Finally I had a chance to visit this place after hearing about it for so long, whether from friends or from reading about it from others’ blogs.
In fact I went there once but it was closed. It was only then that I found out they are closed on Mondays so remember if you want to check out this place, don’t go on a Monday! Tiong Bahru is an interesting neighbourhood; it always reminds me of Chinatown, except that it seems to be less crowded and complex as compared to Chinatown itself, and also maybe that explains too it’s relative cleanliness. Besides the new residential developments, as well as perhaps (the sad-looking, as I always felt, no offence intended) Tiong Bahru Plaza, juxtaposed against the low-rise vintage-looking (prewar maybe) apartments and shophouses gives the entire area a unique flavour.
My colleague drove into the carpark instead of previously when I visited with a friend (and missed it because cafe was closed) when we parked along the road in front of the shop, so it was only when I saw the signage on the wall along the back of a row of shophouses did we confirm we were at the correct place.
This is 12 Yong Siak Street/Road, from the carpark.
And this is the front.
Forty Hands is housed in a very cosy space; from the picture above, it is at the bottom left-hand corner where the building takes a slight recess from the right if you are walking down from that end of the road. On the outside there are maybe three small tables that seat 2 to 3 each, and on the inside you get a little more sitting space but most of the tables are for just for pairs. The only bigger table that comes with sofas, seats about 4 or 5. Then there is also some sitting space on high chairs along the glass facing this street and some on the inside.
I think there are seats at the back of the cafe as well, although those are in al fresco style and not so popular with us during lunchtime when we wanted anything but copious perspiring whilst eating. It was expectedly busy at the cafe when we dropped in around half past 12 but we were lucky to get a table inside in a corner. Waiting time for our coffee and food took at most 10-15 minutes, and even if the place is cosy and crowded, we were still able to hold a conversation.
I didn’t manage any pictures of the interior since I didn’t want to unknowingly offend people who may not wish to have their faces here, especially since the cafe is small so yes you will see their faces. I will see if I can grab something from their facebook page and come back later together with what we had!