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THE BANK BAR + BISTRO: Kid-Friendly Cafes, Bayfront, Singapore

Is The Bank Bar + Bistro really a restaurant, or is it a play gym?

 

We felt super special two weekends ago… because we had the pleasure of checking out The Bank Bar + Bistro‘s brand new Brunch menu!

I admit, just the word “weekend brunch” already has me in a bit of a tizzy. I just love the whole concept of having a long and lazy family brunch – bonus points if the kids are kept well entertained and behave like angels.

And, the stars aligned, because THE KIDS DID EXACTLY THAT!!!

*fist pump*

I super duper hate it (in a cringing “I’m soooo sorry my kids are making a ruckus” kinda way) when I have a fussy kid or two when we’re at a restaurant… particularly so if the place is UN baby friendly. For this reason, Chris and I just about fainted with pleasure when we discovered The Bank Bar + Bistro had a fully fledged play room for kids! It’s an enclosed private room converted into a child safe area, with padded mats, plus sofas, and thoughtful toys. Psssstttttt… the toys are rented so they have fresh ones monthly!

I also really liked the “gentleman’s club” vibe of The Bank Bar + Bistro (think whiskey and cigars). The dark wood, sexy bar, and dark leather sofas would be awesome for a dinner date. But in the daytime, it’s also lovely thanks to huge glass-pane windows where the sunlight can stream in.

Huge glass-panes at The Bank Bar + Bistro

 

Chic dark wood decor

 

Enjoying the enclosed playroom

 

GLEE!

 

Silly pose

 

So yes. They were launching their new Brunch menu that very day and invited us to check it out. Chris’ first reaction? “Man, the prices are great!” He’s not wrong. The dishes are cheaper than a lot of western brunch places around, with the same size portions. Off the top of my head, the Brunch menu was $10-15, whereas many other places are in the $20-25 mark for the same sort of ambience/quality.

I particularly enjoyed my Latte, which was executed well and full of flavour. Could have probably had two of these.. Chris and Hunter drained their orange juice (Hunter’s was included in his kids meal) but I’m not a fan of juice so I can’t comment.

Carter looking rather unhappy that all of us have a drink, except for him.

 

The Eggs Benedict was cooked to perfection. Just look at the food porn picture below. Creamy egg yolk oozing out of plump round egg white balls. The smoked salmon added a lovely punch of flavour, and the brioche was soft and fluffy.

We particularly enjoyed the vine tomatoes, they were succulent and so sweet and fresh. The small pot of baked beans provided a different taste and texture to the meal, but wasn’t that exciting.

Eggs Benedict. Oooooh.

 

I opted for the 2-course Weekend Roast for $25. Get this if you have a robust appetite. It’s excellent value for money. My plate came laden with food! I opted for the beef striploin which was served in thick slices and perfectly pink. It was accompanied with juicy buttered corn, steamed carrots and broccoli, more of those excellent vine tomatoes, and a homemade Yorkshire pudding (much to my excitement).

Normally I steer clear of roast meat, because it’s often a bit tough and, heaven forbid, stringy and dry. Eeeek! But this version was perfectly moist, very tender and all round excellent. I’d get this dish again any day, especially because it filled me right up!

Weekend Roast (with beef striploin)

 

A photo of me very unattractively chowing down on my corn.

 

And, get this, KIDS GET A FREE SET MEAL when you order a main meal for yourself.

This is the most insane and ridiculous notion ever, because the kids meal is a fully fledged proper menu with good food (ie. what the adult menu would have), with large portions, and come with a free drink and dessert. When I see the words “free kids meal”, I assume it’ll be some bits of frozen fish fingers or something. If you think like me, you’ll be really (pleasantly) shocked with this restaurant.

The fish & chips I initially didn’t want to order, because all I think is, yep, a scattering of frozen fish fingers and chips – how un-nutritious is that?! But Hunter insisted he wanted it. We were pretty surprised when the fish was THICK and moist and done beautifully.

To give you an idea of the kids meal quality – many of you know by now that Hunter is both a reluctant and disinterested eater, with a tiny appetite. Well, he polished off the entire fish (I did remove most of the batter though). AND ate half of the Eggs Benedict we’d ordered. Pretty high praise coming from Mr Picky Eater 😉

The entire kids menu was complimentary with an adult main course purchased.

 

Kiddy meal fish & chips. Rather taken back with how fat and chunky the fish was, and a large portion to boot!

 

I ordered the French Toast for dessert, though it’s listed as a main meal in the Brunch selection. It was made with brioche, I believe, because the bread was really fluffy and soft, with the aroma of butter. It wasn’t sugary (maple syrup was served on the side) and came studded with poached pears and fresh berries, as well as a lovely fruit coulis.

French Toast

 

The mini Chocolate praline cake (I don’t really know the exact name) came as part of my 2-course Weekend Brunch. It was a petite serving but was alright with me as I was pretty full from my main meal! The cake was very rich and dense, so I don’t think I could’ve had more. I really liked the creamy mousse, and most of all, the deliciously crisp and crunchy layers within. So lovely!

Cake that came with my 2-course Weekend Brunch

 

Gigantic alcohol menu for the evening crowd

 

The Bank Bar + Bistro nails it for a reasonably priced but high quality brunch. I thought the food was good, and my Weekend Roast was simply divine. We were also SO impressed with how child-friendly it is.. with the free kids meals, excellent quality food, and awesome play room.

And, if you don’t have kids, you’ll also breathe a sigh of relief that kids around you will no doubt get chucked into the play room which means less fussing within ear distance of you 😉

We will most definitely be back… this time with another family or two in tow.. so we can make use of that play room again!

The only downside of this place is the location. It’s probably excellent for the working crowds (hence why it’s always chockers on weekday evenings after work), but not easy for us to get to on weekends.. simply because it’s not located within a mall where we can let the kids nap in strollers afterwards.

Though, we were pleasantly surprised to find out it’s about a 10mins walk from MBS mall – so that’s not too bad!

We took a stroll to MBS afterwards

 

Lovely greenery

PS. Some pictures nicked off The Bank Bar + Bistro’s facebook page.

 

Last Bite: The Bank Bar + Bistro nails it for a reasonably priced but high quality brunch. Extremely kid-friendly, the play room will be a hit with younger kids!
 
Highchairs: Yes
Easy access: Yes
Change tables: No
Kids’ menu: Yes

The Bank Bar + Bistro
1 Shenton Way
One Shenton #01-01
Singapore 068803
Phone: 66362188
Prices: $$$
Hours: Mon-Thu: 11am-12am, Fri: 11am-1am, Sat-Sun: 9am-12am
 
This food review was first published at Beverly’s Adventures!

 

COMMON MAN COFFEE ROASTERS: Kid-Friendly Cafes, River Valley, Singapore

 

An impressive organic eggs benedict with braised ox cheeks and chive hollandaise, on sourdough toast.

 

Born from a partnership between 40 Hands cafe, Australia’s Five Senses Coffee and the Spa Spirit Group, Common Man Coffee Roasters recently opened their doors and, if you surf a lot of food blogs, you’d have noticed them popping up left right and center.

But first. The cafe itself.

If you bring a kid in a stroller, like I did, you’ll be utterly stumped when you arrive. The cafe doors are at the top of a flight of stairs, with no other way in. I stood there, in the drizzling rain, cursing under my breath at child-unfriendly locations… when a waiter spotted me and immediately dashed down the stairs with a big smile on his face. He quickly helped us up the stairs and helped me put away the stroller, fussing over us and giving us lots of attention. I was pretty surprised and impressed.

Stairs, stairs and more stairs. Enough to make a grown woman (with a stroller) want to cry..

 

The coffee/bar area looks like Broadway! I was rather dazzled by all the lights. The cafe is spacious, the ambience relaxed and inviting.

My girl friend and I really disliked their chairs, however. They are 3-legged stairs and perhaps we are klutzy or something, but we found it hard to… errrmmmm… keep our bums on the chairs! Especially me, as I had to keep leaning over to feed and talk to Hunter. I kept tipping over the chair and nearly fell onto the ground in an unglam heap. Numerous times.

*dazzling*!

 

And what of their coffee, their pride and joy?

I am no coffee connoisseur, but I thoroughly enjoyed my latte and wished it came in a much larger cup (though their glass cups are so pretty). It was robust but not overbearing, very smooth and had a lovely flavour.

And, I thought my coffee art was sooo impressive!

Latte ($5)

 

My Organic eggs benedict with braised ox cheeks and chive hollandaise, on sourdough toast was WOW. Simply, WOW. It blew my mind and has me determined to come back here to order it again.

To put it simply – Hunter, my reluctant eater that almost never eats meat, wolfed down a good chunk of this dish. I was amazed!

The sourdough toast was spongey and gave great but subtle flavour, and the eggs were so perfectly poached. They oozed creamy and rich, and the yolk was so brilliantly coloured.

But it was the braised ox cheeks that got me. It was all melty and tender and so full of robust flavour that I was surprised by how well it paired with ‘regular’ eggs benedict. What an unusual combination, but Common Man did it perfectly.

This dish was perfection IMHO and I am not interested in trying any other dish at this cafe, because I’d always get this one.

Organic eggs benedict with braised ox cheeks and chive hollandaise, on sourdough toast ($24)

 

Here’s where things got kinda….. WEIRD…..

I ordered half an avocado for Hunter, because I figured he could eat that if he rejected my dish above. For $5, I was expecting a SPECTACULAR avocado.

Instead, what I got was a quarter (not half, as the menu promised) of an avocado, with chilli flakes all over it!!!!!! This wasn’t mentioned on the menu, was an utterly odd pairing, and of course Hunter can’t eat chilli flakes. So I had to very carefully dissect it and clean of all the chilli. Not to mention, the avocado was not ripe enough and was kind of crunchy/hard, not the beautifully creamy rich avocado that I was expecting. Still rather horrified I was charged $5 for this.

Quarter of an avocado (though advertised as half), for $5

 

My girl friend ordered the Common Man full veggie breakfast with organic eggs, halloumi, spinach, grilled tomatoes, chestnut mushrooms, avocado, lemon and chilli, sourdough toast and we wondered why the halloumi cheese looked so… odd. Nor did it taste anything remotely like halloumi. Also, why does a vegetarian breakfast have sausage and bacon????

I was really confused, but my girl friend ate it anyway. It was a very decent portion so I think it’s pretty good value for money, but personally I never order big breakfasts because they bore me.

Anyway, now that I’m looking it up online, I realise they got her order wrong and presented her with the regular Big Breakfast instead (hence all the meat), and not the vegetarian one!! And the halloumi cheese was actually a hash brown.

Big Breakfast (served incorrectly as we’d ordered the Vegetarian version)

 

Things significantly picked up with the Chocolate and peppermint slice, which I ordered on a whim. I don’t even like peppermint, but I LOVED LOVED LOVED this. The chocolate base was almost like the base of a cheesecake in terms of texture – it was sublime. The peppermint on top was luscious and creamy, not too overpowering, and worked really well with the chocolate.

I hope this is a menu staple because I’m intent on getting it again!

Chocolate and peppermint slice

 

The prices at Common Man Coffee Roasters sure ain’t cheap, but I do find it justified given the nice ambience and awesome food (by this, I specifically refer to my Eggs benedict and Chocolate and peppermint slice). I’m also a big fan of the coffee.

I’ll be back for sure!

 
Last Bite: A killer eggs benedict that is not-to-be-missed. Lovely trendy ambience and a great place to hang out for a coffee. It is not built entirely baby-friendly, but the helpful staff more than make up for it.
 
Highchairs: Yes
Easy access: No. Stairs to get up to the main cafe.
Change tables: No
Kids’ menu: No

Common Man Coffee Roasters
22 Martin Road #01-00
Singapore 239058
Phone: 6836 4695
Prices: $$$$
Hours:  Mon-Sun: 8am – 7pm 

 
This food review was first published at Beverly’s Adventures!

 

D’GOOD CAFE: Kid-Friendly Cafes, Holland Village, Singapore

D'GOOD CAFE: Kid-Friendly Cafes, Holland Village, Singapore

 

d’Good Cafe has been around for over a year now.. but I’d only recently checked it out for the first time. And now I wish I’d discovered it a whole lot earlier!

Nestled upstairs in the Holland Village area, you have to take the stairs up (super baby-unfriendly) but there is a ‘secret’ lift accessible via the laser clinic next door. So fortunately I managed to get Carter and his stroller up with no fuss.

It’s an adorable cafe, split into 3 levels:

The lovely ‘lawn’. My favourite!!

 

Aren’t these swings so whimsical and cute?

 

And upstairs is a little nook, with loads of sunlight streaming in

 

On the rooftop you have a cute outdoor area. I think I’ll book this for my birthday dinner next month!!

 

You place your order at the counter inside (no service charge here, whee!) and take your buzzer and find a table. It’s all very fuss free and food and drinks arrive quickly.

The counter. Check out the water dispenser – love complimentary water!

 

 

The staff are friendly and service is efficient. I thoroughly enjoyed my Fresh sea prawn aglio olio which came with copious amounts of fried garlic (mmmm) and with lots of prawns. It was pretty perfect a dish, and I would most definitely re-order this again next time. I’m trying to figure out when I can bring Dad here… cos he LOVES this dish and d’Good Cafe’s version is outstanding!

Fresh sea prawn aglio olio ($16)

 

Eggs Benedict ($13.50)

 

We tried their famous Maple sea-salt cheesecake and it didn’t disappoint. It’s their signature dish baked by the cafe’s owner each morning, and is usually sold out by noon (!). The cheesecake was fluffy soft and moist, with a mild flavour. What stood out was the tracings of maple syrup, offset with the sharp saltiness of the sea salt. It was pretty delicious 🙂

Maple sea-salt cheesecake

 

My Iced latte was lovely and no complaints there, though next time I’ll go for a hot latte as I hear their foam art is gorgeous 🙂 My girl friend rated the Iced chocolate as “really really good”.

Iced latte and Iced chocolate

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to d’Good Cafe, and considering it’s pretty close to where I live, I’m definitely going to be back!

Good grief, Carter’s arm is as wide as mine……..

 

Such a cute pic of bub and pretty mummy!

 

I tried to get Carter to pose nicely next to the d’Good Cafe sign.. but he kept waving his arms and legs around like a drunken sailor and refused to cooperate.

 

 

Last Bite: Gorgeous little cafe with a delicious menu and cute swings for kids to sit on or play. Look for the lift if you go with a stroller in tow.
 
Highchairs: Yes
Easy access: Yes (via the lift)
Change tables: No
Kids’ menu: No

D’good Cafe
273 Holland Avenue #02-01/02
Singapore 278992
Phone: 6219 9807
Prices: $$$
Hours: Mon-Thu: 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat: 10am-11pm, Sun: 10am-10pm
 
This food review was first published at Beverly’s Adventures!

 

THE SUSHI BAR: Kid-Friendly Cafes, Far East Plaza, Orchard Road, Singapore

 

The Sushi Bar's star dish - Salmon Aburi Roll

 

I am a total sucker for hole-in-the-wall type places. Places that are all squirreled away in a corner, and that are relatively unknown. You just feel so smug, thinking you know of something special that others don’t. Ahem. Just sayin’.

So I was rather delighted when a friend brought me to The Sushi Bar, tucked into a random corner of Far East Plaza among manicure and clothing shops. Their prices are reasonable and the food is, simply, flat-out excellent.

But……………….. we weren’t sure if THIS lil guy would taste that good:

*scuttles away in fear of being eaten*

 

Yeah, that’s a lil crab you’re looking at in the photo above! There were a whole bunch of these in a big bowl/tank by their counter. I asked “Are these pets or for eating?” and the guy replied that they will flash-fry them and serve them at 5 crabs for $14.

I was so incredibly intrigued!!

Buuuuut.. in the end, my fear factor won. I was just TOO scared, after seeing them scuttling around, to try to eat them. Plus, they are plain deep fried (ie. not dipped in batter first) so you reallyyyyy see everything. Too scary for easily-freaked me 😉 My lousy girl friends also didn’t want to eat them (was trying to get someone to eat them and tell me what they what they were like)!

But on the topic of fried stuff, their Crispy shrimps were amazeballs. They have a proper Japanese name on the menu, but I’ve forgotten, sorry. Anyway, these are the teeny tiny shrimps that are lightly battered and deep fried, and served with a dollop of Japanese mayonnaise. They are a bargain, IMHO, and a must-order!

The prawns are fresh and crisp, and the batter isn’t too thick. Would have liked double the amount of mayo (I do love my dip) but it’s not a biggie as you can always ask for more.

Crispy shrimp ($4.90)

 

I sneered at the girls ordering Daikon salad because, honestly, who orders salad when you’re dining out? How miserable!!

Well, I ate my own words when it arrived.

It was YUMMY. I guess also due to the sauce it was covered in 😉 I liked the freshness of the slivers of veggies and it was really refreshing. The crispies were also a nice touch. This seems very much like the Chinese New Year yu sheng dish by the way, but with a different flavour.

Daikon salad ($6.90)

 

The Salmon don was a STUNNER. I could’ve cried. When it arrived, the chef (owner?) told me that he was sorry that he ran out of salmon, and so replaced it with salmon belly instead.

FREAK OUT I LOVE SALMON BELLY!!!!

This was the perfect dish. Luscious slices of salmon belly (and so many of them for the price), all creamy and slippery. There wasn’t a huge amount of rice though, as I do adore my carbs. I’d get this dish again anytime.

Salmon don

 

Seems like most tables order the Sirloin Steak, which arrives artfully laid out and is sliced delicately thin. The beef is seared on the outside and almost rare in the middle. It’s executed very well and the result is a lovely marbling of tender beef that is so easy to pop into your mouth. An excellent dish to share.

Sirloin Steak 100 grams ($14.90)

 

I consider the Salmon Aburi Roll here the best I’ve had in Singapore. There’s just no complaints. The avocado is fresh, the salmon is buttery and beautifully flame-grilled, and the dollop of sauce brings it all together into a creamy concoction with such a terrific flavour I couldn’t stop eating.

Salmon Aburi Roll ($13.90)

 

But…. ridiculously.. the Soft shell crab Aburi Roll was even better IMHO! It was the same as the above, except with crispy soft shell crab inside. And I guess this is why I like it more – I really liked the contrast of the crispy crab against the creamy salmon. The flavours were also mild enough such that I could taste the sweetness of the crab.

Soft shell crab Aburi Roll ($15.90)

 

Man, I look like I’m about to WWF wrestle my friend’s poor kid. Or break his arm.

 

The Sushi Bar is one of my top choices when I’m at Far East Plaza. It’s reasonably priced, it’s got great food, and it’s all served very swiftly. Service is super friendly too.

Be warned though, it’s not very baby friendly (due to the small space) so if you do have kids in tow, make sure you score a table near the outside (like we did!).

Last Bite: Excellent, fresh Japanese food in the heart of Orchard Road. It’s very small, so go early. They provide high chairs but watch out if you go with toddlers, as there isn’t space to run.

 

Highchairs: Yes
Easy access: Yes
Change tables: No
Kids’ menu: No

The Sushi Bar
Far East Plaza #03-89
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213
Phone: 9625 0861
Prices: $$
Hours: Mon – Sat: 12:00 pm – 9:30 pm

 

This food review was first published at Beverly’s Adventures!

 

GRUB: Kid-Friendly Cafes, Bishan Park, Singapore

Enjoying outdoor dining at GRUB, located in tranquil Bishan Park

 

The entire premise of GRUB is: Responsible Ingredients. Inspired Menu. Delicious Food. 
 
Guess just about everyone knows about Cookyn, a cooking party extravaganza first concocted by Mervyn and Amanda.. which grew to a bonafide successful business owned by multiple partners. Well, it’s the same guys that have opened GRUB.

How did it come about? About 2 years ago, Mervyn and Amanda were in the USA. They saw the plethora of family-friendly, responsible cafes that cooked with real ingredients (that you would use in your own kitchen), at a wallet-friendly price. They and their two friends (and co-owners), Dexter and Kelvin, wanted to do the same in Singapore.

And… ta da! GRUB. Over a year in the making and this gem is now ready for business. It’s located in the beautiful and green Bishan Park (hello gorgeous views) and is a stand-alone cafe that they built from the ground up. It’s SO GORGEOUS. Half outdoor and half indoor, it doesn’t feel like Singapore, but more like Australia when we used to eat at little cafes dotted around a park.

 

Beautiful ambiance at GRUB

 

50/50 indoor and outdoor dining. I’ll be frank, it’s way prettier sitting outdoors if the weather permits!

 

Indoors

 

A compact kitchen churning out a ton of great dishes. And lookie – there’s Mervyn himself right there!

 

Did you know that in most cafes in Singapore and other countries, when you order food like mashed potato, it comes in powder form in a packet???? The cafe simply mixes it with water and voila! There’s your mashed potato.

Ewwww.

So happy to learn that at GRUB, they only cook and serve what they would with their own families. That means REAL potatoes, and REAL ingredients. Nothing reconstituted, no preservatives. The headache that the kitchen has is to churn out good food made from FRESH ingredients asap.. but the waiting time is actually not longer than any other cafe.

You can see their menu here.

Eating responsibly

 

Anyway! A good ‘ol beer to start off! This one was Monteith’s summer ale from New Zealand. I liked it because it tasted more like fizzy ginger ale than beer 😛 Sooo good icy cold.

Hi my name is beer wench

 

Iced honey lime juice ($2.50), Iced latte ($6) with a bizzarely monster-sized pot of syrup

 

Random insertion of photos of Carter at GRUB

 

If you’re a mussel kinda person, you’ll be pretty astounded at how tender and plump these ones are. The Tasmanian mussels and chorizo stew with fries and aioli came in a dish swimming in very nice broth (I wish it was served with some baguette to mop up that tasty broth!).

So here is the thing: I have a relatively big-ish appetite. If I had ordered just this dish, it wouldn’t fill me (this is why I rarely order mussels as my main, unless it’s all-you-can-eat). I pointed this out, and was told that these aren’t the (much cheaper) green-lipped mussels, but blue-lipped mussels air-flown from New Zealand which are a lot more expensive. So this is a case of paying for quality over quantity. But just warning you, if you are a big guy or have a big appetite, you’ll need to order an appetizer as well to fill you up!

Tasmanian mussels and chorizo stew with fries and aioli ($19)

 

The GRUB cheeseburger with 100% freshly minced beef patty, monterey jack cheese is so cheap for a very solid and good burger. Good value for money. The bun is really nice, so picture-perfect it looked fake! Very fluffy and held together well. I really liked the beef patty – it didn’t have weird bits in it (oh my goodness how I hate it when you bite into a burger and there’s something like part of a horse’s hoof in there) and was juicy and with an excellent more-ish beefy flavour. I enjoyed the fresh lettuce too, which was all uniformly green and crisp. I point this out because sometimes other burger joints serve browned or mushy lettuce which freaks me out.

GRUB cheeseburger with 100% freshly minced beef patty, monterey jack cheese ($11)

 

Mmmmmm…………

 

I giggled at the hilarious-looking Crispy fish burger with crumbed hake fillet and remoulade. Just look at it! Hahahha!! It’s basically fish & chips, playing hide-and-seek inside a burger bun.

The fish was moist and beautifully crumbed, and the creamy sauce was spot-on. What more can I say? This was good and great value too.

Crispy fish burger with crumbed hake fillet and remoulade ($11)

 

And……….. THIS.

THIS.

Beef & Guinness pie with mash and side salad.

I just…..

I can’t even………………..

I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT AND WRONG IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE.

I mean, just look at this thing:

The STUNNING Beef & Guinness pie with mash and side salad ($12)

 

Chris and I were speechless when it arrived. This dish, it did NOT look like a beef & guiness pie! We were expecting a regular-looking pie, or perhaps a pot pie. But this…. this was a large disc of puff pastry that was  absolutely sagging under the weight of the big chunks of melty-soft beef, and carrots/potatoes/etc. It was smothered in rich gravy and topped off with gooey mashed potato (made from potatoes in the kitchen, not from a packet!).

It was just insane to see.

It just LOOKED so good!

And I don’t even know how to describe the taste… except just think buttery puff pastry, rich flavourful gravy, and loads and loads of ultra tender braised beef. My goodness. PARTY IN MY MOUTH.

And so their Beef & Guinness Pie is, hands down, A MUST-ORDER DISH. We are most definitely always ordering this baby, and then another main from the menu.

 

“You get this incredible food, and all I get is a spoon?”

 

Palate cleanser before dessert, a Monteith’s Radler Bier ($10)

 

We didn’t have the stomach space to eat our way around their Dessert menu *sadface*. However, we have already tried GRUB’s churros and let’s just say they are splendid. Chris is a churros connoisseur and he really rates these.

But we did order the Belgium waffle with salty caramel, grilled bananas and dark chocolate. Reasonably priced for a nice chunk of fluffy crispy waffle with toppings. It came out… errrrr.. rather messy, though. Like someone in the kitchen had an epileptic fit as they were ‘dressing’ the waffle with the grilled bananas and sauces.

The waffle was deliciously crisp outside yet soft on the inside. It came with a dollop of rich cream, and I LOVED the swirl of fresh salty caramel (ie. not out of a squeeze bottle from the supermarket) – it went so well with the dark chocolate sauce! I actually am not huge on fruit on my desserts but I appreciated that they were grilled bananas and not just plain ‘ol fresh banana slices (sooo boring).

Belgium waffle with salty caramel, grilled bananas and dark chocolate ($8.50)

 

And so I end this monster review of GRUB. It’s a super duper family-friendly cafe, which gets a major thumbs up from me. I really like the outdoor greenery-all-round vibe of the place, as well as how the ingredients are all fresh and thoughtfully put together (I know very well how Mervyn places so much heart and soul into his craft).

The thing I’m really scratching my head about is how they’ll cope with the crowds. The place is surprisingly small! I can imagine it’s going to be gob-smackingly PACKED on weekends.. since families will love to go there for a casual brunch and let the kids run around in the park. You can add GRUB on Facebook to keep track of events and such, to stay up to date.

GRUB officially throws their doors open on 27 April 2013.

WE’LL BE THERE.

See you there too!

 

Come and be a grubber/grubette too!

 

Last Bite: One of the best kid-friendly restaurants in Singapore, offering responsible food for families in the tranquil ambience of Bishan Park.

 

Highchairs: Yes
Easy access: Yes. Strollers and wheelchairs have a gated side entrance.
Change tables: No
Kids’ menu: No. The premise of the cafe is that kids can eat off the main menu.

GRUB
Bishan Park
510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 (enter off Sin Ming Ave, opposite Blk 408)
Singapore 569983
Phone: 64595743 (no reservations)
Prices: $$
Hours: Tue-Fri 5:30pm– 10:30pm, Sat-Sun and PH 9:00am–2:30pm 5:30pm–10:30pm

 

This food review was first published at Beverly’s Adventures!

Singapore’s Top Kid-Friendly Restaurants

You know, cramped joints never used to bug me when I was young, carefree, and single. “How cool!”, I’d think, “It’s so hole-in-the-wall and niche.”

Places like that now completely stump me.

What? No high chair?

What do you mean we have to squeeze together at a too-small table?

So, where’s the area where the kids can run around?

Please oh please, let my waiter be nice and not give me the ol’ stinkeye…

The simple pleasure of dining out gets a tad trickier when you have young children in tow. We’re now pretty picky, particularly because we have a 9-month-old and a 2-year-old.

Places that we love to visit as a family boast the following:

Easy access – I like your cafe. I want to go into your cafe. Why, oh why, must you make it SO DAMN HARD for me to get in?! I’m talking about those evil things called stairs. You know, those sneaky two or three steps lurking at the entrance. WHY? It means I either have to guiltily call a waiter over to give me a hand, or carry the whole stroller up in the most unglam way. While we’re on the topic of strollers, I really appreciate it when I’m given a hand in collapsing the stroller and squirreled away somewhere safe, or, even better, able to have the stroller by my table (never know when the stars align and a kid knocks out for a nap!) if the cafe has the next feature…

Lots of space – ever poked your head into a small cupboard and screamed at the top of your lungs? Similar effect to sticking kids into a confined space. Even worse if there are diners close-by that proceed to turn and give you the you-are-a-crap-mum-and-can’t-control-your-kid STARE. Tops if the eatery has lots of ambient noise/music to… errr… drown out random kiddy noise.

Kid-friendly staff and amenities – oh the relief when you have patient, friendly staff that make the effort to say hi to your kid, instead of giving you the stinkeye. Much appreciated if they proceed to place kids cutlery and a cup of water on the table. Bonus points if they include some paper and crayons! I guess I should also mention here that it makes me want to hyperventilate when I’m told “Oh, we only have one high chair here, which is in use.” You might as well just be done with it and tell me “You’re fine with chasing your kid around the place like a lunatic, while ignoring your meal, right?”

You see, we eat out every single day for lunch. In fact, we’ve dined-out well over 800 times in the past two years for either lunch or dinner, since we relocated to Singapore. What are my fave family eateries? There are the obvious and well-known ones such as:

Food for Thought at Botanic Gardens
Privé at Keppel Island
Rochester Park Cafe
Riders Cafe
The Pantry at Loewen Gardens

 

But there are also some lesser-known family-friendly cafes that I love:

GRUB at Bishan Park (510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1) – this family and dog-friendly cafe boasts killer food (it’s helmed by Mervyn Phan of Cookyn Inc), but go early or expect to be wait-listed. That actually isn’t such a bad thing, because it gives you some time to chuck your little ones into the park and let them stretch their legs. They buzz you on your mobile phone when your table is ready and you get to fill all your bellies with fabulous grub at reasonable prices. Their burgers are stunning, ranging from an impressive Fish burger (you’ll know what I mean when you see it!) to a succulent, insanely tender Pork steak burger. If you’re the healthy type, their Pan-seared salmon with risotto and chimichurri is a winner. Their Churros are also hits; the kids will love dipping these fingers of crispy goodness into the creme anglais and dark chocolate sauces!

Get your GRUB on at the tranquil Bishan Park.

 

Tanjong Beach Club (Sentosa) – if you love your dose of fresh air, water and sunshine, you can’t go wrong with this. Lovely food and great cocktails (with prices to match), but the real draw is the pool which you have full view of if you sit at the outdoor tables. Grab a lounge afterwards (iced water is complimentary!) to relax whilst the kids have a dip, or jump in there yourself to cool off. The ocean is mere steps away if your kids are the sand-and-sea type. Or if you want to take funny pictures of your baby’s expression when their feet touches the sand.

Chilling out at Tanjong Beach Club

 

Kith Cafe (7 Rodyk Street, #01-33) – outstanding for coffee, if you’re that sort of person that can’t function until they’ve had a shot or three of caffeine in them (I won’t judge). This tiny cafe is mostly el fresco, so come dressed appropriately. Sit by the Singapore River and imagine you’re in some far-flung place instead, with crystal clear waters lapping nearby and the air is crisp and cool. In the meantime, the kids can rummage through the box of toys and books, and play on the toy animals in the mini garden. Very kid-friendly brunch food and a Strawberry yogurt milkshake that is very popular.

Play area by the river at Kith Cafe

 

Nook DIY House of Pancakes (21 Lorong Kilat, #01-03) – make your kid work for their meal. Nook provides you with a pancake grill, 2 bottles of pancake batter (of your chosen flavours), and 3 toppings. You simply bring your artistic expertise to the table. Squeeze the bottle and make your own pancake! Admire your artwork, or confuse everyone with what it’s actually supposed to be. Go nuts making different shapes and objects, and watch the kids gleefully consume an inhumane amount of DIY pancakes. There are also regular a la carte options but honestly, who would bother with those when you can make your own pancakes?

Delight the kids at Nook DIY House of Pancakes

 

Spruce at the Old Fire Station (260 Upper Bukit Timah Road) – everyone’s familiar with Spruce at Phoenix Park, but its newer sister at the old (and beautifully restored) fire station is also worth a visit. It boasts high ceilings with excellent natural lighting, cheery and obliging staff, and space for kids to wander around. Better yet, there’s a playroom off the side for kids to amuse themselves in. And on weekends, there is the occasional fair/markets just outside, as well as a fun bouncy castle. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to see a bunch of wild monkeys jumping around in the trees outside!

Fresh ingredients and lots of space make Spruce great for families

 

This article was first published on Material World.

 

Singapore, The Highlights

The final destination – Singapore, for our dear friends Beverly and Chris’ wedding.

Arriving in Singapore was quite a shock to the system. It was so hot and humid, it was like swimming through the air to try and get anywhere. In light of the weather, I could see why the national past times are eating and shopping.

We arrived in the evening, had a relaxing night, then spent the next day with the bridal couple for their hens and bucks days.

At the joint brunch in the morning.


Brunch was followed by manicure and pedicures, and then high tea! What a gorgeous day.

The girls – all primped and polished.


The next day, Saturday the 8th, was the big wedding day. I was honored to be asked to be one of Beverly’s “sisters” for the day, which meant we arrived at Bev’s aunt’s house early in the morning to participate in the claiming of the bride ritual, as well as getting to observe the tea ceremony.

The “sisters” plus bride and bridesmaid.

The next part of the day was the church ceremony – Bev looked stunning in her white gown.

Finally married! Massive congrats guys!


The reception was fabulous fun and a great way to end the day. The evening was punctuated with touching slideshows, particularly one from Bev’s parents, which made several of us shed a few tears.

Dressed in our finery.

Bev’s last dress change – stunning in red.

With the gorgeous couple. Love you both – thank you for including us in your beautiful day.

Last Day in Tokyo

So sad that our last day came so quickly. We spend the morning visiting the Tokyo Google office and Alec’s Sysop friends. We had a great time and had some of the Japanese mysteries explained to us. No-one could explain what the mystery slime that kept appearing on our food was however.

We then caught the monorail to Odabia, a man-made island that is an entertainment district. We didn’t have much time so we only went to one place, Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Alec in particular really enjoyed the museum, particularly because of the robots.

The airport was our next stop and then finally home the next morning.

Tokyo – Christine’s Day Out

Today was my turn. We started the day in Harajuku, which is where all the trendy boutiques are. It’s kind of like Newtown. I found an awesome little shop where I bought a few very pretty vintage lace things. Maternity-style lace dresses are all the rage here. While it looks awesome on tiny skinny girls, it looks stupid on a tall medium white girl.

After Harajuku we stopped in Shibuya to see the statue of Hachiko, a famous dog, and to see the also famous Shibuya crossing – a five-way crossing streaming with hip teenagers.

Next stop was the Tokyo metropolitan Museum of Photography where they had three exhibitions: Surrealism and Photography: Beauty Convulsed; Mariogiacomelli; Secrets Unveiled Images from the Forbidden City. All very cool, particularly the first two.

After our cultural stop we caught the subway to Roppongi Hills and rode up 52 floors to the Tokyo City View – a 360 degree view of Tokyo. The weather turned bad unfortunately, so it was really cloudy with poor visibility, but we still waited for the sun to go down and watched all of the lights turn on. Beautiful!

Tokyo – Alec’s Day Out

We decided to take turns in a manner of speaking, at deciding what to do each day. Today was Alec’s day, so we went to the Imperial Gardens, where they had beautiful flowers in the castle ruins. We then focussed on electronics.

We started at the Sony building – seven of so floors of Sony electronics – for Alec to try on their super-wizz-bang headphones, and then to the Apple store, where they had five floors of Apple wonderfulness.

Next was the electronics district where Alec found some games and gaming insanity all around, and ended it all up with going to our new favourite store, Bic Camera, for seven floors of electronics mayhem, which is where we bought a speaker set for our iPods/iPhones. Cool! MUCH shopping!