a somewhat atas lunch

Colleagues Mongshi, Mellissa, Denise T and I went out to lunch on Thursday. We were at the junction of Eng Hoon and Tiong Poh roads (near Caffe Pralet), when I suddenly asked, ‘40 Hands, is it here?’ (I meant if this was the road leading there.) To which Mongshi immediately replied, ‘Okay, let’s go to 40 Hands!’ (Thus flouting the Gricean maxim of relation! :P) So we walked up Tiong Poh Road, and walked and walked and walked all the way to the other side of Tiong Bahru, which I had never been to, where 40 Hands was located. 15 minutes later, we reached the place.


40 Hands is the pioneer of the third wave coffee movement in Singapore, and was the establishment that kick started the gentrification of Tiong Bahru.

We ordered quickly as we were all very hungry from the longgg walk!

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Love the brown paper roll menu!

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Heard their tau sah paus (red bean buns) are pretty good. Didn’t get to try them, perhaps next time!

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The front of the cafe, which was rustic and homely, was full. So we took a seat in a chamber at the back, which had a somewhat industrial look. The furnishings were made from recycled materials. For example, the lamps were made of upside down pails!

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Denise T ordered Eggs Benedict ($14). I tried a small piece; it wasn’t too bad.

(Our food was served in old fashioned enamel plates, how interesting!)

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She also had a latte ($5), which she said was okay only. :P It came with nice latte art but she messed it up before I could take a photo. :P

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While Mellissa, Mongshi and I all ordered variations of the Big Boy Breakfast ($18), which contained ‘spicy chipolata sausages, grilled tomatoes, bacon, bolognese, flat bread with sour cream, eggs any style – poached, scrambled, sunny or over-easy’.

Mongshi had her eggs poached.

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Mellissa had hers sunny.

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And I had mine scrambled.

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As I don’t eat sausages, I had them replaced with more bacon. I tried the scrambled eggs first! Alas, they were overcooked – too firm and not moist enough! And somewhat tasteless to boot! So it was black pepper to the rescue. The bacon was kinda hard and not hot and crispy. The bolognese (beef, I think!) tasted one note – just sour. It could’ve been perked up with a little salt. The flatbread was too hard and chewy, and really difficult to cut. The plate’s raised edges did nothing to help the situation. And the smidgeon of sour cream on the flatbread was barely enough! The grilled tomatoes and mushrooms were passable, as was the salad, although it definitely needed some dressing as it was on the dry side.

Overall, a rather disappointing lunch. For a similar but way better (and cheaper!) meal, please head for Food For Thought instead!

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Although the meal was forgettable, I think I would still like to return to try their coffee and desserts. And the area surrounding the cafe is full of intriguing stores that I would love to explore!

40 Hands
78 Yong Siak Street
Singapore 163078
+65 6225 8545


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