Cafe de Hong Kong 新天地小厨

Back in Singapore, my first dinner was determined by Andrew’s post. Charcoal Tofu! It looked so scrumptious I knew I had to visit the restaurant.

We couldn’t map out “Eastpac Building” on the GPS. It was a merry-go-round even though Balestier Road was short. We nearly gave up when Keith decided to key in “Cafe De Hong Kong” on the find by “restaurant name”. We followed the direction as instructed but I grunted,”The restaurant has moved and the given address was not current”. Turning out onto the main road at Jalan Datoh, we spotted a litted shop called “新天地” (Xin Tian Di). Sounded very Chinese (Shanghai) but on closer inspection, we saw the name Cafe dé hong kong. We’re here!

It had rained earlier and the night was cold. I decided to sit al fresco for dinner tonight. The weather felt wintry. Something piping hot and spicy flirted in my mind. When the waitress came, I placed the order for those dishes that I recalled seeing on the facebook postings. I had specifically came to this restaurant for a particular dish but it slipped my mind. I’d place my order but had a ngawing feeling something was missing. I asked the lady, “What’s the signature dish here?” She double checked my order and suggested charcoal tofu. Ah, yes… How could I have omitted that?

Charcoal Tofu. It looked like seaweed tofu which was the

Charcoal Tofu.
It looked like seaweed tofu which was the “in” thing more than a decade ago. Maybe the poor lighting outside played tricks on my eyes.

Once you bite through the

Once you bite through the “crisp” skin, the milky white you’d expect of tofu didn’t realised. The insides were actually greyish looking. Not off putting and no strong strange smell. The tofu dish was very aromatic and silky in texture.

Tobiko Fried Rice (Japanese Flying Fish Roe). Every bite had the bubble bursting crunch of the fish roe.

Tobiko Fried Rice (Japanese Flying Fish Roe).
Every bite had the bubble bursting crunch of the fish roe.

Steamed Fish in Spicy Sauce. Too salty. Otherwise, very tasty with bits of dried shrimps. The compensation was the seabass was really really very fresh! I cannot emphasise more.

Steamed Fish in Spicy Sauce.
Too salty. Otherwise, very tasty with bits of dried shrimps.
The compensation was the seabass was really really very fresh! I cannot emphasise more.

Hairy Marrow or Melon as they called it was a stewed dish in claypot. There were glass noodles, dried shrimps, mushrooms and squid. It had wonderful texture and fine balance of seasoning.

Hairy Marrow or Melon as they called it was a stewed dish in claypot. There were glass noodles, dried shrimps, mushrooms and squid. It had wonderful texture and fine balance of seasoning.

Kudzu Soup - Soup of the Day.

Kudzu Soup – Soup of the Day.

The meal was out of my expectation, in a good way! I had thought them to be serving cafe style menu. The amount of tobiko used in the fried rice was almost philanthropic, lol… I would definitely have to pay more if I had a couple of tobiko sushi in a reputable Japanese restaurant. The charcoal tofu was rated best tasting on our table for the 5 items we’ve ordered. Second best was the Hairy Marrow claypot dish. Seabass was very fresh although I thought it would be fish head as in the menu picture. The fish meat was sweet, firm yet tender,  but alas, too salty. Kudzu root soup was refreshing. Served as “lai tong” or soup of the day, it may be something else on next visit. Overall, Keith and I had a very satisfying meal.

I would go back again for other dishes.
I heard it on the grapevine that:
Pumpkin Paste & Salted Egg Golden Prawns ($22) was excellent.
Nam Yu Roasted Crispy Chicken ($17 for half bird or $32 whole, pre-order required) is very different from other establishments.
Mongolian Spareribs (another signature dish – price unknown until my next visit).
The French Toast (many tout it as the best in whole of Singapore)!

Click on pictures:

The dinner surpassed my expectations. I was judgemental on the name

The dinner surpassed my expectations. I was judgemental on the name “cafe” and thought the food was not up to par for a cze char stall. A very pleasant surprise indeed. I am curious to try out their raved French Toast now. I heard it is the best on our island!

My first dinner in Singapore and I am satisfied!

My first dinner in Singapore and I am satisfied!

No dessert this time but I will have some next visit.

No dessert this time but I will have some next visit.

Dimly lit, it was easy to miss.

Dimly lit, it was easy to miss.

Cafe De Hong Kong. Don't be misled by the word cafe, the food they serve is more restaurant than cafe.

Cafe De Hong Kong.
Don’t be misled by the word cafe, the food they serve is more restaurant than cafe.

Cafe de Hong Kong 新天地小厨
Address: 586 Balestier Rd,
Eastpac Building.
Singapore 329898.

Tel: 6255 3865

Operating hours: Closed on Mondays.
11.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 12am

Happy eating 😀

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Comments
10 Responses to “Cafe de Hong Kong 新天地小厨”
  1. Lignum Draco says:

    The charcoal tofu sounds interesting, but only 4 pieces on the dish for $12. Seems expensive for tofu.

    • Sam Han says:

      Haha, perhaps bamboo charcoal (powder), dried scallops and enoki mushrooms add up to the high cost. Tofu was “homemade” in the restaurant. Texture was so very good that the next night when I had a tofu dish for dinner, I felt “short changed”. 😀

  2. LAND OF FUN says:

    Nice Post with your sweet presentation skills 😀

  3. LaVagabonde says:

    The fish and the tofu don’t look very appetizing, but looks can be deceiving. 🙂

  4. Happy October, my friend!

    May this month be a wonderful and fruitful one for you and your loved ones!

    Take care, stay healthy and be well, always~ Cheers!! 😀

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