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).
Lot 2810, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee
80000 Johor Bahru
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
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)