Saturday, September 27, 2014

Forty Hands, Tiong Bahru

After the disappointment of breakfast, I need something to cheer me up. May and Tim had planned to have late lunch at Forty Hands, a cafe at Hipster Central that is Tiong Bahru. This was my first visit to Tiong Bahru. Even though I have heard about that area's hipsterness I did not know it was that hipster. At the same road I count 5, maybe 6 hipster cafes, one hipster book store, one hipster provision shop, one hipster curtain and sheets shop, saw one girl shooting with a hipster twin lens reflex camera and me shooting with a digitalized OM camera. Forty Hands is tuck away amongst all these amongst Yong Siak Street. Blk 78 to be exact. The entrance is quite unassuming. You will miss it if you don't look hard enough. 

Open the door and you will be greeted by deco that screams Hipster. Quirky posters, graffiti and the like. I was also surprised by the crowd since it was already late lunch. Quite difficult to get a table but managed to get one by the door.

Hipster Graffiti
Hipster Poster
Hipster Coffee Cabinet

After settling down, we proceed to order. First and foremost, Forty Hands would like to remind you that this is a coffee place. They show their seriousness by having an espresso machine with 3 presses. Since it was a hot day, May and I ordered the iced latte($6.50). Glad to report that the coffee here is as good as they claim it to be. Apparently the boss here have a distributorship of coffee called Common Man Coffee and they use the same beans. The balance between the steamed milk and espresso is just nice. There is a strong yet not overpowering taste and the after taste lingers around with just the right amount. A bit on the fruity side but one of the best iced latte I have tried. Tim said he had enough coffee and decided to get a Mandarin orange flavoured Mexican soda.
Hipster Barista at Work
Iced Latte

The food. Tim and I ordered the same thing. Eggs Benedict served with roasted potatoes($16). This place claims that all the ingredients used here are organic and they even plant their own herbs in the backyard. Our eggs ben consist of pouched egg, organic shoulder bacon, baby spinach all stacked on top of a soft muffin. There are actually 2 versions of eggs benedict here the other being the steak version.

Eggs Benedict
Yes, my dear Sith Kith Cafe, this is how pouched eggs should look like. Pouched for the right amount of time, drained properly and the sides trimmed. The pouched eggs are nicely done. It goes just nice with the Hollandaise sauce, all easily soaked up by the English muffin. Whereas most eggs ben use rockets as their greens, the spinach is a nice twist.   

How pouched eggs consistency should look like.
May ordered something that I have forget its name. Basically it is pouched egg served with sautéed mushrooms and truffle($17). Presentation is nice served in a Chinese soup bowl (those used for double boiled soup) which is placed on a plank with 2 pieces of toast. Basically, you mix the content of the bowl and eat it with the toast.
Pouched eggs served with mushroom and truffle

I have never been a huge dessert person. They have a weird selection of desserts but my attention was caught by the Onde Onde cupcakes and the Chendol cupcakes. Sounds super weird but challenge accepted. Ordered one each to share.   

The chendol cupcake really contained chendol and if you dig deeper, there is actually red bean and gula melaka. Like a bowl of real chendol. As for the onde onde cupcake, there really are shaved coconut inside it and a layer of gula melaka (I somehow managed to not take a photo of it). Tasted weird but in a good way. Since the fillings are already quite sweet, they are actually smart enough not to sweeten the cake too much. So, glas to report that the overall sweetness of the cupcakes are at the acceptable level.

Really got chendol
 A visit here more than made up the disappointment that I have over breakfast. I have always said that to run an F&B establishment, you will only succeed when you are passionate about making good food. This establishment oozes the passion of the owners. It starts off by using the freshest and best ingredients you can get. Whereas at the Kith Cafe, you get the feeling that the owner is just trying to sell as many plates of lousy breakfast as they can. Hence, "the everything here is standard, Sir" statement. The difference, can't be more profound.

P.S. After giving your body sustenance, feel free to pop by Books Actually opposite to feed your mind. It has quite a selection of rare books, especially by local authors.  


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