By day, a regular kopitiam just like any other. By night, a watering hole with a life of its own.
Almost as if to prove a point, or comment on the viewing habits of the audiences here, Oscar nominated films are almost always certainly on limited release in Singapore. And unless one regularly references the theatre sites, the chance of missing a lauded performance is very high. In an interesting twist of fate, I discovered that the Paul Thomas Anderson’s (not W.S.) The Master had started screening. Having heard sooo much positive acclaim, I had decided I’d watch this with or without company. Fortunately enough, I floated the idea with Darren who seemed interested enough, so we decided to catch it this evening. We didn’t quite have a specific idea of where we wanted to eat, but the venue had to be close to Great World City, one of only two venues screening the film. Tiong Bahru seemed a perfect fit.
A stone’s throw from the bus stop, we stumble onto the junction of Eng Hoon and Tiong Poh Streets where the well-known Ting Heng Seafood is located. Diagonally opposite was Two Face Pizza & Taproom, which had a decent crowd to it. For some reason, perhaps due to the Laneway and Thaipusam Festivals being held concurrently, we had burned a lot of time on our commute here. Two Face, simple looking and novel enough, was a no brainer. This new watering hole’s decor seems simple enough – bare bones, in fact. It’s defined by a blackboard facade on which are chalk writings of the menu and the day’s specials. The floor, with vintage mosaic flooring. In all, a converted local coffee shop, or kopitiam as many older Singaporeans call it. The food’s decidedly western, with specialty crafted beers available for boozing. But it is the concept that has got everybody buzzing, because by day, the spot’s actually a real kopitiam, selling local favorites like yong tau foo and vegetarian food – run of the mill dailies – but it’s transformed into this chill spot by night, hence the name, Two Face. The pizzas are definitely a draw, and people who like them thin and cracky will enjoy this, but I was in the mood for the pasta.
The savouries are infused with an overall homely, hearty vibe, and unfortunately, it’s not a compliment. The unsophisticated favorites seem too simple in its execution to warrant the prices at which they were being valued at. While the Aglio Olio Mushroom & Bacon – al dente pasta with generous bits of chili padi, doused with olive oil and garlic – delighted, I feel like I could replicate it at home (and I’m not even that fantastic of a cook). But the worst was the Chef’s Special, Beef Cut Spaghetti which was so amateur in its consummation. The pasta sauce tasted like those supermarket house brand’s, while the diced beef steak was inconsistent, ranging from satisfactorily tender to upsetting inedible. The audacity of pricing it at SGD 22 was beyond comprehension. I also ordered a side dish of Pan Fried Foie Gras On Fries – intrigued by the possibility of what could be presented, but it turned out to be just that. The foie gras didn’t add anything to the chips, nor did the chips to the fatty goose liver. I felt almost insulted, to be honest.
p.s. I apologize for the shoddy quality of the images. I had lent my camera to my colleague for her Sri Lanka adventures, and you can see them here.