What in the world is happening to my old kampung Bedok North? When did it become interesting?
Cafes have been popping up in the area - among bird shops, coffee shops and salons you go to for an auntie perm - and they seem to be welcomed by the residents. The cafes are often packed, with food running out early.
There's also always an interesting mix of customers. You could be wedged between a couple of uncles in their bermuda shorts and office ladies meeting for a post-work drink.
I returned to my old playground to get a taste (and sip) of the new Bedok North.
1) FATCAT ICE CREAM BAR
Block 416, Bedok North Avenue 2, #01-25
The latest cafe to open in Bedok North serves dessert and coffee.
The charcoal waffles ($6) are a popular choice. I had mine topped with a scoop each of the Earl Grey Lavender and Butter Beer ice cream ($4.50 per scoop).
The waffles are gimmicky but the ice cream is divine. The Earl Grey Lavender has a delicate fragrance while the Beer Butter has a unique aftertaste. But it was the salted egg yolk sauce that won me over.
Also order the Grapefruit Campari ($9 for two). It's a one-bite alcoholic dessert. That refreshing pop when you bite into it is lovely.
Of the four cafes I visited, this felt the sexiest and most adult.
Block 136, Bedok North Avenue 3, #01-152B
It is a tiny space and the menu reflects the cafe's petiteness - it offers coffee and only a handful of desserts.
The coffee is delicious. I'm not a coffee connoisseur, so I walked in and ordered an iced chocolate ($5) and an iced coffee ($4.50), and I enjoyed both.
The service is a bonus.
The people working there are friendly and not judgmental. Some coffee places treat you with so much disdain if you don't know your coffee.
At Percolate, it's okay to be a caffeine plebeian.
3) TO-GATHER CAFE
84, Bedok North Street 4, #01-25/27
My first impression of this cafe is that lots of young people go there. It's also the biggest of the four I visited, manned by a group of attractive young people.
Order a To-gather Sampler Platter ($8.90), which is one of the more popular starters. It contains calamari rings, a breaded fish fillet, potato wedges and crispy chicken cubes.
Everything was deep fried and too dry for my liking.
Faring better was the Mexican Quesadilla ($6.50) with grilled chicken slices and mozzarella cheese stuffed into a tortilla. The refreshing salsa was good, too.
4) SARAH'S THE PANCAKE CAFE
430, Upper Changi Road, #01-62
On the edge of Bedok North, the halal cafe sees a crowd every weekend.
The female server was friendly but knew little about the menu. When I asked about the type of coffee it serves, she replied with a shrug.
The smoked pepper flapjacks ($13) were an interesting dish, with a tasty side of sauteed mushrooms that worked well with the pancakes. But the cold vegetables were jarring.
The server recommended the Sweet Tropical ($12.50) but it turned out to be ordinary. The buttermilk pancakes had a doughy texture.
My biggest problem with Sarah's is the ventilation - I left with the feeling that oil from the kitchen had seeped into my scalp. Perhaps outdoor tables might improve the experience.
This article was first published on Jan 14, 2015.
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