Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar

Address: 150 Tyrwhitt Road Singapore 207563

Opening hours: Tue to Fri: 9.00am – 7:00pm, Sat & Sun: 9.00am – 10.00pm, Mon Closed

Introduction

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Store, or simply CSHH, is currently one of the most hip cafes in Singapore that is very well known for their coffee. It is one of the three cafes owned by the Papa Palheta. Papa Palheta is a independent coffee boutique that specialise in roasting specialty coffee in Singapore and Malaysia. They also conduct Barista training course and coffee appreciation classes.

CSHH – The Interior

From the outside, CSHH looks like an old hardware store, but it’s totally another haven on the inside. It is divided into a few areas – the indoor and outdoor dining area, the roastery, the coffee tasting room and a small area that sells their own merchandise like their blend of coffee beans and equipments for hand-brewed coffee.

CHSS, Chye Seng Huat Coffee

The Outdoor Dining Area

Apart from the food, their drinks are mostly self-service. There is no restaurant treatment here as you need to look for your own seat and place your order and make payment at their counter.

CHSS, Chye Seng Huat Coffee

The Roastery

Large group seating is difficult to get in this crowded cafe as there is only one big table at the indoor area. Visit this cafe in smaller groups if you can.

CHSS, Chye Seng Huat Coffee

The Merchandise Area

Updated Menu as of Oct 2014. Click to enlarge.

Old Menu: Click to Enlarge

Caffe Latte 

CSHH serves their Caffè Latte in regular and small size that cost $4.00 and $5.50. The Barista at CSHH effortlessly pulled a latte art and it’s served to you right away. I thought their caffe latte is nice but dont really differs a lot from the rest. The more interesting coffee are in fact the hand pressed coffee with a different range of coffee beans to choose from.

Hand-Pressed Coffee

If you are sitting near to the counter, you can see their Barista in action and i was quite entertained by seeing how their Barista prepares a seemingly simple coffee that involves numerous sophisticated steps.

I can’t say which brew is better as coffee taste is very subjective. We ordered their Bright and Bold which one is more acidic while the other is fuller bodied but i love the deep, rich aroma roast of both cups.  It’s rather interesting to be able to try out different kinds of coffee beans rather than a typical espresso bean.

There are also a variety of muffins available for food pairing at their counter if you are not in the mood for their main course. I give my vote to this buttery sweet Chocolate Almond muffin.

The Huat Breakfast ($17.00)

At a net price of $17, it’s rather decent. Although the taste does not differ much from a typical “big breakfast” platter, and as a meat lover, i am quite pleased for the inclusion of a whole sausage. The baked potato is also a healthier choice compared to hash brown.

Scrambled Egg is smooth and runny but I wish that it can be more flavourful though. The portion is also quite decent for this price. Overall an “OK” dish.

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich S$13.00

Among the three main courses, i like this Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich the most. The bread is well toasted, the steak slices is well flavored that is topped with melted cheese and served fresh from the oven. And how bad can a serving of nachos be? Ordering this should be a decent and safe option.

Cod Fillet S$19.00

Their cod fish is rather disappointing. The portion is small. Appearance wise is not appealing and the cod fish is rather dry and tough and doesn’t come cheap. I’m sorry but this is a big thumbs down.

Can a piece of Cod Fish looks any sadder?

Conclusion

I thought sitting indoor is a much better experience as you chill out and just sit around, watching how the Barista enthusiastically prepares every cup of beverage so as to appreciate the effort behind a cup of hand crafted coffee.

As for their food, i am not particularly impress and CSHH’s food is probably not my first choice at the area. While i love the Aero-Pressed Coffee more than their Caffe Latte, their food didn’t exactly score well here. It’s a pity that the food does not excite me as much as their beverages.

Therefore my conclusion is Chye Seng Huat Coffee Bar is a great place to chill out and to grab a cup of coffee after a meal, and maybe plus a cup cake, provided that the crowd is not crazy.

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Crispy Seafood Bee Hoon at Jalan Besar

Yong Kee Seafood Restaurant

Address: 43 Jalan Besar

Operating Hours: 5.00pm to 3.00am (closed on first Wednesday of the month)

Introduction

Johor Bahru has this third storey bee hoon (三楼米粉) that is unique to Malaysia food culture. One side of the bee hoon is intentionally fried till crisp while the underneath of the bee hoon remains moist. While Singapore does not has exactly the same dish to offer, we have a few variations of it. One of them is the crispy chao ta bee hoon at Jalan Besar. Chao ta literally means burnt in hokkien (one of the dialects in Singapore).

Johor’s Third Storey Bee Hoon. Exterior is charred but not yet to the extend of crispy.

Yong Kee Seafood Restaurant is situated in an old school coffee shop along Jalan Besar, diagonally opposite Sim Lim Tower. It is not exactly a restaurant but a Cze Char stall. They offer various signature dishes like Pig Trotter, Egg Yolk Crab, 上汤苋菜 (Chinese Spinach served in soup stock), steamed salted chicken and of course the Crispy Bee Hoon.

Click to see their signature dish.

Cripsy Bee Hoon

Unlike Johor’s version, the charred side is pan fried till really crispy, to the extend of the texture of eating crackers. This also means that it will be slightly dryer. However, the other side of the bee hoon remains moist. The ingredient used is similar to our seafood Hor Fun that includes Prawn, Squid, Fish Cake and slices of Meat. Fried crispy pork lard and bean sprout are scattered onto the Bee Hoon to complete the dish.

I personally think that every Cze Char stall should have a unique signature dish and it’s this Bee Hoon for Yong Kee. This dish didn’t disappoint with it’s flavorful stock infused Bee Hoon. The texture is something new and refreshing. I would enjoyed the Bee Hoon even more if the pricing can be more affordable. A small size cost $6 while a medium and large cost $12 and $18 dollars.

Chinese Spinach serve in Soup Stock

Typically, this dish is served in restaurant.  It’s served in a big bowl with the Chinese Spinach soaked in soup. Yong Kee’s version is served in small pot over a small flame. Fried Ikan Billis (anchovies) are scattered generously over the vegetable.

The soup taste abit like chicken/ikan billis soup stock cubes. But of course, such cubes are actually widely used in hawker food so I think I will give it to them, because I like the soup. The soup is more flavorful than the usual one in restaurants. Vegetable is soft enough and yet remain crunchy. It cost $10 and is good enough to be shared by two.

Steamed Salted Chicken

From the name Salted Chicken, I was expecting something like Salt Baked Chicken but apparently the taste is totally different from what I imagined it to be. In fact the chicken is not at all salty and taste more of chinese herb with a tinge of Danggui (当归).

There is also a layer of jelly-like stuff, which i assume is a layer of starch because it is rather tasteless which the taste only comes from the sauce that it absorbs. I don’t particularly enjoy this dish.

Conclusion

Yong Kee does not offer the comfort that seafood restaurant can offer. The construction work for the new MRT line around this area made the coffee shop looked really run down and unappealing. I took a short walk from Bugis MRT to OG Bugis, cut across Sim Lim Square, then to Sim Lim Tower to reach this place, but i think it’s worth the walk. Maybe not for the steamed salted chicken, but for their Bee Hoon.

This Cze Char stall opens up to 3am in the morning so if you are feeling hungry at Jalan Besar, this stall may just be fix for you. You also can read up on Swee Choon Dim Sum at Jalan Besar that opens up to 6am in the morning.

Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant 瑞春点心 @ Jalan Besar

Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant @ Jalan Besar

Address: 183/185/187/189/191 Jalan Besar

Operating hours:  Mon to Sun 6.00 pm – 6.00 am, close on Tue

Introduction

This place was introduced by a friend a couple of years ago which is one of her favorite supper place. Since then, Swee Choon Dim Sum will always be on my mind if i am looking for a decent Dim Sum in this area.

Apart from offering more than one hundred food and drink items on their menu, Swee Choon’s Dim Sum price is also very reasonable. Typically there is some waiting time needed during dinner time, but i thought the queue was moving quite fast.

Here is the full menu with indicated price:

Click on photo to enlarge

Signature Mee Sua Kueh (x 02 pcs) – S$2.00

Swee Choon’s Mee Sua Kueh is on my must-order list and will order it whenever i visit this place. Instead of normal pan-fried carrot cake, this Kueh was made with Mee Sua (salted chinese noodles) and the surface is pan-fried till crispy. The Mee Sua is not just plain Mee Sua but was flavored and fried with meat pieces in it. Definitely their signature dish!

Steamed Salted Egg Yolk Custard Bun ( x 03 pcs) – S$3.60

This is also my must-order dish from Swee Choon! At S$3.60, the price is rather reasonable for three pieces of Custard Buns. Their molten custard is not ridiculously sweet and the salted egg yolk taste is just right, not too overpowering.

These buns were always served piping hot and be sure not to scald yourself! Some of my friends said “You have never been to Swee Choon until you try their Custard Bun”.

Layer Pancake with Egg and Meat Floss ( one plate) – S$3.50

This is also one of my favorites – A thin layer of pancake wrapped around a layer of egg, crunchy cucumber and crispy pork floss. I thought this is like a poor man’s version of Peking Duck.

Siew Mai ( x 02 pcs) – S$1.80

Their Siew Mai is the coffee-shop old school style Siew Mai (Pork Dumpling) with a bit of minced prawn meat and not those typical Dim Sum Siew Mai that has chunks of prawn meat in it. This Siew Mai, and their Har Kow (Prawn Dumpling) can be found on almost every table in Swee Choon. I cast one vote for this old school style pork Siew Mai over those filled with prawn. If i really want to have prawn, i will just order the Har Kow instead.

Red Bean Paste Pan Cake – S$4.80 | Fan Choy (BBQ Pork Rice) – S$2.50 | Mai Kai (Glutinous Chicken Rice) – S$2.50

Red Bean Paste Pan Cake is slightly pricey at S$4.80. But i rather enjoyed the freshly made, hot and crispy pancake.

Fan Choy’s BBQ Pork is lean and flavorful. Those who love fatty Char Siew may find this dish lack of the fragrance of the oily pork. But this Fan Choy is almost one of the better ones around.

As for their Law Mai Gai, I thought the taste is a little lacking and the chicken is a little dry and i think there is a tinge of rose essence which i don’t really fancy.

Fried Chicken Wing – S$1.50 | Xiao Long Bao (4 pcs – $4.00) | Steamed Chicken with Egg – $2.50

Piping hot chicken wing can never go wrong. But to be frank, the taste of this chicken wing is nothing much to shout about. Not exactly a must-order.

Xiao Long Bao – Very worth it S$4.00 for 4 pieces. Even though the soup in the Xiao Long Bao is lesser than some other Dim Sum places, I like this Xiao Long Bao for it’s flavorful minced meat.

Steam Chicken with Egg is a rather interesting dish which i don’t really know how to appreciate. Hahaha. I think the idea is you get to taste the natural sweetness of the chicken wings with only very limited seasoning. Apparently Swee Choon put it as their “Chef Recommendation”.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Swee Choon Dim Sum is one of the more value-for-money Dim Sum in Singapore with air-con dining. The place is clean and service is reasonably good. For people who are not driving, Swee Choon is still within ten minutes walking distance from Farrer Park MRT.

The only thing to take note is they will only give you a table after all diners have arrived, else priority will be given to others. Swee Choon may not serve exactly the best Dim Sum items but most of their menu items are reasonably good. This makes Swee Choon one of my favourite Dim Sum places in Singapore.

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