I’ve heard tiong baru is a neighbourhood of cafes and I’ve seen countless reviews on them. I knew I would set foot in that estate someday and it so happened to be yesterday. I merely hopped 3 cafes before the weather turned for the worst so chances are I’m going back there again for round 2. As for now, here’s the review for round 1!
(photo cr: http://danielfooddiary.com/)
Unlike previous cafe hopping sessions, in which our first or last stop had a main course, we went for small bites this time round. The first cafe we went to was partly accounted for the lack of main courses, because the sides actually made us half full. PoTeaTo as the name suggests, serves potato in different forms, a wide range of tea and brunch.
It is a shop located at a corner but isn’t easy to miss due to its well lit and eye-catching logo.
We tried the sweet potato fries (S$7.00) and the hand sliced potato chips (S$6.00). My advice is do not underestimate the portion of these small bites, they are filling, partly because they are deep-fried but the cooks had cleverly spiced things up. The thai chili which came alongside sweet potato fries served as a subtle appetizer, leaving one crave for more. The quality of those fries hit the mark as well as the flour did not override the taste of sweet potato. For someone who was never a fan of sweet potatoes, I would gladly come back again for this same basket of fries.
Several blogs mentioned that the potato chips are made from US Russet potatoes. While I know nuts about potatoes, one thing I am sure of is that these chips are definitely different from those in the supermarkets. In fact, they are way way different. With the fresh chips sliced to the right thinness coupled with the 2 dips available, they make the purrrrrrfect combination. I had been trying to make out the taste of the 2 dips throughout my meal but my taste buds just didn’t want to cooperate. The white sauce had a mixture of mustard and cheesy taste which results in a surprsingly light taste. In fact, it was thick and VERY creamy, something I really like. On the contrary, the red sauce was slightly watery but had a stronger taste. It has a taste similar to braised pork stew from lola’s cafe. ( full review here)
As I was feeling hot and sweaty from sourcing the cafe, I ordered a Iced Lemon Green Tea (S$5.00) while my friend ordered Iced Lemon Tea ($5.00). After taking a long sip from mine which was refreshing yet slightly sweet, the iced lemon tea was exceptionally sour for me. I stuck to mine right till the end. HEHE. However given its limited seats, it seems to me a cafe for small gatherings while big groups should just head over to places like Open Door Policy or Social Haus across the street.
I see myself coming back to this cafe again, given its quiet surroundings (for some reason it’s actually not packed) and I’ll make sure to try their pot of tea on my next visit. (:
(photo cr: http://sangsara.net/)
(photo cr: Forty Hands Facebook page)
We headed over to Forty Hands which was just 2 shops away from poTeaTo. Unlike the latter, the crowd in Forty Hands was similar to that of Penny University. However, as it was a 2-storey cafe, seats were not an issue.
Feeling full from potatoes, we decided to just have a cup of coffee since it is their specialty. I had a latte (S$5.00) and my verdict is- 40 Hands does coffee right. It was served with the right temperature ( starbucks had it too hot, Orlio had it too cold), coated with the right fragrance (yet not too strong) and topped with a pretty latte art. Now I know why not everyone can be a barista.
I heard that Forty Hands serve really good breakfast as well so I guess my menu planned had already been planned on my next visit! :P
(photo cr: http://www.manilafashionobserver.com/)
The next cafe in the line was Plain Vanilla Bakery and I really applaud the owner for putting in such much effort in the interior. From the entrance till the end of the shop, I was entranced and above all, impressed. It was modern yet vintage and well to put it simply, you just have to see it with your own eyes.
I tried the Dark Chocolate Ganache (S$3.50) and together with cute cutlery, it is of no doubt I’ll give this bakery a 10/10. The dark chocolate bits were crunchy but the cupcake tasted fluffy on the inside. It had a surprisingly light taste despite the supposed strong flavour of dark chocolate. I was really tempted to give the salted caramel tart a shot but well, I shall leave that to next time. To top it off, I ordered a Sparkling Rosemary Lemonade( S$5.00), a perfect drink for the humid weather.
There are countless of cafes and bistros in Tiong Baru, especially along Yong Siak Street. The most amazing discovery of all is that none of the cafes are fighting for the same pie, a plus point for us cafe hoppers due to the myriad range of food available in just 1 single street. It may look like an ordinary alley with shop houses along the road but with unique cafes and vintage books stores, it sure is a street that will make your day fulfilling!
On the side note, I should really start bringing a camera the next time I go cafe hopping.