TASTY THAI BOAT NOODLES
More Thai restaurants have set up shop of late, adding vibrance and variety to Singapore's already crowded food scene. Even boat noodles, one of Thailand's best loved street foods, is now a staple here.
I particularly enjoy the version at Noodle Cafe, which has two outlets - a cramped, slightly dingy one at Golden Mile Complex and another at Sim Lim Square which is airy and more brightly lit.
I prefer the Sim Lim outlet. A bowl of noodles (above right) here costs $5.50. The eatery also offers tasting portions (about one very large mouthful) for $1.90.
There is a choice of beef or pork and five noodle options - bee hoon, kway teow, tang hoon, mee kia and glass noodles. I like glass noodles for two reasons: the smooth texture, and because when immersed in broth, they soak up with flavour.
Skip the tom yum, which is diluted and unremarkable, and go straight for the special soup - a thick, hearty and robust broth. Spice levels here are potent. If you have a low threshold, order noodles without chilli and then add it yourself.
To complement the meal, order the crispy pork crackling ($3.20) and iced milk tea ($2,).
WHERE: Noodle Cafe, 01-06 Sim Lim Square, 1 Rochor Canal Road MRT: Rochor OPEN: Noon to 9pm daily TEL: 9386-0409 INFO: bit.ly/2dMwE2Y
KEK LAPIS SPECIALIST
There is a gem of a cake-and-kueh shop called Talamsuji at Everton Park. It opened about 10 months ago and sells all kinds of kek lapis - from ones layered with durian to strawberry (photo) to coffee-flavoured ones.
The kek lapis (from $1.80 a slice and $14 for a quarter cake) is moist and delicate. I like the original and prune, which has the aroma and subtle flavour of nutmeg and cinnamon. I also favour its more novel kaya and cempedak versions, where alternate layers have been spread with jam or fruit paste.
It also sells traditional Malay kueh (from $2 a serving) such as ondeh ondeh and bingka ubi, and cakes such as a flourless chocolate cake.
Make sure you order at least three days in advance, either online or over the telephone, to avoid disappointment. WHERE: Talamsuji, Block 5 Everton Park, 01-22 MRT: Outram OPEN: 9am to 5pm (Mondays and Fridays), 11am to 6.30pm (Wednesdays), 10am to 3pm (Saturdays), closed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays TEL: 6222-2613 INFO: talamsuji.oddle.me
WEEKENDS IN THE CBD
The best time to have a meal in the Central Business District, especially when you don't work there, is on weekends - it's a ghost town. Moreover, parking is easily available.
Punch, a cafe in North Canal Road which has a courtyard at the back, serves good, well-executed brunch fare on weekends.
There's Banana Porridge ($13), Croque Madame ($14) and perfectly poached eggs with smoked salmon and Hollandaise sauce on brioche ($19).
The sandwiches - including the Reuben ($14), Bacon Lettuce Tamago ($7) and grilled four-cheese sandwich served with tomato soup ($10) - are grilled in a pan with a generous amount of butter, which makes them so much tastier.
The cafe also does a great stack of Earl Grey Pancakes ($16, photo) sprinkled with white chocolate macadamia crumble and served with a poached pear dipped in chocolate.
The first five mouthfuls of these pancakes - while they are still warm, steamy and extra fluffy - are the best. The syrup, crumble and pancake come together gorgeously. After that, it may get a little cloying. Still, these are some good pancakes and I'd definitely order them again.
WHERE: Punch, 32 North Canal Road MRT: Clarke Quay/Raffles Place OPEN: 10am to 10pm (Tuesdays to Fridays), 8am to 6.30pm (weekends), closed on Mondays INFO: punch.sg
MODERN TURKISH IN TANJONG PAGAR
Modern Turkish restaurant and bar Fat Prince is buzzy and inviting. The soft, indirect lighting adds to the vibe.
It has a rather limited menu so, chances are, if you have a group of five or more, you'll be ordering everything on it.
Order the smooth and luscious Hummus ($12), made with duck fat; toothsome Okra Falafels ($12) with fennel mustard; fresh and bright Quinoa Tabbouleh with pomegranate and mint ($14); and moreish Turkish Kisir ($14) with bulgur wheat and roasted vegetables.
The babaghanouj ($12) or roasted eggplant dip here would be better off without the whiff of overpowering truffle.
On the other hand, the Kebabs (two for $16, three for $24, photo) are pretty tasty. But you'll need about three to be full.
Of the six kebab options on the menu, I like the Spicy Adalar Prawn best. The charred prawns are pleasantly spicy and flavourful and go well with the pear salad and herbs they are served with.
WHERE: Fat Prince, 48 Peck Seah Street MRT: Tanjong Pagar OPEN: 8am (for coffee), 11.30am to 3pm (for lunch, Tuesdays to Sundays), 6pm to midnight (for dinner, Tuesdays to Saturdays), closed for dinner on Sundays and Mondays TEL: 6221-3683 INFO: Go to www.fatprincesg.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org