Open for business: Japan Rail Cafe, Dal.Komm Coffee & Hot Buns and Thunder Balls

Hot Buns and Thunder Balls.
Hot Buns and Thunder Balls. PHOTO: HOTEL VAGABOND
Japan Rail Cafe.


This cheekily named month-old eatery at Hotel Vagabond takes over the space previously vacated by grill restaurant 5th Quarter.

The name is inspired by the hotel's mischievous tagline, "If you must get in trouble, do it at the Vagabond". The restaurant serves burgers with Asian accents and desserts, and cocktails at the bar.

Burger options include the Slow Burn ($22), a spin on the kong bak pau with slow-braised Iberico pork belly in dark soya sauce and herbs; Living in SIN ($22, above), which is shredded duck confit tossed in hoisin sauce; Chilli Crack ($24), with housemade chilli crab sauce and chunky crabmeat that is set and cooked like otah; and Wagyu Satay ($28), with 180g wagyu rump steak marinated in satay spices, grilled over charcoal and covered in peanut sauce.

End your meal on a sweet note with Thunder Balls ($10), dried glutinous rice dumpling balls with a choice of filling, including housemade kaya and white chocolate; 70 per cent Valrhona dark chocolate and orange peel; and red berry with raspberry coulis. The balls are served with either Tahitian vanilla or Nutella hazelnut ice cream.

For drinks, get the Musth Mahout ($22), a twist on a lychee martini with a blend of lemongrass, ginger, lychee and gin; and Bandung ($22), which is Indian Rose Tea paired with gin instead of milk, and shaken with vanilla, citrus and egg white. 

Where: Hotel Vagabond, 39 Syed Alwi Road 

Open: Noon to 3pm, 7pm to midnight daily 

Info: Call 6291-6677 or e-mail


The East Japan Railway Company (JR East), which operates trains including Shinkansen (high-speed bullet train) in the eastern part of Japan, opens the travel-themed Japan Rail Cafe today.

Located on the first floor of the new Tanjong Pagar Centre, the 2,500 sq ft cafe is divided into three parts. Apart from dining, there is also a retail space and a rail pass ticketing counter operated by Japanese travel agency JTB. The cafe will also hold events and workshops.

Signatures on the menu include The Ultimate A.B.C Burger ($22), with avocado, bacon, cheese and a 160g wagyu beef patty; and kaisen avocado don ($18, above), a seafood and avocado rice bowl with salmon sashimi and scallops. It comes with soup to pour into the rice and eat ochazuke style.

The selection of drinks features Japanese craft beers, hand-drip coffee and royal milk tea.

The cafe will collaborate with Japanese food and beverage event Oishii Japan to launch a Food Japan Selection in the retail corner, which will sell various food items that will change every month.

At the rail pass ticketing counter, customers can buy exchange orders, vouchers to be exchanged for Japan Railway passes. 

Where: 01-20 Tanjong Pagar Centre, 5 Wallich Street

Open: 11am to 9pm (Mondays to Saturdays), 11am to 8pm (Sundays and public holidays)




If the name of this Korean cafe sounds familiar, that is because it was featured in the Korean TV drama, Descendants Of The Sun.

Fans can now head to dal.komm COFFEE's first cafe here at The Centrepoint, which opened yesterday. The 2,000 sq ft cafe features the brand's iconic plushies, as seen in the show.

The brand has more than 160 outlets in Korea and Malaysia. The cafe's name means "sweet" in Korean.

Coffee drinkers can pick from three categories of Arabica bean blends - K1 to K3 - for the cafe's signature coffee. K1 is well-balanced and recommended for milk-based drinks; K2 is a light roast with citrusy, acidic notes; and K3 is creamy and full-bodied. Prices start at $4.50 for an espresso.

Tea lovers can check out the Vitali-TEA tea blend range (from $8), with three flavours: Apple Lemon, Red Elderberry and Mojito Black. There is also Honey Grapefruit ($8.50 or $8.90, above), served with half a fresh grapefruit, and a drizzle of honey.

Food items include Croque Monsieur ($9), honey toast ($8.50) and injeolmi (Korean rice cake) toast ($8). Bingsu options include injeolmi pat bingsu ($8.90 or $13.90) as well as cherry tomato bingsu and mango bingsu ($10.90 or $15.90 for both).

There is a retail section selling mugs and tumblers.

Where: 01-01, 01-102 The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road

Open: 9am to 10pm daily


Eunice Quek

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 04, 2016, with the headline 'Open For Business'. Print Edition | Subscribe