For first-time visitors to Singapore, I always recommend that they head to Kampong Glam. It's probably the only place in Singapore that doesn't feel like Singapore. Its effervescent bohemian vibe is just so unlike the robotic, un-humanly neat and tidy country of ours. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel that Singapore is like a life-sized version of LEGOLAND?
It's little wonder that Addie, who recently moved back here from Paris, loves this area. And that's also why we always find ourselves having our meet-ups in one of the many restaurants littered throughout here. One of Addie's all-time favourite restaurants is Piedra Negra, a Mexican cantina along the so-hip-it-hurts Haji Lane. Seating is very limited, so reservations are necessary. The best tables, on a non-rainy night, are the ones lined outside along Haji Lane. Be on the lookout for cars that drive by though, they can get scarily close.
The menu's decidedly small as well but prices are very reasonable, especially in light of the more-than-decent fare and convivial atmosphere. I've dabao-ed their beef skewers and chicken chop thingys on separate occasions and they were absolutely delicious.
Addie and I weren't very hungry that night, so we shared a couple of appetizers and loaded up on margaritas. The Chile Rolleno ($15.90) is a stuffed green pepper and melty cheese,
coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried, so it's got a wonderfully crunchy bite to it. Its simple, unassuming appearance belies how good this was. The pepper has got an interesting heat, slow-burning but not unbearably so. It's more like a spiced sweetness. A
refreshing tomato and jalapeno salsa and homey mashed black-eyed beans sauce lend extra flavour.
The Setas al Ajillo ($10.90), garlic mushrooms sautéed with chilli flakes and butter would have made for a really addictive appetizer and we would have gone back for seconds and thirds but for the liberal addition of parsley. Plain-ish focaccia were served alongside to sandwich the fragrant mushrooms. The bread wasn't very good but the wonderful mushrooms, sans parsley, more than made up for it.
The Lemon and Strawberry Margaritas ($13 each glass) packed a punch. Sweet, refreshing and absolutely a treat for a girls night-out.
241 Beach Road
Tel: 6291 1297
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 12noon to 12midnight
Fridays from 12noon to 2am
Saturdays and Sundays from 5pm to 2am