Openwork Coffee

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
Johor 80000
https://www.facebook.com/openworkcoffee/

Yoridocoro

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)

http://yoridocoro.com/en

Little Part One Cafe


Little Part One is a perennial long time favorite of this eatvestigator, but strangely it is only now that a review is being written. Tucked away in the row of shophouses behind Thomson Plaza, is this gem of a cafe where one could simply order a pot of tea while reading a book the entire afternoon.

Whilst reading, you could order some nibbles like the curried fries or buffalo wings to share with your companions. The fries were tamed by the accompanying mayonaise and great finger food. The wings were available in 3 levels, and came with some cucumbers to quench the heat. However the size and spiciness paled in comparison to places that do wings as their specialities, plus it was a tad expensive near $12.


After working on these appetizers and resisting the urge to lick your fingers, you would be strolling to the restroom. Perhaps you might want to check out the al fresco area at the back. Behold an entire shelf of emptied beers and spirits. No doubt from nights of indulgences.

So if you are in for some main courses, there’s chicken kiev and beef stew that apparently had traces of Guinness stout. They did decent mains, but not particularly impressive that I would head there for them. If anything, its for the drinks and laid back ambience.


Thereafter as nightfall approaches, drinks are in order. Now this is what I like the cafe and the ambience it offers, a place for good company and a good chat over drinks. They have a hearty selection of Belgian trappist beers you would never expect to find all the out of town from the likes of Rochefort 10 to belgian wit beers. If you are not in the know, Belgian beers are typically artisan beers that have a more flavorful expression of fruits and spices and even chocolate! Definitely a change from the common man’s lager. Ladies may like the Delirium Tremens for its sweetness.

The artisan beers here are just perfect accompanions for desserts. For your sweet tooth, there is a rendition of apple crumble which is brimming with apple chunks and not just cheap sugar, topped off with vanilla ice cream. Or you could also choose from the daily cakes selection that go for around $6.
I can’t emphasize how much I love this place and its cozy embrace. I always wonder when I will be back, since as it nicely sums up on the way out, I’m almost always hungry!



15 Jasmine Road
Adelphi Park Estate

Buyan Russian Haute Cuisine & Caviar Bar


Do you seek adventure? Little did you know but it’s right near our doorstep, a Russian restaurant. A vintage $50000 bottle of 1841 wine lives somewhere in the premises that imagines itself in a far flung meadows and seas. Underneath the vintage European look, the menus are entirely modernized and presented on iPads (sadly they are not using Square payment system).
We chance upon the Singapore Restaurant Week special of lunch for $25++. What transpires is a melody of Borsch Soup followed by Herring in cream sauce and a Raspberry shortcake.


A real test of whether the premises are Russian would be whether they serve kvas ($8), a lightly alcoholic malt drink found commonly on the streets of ex-communist bloc countries, a drink of the common man. Heavily sedimented and freshly brewed on the premises. Water of life.

9/10 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089593
Mon–Sat: 12pm – 12am

http://www.buyan.sg/

Zsofi Tapas Bar

Rooftop lofts aren’t just home to pigeons. They are also home to this little hideout of a Spanish bar in Little India. On the second floor, the cool sensuous air beckons you: to set your heart free from the monotony of the concrete city. Now we must begin proper with a communal sharing of Spanish tapas: mega platter ($36.00). Select up to 10 different varieties: patatas bravas, chorizos, tortillas etc to melt your appetizing hearts.

Delighting us even more, every (alcoholic) drink ordered comes with one free tapas. We ended up with a carousel of Sangria ($28), good for 4 glasses. Oh sweet red. It was harmony when paired with our main star, the paella valencia ($36). A healthy dose of Spanish medium grain rice simmered with seafood.



Naturally, we were nourished and it was time to leave the magic of this loft Little India. But who knows, maybe we will be back to meet again.

68 Dunlop Street

Mon–Thu: 5pm – 1am
Fri–Sat: 5pm – 2am
Sun: 5pm – 11am

Bistro One Zero Three

Away from the bustle and hustle of Harbourfront is a cozy little family-run fusion (think French, Middle-Eastern) restaurant that accords you with quiet while treating your purses with dignity. Start your savory journey with some humble Humus Dip (~$6). Or if you are in the mood for something livelier from the garden, there’s also Escargot in White Wine Sauce (~$9). Hearty and honest fare. 
No one would go wrong with the Battered Barramundi Fish & Chips ($16) that is done with such hearty servings of chips, cole slaw and a fruit salad. Neither did they cut the fish any slack.
Their concoctions of pastas are likewise otherworldly. Take your pick from a variety in the likes of Bacon in Red Pesto (~$15) and Escargot and Mushroom in Saffron Cream (~$16).

As if that wasn’t sumptuous enough, there’s always some old school desserts like Brownie ($6) topped with ice cream and as if there wasn’t enough cream, a Pinna Cotta ($6).


Definitely a place to return to. Till next time…
103 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore
Tue–Fri: 11.30am–3pm, 6pm–9.30pm
Sat: 6pm – 9.30pm
Sun: 11.30am–3pm, 6pm–9.30pm
http://www.bistro103.com.sg/

Vanilla Bar & Cafe

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)