is probably the best exit).

    Town Restaurant

    1 Fullerton Square, Singapore 049178

    +65 6877 8128

    https://www.fullertonhotels.com/the-fullerton-hotel/town-restaurant.html

    Long Version

    Our friend wanted to go somewhere where we could watch some fireworks that were going off on the particular evening that we were heading out for dinner. He also wanted to go for a buffet spread, so as to easily cater for our large contingent of 8 people, with some people preferring more Asian food, others preferring Western, and others again being vegetarian. So we decided on Town Restaurant inside the Fullerton Hotel.

    The hotel itself is simply stunning, and the surrounds are just gorgeous, with a fountain outside creating a nice ambience even inside the restaurant. It is also right next to the SG River and the touristy Boat Quay, so you can get some lovely photos even before you enter the hotel. The place looks different during the day and night, so you can also get some very contrasting photos.

    Anyway, the restaurant itself is on the ground floor, and is relatively easy to find. It is split between two levels, with the entrance and some of the food on the upper level, and tables and the rest of the food on the lower level. The stairs can be a bit hard to navigate for older and younger people, especially when you’re carrying a plate of food, so just be mindful when going up and down between the two levels.

    Sections on the upper level: popiah, pizza, laksa and a few other local dishes, seafood, salads, Japanese

    Sections on the lower level: Chilli crab πŸ¦€, Indian, carvery, cheese, desserts

    I probably missed a few sections, as there were just sooo many options. I didn’t get to try everything, so I want to go back and try the other dishes that I missed out on during this visit 😊

    Some points from me, the non-foodie 😊:

    • There were no oysters! Whaaat?!? I normally go crazy at the oyster section, so this was terribly disappointing for me personally.
    • The have Chilli crab! With the little bread rolls that usually accompanies this dish πŸ˜‹ I can also go crazy with these bread rolls, so this almost made up for the lack of oysters. Almost 😊
    • They have an ice shaver machine, so you can make your own chendol and/or ice kachang, two local desserts. So you can make chendol after chendol after chendol, if you really like your desserts! πŸ˜†
    • They have a local SG dessert section, which is perfect for tourists who want to try the different desserts that they have here. Everything is in small, bite-size portions, so you can sample a number of different desserts without feeling too guilty πŸ˜†
    • They had a small selection of sushi and sashimi, with some soba noodles as well.
    • The bathrooms are outside the restaurant, so you’re sharing with others in the hotel. No biggie, just a minor point, since it’s a pretty damn nice hotel 😊
    • One letdown, though, was towards the end of the evening.

    One letdown was a surly staff member, who actually asked one of the people on our table toΒ move, so she could clean up the mess on the floor underneath our table. We had a toddler on our table who had made a lovely mess all around him, as toddlers do. We shuffled seats later in the evening, when the toddler went home (with his parentsΒ πŸ˜†) and one of the people on our table decided to sit in the spot where the toddler was previously. In the middle of our meal and table discussion, the surly staff member had asked him to move, so she could clean up the mess that the toddler had created. I’m not sure why she couldn’t wait until we had left for the evening, but in any case, she could have been a bit more polite about it, considering that she was interrupting our meal and discussion. So that was a bit of a dampener to an otherwise wonderful evening.

    So apart from the unfortunate experience with the surly staff member, overall it was a great buffet, and not too badly priced for its location. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get my money’s worth, especially as they didn’t have oysters, which is where I can at least get close to getting my money’s worth out of a buffet.Β I just go for the company, to have a great evening out with friends 😊