and I decided to check out the recently opened diner "Food for Thought
" around the corner for lunch today.
The diner is small and cosy, and while there weren't many tables, we were invited to sit at their real wood bar and watch the chefs at work. We couldn't really decide what to order and given the chilly weather today, I wanted something soupy and warm for my tum tum.
I asked Peter Boyer - the Vietnamese-born American sous chef - what he'd recommend. His American accent had a little drawl that just put a smile on my face. Hovering over a pot of thick soup, which he introduced as the Shitake Mushroom Fennel, he opened plastic containers and lightly scattered what-looked-like-white-pepper powder over it. He gestured at the chalkboard menus overhead, rattling about how the soup of the day was good for a chilly day like today. His little lament that it wasn't proving too popular with the locals (he rationalised that it might be too hearty for the local palate) sealed the deal for me.
We went for the "combination for one" each (S$7.50): you choose 2 - full soup, half a sandwich or half a salad. raydance
went for the shitake mushroom with fennel soup and the slow-roasted pulled pork sandwich
. While I went for the soup of the day - sausage, bacon and potato soup, and the basil pesto chicken sandwich
. Everything on foccacia bread, that they bake at the diner themselves.
Shitake mushroom with fennel soup: I nicked a spoonful from raydance
and it's wonderfully thick without any cream. The shitake flavour is not overpowering, nor is it subtle - it's there to be seen and heard. A earthy full soup that has meat on it.
Basil pesto chicken sandwich: It was only a half sandwich and looked rather puny on the white plate. Nevertheless, the foccacia bread was a delightful surprise. It lacked the heavy, dense texture most establishment's foccacia breads have and was instead rather crispy on the outside and light, without being just full of air. The chicken breast was tender, coupled together with the bite of fresh watercress and just the right amount of pesto sauce. The roasted tomato and aubergine was perfectly cooked, not at all limp and soggy (a peeve of mine). And as it turns out, the portion was simply perfect.
Soup of the day - sausage, bacon and potato soup: I admit I was initially disappointed when I saw a few stray bits floating in the cream based soup. It didn't look like much, but after I dripped my spoon in and pulled out chunks of sausages and potatoes, it was wonderful. The celery and cabbage bits were small enough that I didn't mind biting into them (I hate celery with a passion), and they were of a good firm consistency. I would've licked the bowl clean if the sous chef wasn't standing right in front of me the whole time.
They only appear to have 2 stoves, which they seem to use to only boil and if you order meat sandwiches, the meats are heated in the microwave. But given the flavour and the texture of the food, everything must've been cooked that day. The vegetables are all pulled out of plastic bags on the counter, fresh and green and full of crunch. And while the food isn't AMAZING, it has a comforting essence that left our insides warm and surprisingly full. It really tastes like something you would get at a welcoming home with a gracious host.
The really great thing about this diner is that there's this geniune atmosphere of sincerity. They don't charge GST, even while everyone is whinging about the increase to 7%. They don't charge service, even though everyone there geniunely smiles and ask to make sure you're happy with your order. They don't charge for water, which they pour out cold with mint leaves. What you see is REALLY what you get.
My only regret: I didn't have a camera with me.