Situated away from the hustle and bustle of Johor Bahru downtown, Openwork Coffee stands alone. By far, it is the only gyoza and coffee joint in town. When a reason behind this quirky pairing was sought from the proprietor, this eatvestigator was told that Johorians loved to chat over coffee and gyoza. Hmmm, not that there are many gyoza joints around. The location is a mere 5 minutes walking distance away from DoubleTree JB.
The cafe features clean lines and rustic furniture, while overlooking a forest valley. The proprietors offered up a serving of original gyoza (RM12) and namesake coffee.
The Papaya Milk Yakult Foam (RM14) was yet another curiosity on the menu. It was light on the palette and refreshing after a hot day’s walk. They also dished up a heaping good donburi in this Chicken Bowl (RM17) that consisted of fried chicken and yolk laid over fluffy rice and whole grains with vegetables.
The accompanying appetiser Prawn And Squid Salad (RM14) was another winner, reminiscent of Peranakan tones,with its fried taukee slices paired with a cooling salsa medley.
Despite the diminutive range of food on the menu, this eatvestigator welcomed the inventiveness and subtle tones of the available food pairings. Perhaps if you have an afternoon in JB to spare, make your way here for some coffee and gyoza.
236 Gim Shew Building, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak
While sojourning across the Japanese countryside on the Enoden railway, this Eatvestigator was pleasantly surprised by curious onlookers in a shack having their sit-down daily brew as the train passed by. They were mere meters away from the track. This Eatvestigator got off the next station and set out to find this curiosity. Behold, it was next to the beaten track and serves simple breakfast of raw egg over rice (¥500) and Aji fish with rice (¥1000) for lunch.
Here, the onlooked became the onlooker. The entrance ticket being a cheesecake (¥580) and an ice coffee (¥420), allowing one to enjoy an afternoon of train-watching with front row seats.
Simple joys indeed. But do be careful when taking photos out front near the train tracks. This Eatvestigator definitely hopes to be back again for breakfast.
1-12-16 Inamuragasaki, Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa, 248-0024, JAPAN
7am-6pm Closed on Wednesdays
5 minutes walk from Inamuragasaki Station on Enoshima Electric Railway (Enoden)
Fancy yourself some affordable all-day brunch, Faculty of Caffeine (FOC) has it. It won’t break the wallet and the Ringgit is a wonderful all-time low to the SGD. Not that you will care. This place has rustic food and industrial served together on a plate.
Drum roll for the (not too) Generous Breakfast (RM17.5) which the eatvestigator managed to wipe clean. You get a whole tomato and sautéed mushrooms, it was more the delicatessen department that was lacking. A sausage or some proper cold cuts would have helped.
Space is pretty tight, with some room at the bar. Luckily no one is being chased away even after you finish your coffee. That leaves plenty of time and room for desserts! The real redeeming part about of FOC are the experimental desserts that are rotated for the day.
This Salted Caramel Affogato (RM11.5) sure melted away fast. That was one crunchy pretzel. The sea salt didn’t really stand out much.
The croissant with banana split made for good coffee time snack. All told, brunch and dessert can be had for the price of a main in Singapore. Let’s hope not too many people find out about this.
The team behind FOC has also launched a new establishment by the name of The Replacement. This will be next on the Eatvestigation.
9am to 6pm
106 Jalan Trus
8000 Johor Bahru
Tim Ho Wan is acclaimed as the cheapest place in the world where one can get a Michelin One Star meal, of which dim-sum is their speciality. We tested the claim by rushing down to be at the front of the queue at about 9.30am. Come early, because the queue gets mind bogglingly long near opening time at 11am, think about 3 shops length. The shop is a tight squeeze, and will sit around 30 persons max. Our party alone nearly took up half the space, to the dismay of many poor queuers outside. My fellow revelers got bored and decided to explore the menu, which comes in both English and Chinese.
They appeared to have a steady buffer of food prepared. And it was not long before food appeared at the table. Starting with this fried char-siew bun.
There was also the obligatory prawn cheong fun and har-gaos. Prawns were fresh but not the big juicy kind this eatvestigator has tried at other classier restaurants. To be honest, this eatvestigator would stop here to say that most of the food was pretty decent, and decently priced it was too. But it simply was not as spectacular as the books and other reviewers made it out to be. There are other eateries with affordable dim sum of similar quality as this place, but not at such range and wide fame. One just has to look harder. A place to try once but not more than that.
2-8 Kwong Wa Street
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Leave the chocolate behind… to be at a cafe like vanilla in the small cleavage behind Ang Siang Hill is like discovering that perfect perfume or cologne. We arrived on a quiet afternoon, no customers around to disturb our romance with coffee. Going beyond our affair with those java beans, we couldn’t help but order ourselves some pumpkin soup ($4.90) and a pulled pork sandwich ($13) in handsome foccacia bread.
For dessert, don’t be taken aback by the dirt cake ($6.90) when you see it. The chef has some humour: chocolate in a mini flower pot topped with gummy worms and a flower stalk. A case of still life mimicking real life.
Next door you will find a French bookshop with ragged and amusing titles such as this… You can’t help but be charmed and taken aback by the timeless quality of Ang Siang Hill on it’s surroundings.
3 Boon Tat Street #01-01
Mon–Thu: 10.30am – 11pm
Fri–Sat: 11am – 12am
(Closed on Sun & PH)