Streets of London @ British Hainan

British Hainan

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.

British Hainan

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.

British Hainan
Interesting and quirky displays
British Hainan
Nostalgia and the quirky
British Hainan
Vintage lighting
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!

British Hainan
The days of pay phones
British Hainan
A typewriter!

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)...

British Hainan
Compliementary munchies to occupy our mouths while the food is being prepared.

British Hainan
Bacon & Cheese Melt Portobello Mushroom @ S$7: The size of the mushroom is relatively large and can be shared between 2 people (since it is a starter). However, if you love your mushroom, than you can have the whole piece to yourself. The mushroom was done to perfection, not undercooked (dry and hard) not over cooked (soft and mushy). The melted cheese (couldn't really taste any hint of bacon) gives the mushroom a uniquely 'clean' taste, with none of that overpowering aftertaste of mushroom lingering on your palate after a mouthful.

British Hainan
Truffle Fries @ S$10: Highly recommended! The fries are sun dried and have a nice crisp yet moist texture. The truffle seasoning just makes this basket of fries a delightful addictive starter. The basket of truffle fries is good to share amongst 2-3 people.

British Hainan
Indian Pale Ale (IPA Chicken)@ S$13.90: Essentially this is chicken chop IPA style, which just means that instead of the usual chicken chop sauces, the sauce drizzled over the chicken chop is made of sweet and sour beer sauce. The chicken chop was well cooked, moist and tender with a layer of slight charred skin (that gives it an extra 'omph' of BBQ to it) that can be easily removed is chicken skin is not really your thing. The chicken chop is served together with a side of mashed potato and grilled slices of vegetables (e.g. zucchini, baby tomatoes, and mushroom).

British Hainan
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.

British Hainan
Asahi Beer: Good on a hot humid day.

British Hainan
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.

British Hainan
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 There

British 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:
  1. Take a cab (the easiest) OR
  2. You could drive. Parking available at Haig Road Blocks 1,3 or 2,4. OR
  3. 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
  4. Catch bus no. 33 which stops at Joo Chiat Road, or bus no. 16 which stops at Carpmael Road (near Shell Station.)
Speaking of buses, we took bus 33 from Dakota MRT Station. With the power of Google Maps, 5 stops later and a little walking of about 5 minutes, we arrived at British Hainan.
Google Maps rock! Well, at least in Singapore it is pretty accurate. ^^

British Hainan

75 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!)

Operating hours:
Dinner Daily 6-10pm (Except Tue Closed)
Lunch (only on Fri & Sat) 12-3pm
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