Comfort food in a coffee shop

When my father told me about an interesting hawker stall that had opened near our home, I was quick to dismiss his recommendation.

"British stews at Serangoon Garden Market & Food Centre? I'll stick to my usual bak chor mee, rojak and satay, thank you very much," I had scoffed.

So it was fitting that I was made to eat humble pie by Lad & Dad, a father-son venture serving its own spin on British comfort food, when I finally ate there a week ago.

Toiling away in the kitchen is the "lad", business graduate Keith Koh, 25, who spent a year or so in London learning to cook classic British nosh while pursuing his degree. "Dad" is his father Desmond Koh, 57, who stumped up a part of the start-up cost of the stall and helps out with the logistics and preparation work at the three- month-old stall.


The Lancashire Hotpot set includes beef stew with hand- mashed potatoes, seasonal salad and a Yorkshire pudding. -- PHOTO: LEE MIN KOK

  • LAD & DAD

  • Serangoon Garden Market & Food Centre, 01-32, 49A Serangoon Garden Way

    Open: Noon to 8pm, Wednesday to Sunday

    Info: Call 9247-7385 or go to facebook.com/ladanddadsg

    Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The current offerings are limited to beef or mutton stew (both $8) slow-cooked for eight hours and seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices. The stews are made without alcohol. In the works is a chicken stew and a Sunday roast on "special occasions".

For now, an extra $4 gets you an upgrade to the Lancashire Hotpot, served on a metal tray with your choice of stew and three of the four side dishes available. The choices are a hefty dollop of hand-mashed potato seasoned with rosemary; greens tossed in a balsamic dressing; butter-infused basmati rice and Yorkshire pudding baked from scratch.

I plump for the beef on my visit and find the toothsome and piping hot stew generously loaded with chunks of tender shin meat, potatoes and carrots. The mash and Yorkshire pudding go well with the thick, gravy-like stew. And while the portion appears small, it makes for a hearty meal.

There are two desserts (both $3) on offer. The butter pound cake with custard is a solid if unspectacular option, but the Yorkshire pudding - repurposed here as a dessert - is a different story.

Crisp and flaky at the edges and nicely squidgy on the inside, the pastry is drenched in maple syrup and paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Ask for a freshly baked pudding if you're prepared to wait at least 15 minutes (or for one to be heated up) and the result is a hot-and-cold symphony of sweet heaven that you wish there was more of.

Thanks to dad, I discover a little slice of British goodness that makes for a nice change when I tire of the same old hawker classics.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 25, 2015, with the headline 'Comfort food in a coffee shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe