K and I are always on the lookout for new places to eat. Well, because I am vegetarian, we also check the menu online or if we are just roaming around trying to get into a place that feels like “the one” (yeah, there is something like that because it happens to us), then we still look at the menu. Even if there is 1 vegetarian dish, I am happy. I don’t want my way of life to stop me from walking into what maybe a wonderful experience or even just trying something totally new.
So, a week or two back, when K and I were thinking of spending a cool evening out (now cool weather is a rare rare thing is Singapore), I suggested Keong Saik Road. It is funny how we have been to the Ganapati temple there but not walked further up and either spent time at a restaurant or something like that. After visiting the place, we wondered how many more such places we haven’t bothered to go to. Anyways, let me tell you a bit about where we dined and share some not-so-great photos that I clicked just to remind me to go there more often.
Keong Saik Road is near (err. in) Chinatown and is one of those places with a personality of its own. There is a Vinayagar kovil (kovil, in Tamizh = temple) pretty much at the start of the street. Being big fans of Ganapati, we have been here a few times. Also, we love the prasadam there. So we first went to the temple, had our fair share of idiyappam and amazing sambhar and piping coffee and yes, we also prayed. Then we decided to just walk around the area and build a small appetite before we looked for a restaurant.
It was a Saturday and the road was bustling with all kids of people – families who had kids, people playing ping pong, people doing artwork on the road, entrepreneurs and food startups selling their organic or home-made products with zeal, teenagers on nervous dates, pretty girls in white dresses, lots of people eating by the road, children running around freely especially because traffic is not allowed beyond the temple point and in all, the scene felt vibrant and hipster!
I am in love with these shop-houses, the ones that have a shop below and a house on top (I don’t think they are all inhabited) but I love those gorgeous windows, the colours of the walls, the lanterns, the effort they take to retain that rustic charm, how it all looks so vintage-y and just the general hipster vibe of the place. We walked a bit, ogled at all the goodies on display and for sale – chocolates, organic honey, handmade greeting cards, milkshakes, coconut water in cute cans and a lot of knick knacks. We did not buy anything but it was a treat to look at the youngsters and also family set-ups so passionately marketing their products with a smile.
Walking around and watching other people eat, did sort of make up a bit hungry (does it happen to you as well? I get hungry when I watch someone enjoying their meal. Same for thirst! Am I weird?) Luckily, there were quite a few restaurants and bars to choose from when we spotted this.
Discretely located along the row of shop-houses and almost right the beginning of Keong Saik Road, we found this. With its neon orange walls, a minimally visible doorway and windows with bars, this really called out to us. I mean, I am someone who also does a bit of research before going to a restaurant and especially if we are hosting friends but when it is just K and I, we are okay to get into a totally random place, even if it is slightly overpriced just for the sake of trying it out. And if it lives up to it, then we go back. So, when I saw “The Study”, it sort of reminded me of “The Library” which, I later read is a sister of “the Study” and is right by its side but was closed that day. “The Library” is a bar that prides itself on quirky cocktails with quirkier names like E = mc 2. One needs a password to enter it and the clues are released on the Facebook page every week. Sorry for digressing. Let me talk about “The Study”. Luckily, “The Study” was serving up some of the drinks from “the Library” that day, so I did have a peek at all those cool names.
“The Study” brings together a ” mix of local and British cafe culture giving modern twists to great classic comfort food from around the world.” I do not know much about British food so this seemed interesting. The Head Chef Daniel from Britain has worked in different cities of the world and brings with him some of those flavours in the kitchen.
The bistro is really unpretentious with really basic minimal furnishings. Only 3 or 4 tables were taken and we took a small table for two by the window because well, sitting by the window is undoubtedly the best.
A very cheerful waitress who later told us that it was her first day, greeted us and gave us the menu. The dishes are categorised, interestingly, on the portion-size. They have small plates (really small portions), large plates (slightly larger but turned out to be insufficient for yours truly’s tummy), sharing (which I am assuming are larger) and then a section on desserts. So, you can only get a big size of dish A but you won’t find it in small size/portion. When we looked at the menu, I saw that there were exactly 2 vegetarian dishes – Vegetable, local harvest vegetable and charcoal mayo (?!) in small plate and Polenta, goat cheese, tomatoes and pine nuts in large plate. I forgot all about I don’t like goat cheese and went ahead with ordering the large plate (because I don’t do small and especially not when it has pine nuts). K is not a vegetarian, so of course he basked in the innumerable options he had, asked the waitress for a recommendation and chose some hoity-toity chicken dish.
I honestly felt the portion was small. I eat a lot, my pet name is black hole but still, this was really small. I cannot say if it was well-made, I have never eaten this before, but I did like it. I kept the goat cheese aside though. I like polenta, I think this is the second time I am eating it and I quite like the texture when it is baked like a loaf. The herbs gave it some flavour and I loved the crunchiness of the nuts. I wish there were other vegetables and not jus cherry tomatoes. It does get boring after you finish all your pine nuts and then you are left with tomatoes. It was an okay-decent dish.
We also had a go at a selected drinks menu from “the Library”. I wish I had taken a pictures because I cannot remember the names at all now except E = mc 2. I went with a non-alcoholic mocktail with watermelon, lemon, and basil. K went with E = mc 2
Absolutely loved our drinks. I did try a bit of K’s drink as well and I must say it was really good. We got a complimentary dessert from the chef and it was the best of all. I mean, I don’t like ice-creams much and they must have known because they served us a cake-icecream scoop in one of my favourite cake flavours – banana walnut. The ice-cream loving K was also happy to get his scoop of favourite vanilla ice-cream.
That cake you see at the bottom and the caramel syrup you see on the ice-cream – absolutely gorgeous!
We did like our time there and we realised that we haven’t done much British food with contemporary twists/ local twists and would love to try more of such cuisine. For any Singaporean residents reading this, people who have been to similar places, we are all ears!
So, how was your weekend? What was your latest dining experience like? Where did you go? Tell me all 🙂