The French Table at Waterway Point: Awesome Roast Chicken!

The French Table Waterway Point

We didn’t quite know where to have lunch at today, because we’ve been to Waterway Point too many times already. He didn’t want to try the Vietnamese food, while I felt that the Japanese food in this mall ‘CMI’ so we decided to head back to The French Table, which we’ve dined at previously. The lunch set menus are updated regularly and this time round, it was a pleasant surprise which awaited us: the half-roasted chicken at just S$9.80 before tax and service charge!

Because they actually have a standee for this promotion, I’m guessing that it’s going to be ongoing for a while. These standees don’t exactly come cheap, so yes, that’s my guess. And I sure hope it goes on for a long time, because the chicken is DELICIOUS!

The French Table Half Roasted Chicken

When the roast chicken was served, the couple seated at the next table on my right looked over, and the guy in the green shirt asked the wait staff if they could change the order he’d placed, as he wanted to order this same dish that had just been served to me. Hehehe! #copycat And the chicken really tasted as good as it looked! I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t any of the yummy potato mash that The French Table used to serve with their braised pork belly. But the sauce beneath this half-roasted chicken is SEDAP, OISHII, and YUMMY all rolled up into one. And the chicken was so tender and juicy! Even the chicken breast (which I do not eat, and do not like for being dry and tough) was so tender! Amazing! Totally worth the rather long wait for the food. *Bring a book or surf the Net using your phone, because The French Table doesn’t serve fast food. They serve good food.

What was actually served to us first, before the chicken came, was the pork bolognese baked rice with cheddar and mozzarella. It’s part of their set meal, which includes soup and a drink, for just S$9.90 before tax and service charge.

Waterway Point The French Table

It’s tasty, no doubt. But we would have LOVED if there were more ingredients within. It’s just a thin layer of cheesy goodness and minced pork on top (and perhaps a few other ingredients) and LOTS of rice beneath. If you’re ordering this on its own, you might not be able to finish eating all the rice.

But once the roast chicken was served, we mixed the yummy sauce with the rice, and it was delicious. You’ll end up scraping every grain from the claypot.😀

Here’s the lunch set menu that was available today. Do note that it might be different when you visit as the chef likes to surprise customers with something new each time:

The French Table Set Meal

This meal for two ended up costing just S$23.20 all-inclusive. *I like that the server (with the big eyes and spectacles) brought over a cup of iced water without my having to ask for it, since we’d only ordered one drink. Hehe! We’ll be back again, for sure.:)

The French Table is located at #01-31 of Waterway Point. Tel: 6385 8052.

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Read more of my reviews about Waterway Point:

  1. 6 Reasons Why You Should Visit Waterway Point
  2. The FREE Indoor Playground At Waterway Point: Exact Location And Opening Hours
  3. Food Review: BurgerUP
  4. Food Review: Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh
  5. Waterway Point’s Shaw Cinema: 500 Free Tickets Per Day During Open House Period
  6. A Guide to Waterway Point’s East and West Wings
  7. Food Review: The French Table
  8. 5 Best Value-For-Money Restaurants and Eateries in Waterway Point
  9. Food Review: Miam Miam
  10. Food Review: Buddy Hoagies
  11. Food Review: The Coffee House
  12. Food Review: Zakka Modern Thai plus a second review here.
  13. FREE Pizza: Pizza Hut
  14. Food Review: London Fat Duck
  15. Food Review: Cedele
  16. Food Review: Social Square
  17. Food Review: Squeezed!

Squeezed! Cold Pressed Juices at Waterway Point

Waterway Point Squeezed

The Squeezed! outlet at Waterway Point has been open for quite a while now, but I didn’t want to do a review till I’ve tried all their drinks. There are a total of 15 combinations for their cold-pressed juices, and having tried all of them, I can now tell you which are my favorites, and which caused me to cringe.

I’m not sure if the juice cleanse fad is over; there was a period of time when many companies were advertising their various juice cleanses at truly exorbitant prices. I guess this is why I’m attracted to Squeezed!’s offerings – not exactly dirt cheap, but you won’t have to break the bank for a good cup of juice either. Plus, there’s now a Groupon promotion going on.

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Usual Pricing: S$6.20 (500ml), S$5.20 (350ml). Current Groupon promotion: 350ml juice and 1 squeezed bun = S$4.90, 4 cups of 500ml juice for S$14.80, etc.

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Here are the 15 combinations for their cold-pressed juices, with my mini reviews regarding the taste (with my favorites in bold font)…

Natural Beauty: Tastes rather sour. I didn’t quite like it.

Beet It!: ABC-juice lovers will like this one even though it’s orange in place of carrot **

Aloha: Pineapple lovers will like this very much. Very refreshing and tasty ***

Pitch Perfect: Tastes very much like starfruit juice. Very mild. Nothing exciting here.

Citrus Circus: Taste the watermelon. Like healthy, tasty fruit punch ***

Guavitate: It actually tastes bitter. I’m not a fan of this one.

Granny’s Grammy: Tastes very much of celery. Great for people with high blood pressure.

Miss Spruce: Very sour.

Veggie Tales: Metallic taste of veggies. Not the most tasty combination.

Red Riding Hood: Your typical A-B-C juice, sweet, and with a little bit of pulp ***

Break of Dawn: I love the orange + pineapple combination! ***

Velvet Blend: If you don’t like papaya juice, you won’t like this. I didn’t.

Pink Lady: Really hard to guess what fruits went into this if you didn’t already know. Love the taste of strawberries.**

Peary Good: Though it’s made up of pear and apples, it tasted like grape juice to me. How queer.

Kiwini: Kiwi lovers will like this one. An interesting mix of sweet & sour. ***

So there you have it. My 5 favorites: Aloha, Citrus Circus, Red Riding Hood, Break of Dawn and Kiwini.😀

Bought 4 of them today, sans Red Riding Hood:

Squeezed cold press juices

If the Groupon promotion is over by the time you read this blogpost, there might still be the in-store promo with all 2nd items at 50% off.:)

Waterway Point Squeezed Menu

As you can see in the image above, there are 6 flavors for the buns. Tori Tori and Royal Rumble are apparently their bestsellers. The rest come with froyo, which I don’t really like. I really don’t think buns + froyo make a good combination, though other people may enjoy it.

Tori Tori comes with teriyaki chicken, bonito flakes and mayonnaise. It’s rather tasty, and best eaten when warm:

Waterway Point Squeezed Bun

Royal Rumble comes with melted nacho cheese and truffled macaroni (cannot taste any truffle, but mac and cheese is always a winner). It also has bacon bits.

When you’re at Waterway Point and want a quick bite, you might want to check out Squeezed! It has a small seating area, but is not usually crowded. Many people prefer takeaways. *They really should consider providing plastic carriers that can hold 2 drinks each instead of just 1. Getting 4 plastic carriers for 4 drinks seems a little wasteful.😀

Squeezed! is located at #B1-K8 of Waterway Point. 

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Read more of my reviews about Waterway Point:

  1. 6 Reasons Why You Should Visit Waterway Point
  2. The FREE Indoor Playground At Waterway Point: Exact Location And Opening Hours
  3. Food Review: BurgerUP
  4. Food Review: Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh
  5. Waterway Point’s Shaw Cinema: 500 Free Tickets Per Day During Open House Period
  6. A Guide to Waterway Point’s East and West Wings
  7. Food Review: The French Table
  8. 5 Best Value-For-Money Restaurants and Eateries in Waterway Point
  9. Food Review: Miam Miam
  10. Food Review: Buddy Hoagies
  11. Food Review: The Coffee House
  12. Food Review: Zakka Modern Thai plus a second review here.
  13. FREE Pizza: Pizza Hut
  14. Food Review: London Fat Duck
  15. Food Review: Cedele
  16. Food Review: Social Square

Social Square at Waterway Point

Social Square Waterway Point

I was at Waterway Point today for their Grand Opening celebrations, and decided to have lunch at Social Square for two reasons. One: I had such an awesome experience at their sister company ‘MOF Danro‘ at Bugis Junction earlier this month, and two, I like that Social Square has the same lunch promotions which include a free drink, free salad, and free dessert. Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end.

The Jewel Sashimi Juu that you see in the picture above was served with the sashimi components placed haphazardly. It did not look very appetizing to me, even though the taste was good. Even the soft serve ice cream looked prettier than the main. (>_<)

Compare this with the same item – Jewel Sashimi Juu – that I had at MOF Danro:

MOF Danro Bugis Junction

The one served at MOF Danro was GORGEOUS. To MOF: please look into your QC standards across outlets.:) The Jewel Sashimi Juu served at Waterway Point today was rather disappointing. And no, the outlet wasn’t busy when I visited today. It was rather deserted. Most of the people were queuing for free movie tickets given out by the mall. LOL. The beautiful sashimi juu I had at Bugis was during peak lunch hour when the restaurant was pretty full. So I really cannot tell what’s happening here.

I guess it all boils down to whether or not your employees take pride in their work. Quite simply, I did not see that commitment to excellence today. Pity. Social Square is so near to my home. Haiz.

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Read more of my reviews about Waterway Point:

  1. 6 Reasons Why You Should Visit Waterway Point
  2. The FREE Indoor Playground At Waterway Point: Exact Location And Opening Hours
  3. Food Review: BurgerUP
  4. Food Review: Rong Hua Bak Kut Teh
  5. Waterway Point’s Shaw Cinema: 500 Free Tickets Per Day During Open House Period
  6. A Guide to Waterway Point’s East and West Wings
  7. Food Review: The French Table
  8. 5 Best Value-For-Money Restaurants and Eateries in Waterway Point
  9. Food Review: Miam Miam
  10. Food Review: Buddy Hoagies
  11. Food Review: The Coffee House
  12. Food Review: Zakka Modern Thai plus a second review here.
  13. FREE Pizza: Pizza Hut
  14. Food Review: London Fat Duck
  15. Food Review: Cedele

Waterway Point’s Grand Opening… Again?

Was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this morning when I saw something which got me rather surprised. Waterway Point is giving out 500 pairs of movie tickets today, as part of their Official Opening celebrations. Thing is… didn’t the mall have its Opening Day in January, some 3+ months ago? How erm… strange. Anyway, since there are free movie tickets up for grabs, I decided to walk over and get some. LOL.

Tah-dah… after queuing for perhaps, 30 minutes?😀😄

Waterway Point Grand Opening free movie tickets

The queue was really long. But since the mall had generously arranged for 500 pairs of tickets to be given away, I think just about everyone who wanted a ticket managed to get it.:)

Waterway Point free movie tickets queue

Elsewhere within the mall, there were also food samples being distributed. I joined the (very short) queue for free coffee just to get a taste of what this “Traditional Hainan Coffee” is all about.

Waterway Point Koufu free coffee

It tastes pretty good actually. Wished my coffee-loving BF was there with me. He’d be over-the-moon at receiving a free cup of good coffee. Haha!

Waterway Point coffee

By the way, it’s not the first time that Waterway Point is giving out free movie tickets. It has been done before. But I didn’t manage to get any in January, as they had all been given out by the time I got to the venue. For today’s giveaway, I think it might not have been widely publicized. You’ll have to be a fan of their facebook page to be in the know. *hint hint*

Pompompurin Cafe @ Orchard Central – Cute Food, Decent Taste

pompompurin cafe chicken curry

It’s the Pompompurin Cafe’s Opening Day today, and I popped by to check out this new cafe that is located at Orchard Central. I think it will certainly help draw the crowds to the mall. If you don’t already know, Pompompurin is a Sanrio character that is supposed to be a golden retriever. Ha!

In the picture above, you see the ‘Pompompurin Coconut Milk Chicken Curry’ (S$17.99). It’s the typical Japanese curry that is not at all spicy, and it looks so attractive that I think kids will LOVE it!

There was already a queue before 11am, and the line only got longer and longer during lunchtime. Customers were made to wait even though there were unoccupied tables within the cafe, so as to let the kitchen staff slowly get into the groove.

pompompurin cafe orchard central

Once you enter the cafe, you won’t be complaining as the staff are very courteous and the decor is pretty neat. You might even have Pompompurin seated across from you:

pompompurin cafe

And you’ll definitely want to get a photo taken with Pompompurin and friends right in the middle of the cafe:

Pompompurin cafe

For similar themed cafes, the food is usually bordering-on-awful, however, I enjoyed the meal today at Pompompurin Cafe!:) I had the Taco Rice In A Cup Of Frienship (S$19.99) and found it to be slightly spicy and really quite tasty. It even comes with nachos. LOL.

Pompompurin Cafe Taco Rice

We ordered the Mango Soda (S$11.99) to share…

Pompompurin Cafe Mango Soda

*Check out that super cute coaster!😀 I bet many people will take them home!😀

And here’s the placemat. Plus, the cafe serves free iced / warm water!:)

pompompurin cafe placemats

For dessert, we had the ‘Bagel’s Special Pancake Tower’ (S$21.99) which comes with a free mug. You can get a brand new mug at the cashier upon payment. *And no, the mugs are not for sale. You can only get one when you purchase selected menu items which come with free mugs.😉

pompompurin cafe pancake tower

I was quite surprised that a new cafe would be charging GST, because my impression is that only businesses that have an annual turnover of over S$1 million would be charging GST. I suppose this cafe is owned by a parent company that has other businesses in Singapore.

This meal which consisted of 2 mains, 1 drink and 1 dessert, after tax, cost S$84.70. Quite pricey, I’d say. But good for a date with a loved one. You’ll also get your money’s worth with all the pictures you are going to take here.

Pompompurin Cafe is located at #04-08 Orchard Central. Tel: 6509 8672.

Tsukeru Shabu Shabu @ Marina Square: Lunch Promotions

Tsukeru Shabu Shabu Marina Square

I had a most enjoyable lunch this afternoon at Tsukeru Shabu Shabu located at Marina Square, within the Emporium Shokuhin. Fans of Japanese food will likely know of this Emporium, which is pretty amazing – there’s a grocer, fine dining, shabu shabu, sushi, yakiniku, cafe & bakery, etc. Tsukeru is located at #01-18. I went for the lunch buffet today and I thought it was great value for money!

I love the kurobuta pork belly there! There’s also a selection of vegetables, carbs (I like the Japanese glass noodles), salmon, beef, scallops, etc. We picked only our favorite items, as you can see in this picture below:

Tsukeru Shabu Shabu buffet

As for the MSG-free soup bases, I ordered the tom yum while he had ginseng chicken broth. We had one little ‘pot’ each, and the soup base was refilled really quickly by the attentive staff. Now, if you’re dining with your partner, go ahead and order one ‘spicy’ soup base and one ‘mild’ one – it’ll be a very nice balance if you’re sharing.:)

And there’s a whole range of sauces to choose from. I like to mix a couple of items to make a tasty sauce… so go ahead and experiment:

Tsukeru Shabu Shabu Emporium Shokuhin

I’ve found that their homemade spicy sauce + minced garlic + spring onions really ROCKS!

Tsukeru Shabu Shabu sauces

Mix it up before dipping food into the sauce!:)

I’d also just like to add here that the staff at Tsukeru are really good at customer service. I’d like to commend Nelson for being nothing short of fabulous today. It was a joy chatting with him, and I also saw him being very helpful to two angmoh customers who didn’t quite know which sauce to pick – he made a special blend for them.:) Nelson also came round to ask if we enjoyed the meal, helped me with signing up for their (free) membership, and also encouraged me to bring my pals to Tsukeru. Quite an asset to the company!😀 If I’m setting up a restaurant, I’d want to hire staff just like him!

I was also pleasantly surprised at how the drinks are served ‘free flow’. You can order Coke or Sprite at S$4 a glass and get it refilled as many times as you want. Or you can go for Hot Ocha or Iced Ocha at S$2 each (also with free refills). Really good value even though the place looks ‘atas’!:)

I’d like to return for the Set Lunch one day:

Tsukeru Shabu Shabu Set Lunch

Prices start from S$17.80:) Psst… the Seafood Platter Set comes with really big tiger prawns!

If you’re at Marina Square and want a satisfying and very yummy meal, do pop by Tsukeru (especially on weekdays). I loved how it wasn’t crowded today so we could have a leisurely meal before a movie. Ahhhh! Life is really good.:)

MOF Danro at Bugis Junction

MOF Danro Bugis Junction

[ As I shared on Instagram today ]

There’s something about those advertisement panels near escalators. When you’re in a mall and trying to decide what to eat, those ads really do help you make your decision.😀 Had good vibes about meeting my blogging student and helping him out with an interview podcast, so I thought a good Japanese meal should be the ‘icing on the cake’.

Popped by Ministry Of Food’s MOF Danro and picked their Jewel Sashimi Juu (S$29.80). On weekdays, you get freebies when you head to MOF for lunch. You’ll get free iced lemon tea, a small salad and ice cream!:)

With regard to the freebies, let’s just say that your expectations shouldn’t be too high, because they come ‘free’ after all. The iced lemon tea was a little bit diluted (not what I’m used to), the salad basically had lettuce leaves, sweet corn and mayonnaise, but the vanilla ice cream really rocked!

As for the Jewel Sashimi Juu in the picture you see above, well, I have no complaints whatsoever. It is as delicious as it looks.

I liked the meal so much that I even bothered with filling out the feedback form and returning it to the staff. I loved that the straw for my drink came in its individual wrapping (so hygienic), there’s a tissue box at each table (so thoughtful) and I liked that there’s free stuff to complete my meal. LOL. Service was a little slow, and I even had to wait SO LONG for my ice cream that I was almost late for my appointment thereafter. Thankfully, it all worked out well in the end.

So, if you’re in Bugis Junction and have no idea what to have for lunch on a weekday, let’s just say that I highly recommend you pop by MOF Danro at #02-45. 6.Tel: 6338 6466

Kim’s Place: Yummy Hokkien Mee That’s Been Around Since The 1960s

Kim's Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee

From this picture above, you might be able to tell that I’ve recently had some very yummy hokkien mee. Look at the amount of lard next to the limes!😀 And I have to say that the otah is pretty good too! Yup, I definitely have to be back for more. Kim’s Place is located at Jalan Eunos, and it’s famous for hokkien fried prawn noodles. You can easily spot it along the road with its distinctive vivid orange awning and blown-up newspaper reviews to advertise just how good their food is. And yes, you’ll end up crossing the road and making a beeline for this kopitiam…

Kim's Place Jalan Eunos

My dining companion grumbled a little when he noticed that the person frying the noodles was a young, bespectacled chap who might be even younger than I am. The flamboyant stall owner, whose pictures with celebrities are plastered all over the stall, was nowhere to be seen. Apparently the older guy fries his noodles while wearing long-sleeved shirts to keep the heat away from his skin, and also flaunts a gold Rolex watch at the same time.

Who this young man is, I don’t know. I’ll ask next time…

Kims Famous Hokkien Mee

I did think this young man whipped up a more-than-decent plate of hokkien mee though. It’s good enough for me to want to head back again soon. And best of all, he even said “bye bye” to us when we were leaving, and were just walking past the area where he was frying yet more noodles. Wow, a polite and friendly hawker? That’s quite rare in Singapore where hawkers at famous stalls can be quite arrogant, no?:)

Kims Hokkien Mee Eunos

I do think the printing on the orange awning doesn’t quite match what the yellow banner states though. Has the stall been around since “1960” or “1965”? Or was something lost in translation? Hmm… just know that the hokkien mee is so good that it really doesn’t matter!😀

Kim's Hokkien Fried Prawn Noodle

Pricing: $5 / $8 / $10 / $15 / $20 / $30

*We ordered the S$8 portion; good enough for 2 pax to share:)

Takagi Ramen Shop @ Ang Mo Kio

Takagi Ramen Shop Black Tonkotsu Ramen

Last week, I finally tried the ramen from Takagi Ramen Shop after all the OMG-TRS-editors-started-a-ramen-shop hype has died down. And I came to realize that Takagi Ramen Shop, like The Real Singapore, has its own group of loyal fans. When I popped by their outlet at Ang Mo Kio, I noticed that groups of friends dined at the coffeeshop and only ordered from one stall – TRS’. And no wonder too.

Takagi Ramen Shop serves decent ramen at wallet-friendly prices. And they even offer the unthinkable: free noodle refills! Luckily for them, I’m not really into consuming a lot of carbs! Haha! But the bf definitely redeemed his free noodle refill!😀 In the first picture above, you see the Black Tonkotsu Ramen ($6.50 + $1 for the egg). And this second picture shows the Takagi Ramen ($5.50 + $1 egg)…

Takagi Ramen

The Takagi Ramen is my personal favorite. I like the intense flavor of the broth, the springy noodles and especially, the ajitama (or flavored soft boiled egg). The egg is so yummy! I’ll order two next time.😀

Shared the yumminess on IG too:

Takagi Ramen Shop instagram

And here’s the menu I snapped a picture of. I’ll definitely pop by for ramen again if I’m in Ang Mo Kio.:)

Takagi Ramen Menu

The Takagi Ramen Shop is located within a coffeeshop, and is not actually very visible from the entrance. It’s right between the Vegetarian Food stall and the one selling Beverages. However, there’s this awkward pillar blocking it from the public’s view. Hence, there’s a signboard to show bowls and bowls of yummy ramen.

Takagi Ramen Ang Mo Kio

If you need the address, it’s Blk 721, Ang Mo Kio Ave 8. If you’re walking from the MRT station or AMK Hub towards Djitsun Mall, you’ll spot the coffeeshop. It’s right smack between Jubilee Square and Djitsun Mall, a short 5-minute walk from Ang Mo Kio MRT station.:)

While eating the ramen, I did think to myself ‘If only they had sold ramen right from the start, and did not start a website’. But Life is such. There’s no time for regrets, only the realization / knowledge that we do the best we can (or know how to do) at any point in time. I’ve read some not-so-positive reviews regarding Takagi Ramen Shop from some popular commentary sites which want to get the traffic such reviews will bring but don’t actually support TRS to begin with (read: dislike TRS for whatever reason). If you can’t write an honest review objectively, but still want to do it anyway for the eyeballs, then just know that I don’t think very much of you, M.

Meet Andrew Tang, The 25-Year-Old Who Is Running A Coffeeshop

Have you ever met a person who seems so wise despite not being very old? Ever felt amazed at how someone younger than you is doing so much with his life and career? Well, I most certainly have. Andrew Tang is one such inspiring individual. At 25, he has been running the Red House coffeeshop located at 236 Upper Thomson Road for over 2 years now. And some of the things he says and does will have you wondering what this young man has experienced in life in order to make him so wise beyond his years.

Andrew candidly shared with me that due to the financial situation at home, he entered the workforce right after his ‘O’ levels. He was even a ‘second-hand car salesperson’ for some 1.5 years, where he did well enough to earn a tidy sum. It would be what he needed for his foray into the F&B line.

Andrew Tang

Interestingly enough, Andrew says he was the one who started the mookata trend in Singapore. He felt that many Singaporeans “would eat this at least once”. From not knowing how to cut the chilies, to purchasing both the chili and the food from another stall for his mookata stall, till this present day where he manages the whole coffeeshop and can brew a more-than-decent cup of coffee, Andrew has indeed come a long way.

#1) What are some misconceptions people have with regard to coffeshop management?

Have you heard the one about how most coffeeshop owners will rent out all the other food stalls but keep the drinks stall to themselves because it’s the one which makes the most profit?!😀

I believe that every coffeeshop has a specific “job” – to serve the community around it. And while costs – the price of coffee and evaporated milk, for instance – have gone up quite a bit, we are keeping our coffee priced at S$1, and not raising the price to S$1.70 though we could have.

Having said that, we do not compromise on quality. Running a coffeeshop involves an array of arbitrage. For every item that you buy or sell, just make a small win, and life becomes easier.

Sometimes, suppliers may deliver the wrong order on purpose so as to clear some stock. But because I value the relationships with all my suppliers, I keep to the principle of ‘先做人再做事’*. I will promise to help them sell their excess stock, but I will still buy what I want.

(Grace says: *There’s probably no fitting English translation for ‘先做人再做事’ but the gist of it (for me) is that one should know how to be generous, helpful and considerate before thinking of being a successful businessperson.)

Also, I don’t think the alcohol sales curbs during those restricted hours are bad. I think it makes coffeeshop owners ‘wake up their idea’. Don’t leverage on people’s vices. Instead, do proper planning of your stalls and serve the community around your coffeeshop!

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As an aside, Andrew told me a ‘trade secret’ among coffeeshop owners, about how they make your coffee taste extra yummy. No worries, it’s all legitimate and hygienic. The coffee ended up tasting sweeter (according to me) and “smoother” (according to my blogging student who joined me to meet Andrew). If you want to find out what this trade secret is, go look for Andrew and see if he’ll share it with you.:)

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#2) What’s a day in your life like, and is it the same for the stall operators?

As coffeeshop operators, we are in the shadows, so to speak. You don’t see us around usually. My job is to handle the things that people are irritated by. So if you don’t see me in the coffeeshop, that’s a good thing.

Andrew, working at home, before 2 computer screens, 1 of which monitors the coffeeshop via CCTV:

Andrew Tang at home

Right now, we’re facing the problem of not having enough tables for the growing customer base. So one of the things I have to handle is the seating arrangement. As you’ve probably noticed, the zichar stalls usually require round tables to seat whole families, for instance, whereas square tables give higher turnover rates. So how should we maximize the space that we have?

Astons at Red House

I’m not comfortable with sacrificing comfort just to increase revenues. Have you seen how some tables are so close to each other at coffeeshops or cafes? Here, whenever my customers need bigger tables, they just ‘join’ two or more smaller ones – some JC students “join tables” when they order from Astons, for example.:)

I’m also very selective regarding my tenants, as I keep to my purpose of serving the community here. While other coffeeshops may have tenants serving mookata, for the added profit, I believe in providing variety and giving people what they need and want, without the smoke from the charcoal even though mookata profits are good. For instance, some customers gave us feedback in the past that they wanted something ‘soupy’ for their breakfast. So we began offering chicken porridge, and also chicken hor  fun.

This chicken rice set is priced at a very affordable S$3.50:

Red House Coffeeshop Chicken Rice Set

Mr Heng runs the chicken rice stall and he is a very hardworking man. His stall is open from 7am to 8pm daily. He has two children, and his wife is pregnant with his third child.

I respect everybody, and I spend time talking to all the tenants and even their workers. My staff are my friends. On their days off, they come to my place for a recreational game of mahjong. When one of my tenants had trouble paying the rental, I stepped in to help with his money management, and we had discussions about his stall’s cashflow at my place till the wee hours in the morning.

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Grace says: Andrew is himself a hardworking person. He told me that he bought this sign to hang up on a wall at home just to remind himself to think about his work, and it is to be the first thing he sees when he steps into his apartment.

Coffeeshop Sign

However, he also shared that there’s nothing from work in his bedroom because he has one rule regarding this particular room: Don’t go in except to rest.

#3) What are some mantras you live by, and which you love sharing with people?

Yes, you’ve probably noticed that I have quite a number of quotes that I like, and I share these with people as a kind of ‘reinforcement’ for myself. They are as follows…

Always have a competitive edge. Always try to improve – be 1% better today than you were yesterday.

Always expect more. Think “this is not good enough”.

If you want to do something, don’t let the lack of capital stop you.

Think of problems as being a safe deposit box. And think of solutions as being the key to opening the safe. If you’re successful, that’s where the money is.

先要低头 才可以出头 ( You have to be humble before you can be successful )

Words have energy. Give people some leeway. Cut away gossip. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

“Every master was once a disaster” – T. Harv Eker

#4) What would you say to a young person who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Coincidentally, I have a friend who told me about her desire to go into the F&B business. What I will say to everyone is “Go ahead, but I hope you will fail.” This is because failure offers a good platform to learn what you need to learn. If you are successful immediately, that’s when you are stuck. Once the owner moves away from the business, profits fall from the lack of attention.

I tried managing the zichar stall myself previously. There was a lot of conflict, the chef stole the money, and I realized that I cannot fix problems caused by the chef. From that point on, I decided to learn “from head to toe” everything that is needed for running a coffeeshop. So yes, I can make you the coffee or tea personally too!

I’ve also learnt that I must not go down the “foodchain”. For instance, some operators may be tempted to ‘take over’ the running of those stalls which are doing very well. I think that’s a mistake. Work on the business, not in the business. Secondly, I have to focus on the people who come to my coffeeshop, what they need and want, and providing these things for them.

#5) What’s the next big thing after mookata?

Steamboat delivery! Hai Di Lao is doing it already. They get the first-mover advantage.

#6) What’s your take on the “labor crunch” that F&B bosses like to complain about?

My focus is on the elderly workers. Instead of a 6-day work week, I aim to give them 4-day work weeks so they can have more family time. They will work their 12-hour shifts with breaks in-between.

I look to the Government for the direction I should take, and it seems that the government wants us to hire more local workers, especially the elderly.

As for the stalls, I’m working on raising productivity so that workers’ wages can be increased. Instead of 2 or more people manning a single stall, just 1 worker will do.

Bak Kut Teh at Red House

Red House Bak Kut Teh

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Do check out Red House Coffeeshop soon! You might get to meet Andrew if you are lucky. :) Red House Coffeeshop is located at 236 Upper Thomson Road. :)

Red House at Upper Thomson