Lunch at The Plain, Craig Rd

It was just my second visit to the Plain, since my first trip several years ago, before I moved to this area for work. In fact, it is strange that with my office so nearby, I haven’t actually thought of re-visiting, maybe because in my mind, I wanted to try out other cafes in the neighbourhood that I have yet to check out… or there was just a period of time where I considered it extravagant to lunch at cafes on a regular basis. Well, I still subscribe to that school of thought somewhat, but then another school of thought has entered the picture, that life is fairly short and we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves, scrimping and saving… to what end, I’d think. Sure, saving is important, whether it is for the proverbial rainy day, or towards building a nest egg for retirement, however much that kind of money will contribute to.

So, recently I have given myself more liberty where lunch options are concerned. It is supposed to be healthier too to step out of the office during lunch, instead of cooping myself up with packed lunches.

On one such lunches, at the Plain, I ordered a serving of plain toast (sourdough) with earl grey and fig jam (this piqued my interest), and a cup of bircher muesli.Instead of a slice, perhaps they had an extra tiny slice that they decided to give it to me anyhow, I got 1.5 slices. I really love the bread! In itself, sourdough is a type of bread that I enjoy and prefer over white (and usually soft and limp) bread, but the fact that this bread is very well-toasted made it all the better! I wonder if I can re-create the same effect using the oven, since I do not have an oven toaster at home which would make it so much easier and convenient to toast something (I blame it on the gross lack of space in the kitchen, no counter-top space to spare at all). But then it would seem like an overkill to switch on the oven just to toast a couple slices of bread, don’t you think? The earl grey and fig preserve didn’t really stand out as having much of the earl grey flavour. I don’t know, maybe I wasn’t focusing, or maybe the sweetness of the fig somehow overwhelmed any inkling of tea flavour?

The bircher muesli was made up of organic oats soaked with apple juice, sliced apples, flaked almonds and topped with honey-infused yogurt. The small serving that I ordered, with the 1.5 slices of toast, was just nice to fill me up at lunch without causing me to feel too bloated, or again as usual the stomach is not communicating to the brain what it’s feeling. Such simple breakfast food makes for an enjoyable lunch, even if it was without coffee.

Interestingly, as I was Googling for the menu online so that I could provide a better description of the stuff I ordered, as well as to confirm the names, I saw that in the menu that was dated 2011, the price of Plain Toasts was S$3.50 for a slice, which as of 2014’s menu, had been revised to S$4.00 for the same. Ok, that is pretty reasonable even though it’s a 15% inflation over 3 years. The same quantum of increase was also noted for the small-sized bircher muesli, from S$5.50 to S$6 (10%). So it would seem that it has been around for a pretty long time, at least 5 years in the running! I hope they would stick around for some time more, and perhaps one of these days I will return again for their simple yet amazing toast!

crazy hot days

The weather lately has been nothing short of madness. I noticed that I seem to be getting more freckles on my arms no thanks to me not applying any sun protection on my skin aside from the face, when I step out. Typically, we don’t apply sunblock/sunscreen on our bodies because of the humidity that tends to turn everything sticky within minutes of being exposed to the atmosphere, and frankly, I think at this stage we can’t be too bothered if the harshest sun exposure we are getting is the 5 minutes of walking to/fro the lunch place. But for now, sun exposure to me is more than just heading out for lunch, since I am currently considered amongst the ranks of the unemployed, or before any of you start shooting forth your questions, in-between-jobs.

Anyway I’m not about to start expounding on the benefits of applying sunscreen or the detrimental effects of not doing so. Rather, since I came back from Hong Kong, I have been ever so grateful for the weather there even though it is still not what I’d consider to be the best since it’s still pretty warm but we can all still live with the 20-odd temperatures with it dipping lower once the sun sets beyond the horizon, and even though the place is supposedly one of the most polluted cities in this region. I guess it makes a difference that I’m not staying there for a prolonged basis because I’ve been there during their summer days, July, August or even September, and it’s no joke when the temperatures are hovering in the 30s and it is polluted. Gosh, you’d almost wish you could die.

I met up with my baking friend C on one of those days after I was back, when she gamely agreed to go check out this cafe that I’d read about in Juice magazine. It was so warm and sunny that afternoon when we met at Tanjong Pagar that I thought I was going to vapourise under that heat, making the long walk from the station all the way to Craig Road where the cafe is located. We took a leisurely stroll along the way though, checking out other shops on the way and we actually missed the shop until C thought to look up the unit numbers of the shops and we realised we had waltzed past it. This is why:

That’s about as much as you can see of the shop from the front, and it kind of shared a ‘front’ with a law firm that was probably housed in the upper floor, so it really wasn’t our fault. But locate it we did, and we were there at a pretty good timing because the lunch crowd was just thinning out. Whilst we were seated and waiting for our orders to be served the cosy interior of the cafe was rather noisy with the chatter of the lunchtime crowd, but they cleared out soon and we were then able to talk and hear each other comfortably.

We both liked the place for its simple decor and the food was delicious, albeit a tad pricey I should think. I decided to just write about the food on the other blog just so as not to replicate it here, so if you want to see what we ate, just click on the side-bar for the link. Hehe.

I love it that there are more of such small independent cafes sprouting up in and around our island, and I suppose it takes a bit of nosing around to find out about them too. I wonder how they survive in our fickle society unless they have a loyal group of regulars, but for me, convenience is a priority. As much as I fancy trying out new places for the experience and definitely the coffee and food, too far flung out places are just not always on my radar of regular visits because I don’t own a car nor do I possess a driving license!