W39 Bistro & Bakery, Jalan Mas Puteh

Recently on Facebook, I came across this post that talked about cafes in “ulu” (i.e. description of a place that is far from civilisation) parts of Singapore. These aren’t exactly unpopular cafes, the very fact that they were mentioned and listed in the post obviously means that despite their unpopular locations, they have still garnered quite a following, suggesting that there should be something good about them that warrants a visit perhaps. Or maybe it is just due to the fickle nature of cafe-goers to always check out someplace new, and with posts being shared on social media, especially by those with a wide follower base, it isn’t hard to gain popularity whether or not there is a good product behind it. Marketing is important, more so that the product, when it comes to attracting crowds, but of course when we talk about sustainability, many other factors come into play, so we shall see if the cafes listed on that post are still around in time to come. Who knows? But most of them, I may not even have the chance to visit once, let alone re-visit, simply because they are just too faraway for me to consider, unless someone again volunteers transport!

Over the Good Friday long weekend, my friend suggested checking out W39 Bistro & Bakery that is located in the West Coast area. When I first heard West Coast, I was thinking to myself, “What – where?” because to me, that is just ‘ulu’. Even though it is probably nearer to where I stay now as compared to before, west coast connotes a very faraway locale that I went at most a couple of times in the past. East Coast rings a closer vibe somewhat, because I’d only associate it with Marine Parade, which is just a short distance away from the downtown area of Suntec/Marina (ok it may be further but that is just my own thinking).

Anyway, as my friend’s driving and offered to pick me up from home, I gladly and readily agreed. Hehe, that is how easy it is to get me to go somewhere, just provide the transport! I Googled W39 and read about its ‘iconic blue-and-yellow chairs’, which I thought was funny/interesting because it conjures up a sort of beach image to me – like deck chairs that we would see on the pristine beaches somewhere else? But it was anything but. There was no shoreline, not even a silver of lake, where W39 is located. The road name in itself, Jalan Mas Puteh, makes me think like we were going somewhere outside of Singapore. It’s actually within a private residential estate somewhere in the western part of Singapore, not that far off from Clementi actually, so it isn’t that far west (think Boon Lay or Pioneer). Along the way there, making our way to find a parking spot, it reminded me of the Upper Thomson area where there were some cafes also located within a private landed estate.

I didn’t take any photos of the place, but you can easily find them online and you will see the blue-and-yellow decor that was described of the cafe. We perused the menu, and I was a little torn, whether to order the usual stuff that I would order for brunch, or try something new, which is local offerings of breakfast food. In the end, I chose the Nasi Lemak! I know it isn’t something exceptional, but I haven’t had it in a really long time and considering that I needed more protein to enable my body to recover faster, I thought this would be a good idea because of the chicken thigh that is the main feature of this dish! Ok, there is coconut rice too but I didn’t really take much of it so I can’t really comment – but I think it’s not as fragrant as traditional nasi lemak from the hawkers though.

So there you go, my Nasi Lemak with Roasted Chicken Thigh, that came with half a grilled tomato and poached egg – talk about fusion, haha. The ikan bilis was nice and crunchy and the sambal chilli was really something that I had missed. It feels like a long time too since I last had such sambal chilli, and although it’s a little too sweet and salty for my palate now, it complements the rice and chicken well. The chicken felt a little dry though, despite that it looks more fried than roasted, so maybe I can comfort myself that it isn’t oily or dripping in oil.My friend’s order is also pretty interesting, a fusion of sorts, but of the sweet and savoury type – Eggs Benedict, which was shredded lamb shank and mushrooms on their Butter Top Loaf (which turned out to be a waffle?). She found it pretty light despite that it’s waffle and lamb, because there wasn’t that much lamb on it, maybe something like pulled pork and the waffle was the light, fluffy type and not the thick spongy kind. I might have ordered this too, if not for the fact that I don’t really like having so much sauce on eggs, i.e. I have never ordered Eggs Ben for brunch, and I don’t really take lamb/mutton. But the veggies looked good though! After this, she still had quite some space left in her stomach so a dessert was ordered, which I actually had quite a bit of too, despite my huge nasi lemak.
The Mister Chocolate cake, a chocolate sponge cake with chocolate chips, covered with melted chocolate, came served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cake was served warm, I think, because the layer of chocolate outside was in slight molten form when it came, and the fact that it’s actually a sponge cake on the inside made it more enjoyable because it isn’t too dense and heavy for a chocolate cake. I don’t really like brownies so much as a dessert because they are too dense and overwhelming for one person to have. The vanilla ice-cream complemented the cake very well too, although its taste wasn’t particularly distinctively vanilla like some that I have tried. It was a very generous scoop that was given though, so at S$6.80 for this, it’s actually pretty value-for-money.I also had a coffee, which was not too bad (can’t comment as usual) but sometimes I really wished that Long Blacks / Americanos came in larger sizes. I know that good coffee doesn’t need to be in large quantities, but I am perhaps too used to the Tall sizes of Starbucks to find the coffee cups in these cafes too small. Maybe my strategy in future should be to order the coffee only after I have my food, so that it can still be hot / warm to drink, and that I can slowly sip and enjoy the coffee properly after eating.

Laksania, NEX, Singapore

I didn’t know such a place existed, but during a lunch meet-up one day, my friend suggested we check out this place that serves all things laksa. In my mind, I only know of laksa in the form of local laksa that is typically fiery orange in colour, and then there’s Penang laksa that carries a sour taste to it and its gravy isn’t as coagulated (for want of a better description), or more watery as compared to what we are generally used to. So as I was given the menu to peruse, I was pretty surprised to see the various adaptations of this much-loved local fare. Apparently, Laksania has three outlets in Singapore, and they have a website where you can go to for a better idea of their menu offerings. I was really tempted to try their Laksa burger, but felt it was so unorthodox (don’t ask me why haha) so I decided to go for something more conventional.

My friend ordered the Penang laksa, and although I didn’t try it I could detect its assam scent distinctly.


My order isn’t too boring even if I chose something more conventional, the Laksa Goreng. I love Mee Goreng, and what better combination than to have a laksa that is stir-fried! Even though it came fried, it still retained the trademark laksa taste, to me at least, perhaps beacuse of the coriander leaves sprinkled on top? It isn’t too spicy too so overall, I quite enjoyed this version of the laksa. Maybe if I were to return in future, I’ll try the other items such as the burger or the laksa hotpot!   20130514-174146.jpg

The downside of this eatery is that they don’t serve water; if you asked for it they’ll ask if you want to order mineral water instead. So if you are worried that the food you are ordering is going to be spicy, be prepared to make a beverage order, or perhaps you can also choose the desserts that they have, Red Bean soup, almond jelly or chin chow dessert (all at $1 each).

Marina Hong Kong Roast Meat, United Square

I’m back from the weekend! It’s Tuesday anyhow and yes I was already back in action, at work or otherwise, since yesterday. But as I had made a lengthy, wordy post yesterday I thought I’d pace myself for the week. Weekends are like my (un)official rest days, whether it is from work or from blogging. I love to write, don’t get me wrong, and even on weekends I am guilty of always being part of the demographic group who is constantly checking out what’s happening online, whether it is Facebook, Twitter or other forms of social media. I would admit as much my addiction to the virtual world and its offerings, it feels kind of weird sometimes to be disconnected, especially when I travel and there is no data (oh the woes) available! All of a sudden, I’d feel a tad lost, a tad perturbed, but honestly I don’t think I miss out that much, and most importantly I believe that social media and the use of smart phones is more a way for me to while time away.

But well, weekends are busy times for me! Or at least during certain parts of either days, I am fairly occupied in a gainful way of course.

This is a random food post, because today I had wanton noodles for lunch, and I realised that there is a difference in quality as compared to the wanton noodles I ate last week. Sometimes, my colleagues will drive to United Square for lunch, and if the weather isn’t too humid and warm, we’d choose to eat at this stall next to Yakun, where we could conveniently adjourn for coffee thereafter. Facing Yakun, there are two noodle stalls, the one to your right is the Pontian wanton noodles store and to your left would be the Marina Hong Kong Roast Meat store. According to my colleagues, the latter serves up better food, and the good thing about either stores is that you can take your coffee at their seating areas if you like, no need to wait around for available tables in Yakun!

Marina Hong Kong Roast Meat offers a pretty wide variety on their menu, from roast pork (siew yoke), duck, char siew, etc., in rice or noodle form, and I think they have chicken too though I cannot be too sure. Besides that, they also sell porridge although not everything is always available because once I asked for one specific porridge and they didn’t have that on that particular day. So I ordered the char siew wanton mee instead.    



The noodles are pretty springy or what some would term “Q”, and they don’t stick together which makes for easy eating. However, I find that there is too much sauce drenched over them, which perhaps explains the non-stickiness, and the sauce was a little salty for my liking. The wanton were also not the best I have had, because the skin seemed to be too thick and I ended up cutting off the excess wanton skin and just eating the part with the meat wrapped inside. But the good thing about this store is that their char siew tastes great. I didn’t realise that I like their char siew until I had char siew wanton mee this afternoon at Toa Payoh Central, and found that the char siew was dry and tough. Marina Hong Kong Roast Meat’s char siew was adequately juicy and lean, I am not a fan of fatty pork or fatty-whatever meats, the texture just doesn’t appeal, so lean is good.

Despite me thinking that I should cut down on my meat intake, I love char siew as a kid. When I was young, I’d always be choosing to eat char siew rice over my brothers’ preference of chicken rice, and sometimes my mum would just buy char siew on its own, those with a edges slightly burned/charred to add variety to the bite when chewing. Coincidentally, one of my colleagues who joined us shortly after we started eating also made a comment that the char siew/siew yoke rice he ordered doesn’t compare with what he had at Marina Hong Kong Roast Meat last week! So it isn’t just my personal preference but a general consensus was reached amongst the lunch group.

screw the diet

This morning, I had a sudden craving for carrot cake. Not the western type of carrot cake with the cream-coloured topping (I don’t know what is that because honestly, I only know how to eat), but the dark sauce local variety that looks like this:

Photo credited to: http://onokinegrindz.typepad.com

It has been hours since the craving started and I am still thinking about digging into a nice hot plate of chye tow kway, but I need to share it though because too much of it just bloats me up with all that flour. Ok, time to stop drooling and yes, screw the diet. By the way, anyone knows of any place that serves up a mean dish of this? Although by the time I get to eat any of it, the craving might have gone or replaced by something else, like… maybe wasabi prawn salad. :p 

Not that I hadn’t already done that because last night I had cheese burgers with fries and lots of not-nice-over-roasted black pepper cashew nuts, while sipping on martinis infused with a generous amount of alcohol! I love happy hour days when drinks go at 50% of the list price. And I hadn’t had too much time to work out this week because somehow the social calendar seemed unusually packed. It’s only Thursday now I know, but I’m just wondering what I should do this coming weekend. Haha.