Streets of London @ British Hainan (British Hainan for short) is a newly opened and uniquely themed cafe that serves up reasonably priced (there is no GST!) good comfort food. If just going by the name alone, do not expect much Hainanese fusion cuisine (just yet, save for the lamb shank and oxtail stew), instead be prepared for home-styled comfort (mostly western) food served in a nostalgic environment filled with relics from the past.
Converted from an old shop house, British Hainan has both indoor and outdoor seating. If you want to enjoy the décor and fully immerse in the experience, it would be best to be seated indoors, which is air-conditioned and a feast for the eyes with displays.
|Interesting and quirky displays|
|Nostalgia and the quirky|
The interior is uniquely decorated with items from the past, giving it a uniquely nostalgic yet vibrant atmosphere: old gramophones, mixers, statues, hi-fi sets, coin operated phone booths, old typewriters and even the very first handphone (!) fill up the empty spaces indoor. Hence, you can expect to dine in a distinctive environment that would bring back nostalgic memories (for some). There are even some items that are for sale, so if you are interested in bringing home a piece of history or nostalgia, don’t forget to ask!
|The days of pay phones|
While British Hainan is a joint venture between the chef Thomas of Streets of London and a family (of antique collectors), the cafe is essentially run by the family, operations wise. Being a family owned cafe (in this age of mostly big companies and impersonal service), it is nice to see traces of family in the operations of running the place (and relatively good service) - the father at the helm with his collection of antiques, the mother with her warm smile and creativeness (she invented the lemongrass pandan drink!), and the three siblings manning the kitchen and front respectively with energetic youthful enthusiasm.
The recipes for the food are simple yet enticing. Besides the lamb and oxtail stew which are (special Hainanese) family recipes, British Hainan is innovative tying out new recipes for food and drinks. The food might not be plated (so) perfectly, but the presentation of the food is neat and simple - reminiscent of good home-styled food that does not have any pretenses yet pleasant on the eyes and taste buds. Price-wise, on average it would cost about S$15-35++ per person, depending on what you order. There is quite a range of options for starters, mains, drinks (non-alcoholic and alcoholic) and desserts.
Now for the food and drinks (accumulated over 2 separate visits with family and friends respectively)...
|Compliementary munchies to occupy our mouths while the food is being prepared.|
|Lamb Shank @ S$28.90: The lamb shank is cooked to tenderness and served with potatoes and carrots, with a side of bread slices to soak up the yummy gravy. This makes a satisfying hearty meal.|
|Asahi Beer: Good on a hot humid day.|
|Lemongrass Drink @S$3.50: This drink is concocted by British Hainan and tastes pretty good. There is just the right amount of lemongrass flavor, not too overpowering and pleasant to the tastebuds. The added pandan gives the lemongrass drink its unique flavor (just like bandung). Just imagine drinking mild lemongrass enveloped in the fragrance of pandan. Can't imagine? Than you have to try it to know it! Recommended for the adventurous, or those who simply love their lemongrass and/or pandan.|
|Chill Time with Latte (top left), Iced Latte with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream (bottom left), Iced Chocolate (right).|
Despite its slightly out of the way location, it is not that difficult to find and makes for a good experience with the nostalgic displays, good food and reasonable prices. In addition, the wait staff are chirpy friendly people ever ready to serve and (have the initiative to) offer recommendations. So if you are ever in the area (or in Singapore) and/or simply want to see/reminiscence the things that were used in the past (in Singapore), do make a trip to this nostalgic themed cafe for a different dining experience!
Getting ThereBritish Hainan is situated at the junction of Carpmael and Crane Road. If you are interested in visiting this unique cafe, getting there is relatively simple. Here are the ways:
- Take a cab (the easiest) OR
- You could drive. Parking available at Haig Road Blocks 1,3 or 2,4. OR
- Alight at Paya Lebar MRT and take a 12-15 minutes walk down towards Blk 1 Haig Road, look out for Carpmael Road which is at the intersection of Crane Road. OR
- Catch bus no. 33 which stops at Joo Chiat Road, or bus no. 16 which stops at Carpmael Road (near Shell Station.)
|Google Maps rock! Well, at least in Singapore it is pretty accurate. ^^|
British Hainan75 Carpmael Road (S) 429812
Tel: +65 6336 8122
Facebook (They update their Facebook page pretty regular, so do like their Facebook page if you want to get the latest news on promotions and specials!)
Dinner Daily 6-10pm (Except Tue Closed)
Lunch (only on Fri & Sat) 12-3pm