Keong Saik afternoon

Keong Saik Road in Chinatown’s a collection of nice little eateries and boutique hotels. The URA calls it a conservation area, and in recent years, has stepped up the conservation efforts – by giving out awards – and of course, by letting the last licensed brothels remain in operation in between the new swanky businesses cropping up in the area, which, incidentally, is called the ‘Bukit Pasoh Conservation Area‘.

It is a nice but short stroll on Keong Saik Road, which is peppered with little establishments at which you can’t help but stop to take a peek (I’m not talking about the brothels). There was this little kids’ art gallery two doors down from a brothel, and an old shophouse with a signboard that read ‘Singapore Chinese Brass Musicians’ Association’.

Then there’s a newish place called ‘Whatever‘. At ‘Whatever’, you can buy most things as long as it’s got something to do with your wellness, from double espressos to Himalayan salt crystals.

It’s a pretty big business by the looks of it. Whatever takes up four units on Keong Saik Road, and includes a nice little eatery, where I had a decent vegetarian lunch of a 2-cheese onion jam and pesto sandwich with a mezze plate of dips followed by an apple crumble and a double espresso (wah lao, damned full, can?).

Keong Saik RoadKeong Saik RoadKeong Saik Road
Keong Saik RoadKeong Saik RoadKeong Saik Road
Keong Saik RoadKeong Saik RoadKeong Saik Road
Keong Saik afternoon Flickr set: Thanks Tym for telling me its ‘Road’, not ‘Street’

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Sloshy Sunday

 42 83697551 1B059811E8The last time it rained so hard for so long, someone was commissioned to build a flood-worthy craft carrying winners of the world’s first beauty contest.

So there wasn’t much else to do (work commitments were cancelled as well) except have a really big brunch and think of a reasonable excuse for not attending Cowboy Caleb’s wedding dinner last night – I did say I was busy with work, which I was yesterday till around 7.30.

But anyway, back to the really big brunch. You can have one like I did at this place called Cafe Beviamo, at Tanglin Mall.

Tanglin Mall is part of Australia.

 Images Vegemite-115GmThe coffee at Beviamo is really good. So good that I had a latte instead of the usual double shot straight espresso. (OK, it was a double shot latte). Accompanying my coffee was a big plate with two large pieces of ciabatta, scrambled eggs, grilled tomato and whole olives, the name of which I cannot remember – dunnowhat komalavilas olives, or something like. Oh yah, and they serve Vegemite, which is da bomb! Vegemite’s good on toast, on scrambled eggs, on the tomato, on the olives, on the plate, off the knife, anything!

If you were to go to this Cafe Beviamo at Tanglin Mall, and if you’d ever been to Melbourne or Sydney, you’d marvel at how similar it is to cafes in Melbourne or Sydney, and go, hey this is really like Lygon Street or Oxford Street, because they even serve Lamingtons, which are little brown cakes with dedicated, delicitated, dessidated, delegated dried coconut, and which hitherto could only be found in Australia.

But then again, Tanglin Mall is part of Australia.

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of Sunday Morning from the album “Songs About Jane” by Maroon 5 of which I have the original CD.

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The ground is not sweet

The coffee shop auntie and her colleagues at the Imperial Cafe & Pub on McCallum Street were busy trying to entice pedestrians to sit down under one of the makeshift umbrellas and have a cup of coffee or a nasi lemak.

Her frown unwavering, one of the coffee shop aunties mutters in a monotone, “Hallo handsome, lai, want to eat what?” to a CBD worker who brushes right past.

“Hallo lao ban, got nasi lemak, nasi briyani, chee cheong fun, kopi….”

“Hallo mei nu, want to eat what?”

“Hallo, handsome, hallooooo”….

But of course, there are people (like me) who sit down and dine at the Imperial, though the aunties continue to wear their frowns. There two other kopi stalls along the same stretch, and it’s a ‘see who gets a customer to sit down and order food’ contest between them.

It’s almost 11am as one of the aunties places a plate of rice and veggies on the table I’m seated at, and before I can say, “sorry auntie, I din order”, she mutters, “sorry ah, I share table with you” and tucks into her lunch. Then she looks up and asks what I do for work in the office block across the road. I tell her I do a lot of stuff, because I don’t know which one of my jobs is my day job.

She says, “wah, money very hard to earn hor?”

I say “yah”.

She motions to the table behind her and says, “that uncle over there also, daytime contractor, night time drive taxi”.

“A lot of people here also drive taxi you know! Money very hard to earn ah!

“Last time not like that ah! Dunno why this year like that ah!

“Government always say economy growing lah! Where got?

“Maybe you also have to drive taxi ah!

“But lucky still got taxi to drive ah!”

I know she’s not kidding, because she’s still wearing her frown.

“Got booger or not? Dowan to spoil my look, y’know?”

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of Something That You Said from the album “Doll Revolution [Japan Bonus Tracks]” by The Bangles of which I have the original CD.

Very good to go: Pizza from a hole in the wall

An Italian fella told me once, “Da topping issa da meansa by which you eata da crust”.

Donato Mazzola’s doing something right. He’s got newspaper clippings calling his pizza joint ‘the attack of the killer pizzas’, and his pizza crusts don’t need any means to eat except your hands and mouth, really. But while we’re at it, I mais well tell you, dey gotta a lotta toppings which are very da nice.

Like da blue cheese one, and da aragula one, and da salmon one and da so many other ones.

Pizza da Donato has two outlets. One’s a full service restaurant (ristorante & pizzeria) and the other’s a hole in the wall (pizza al taglio). No, really. Pop by this little nook near the junction of Sixth Avenue and Bukit Timah Road, and you’ll see it’s so.

It’s this hole in the wall one that I like going to, because for $6, you get a slice of da pizza with da delicious toppings, either to go or to dine in, sitting down at one of the four tables available on the pavement.

But don’t bother asking for the menu, because there is none (there’s one on the website), and what you see on the counter is all that’s being served. You apparently get the freshest ingredients, because as Donato himself says, if he can’t get the ingredients fresh at the markets that morning, it’s notta gonna be onna da pizza.

To go with your pizza (or lasagne, or any other stuff you see on the counter), you can have authentic Italian sodas (San Pellegrino) or a fairly decent espresso.

I imagine Donato to be quite confident about his servings, because his hole in the wall is right next to the one that calls themselves Canadian 2-4-1 Pizza. Plus they have scooters to deliver their pizza, while Donato relies on customers to come get it themselves. And they do.

Pizza da Donato Pizza da Donato Pizza da Donato Pizza da Donato
Pizza da Donato Pizza da Donato Pizza da Donato Pizza da Donato

Pizza da Donato
Pizza al Taglio
8 Sixth Avenue Singapore 276473
Tel: 6462 0838

iTunes is playing an illegal copy of Praise You from the album “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” by Fatboy Slim of which I have the original CD.

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