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Hill Street Coffee Shop @ Gardens by the Bay
Review written by Glutton Princess – QiQi
Received a recommendation from my mum’s friend that the Nasi Lemak at Hill Street Coffee Shop is splendid, so off we went! Hill Street Coffee Shop prides itself as a place that recreates the coffee shop experience by kicking it up a notch, while serving authentic flavours of our long time local delights. As to whether it really is authentic, we shall soon find out!
Before we entered the… I have no idea what this place actually is. It’s not exactly a coffee shop since you get served at your tables, but it isn’t exactly like a restaurant either because the décor makes you feel like you’re in a coffee shop! But back to the main point, before we set foot in Hill Street Coffee Shop, we were greeted by smiles from the very friendly and chirpy waitress! That was definitely a great way to kick start dinner!
We ordered the Fried Carrot Cake (White), Laksa and the Nasi Lemak, which was why we came here in the first place.
For the Nasi Lemak, you get to choose from having your chicken deep fried, with sambal or rendang. As you can see in the picture, we went with the rendang! The rendang chicken didn’t have much spices in it, causing it to be slightly on the sweet side as compared to the usual spicy rendang that we normally have. That said, the chicken was absolutely tender, something that none of us expected! In the end we scraped off every piece of meat from the chicken thigh, not a single speck of meat could be seen at the end of the day!
The Nasi Lemak rice was lacking slightly in terms of taste, however; bismati rice which is of a higher grade was used instead of the normal white rice making it slightly more worth the price you’re paying for. The achar was fairly good with the mixture of the sweet, sour and a tad of spice that made our appetite hungry for more food, while the anchovies were just average and ordinary.
Fried Carrot Cake (White)
The Fried Carrot Cake had a few crispy parts to it which my brother and I absolutely adore. We wished there could have been Chai Por to make it slightly tastier. Or if they already did, we didn’t really taste it, so we hope for more! And the fact that we normally eat our Fried Carrot Cake with chilli, having to eat it without chilli means that the Fried Carrot Cake has to be extra tasty to make up for that.
Sad to say, Hill Street’s Coffee Shop’s Fried Carrot Cake didn’t make the mark! The seasoning could be enhanced to make the plain carrot cake more flavourful. The actual carrot cake itself without the egg was also a little too soft to our liking; probably less water could be added to the mixture to make it more firm? It was edible, but we wouldn’t come back again for it!
The Laksa gravy was absolutely rich and tangy, packed with thick coconut milk, chopped dried shrimp and other sinfully flavourful ingredients that would definitely elevate our cholesterol level by few notch! As you can see in the picture, they are very generous when it comes to the toppings; ranging from the sliced egg, to prawns, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, fish cake and cockles.
It might not be very clear in the picture, but the portion is huge! Sounds perfect eh? It wasn’t. The bowl of Laksa was lacking FOUR FULL SPOONFULS OF CHILLI. Yes, I said FOUR (you must have thought I’m crazy huh).In the very first place, the chilli that they provided weren’t very spicy and fairly mild to begin with. And the original Laksa gravy was SO sweet, it didn’t rest well on our palates at all! Authentic flavours? Think again! After the addition of the chilli, the Laksa actually turned out pretty well. My brother easily wiped out the entire bowl (as he did with the carrot cake) once again!
At the very end of the day, we are not very sure as to whether Hill Street Coffee Shop is the best representation of the local delights that we have here on this tiny red dot. We do understand though, that since it’s located at a tourist attraction, the food tends to be less spicy to cater to the tourists. If you’re one that isn’t a big fan of spicy food and want to finally give some originally spicy local delights a try, this is the place to head to! After dinner, you can easily go have a walk around the absolutely beautiful Gardens by the Bay to burn some calories! As for the local foodies, think it’s best we stick to our no air-con, rowdy and sweaty coffee shops. Cheap and good! By the way, the food here can easily cost you a whopping $7 to $10 bucks for a simple local dish, as mentioned; this is a tourist attraction and you got to prepare to pay for a premium.
Hill Street Coffee Shop @ Gardens by the Bay
Address: Gardens by the Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953