SINGAPORE - There is a little no-frills eatery hidden in the private estate behind Kovan MRT station that is a regular haunt of students in a private school nearby.
And it's no wonder. Oh! My Bento Booze sells homey one-bowl meals such as braised pork belly rice, sliced beef curry rice and chicken cutlet rice with egg, checking all the boxes for starving growing kids.
It sells inexpensive food, with a lunch menu that offers selected rice bowls for $5 each (noon to 4pm, Sundays to Fridays).
The portions are generous. And, as a bonus, the food here is not bad at all.
I ordered the braised pork belly rice off the lunch menu. When it was served, the generous slabs of pork belly glistened in a beckoning manner and I knew I was in for a good meal.
The pork fat in the belly was so tender, I could almost smoosh it with my tongue and, when combined with the braising gravy drizzled over Japanese rice, it definitely made for a warm, happy feeling in the tummy.
I also tried the sliced beef curry rice and sliced beef rice with egg on the lunch menu.
Oh! My Bento Booze
Where: 29 Lowland Road; tel: 6284-1336
Open: Noon to 11pm (Sundays to Thursdays), noon to midnight (Fridays)
Info: www.facebook.com/ ohmybentobooze
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Both were value for money, decent and satisfying.
If you are feeling flush (pocket money day!), you could go for the ebi fry mentai donburi ($13) off the regular menu, which did not disappoint.
The batter of the tempura prawn was light and crispy, and the prawn was tender. The mentaiko sauce that was drizzled liberally over the prawns gave the dish an assertive, sea-breezy taste.
Above 18? This neighbourhood joint also serves wines, sakes and beers such as Kronenbourg Blanc (from $5 for half a pint).
For bar snacks to go with your tipple, try the pepper winglets (eight pieces for $9), meaty mid-joints made even more moreish with a peppery kick.
So, really, you don't have to be a hungry student to come eat here. Just be hungry.