Access: A very small carpark (roughly 10 cars) is available along Yishun Avenue 1, in the direction of the MRT line. It's not convenient to take bus/train to this park.
Ambience: It is usually very quiet in the day, with some students mugging for exams, anglers trying to catch fish, one or two elderly couples strolling hand-in-hand, executive salespeople skiiving and some tired foreign workers taking a snooze. On weekends, it is a little more crowded when families from the neighbouring HDB and condo blocks make use of the facilities.
Facilities: There is a boardwalk which resembles a kelong, stretching out onto the water. From here, you will find die-hard hobby fishermen trying to hook a fish or two. On weekends, there may be kayakers out on the water, paddling leisurely. On the foreshore, there is a water feature comprising fountains and streams which provide entertainment for kids who love running around getting wet.
F&B: There are no F&B facilities nearby, so visitors have to pack a picnic or takeaway from somewhere else. Toilet facilities are available.
We've known about this place for quite some time now, as it's famous for its chao-da (burnt) beehoon but we were avoiding the area due to the ongoing MRT construction works in the vicinity. However, with much of the road now back to normal, it's time to revisit this quaint little coffeeshop and the home-cooked meals it is popular for.
Access: Limited street parking is available along Dickson Road, so you might want to park at the open-air public carpark next to Sim Lim Tower. It's also inconvenient to take public transport as the closest MRT stations (Little India/Bugis) are a good ten-minute walk away and the bus stops are a distance away (due to the distance between Jalan Besar and the corresponding Serangoon Road).
Ambience: There is limited seating in the coffeeshop itself, and most patrons like to sit in the back alley behind Yong Kee for a more authentic dining ambience. There aren't many other places where you can eat at a dimly-lit lane where cars inch past you once in a while.
Signature Dishes: Must try the aforementioned Crispy Vermicelli Bee Hoon 烧焦米粉 ($6/12/18) which is a slightly chewy, browned serve of dry beehoon with beansprouts, fishcake and small prawns. Have this instead of the usual rice when ordering accompanying dishes.
The Curry Fishhead 咖里鱼头 ($26) was quite ordinary, but we enjoyed another of their signatures: Pig Trotters Thai Style 泰式猪手 ($22) which has tender pieces of lean meat, surrounded by well-rendered fatty bits and covered with very crispy skin. Very delish, when accompanied by their homemade acar! Another noteworthy dish was the Prawns served with Salad Cream 沙律虾 ($20/-/28) which almost every table seemed to order. The flour-coated medium-sized prawns was between crunchy and chewy and were well contrasted by the cold pieces of grapes, and honeydew which gave a wonderful mouth-feel with every bite.
Our last dish was a nice combination of a vegetable dish and a soup which saved us from ordering them separately. The Chinese Spinach in Premium Soup 上汤元菜 ($10/12/15) came in a mini wok with a tealight underneath to keep the dish warm. Although a very simple and unremarkable dish, the presentation was quite unique.
Verdict: Good food at rather reasonable prices, and is popular with staff gatherings (Friday evenings) and families (weekends). Come on a weekday if you want a quiet dinner.
Getting there: Located on the third floor of J-Cube, overlooking the indoor skating rink, this eatery is quite easy to find. Parking is available in the mall's basement, or a short walk from Jurong East MRT interchange station. We parked for free (first two hours only) at IMM Jurong and took the free shuttle bus to J-Cube.
Ambience: Decorated in bright colours reminescent of the gaudy-coloured cafes in Taiwan, this place exudes a casual and welcoming feel with its open-concept. Wooden seats and stools make it a little more uncomfortable to linger, which is really weird as it's a nice place to hang out at. Choose a quiet table, or bar counter directly adjacent to (and overlooking) the skating rink and be entertained.
Customer service: Staffed by young adults, which adds to the vibe of the place. They constantly move around the cafe and are attentive to your every request (unlike in most larger restaurants). Knowledgeable and interactive, although they could do more to introduce their specialities to first-time patrons.
Menu: A mix of Taiwanese street food/snacks like Shilin Night Market Crispy-fried Chicken Chop ($8.90), Keelung Night Market Oyster Omelette ($9.90), Shilin Night Market Vermincelli with Oyster and Pig's Intestine ($9.90), Tainan Coffin Toast ($10.90) and main courses like Nantou Taiwanese-style Braised Minced Pork Rice, Changhua Braised Pork Belly Rice, Tainan Danzai Noodle Soup with Minced Pork (all $10.50). The taste of the food though authentically Taiwanese, is however quite ordinary for the menu prices. Suitable if you're headed to Taiwan soon, or are suffering from withdrawal symptoms after returning from Taiwan, although you might also miss the night-market prices.
Drinks: What is a Taiwanese cafe without their popular drinks and desserts? There is a small range of iced teas ($4.00), fruit teas ($4.50), hot desserts (from $4.00) and shaved ice desserts ($8.90). Again the portions are quite small compared to other similar offerings.
Verdict: Nice place to visit once in a while, with its quiet laidback vibe. However, prices can be quite discouraging for repeat visits.
Location/Access: Conveniently located at Safra Jurong Clubhouse, across from Boon Lay MRT station (EW27, ten minute walk). Plenty of parking is available in the basement of the club, which is open to the public.
Ambience:The dim, dark interior of the restaurant is perfect refuge from the blistering heat outside. The usual JP furnishings and table layout are rather welcoming and familiar to us. Very casual atmosphere.
Service: Grossly understaffed, our order was taken, food served and plates cleared by one surly waitress. Made no attempt at welcome or casual chatter. Efficient, I guess; but you can't blame her for not being happy about being the lone server. Perhaps because we visited during the split shift ...
Menu: We ordered the tea-time combo specials (2.30pm to 5.30pm) which consisted of a main course (Seafood Baked Rice, Fish & Chips, Prawn & Chicken Spaghetti, Spaghetti Bolognaise or Beef Pie with Salad) and a drink (Orange juice, lime juice, ice lemon tea, mango-strawberry cooler, coffee or tea) at $11.80 or a dessert/snack item (choice of cake, Seafood Rings with Waffle Fries, Half-dozen Chicken Wings or Ham & Cheese Sandwich) with a drink for $7.80 . Good value when you're just feeling peckish.
Food: The baked rice was a little portion (smaller than at other restaurants) and evidently "seafood" means surimi and thinly-sliced prawns. Disappointing. The beef pie was slightly better, with large flavourful chunks of juicy beef. Both tasted as if they were just heated in the microwave. The fish and chips fared better, with a nice crisp on the flaky fish.
Verdict: The lunch sets at Jack's Place are rather attractive, and off all the outlets we've visited, this would probably be the quietest we've visited, and would be a good choice to visit when in Jurong.
The Visit: Late one evening, around 10pm when we were all feeling a little peckish and didn't want a heavy supper meal. So we decided to drop by THW@Aperia since it's so close to home.
Access: Five minutes' walk from Lavender MRT, or two major bus-stops along Lavender Street and Kallang Road. Ample covered car-parking is available in the mall (per entry after office hours). Just take note that access to the carpark after midnight is a little more complicated.
Ambience: Unlike previous visits, it was crowded on the midweek evening when we dropped by. There was no queue to get a table, staff were not as frazzled and more interactive (read: helpful with recommendations). Because the 'casual' seating consists of bare wooden tables and wooden stools it gets a bit more uncomfortable when the place is crowded and patrons are packed shoulder to shoulder.
Menu: Popular dishes on the menu are the Baked Bun with BBQ Pork, Panfried Turnip Cake. We added on our favourites Prawn Dumplings, Beancurd Skin Roll with Pork and Shrimp. (all items from $4.80 on the supper menu from 10pm till the next day)
Verdict: Nice place to hang out for a snack late in the evenings as the outlet is open 24 hours. However, food portions as tasty as they are, seem quite small and pricey. Maybe as a treat once in a long, long while.