CAFE BY DAY, COCKTAIL BAR BY NIGHT
Free The Robot, a cafe in Telok Ayer Street near the junction of Cross Street, serves a mean burger for $12. It comprises a well-seasoned and moist meat patty, a sunny-side-up egg, a slice of ripe tomato, rocket leaves, crispy bacon and tomato mayonnaise, sandwiched between a fluffy bun flecked with sunflower seeds.
I gobble mine down in about two minutes and also polish off the accompanying salad. All the components of the burger come together well and make for a satisfying meal.
The cafe also bottles its own cold-pressed juices and serves other items such as French Toast ($6), Braised Beef Balls with rice ($11) and toasties (from $4.50).
Come evening, the cafe transforms into a lively cocktail bar called Bitters & Love, which serves some of the best bespoke and classic cocktails in town.
WHERE: 118 Telok Ayer Street MRT: Telok Ayer OPEN: Free The Robot, 8.30am to 4.30pm (Tuesday to Saturday), closed on Sunday; Bitters & Love, 6pm to midnight (Monday to Thursday), 6pm to 2am (Friday & Saturday), closed on Sunday TEL: 6438-1836 INFO: Go to www.bittersandlove.com or e-mail email@example.com
GOURMET FOOD FESTIVAL
Make your way to Savour this weekend, a gourmet food festival that is being held at Bayfront Avenue near Marina Bay Sands Exhibition Centre.
It started yesterday and ends on Sunday. This year, admission is free - you need pay for only what you eat and drink. In previous years, it was a ticketed event.
Expect more than 30 dishes, each priced at $6 or $12, as well as live music (tonight and on Sunday from 3.30pm) and a gourmet market by Jasons Gourmet Grocer, with offerings such as cheese, seafood, meats and charcuterie.
Dishes that will whet your appetite include Artichoke's Foie-ffle ($12, above) - a corn waffle with creamy foie gras butter, orange blossom and golden syrup; Labyrinth's chendol xiao long bao ($6); and a range of tacos ($6 a serving) by Lower East Side with fillings such as Jamaican spiced chicken with pineapple and mango salsa.
WHERE: Savour Gourmet 2016, Bayfront Avenue, next to the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre MRT: Bayfront WHEN: Till Sunday OPEN: Today, 6 to 11pm; tomorrow, 11am to 4pm & 6 to 11pm; Sunday, 11am to 8pm ADMISSION: Free, diners pay for food TEL: 6733- 0360 INFO: Go to www.savour.sg or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
BAK CHOR MEE TAI MAK
A friend of mine eats at Lai Heng, a bak chor mee stall, at least once a week. Prices start at $4 a bowl.
Instead of the usual mee pok, or flat egg noodles, she recommends mee tai mak - short, fat and smooth rice noodles that resemble rats' tails - served dry. I have to agree that is the best option.
The secret is that you also have to ask for extra chilli so that there is enough to coat each tail. The slippery mee tai mak is able to absorb the flavours of the aromatic and mildly spicy chilli that has been fried with plenty of lard.
I also like that each bowl is topped with pieces of salted flat fish that give the noodles an extra hit of saltiness, as well as tasty stewed mushrooms and springy, perfectly cooked pieces of liver.
WHERE: Lai Heng Mushroom Minced Meat Mee, Block 51 Toa Payoh Lorong 6 OPEN: 8.30am to 4pm (Thursday to Tuesday), closed on Wednesday
EAT AT SPROUT
Sprout, which specialises in salad bowls, is one of the newest cafes to open in Duxton Road. Its offerings range from vegetarian to gluten-free to ones with grilled meat.
For something heartier, I would recommend a bowl that includes meat, such as the Beef And Broccoli bowl ($18.90, above) or the Korean Chicken bowl ($16.90).
The warm beef bowl comes with broccoli, carrots, quinoa and grilled sirloin, tossed in a bright and appetising ginger-soya dressing; while the Korean chicken option, which includes ingredients such as baby spinach, pearl couscous, shiitake mushrooms, silken tofu and grilled chicken marinated in Korean spices, is drizzled with a pleasant kimchi and soya sauce-based dressing.
You can also build your own salad (from $16 for two types of leafy greens and four toppings).
For afternoon tea, there is a range of housemade cakes and puffy, Hong Kong-inspired egglet waffles.
WHERE: 41 Duxton Road MRT: Tanjong Pagar OPEN: 10am to 8.30pm (weekday), 11am to 7pm (Saturday), closed on Sunday & public holiday TEL: 6221-1227 INFO: Go to eatatsprout.com or e-mail email@example.com