Tiong Bahru Enclave - Breakfast at Forty Hands

As much as we love bringing (and sometimes dragging) the critters with us wherever we go, there are times when the occasion calls for us to venture forth without them.

For example, when we are off in search of the divinity of coffee, we leave them behind. It is very hard to achieve inner peace with them buzzing around like flies, demanding that we hand over our devices and insisting that we go home, just when we have settled into a sloth-like state of post-coffee indulgence.

So on Christmas Eve, we happily waved goodbye to them and embarked on our discovery of the newly lauded chic enclave of Tiong Bahru. Forty Hands was the cafe we sought and with GPS on, we parked in the public parking space along Eng Hoon Street and proceeded on our hunt by foot.

The lane that we were on was lined on both sides with shophouses. These were a mix of some traditional trading shops in neighbourly co-existence with eclectic shops offering everything from books and curios from yester-year to Bhutanese wares and up-market stationery. We finally spotted Forty Hands when we were across the street at Books Actually.

A bunch of foreign talent cyclists (in very tight gear!) were clustered around its entrance, attesting to its popularity with expatriates as mentioned by various other blogs. We pushed our way inside to be greeted by a long serving counter and a couple of tables. We were mesmerised by the array of cakes in the cold case of course, until we had to figure out where to plonk our behinds.

We ended up exiting through the doors inside and going outside on the other side. Apologies if this is not making sense. We realised then that the outside  through the inside could actually be accessed from the parking lot where we left the car. Anyway, we were happy to sit outside, without air-conditioning as it was a rather cloudy and blustery day. Check these pics below to see what we mean

It was just approaching 10am so we decided on a flat white and a long black each, a breakfast platter and simply a plate of toast. The coffee did not disappoint. When the aroma from the cup swirled towards our nostrils and awakened dulled caffeine-deprived senses, it was enough to make us sigh with satisfied delight. It was definitely good coffee which we imbibed in no time. Only complaint was that the cups were a bit small.

The toast that came was a nice crusty rustic sort of bread with butter and 2 packets of high-class Australian honey! Since we have never had toast with honey before, we were afraid of having too sweet toast. However, the honey proved to be just sweet enough and was more a gum-like spread than a gooey, drippy amalgam. It was great!



The big breakfast that appeared was served in an enamel plate reminiscent of our grandmother's meals. The presentation went with the atmosphere of the place and what set it apart at $18 was the gourmet sausages. There was also an interesting mash of beef and potatoes, with the obligatory bacon. If you are calorie-counting, this would have made up your quota for the week, we think. We spent a total of about $32. Expensive but expected for this type of dining experience.



We liked the old-world charm of the place, meaning that actually not much was done to the premises. The air-conditioned inside had warm lighting and was a bit of a squeeze but the outside with its metal flooring, original walls, a green corner and kopi-tiam type tables was a welcomed novelty in a society dominated by the uniform interiors of Starbucks, Coffee Bean and TCCs.

We definitely hope to explore the many other cafes and shops dotting Tiong Bahru, revisiting the old while savouring new world recipes.





Forty Hands Address:
Blk 78 Yong Siak Street
#01-12 Tiong Bahru Estate
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Forty-Hands/132302986797069?sk=info