Friends of this eatvestigator would know that this eatvestigator loves to try beans from all over the world. Besides returning from most overseas trips with a bag of coffee beans from that locality, this eatvestigator also hand grinds the beans and brew them with an Aeropress. This eatvestigator tends to avoid the bigger brands like Nylon coffee, preferring to go for this lesser known shop at Balestier.
The shop has been in existence for decades, and supplies the local coffee scene (i.e. kopitiam) with their blend of coffee roasted with butter and sugar, in the range of $8-10 per kg. These are typically blends of Robusta and Arabica that are sourced from Indonesia and Vietnam.
The younger owner who took over from his father, also sources more exotic stuff from other continents. There are more than 20 types for your choosing. At an average of $12/250g, this is probably 30-40% less than what you would pay at other popular cafes which merely resell beans that aren’t roasted by them.
If variety is your preference, then you could just buy 250g of different origins and try to your heart’s delight here. This eatvestigator bagged 250g of Bali origins for $4.50 that day, along with the normal coffee mixture.
Those beans went into an Aeropress, and go very well with condensed milk for an authentic-tasting rendition of kopi at less than 20 cents a cup. As for the Aeropress, it retails for approximately $65 in Singapore but you can get them on Carousell for ~$49. 328 Balestier Road, Singapore 329760 https://www.facebook.com/lamyeocoffeepowder
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.
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)
Someone asked this Eatvestigator where they could find some decent chai tea at decent prices. This Eatvestigator had to first point out the redundancy of the phrase “chai tea” because the word chai essentially means tea in India (which was itself derived from the Chinese word “cha/茶”). However this chai is typically infused with spices. A “Chaiwalla” is very much the Indian version of a barista who makes tea for you.
Thoroughly disappointed by the chai latte offered at a certain famous Seattle coffee chain, this Eatvestigator decided to seek out some chai that wasn’t exorbitantly priced or watery. Here lies this gem of a Chaiwalla Container Cafe in the Little India of Singapore Johor Bahru. The shop operates out of an actual container, providing a scenic view of a car park with al fresco seating. The locals do NOT appeared to be concerned with any sort of outdoor daylight muggings. There is of course safety when gathering in numbers. It is located at Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, which is a mere stone throw away from City Square.
You get reasonably priced chai at around RM3.8-5.8, with choice of original or additive flavours, done hot or cold. (If you can’t decide, just get the hot chai) This Eatvestigator tried both the original hot chai and cold chai, and can attest that it has not been diluted watery like certain overpopulated establishments. There were other beverage choices such as milk, thai milk tea to suit your mood. Pies were also on offer but this Eatvestigator didn’t have the time or stomach to try them.
Nearby, there were also various venerable old eateries, ranging from a coffeeshop to a bakery. As of writing, they have opened a second outlet at The Curve in Kuala Lumpur. (No love for tea drinkers in Singapore).
From the makers of Faculty of Caffeine comes The Replacement. No idea if this means the original is being closed down, or merely an extension. There are hints of a bed and breakfast operation being run upstairs.
The clean white exteriors and interiors is striking from the brownish dust hues that pervades Johor city. Even the menu is a clean white.
To detox, the eatvestigator was happy to chug a Green Hornet (RM15) pressed juice. The eatvestigator wonders if they will ever serve cold pressed coffee in the future.
After what was half an hour on a busy Saturday morning, the food calvary arrived. A croque madame (RM18.90), with very nice runny hues. Look at that yolk running off the bread, is that seductive or what.
The breakfast platter (RM25.90) was practically out of the same nest as that Generous Breakfast from Faculty of Caffeine, albeit at an even higher price for a few more toppings. Not a terribly compelling proposition.
Rounding off the desserts were a healthy serving of Double Ice Cream Churros (RM19.90). This were really crusty on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. Imagine eating Mcdonald’s fries for the first time, that’s what they have done here. They got the dough done right. If anything, the eatvestigator would be back here simply for their desserts. It appears that the owners are big fans of desserts.
Perhaps inspired by the folks at Bev C, there are cactuses littered across each table in this establishment. Look closely and you will find coffee beans being used as the base, but why not coffee grounds though?
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.
Coffee, eggs and kaya toast are the definitive breakfast classic in Malaysia & Singapore, ranking alongside nasi lemak. Here in this alley spot along Lebuh Campbell in Georgetown Penang, this classic alley dining eatery harking back to the 50s. This eatvestigator spent a good 10 minutes trying to find the lane.
You know the ritual, it starts with the soft boiled eggs, dabbled with pepper and dark soy sauce. Stir those in and break up those yolks!
Toast is fired up over an old school oven, which gives that airy and crispy crunch that the eatvestigator likes of Vietnamese baguette. Smear them with kaya, and sandwich them with a handsome slice of butter!
Lastly, coffee with condensed milk. The total set barely costs RM4. On the sidelines, there are also nasi lemak and curry puffs being sold, but this eatvestigator wolfed them down before pictures could be taken.
Toh Soon Cafe 多春茶室
184 Campbell Street
Off Penang Road, George Town, 10100 Penang
8am-6pm (Closed on Sundays)