And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.
After a week of diving in the west, it’s time to go back to the better side. #kek
Far-eastern Singapore sometimes feels a bit left out when it comes to cafes and specialty F&B places, with most reaching only as far as the East Coast Road area or maybe even Bedok. So it’s always refreshing news that you hear of a brand new cafe deep in the heartlands of Tampines.
Brothers in Fine Food (BFF)
Another disheartening thing about being in the heartlands is that your apart from the street (block) corner kopitiam or hawker centre, your F&B options are almost entirely dominated by chain stores. Being situated in Tampines West Community Centre (yes, a CC!), it’s no different for newcomers Brothers in Fine Food. Founded in November 2016 by the same bros behind popular cafe in East Coast, Penny University. Placed above a Starbucks AND a MacDonald’s outlet, it’s easy to miss them out as you have to walk past both of them, and up the stairs through another corridor.
Reaching the place, you are greeted with a simple facade and no-frills industrial furniture and fittings. The weather was rather gloomy for the entire day when I first visited, and it looked like a good place to wind down in the evening.
The menu is a pretty interesting one, with several unusual concoctions such as the sous-vide steak with beetroot and thyme puree, which I eventually ordered. Chef Restu from BFF explained that they use modern cooking techniques and experimented with different methods to create unique recipes at heartland-friendly prices. True though, this is the first time I’ve heard of sous-vide prepared steak in such a setting, for less than $20! The other main we ordered that evening was the Salmon Fillet with za’atar roasted bread crumbs, crispy spiced salmon skin, brown butter miso sauce, atop of a pillow of giant Israeli couscous.
Of course, how do you leave such a place without going for dessert? Their Greek-yoghurt panna cotta is something different as well: the acidity of the cream and yoghurt sinfully mixed with homemade honeycomb crunch, fresh fruits and poached pears (with a secret mix of spices!). I won’t wait till the end of this post to say: Try. This.
I Had To Return
While paying up and leaving, I was told to come back for their weekend brunch menu. So being a bro to the bros, I returned a few days later! Surprisingly (actually, not really), many of their breakfast crowds are not young anello bag-toting hipsters, but working adults and their families. I even had the chance to share simple conversations with an older Malay couple who decided to drop by after reading about BFF in the Malay newspaper about this new halal cafe right in their backyard!
Being a lazy person on a lazy Sunday morning I opted for the lighter Mediterranean breakfast set, featuring the usual hummus, spinach, falafels, couscous, fresh avocado slices and the not as usual smoked aubergine (eggplant) and halloumi cheese (which is a heavy-flavoured cheese that goes well with the other staples).
Not a very big breakfast person myself, I found it rather filling despite the serving not looking its weight, and regrettably didn’t drink their coffee! So here’s something from their Instagram page showcasing their really good lattes while I return YET AGAIN this week to taste it myself (it IS pretty near to my place anyway). Of course they’re no one-dish wonders; I saw many other diners wolfing down several of their approximately dozen menu selections, such as the Dashi noodles and their signature builder’s breakfast!
Beautiful sunny Wednesday. On the hopper this week, Chakra from @strangersreu, bloody delicious! It’s hump day today, have your coffee fix with us today to get yourself set throughout the week. Dinner service starts at 6pm till 10.30pm (last kitchen orders at 9.30pm) tonight. Come by and say hi! Spread the love people! #bff #hellotampines #sgcafe #cafesg #halalcafesg #coffeeshopvibes #coffeeshopsoftheworld #badguyscoffee #manmakecoffee
Our kitchen team. With our open kitchen, come down and expect a friendly welcome from them. Don’t hesitate to say hi to them! Gloomy night tonight, come by for some snacks, desserts (or both!), hot cuppa Joe or just some hot cocoa. We are open for dinner today, last order at 9.30pm! See you! #bff #hellotampines #sgcafe #cafesg #halalcafesg #coffeeshopvibes #coffeeshopsoftheworld
Although situated in a community centre, it’s pretty much is hidden as you have to traverse through the chain restaurants and up a short corridor, without much signage ahead. So yes, not THAT ideal of a hole-in-the-wall but still living it up to this blog’s mantra.
Being a place of decent quality food, you won’t see prices the same as the Mr Teh Tarik across the street, but at about $15-20 per person (including drinks and desserts will cost you slightly more), it’s a bargain where hipster cafes regularly charge $25++ for a breakfast platter full of processed food.
No wagyu fillet mignons or deep sea halibut here, just regular homely ingredients that are prepared with lots of attention and with creative modern twists.
A good refreshing change of face in the heartland scene where everything has something to do with a shareholders-first global chain. Visit this people-first place now!
Brothers in Fine Food (BFF)
5 Tampines Avenue 3
#02-07, Tampines West Community Club
Tue to Fri: 12pm – 10.30pm
Sat & Sun: 9am – 10.30pm
Closed on Mondays
BFF is Halal-Certified.