SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Siglap may seem like a sleepy little hamlet in the east of Singapore, but its latest resident IZA wants to change that.
Billing itself as "Your local Izakaya bar", it has many seats for you to have a drink and hang out. It opens till 1am, so there is no rush to leave.
The food comes from the trendy The Skewer Bar (TSB) in Geylang.
The menu is a collaboration between IZA and TSB, and the result has attracted young people looking for good but inexpensive food and drinks.
The mood is relaxed, as is the service. It may seem like it is more about the atmosphere than the food, but the brief menu throws up some surprises.
I am in love with the hae bee hiam-laced Special Yaki Onigiri ($5.90 for two) and could eat many of these. It is aromatic, comforting, familiar, easy to eat and simply delicious.
This small parcel of rice is just salty enough to whet the appetite and does not make you feel bloated after.
Also delicious is the Stuffed Taupok Special ($3, below) with minced chicken, mozzarella, onion, carrot and mushroom.
Again, it works because it evokes a sense of familiarity, even though I have never had cheese with my taupok. This is a popular dish at TSB, one of the many dishes you'll find on the menu at both locations.
It cannot be a place for the millennial if it does not offer an avocado dish. Here, it is the Grilled Avocado ($5, above). The combination of avocado and egg is a common and popular one, so while it offers nothing new in terms of taste and sensation, it is worth checking out because it is tasty. Just don't expect anything ground-breaking.
The Otah Tamago ($6.90, above) is an interesting concept - otah wrapped in Japanese omelette - but perhaps not fully realised in execution. The otah is weak in flavour and can benefit from a bit more spice as it is overwhelmed by the egg.
I have tasted versions of the Hae Bee Hiam Spaghetti ($11.90) and this version is not memorable - just competent, but sedate. I wish for a stronger umami flavour or hint of belachan.
One word of warning though, especially if you are the type who needs to plan your route.
IZA's location is not MRT-friendly - it is a 20-minute walk from Kembangan MRT station - and it was a nightmare for me trying to book a car out of the area, although a bus stop is nearby.
Still, if you're looking for a chill-out, inexpensive and off-the-beaten-track place to gather with friends, it could be worth your while to make it there.
Where: 695 East Coast Road
Open: 6pm to 1am, daily
Info: Call 6385-2883 or go to its Facebook page