Another new café at Orchard Road to people-watch (and perhaps to be watched), Small Tables terms itself as a “sidewalk café” to watch the world go by.
While it is common to see yet another Starbucks or pretty hipster ’ang moh’-style café pop up in the heart of town, Small Tables at Pacific Plaza serves up signature Ipoh dishes, White Coffee and other dishes.
There were quite a number of media features which shows its news value, though I noted not many of the ‘reviews’ actually made their way down to try the food. So I was quite curious.
This is a joint venture between Three Eats comprising of private dining chef Sandra Sim and partners, and Minor Food Group.
There are both indoor and outdoor seats. The striking feature is a long table overlooking Orchard Road; while the inside features dark green hues with retro decorations for a touch of playfulness.
Moving on to the menu, I guess there will always be customers who will be taken aback by the $7.50 Ipoh White Coffee (same price hot or cold).
Yes, considering there are alternatives nearby, the prices are out there for customers to decide, and there will always be people who order them.
At least I thought that the kopi was at least smooth, aromatic, not too diluted or bitter, and also came with a small Taiyaki-like cake.
Menu highlights include the Ipoh Curry Mee ($20), Ipoh Shredded Chicken Hor Fun ($16), Hakka Noodles and Cheese & Big Prawns ($24) and Curry Fried Rice.
Again, I know, not the cheapest around.
The Ipoh Curry Mee comes served in dry or soup versions, included with poached chicken, char siu, siu yoke, braised pig ears, pig skin, poached prawns, bean sprout and fair amount of mint leaves.
At least they were not stingy with the ingredients.
I was recommended the dry Curry Mee. Here’s the good side: the rice noodles or hor fun was smooth and silky, said to be made fresh daily in Ipoh with natural spring water and then transported over.
The curry base seemed to be too heavy in terms of the use of certain type of spices, such that it overwhelmed the sweetness of the fresh prawn stock.
I can imagine views to be quite divided on this dish – at least this dry version that I have tried.
When I learnt that CEO of Minor Food Group was convinced that the Chef Sandra’s Ipoh Curry Mee he tried last year was a “winning dish”, I did wonder if that same recipe was translated well to the restaurant.
The sauce itself probably needs some fine-tuning.
There are other sharing plates such as Hakka Yong Tau Foo ($16), Special Roast Pork Platter ($24), White Chopped Kampong Chicken with Sand Ginger ($20 for half, $36 for whole).
You can treat the Hakka Yong Tau Foo as a local delight presented with sophistication (I guess).
At least I would be more inclined to order this again, reason being the stuffed vegetables were fresh-tasting, crisp and considered succulent in the fillings of fish and pork.
For a full-fledged café like this, however, there is seemingly a lack of a dessert menu of cakes or sweets of any kind. Surely a beancurd dessert, tong shui or modern interpretation of them deserves a spot somewhere.
Despite the higher price point, Small Tables should still able to attract a specific group of people who want to try Malaysian and local flavours in a more trendy and comfortable setting.
9 Scotts Road, Pacific Plaza, #01-09/10/11/12, Singapore 228210
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm (Mon – Thurs), 11:30am – 11pm (Fri – Sat), 11am – 10pm (Sun)