Hatter Street Cafe, the hipster cafe near Kovan MRT

Hatter Street – Bakehouse & Cafe

Address (Google Map): 212 Hougang Street 21, #01-333, Singapore 530212

Opening hours: 1:00pm – 10:00pm, closed on Monday

Introduction

When i first know about Hatter Street Cafe, i was quite excited as there are rather limited (hipster) cafes along the north-east MRT line. Hatter Street Cafe is walking distance away from Kovan MRT and it’s literally beside a rather well-known Thai neighborhood eatery Nakhon Kitchen (see my previous review).

When i first visited this place, i remember it was not as crowded,  and a fatherly figure attended to my order. Not knowing that i blog about food, he was so painstakingly selling the pastry concepts, the thoughts behind it and explaining the effort put in in decorating the cafe in hoping to get more returning customers. i figured that he may be the father of the boss and if he really is, that’s a good father all right!

Hatter Cafe is a rather cosy restaurant that has an indoor sitting capacity of no more than thirty pax. The interior design is inspired by the popular animation Alice in Wonderland. It sells mainly drinks, pasteries and waffles. Apart from their brownies and waffles, i think they do not have a fix food menu.  What ever you see in their fridge is what ever you can order for the day.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Waffles drizzled in Salted Caramel $8.90

I had this twice and it’s still as good on the second time.  In fact I thought the portion is bigger. Their waffle is exceptionally crispy and yet the inside remain moist. I find caramel sauce quite sweet most of the time but not for Hatter’s salted caramel. There is a good balance between the sweet and salty taste that goes perfectly with the waffle.

There’s no complain for their ice-cream. It’s rich, creamy and good till the last drop. At a price of $8.50, this should be among the best waffles (in term of taste + value) that i had.

Pandan Ice Cream Waffle with Gula Melaka $8.90

This is also another interesting flavour as Hatter decides to drizzle their waffle with Gula Melaka and pair it with a unique pandan flavour ice cream. It is largely popular on social media and many said that it’s the best waffle that they ever had.

For me, the pandan ice cream don’t taste exactly like what I imagined it to be, probably lacking the fragrance of a real pandan leaf but the Gula Melaka drizzle works for me. This is good but if you ask me, I prefer the vanilla ice cream waffle with salted caramel.

Alice (White Chocolate Brownie) with Home Made Ice Cream $6.80

Apparently the intended signature dish of Hatter Cafe is their home made brownies. However the waffle is much more popular instead. With much curiosity, i ordered their white chocolate brownie.

As expected, the cocoa taste is not as rich as a typical brownie but the sweet milky white chocolate taste is unique in it’s own way. The brownie is not too dry but lacks in texture. It taste like a compact sponge cake. I feel that their brownie is ok, but if I know in advance that their waffle is sold out, i probably won’t specially make a trip down for their brownie.

Other Pastries

Here is a list of what you may find In Hatter Street Cafe:

Chocolate Ice Cream Whoaffles with Chocolate Sauce – $8.90

Mad Hare – $7.50 (Rich Brownie topped with Home Made Ice Cream)

Alice – $6.80 (White Chocolate Brownie served with Home Made Ice Cream)

Oh My 天 – $7.50 (Cookies and Cream Brownie with Oreo Ice Cream)

Kick 来 Liao – $6.20 (Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake)

It’s so Kumquat – $6.00 (A Chinese New Year inspired Tart)

Smoked Saw Dust Pudding – $5.00 (Experience Macau through the journey of food)

To Arthur with Love – $6.20 (Guiness & Tiramisu)

水井坊 Tiramisu – $6.20 (Tribute to a very fragrant Chinese White Wine)

Conclusion

Apparently Hatter Street Cafe intend to market their home-baked brownie as their signature dish but it is their waffle that stood out in the end and I totally agree. For those who love crispy waffle, i am willing to bet that you will enjoy this. For the first to comment that you don’t like these waffles, i’ll do up a review base on your choice of restaurant. Not too ex please. Hahaha.

One thing to improve is the air conditioning. During busy time,  the air-con is not strong enough and the cafe is a little hot, especially when people are going In and out of the cafe. Apart from that, Hatter Street Cafe had made it’s way into my list of best waffle in Singapore.

Good Food at Hainanese Village Food Centre

Hainanese Village Food Centre

Address: Blk 105, Hougang Ave 1

Hainanese Village Food Centre is a very popular makan place in the Hougang area, especially during the weekend. Like any other hawker centre in Singapore (except for the Kopitiam Square in Sengkang), there are lots of good hawker stalls. My mission is to try out these reputable stalls and let’s see why are these stall so popular, or not.

Hup Huat White Carrot Cake  (合发白萝卜糕)

Opening hours: 6.30am to 12.30pm (Closed Mon & Thu)

Hup Huat hawker stall is one of the few that serves only white carrot cake. The most distinct taste about this carrot cake is for it’s very crispy exterior. I can see that the hawker actually prepares each plate of carrot cake with care as he skillfully splits the big pan of carrot cake into smaller rectangular portion and to be pan fried to crisp.

From my observation, unlike some crispy fried oyster egg that is soaked and fried in oil, the oil that this hawker used is significantly lesser, and it does not taste too greasy as well.

I like this stall for their generous serving of eggs that holds the carrot cake together and this may be one of reasons why this carrot cake is so crispy. The unique thing about Hup Huat White Carrot Cake is their chilli is not stir-fried with the carrot cake but is spread onto the top surface of the carrot cake like how butter is spread on a toast.

If there is one area that can be better, i think they can consider sprinkling more Chye Poh (preserved radish) into the carrot cake. There is a $2.00 and $3.00 option and mine was the $3.00 portion.

Da Zhong Cafe (大衆茶室) – Coffee & Traditional Toast

Operating hours: 5:00am – 2:00pm

Very well know for their great tasting coffee at economical price. Their coffee gives off a very strong coffee aroma that is not usually found in ordinary food court coffee and it’s not because they purposely made the coffee “gao” (thick). Da Zhong prepares their own coffee mixture and sent them for grinding to powder form.

Generous serving of salted butter in their toast is one of my reasons to patronize this stall. This stall started their business in the 1970s before relocating to Hougang in 1983 with more than 30 years of coffee making experience.

Yi Liu Xiang Nasi Lemak (一流香) – Nasi Lemak

Operating hours: 6.30 am to 12pm. Closed on Mon and Thu.

The most prominent hawker stall with the longest queue in the morning. Unlike many Nasi Lemak stall, the main attraction for this Nasi Lemak stall is not chicken wing (in fact they don’t even offer chicken wing) but for their well flavoured Kuning fish. The fish is fresh, well-fried and yet the meat remains moist and tender. Ikan bilis is the non-sugar-coated version and chilli is less sweet than a typical Nasi Lemak Sambal Chilli.

Price for a plate of Nasi Lemak cost me $2.50 for Omelette, Kuning Fish, Ikan Bilis and Chilli Sambal. Not exactly cheap for the kind of ingredient offered but I like their Nasi Lemak for it’s distinct taste of coconut milk fragrance.

Lorong Ah Soo Lor Mee

Opening hours: Tue to Sun, Closed on Monday

This is the stall that always has a constant queue at Hainanese Village Food Centre. The best thing i like about this Lor Mee is they replaced the braised pork belly to a healthier shredded braised duck meat. It comes with a $2.50 or $3.00 option and a bowl of $3.00 noodle comes with plenty of condiments like braised egg, dish cakes and two kinds of Gnor Hiong (bean curd skin meat roll) and of course the shredded duck.

The gravy is not starchy and very flavorful to an extend of some people may find it a little salty. But it works fine for me. Queuing up for 30 minutes on weekends is a norm to be able to enjoy a bowl of Lorong Ah Soo Noodle. This stall has some mixed reviews online for it’s taste. I personally like it but probably will not queue up for half an hour for this Lor Mee as there are many other good options in Hainanese Village Hawker Centre. If the wait is only 15 minutes, then this works for me.

Dong Jin Yuan Dian Xin (东津园点心) – Fried Carrot Cake Stick

This stall offers fresh piping hot Carrot cake Sticks at $2 for 16 pieces. I ordered this a couple of time and the carrot cake sticks are warm at a minimum while retaining it’s crispness.

Best when the carrot cake Sticks are served right from the frying wok! Super crispy exterior and the inside is still soft and chewy. Fried Carrot Cake Sticks is one of many people’s favourite hawker food that is slowly disappearing from Singapore. There is a “Stall for Rent” sign pasted on the front of the stall. Better eat this while you can!

Worthy Mention: Lai Xing Cooked Food (来兴熟食) – Kway Chap

Opening hours: 6.30am to 1.30pm closed on Mondays and alternate Tuesdays

I am aware that there are a few good Kway Chap still in Hainanese Village Food Centre. What actually attracted me to patronize this particular Kway Chap is actually the old lady who is preparing the Kway Chap. She looks like she is already in her 70s and yet looks so fighting fit and so resilient. Really hats off to her.

Best thing i like about Lai Xing’s Kway Chap? Lai Xing’s Kway is very soft and thin which absorbs the soup easily which makes the Kway really flavorful. I do hope that there was more soup though.

Their pig intestine is very well marinated. Though it’s not the best pig intestine around, but this intestine taste very clean. It’s not tough but yet retains it’s springiness. I was also quite surprised by their lean meat. Most lean meat should be rather dry and tough but Lai Xing’s is tender and full of flavor.

<Punggol Noodle – 7.00am to 2.00pm Closed on Sun>

To be completed

Conclusion

This is not exactly the conclusion cus i will be going back to try the Cripsy Carrot Cake, the so-call overrated Lorong Ah Soo Lor Mee and apparently there is another Kway Chap that is quite popular in Hainanese Village Food Centre.

I have always been proud of our Singapore’s hawker food culture so i think it is important to support our hawker food and as well as writing reviews on them to share these information instead of only cafes and restaurants.

If i can only have an option to choose between having hawker food or restaurant food for the rest of my life, i guess i am someone who will choose hawker food.

Feel free to suggest any stall at Hainanese Village Food Centre that you find it’s worth the eat!