Posh Nosh

Review of eatery Two Face: Pizzas are the stars on the menu

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Dec 23, 2012

When a friend sends me photos of a new eatery in Tiong Bahru, I just have to laugh out loud.

Two Face, it is called. And when I visit, I realise how apt the name is.

By day, 01-46 at Block 56 Eng Hoon Street is a kopitiam with stalls selling yong tau foo and vegetarian food, among other things. These close at about 3pm. In the evening, the place transforms into Two Face Pizza & Taproom, a chill-out place with a simple menu and craft beers.

Residents walk in to get takeout pizza, yuppies and arty types hang out, sip beer and talk over food.

The 70-seat eatery, which opened on Dec 7, is co-owned by three people. One of them, Mr Tan Choon, 49, moved into the neighbourhood three months ago.

He says: "I was going around and noticed that the stalls are closed in the afternoon. I approached the owner and asked if he'd let us have it in the evening. He was reluctant at first, then he agreed."

It takes just 10 minutes to transform the space, with its retro green-and-white mosaic floor, into Two Face. Hoardings covered in blackboard paint hide the stalls completely.

Diners order at a counter, and the food is cooked in the coffeeshop's shared kitchen.

Pizzas are the stars on the menu and will appeal to people who like their crusts thin and crackly.

An unusual Kiam He Pizza ($14), is topped with bits of salted fish, olives, oregano, capers and basil. The fish is a great topping for pizza, and goes especially well with the mozzarella cheese.

Smoked Duck Pizza ($14), with slices of the meat, truffle flavoured mayonnaise and a handful of rocket leaves on top, is also popular with diners.

A couple of dishes I will go back for.

The Aglio Olio Mushroom + Bacon ($12) has al dente pasta spiked with slices of chilli padi. That bit of heat really lifts the olive oil and garlic pasta dish, which can sometimes be too rich.

Ha Chong Gai ($8), or prawn paste chicken, comes with crisp batter and juicy meat underneath. It is better than some versions I have had at zi char stalls although I am beginning to think there can never be too much prawn paste in the crispy chicken pieces.

It comes with a kicking, although not overly spicy, chilli dip. The bright red sauce comes in handy for two other dishes.

One is Oyster Mushroom ($6), battered and deep-fried chunks of the fungi. It comes with nothing to dip it in, alas, so thank goodness for the chilli. A blue cheese dip would work well too, come to think of it.

I keep getting tempted to dip the crisp pieces of deep fried pork in Maple Mayo Pork Belly ($8) into the chilli too, and it works beautifully. The meat sits on a nest of thin cut fries and are drizzled with mayonnaise mixed with maple syrup. Great idea, but it needs a little more zip.

Beefy Ballz ($10) look good but have far too much gristle. They are being tweaked, and I will go back to try the new, improved version.

When I do, I will order the Two Face Signature Drink ($4), a delicious blend of sour plum, caixin and pineapple. The bright green drinks looks way too healthy but I love how refreshing it is; a little sour, a little sweet and with no trace of bitterness from the leafy greens.

On Sundays, the place is open all day, with brunch served between 10am and 3pm. On the menu are dishes such as Eggs Benedict ($14), Fluffy French Toast ($8) with strawberries and banana and Juicy Steak Sandwich ($16).

Mr Tan is working to add more pizzazz to the place. There might soon be poetry written on those black hoardings, and an artist is keen to display his work there.

With friendly prices - there is no service charge or GST, and more than decent food, Two Face is shaping up to be a cool neighbourhood hangout.

Is this the start of a new trend, with other two-face places opening up? Now that would be an interesting addition to the food scene.

Two Face, Block 56, Eng Hoon Street, 01-46, tel: 6536-0024, open: 5 to 11pm (Tuesdays to Thursdays), 5pm to midnight (Fridays and Saturdays), 10am to 10pm (Sundays), closed on Mondays except for tomorrow and Dec 30, when it is open from 5pm to midnight

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