10 food gems in Clementi that you should check out

September 14, 2022 By Nicholas Wong
10 food gems in Clementi that you should check out
Eggs benny — turkey ham, eggs, hollandaise, toasted bun, tater tots, and greens. Photo: Birdfolks – Fried Chicken Cafe/Facebook

East versus west — which side is better? It’s a common question with no concrete answer. The east is known for its countless modern, trendy cafes. And the west has its hidden gems as well.

Westies might want to bookmark this guide of 10 food gems in Clementi.

From fried chicken to ice cream, there’s bound to be something for everyone. 

 

1. Jovis Cafe – The Dining Place

Faber Hills Apartments, 104 Faber Drive
Nearest MRT station: Clementi
Open: Monday to Wednesday (11am to 9.30pm); Friday to Sunday (10.30am to 9.30pm)

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Waffle pizza — bak kwa (Chinese pork jerky) and pineapple on a cheesy waffle, served with maple syrup. Photo: Jovis Cafe - The Dining Place/Facebook

A cosy cafe within Clementi, the cottage-inspired Jovis Cafe is family-friendly and student-friendly. Apart from the free Wi-Fi, there’s plenty of entertainment offered, including books, boardgames and magazines.

The service is warm, as though you’re being welcomed into a home, and the food here is equally home-styled. The menu is a mix of local and Western dishes, such as Mummy’s curry chicken and Jovis chicken chop, which remain fan favourites.

What to order: Mummy’s curry chicken (S$12.90), Jovis chicken chop (S$12.90), honey-glazed fried chicken (S$18)

 

2. Lee’s Taiwanese

Faber Hills Apartments, 112 Faber Drive
Nearest MRT station: Clementi
Open: Monday to Friday (12pm to 9.30pm), Saturday and Sunday (11.30am to 9.30pm)

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Pork chop rice. Photo: Lee's Taiwanese/Facebook

Add Lee’s Taiwanese to your list of go-to places for authentic Taiwanese cuisine. Located along the same stretch as Jovis Cafe, the shopfront of Lee’s Taiwanese doesn’t stand out as much, but the food here speaks for itself. 

You’ll find an assortment of Taiwanese street food, such as pig intestines with scallions, and fuller meals of braised pork rice and the famous Taiwanese mee sua (vermicelli noodles cooked in thickened broth). 

There’s also the classic Taiwanese beef noodles — tender beef slices with handmade noodles in dark, thick flavourful soup. 

What to order: Taiwanese signature beef noodles (S$13.80), salt and pepper chicken (S$7.80), braised minced pork rice (S$7.80)

3. Igokochi Dining Bar

NEWest, 01-98/99, 1 West Coast Drive
Nearest MRT station: Clementi
Open: Monday to Saturday (11am to 11pm)

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Chef torching sashimi. Photo: Igokochi Dining Bar/Facebook

Igokochi Dining Bar is more than your neighbourhood izakaya, and its simple al fresco area belies how seriously the folks here take Japanese food. 

Functioning as an izakaya most of the time, it also offers an omakase lunch (11am to 2pm) and dinner (5pm to 11pm).

At the open counter, the chefs put on a show preparing nigiri and slicing up sashimi. Using fresh produce from Japan, the raw and cooked dishes are plated beautifully with seasonal flowers and leaves.

For alcohol connoisseurs, ask for the monthly featured whisky or sake to explore lesser-known varieties from the country.

What to order: Shime saba aburi — flame-seared cured mackerel (S$12.90), yaki unagi — grilled river eel (S$19.90), yaki hamachi kama — grilled yellowtail collar (S$19.90), Igokochi hanabi omakase — dishes selected and prepared by the chef (S$98)

 

4. Birdfolks – Fried Chicken Cafe

NEWest, 01-75, 1 West Coast Drive
Nearest MRT station: Clementi
Open: Monday to Thursday (11am to 9pm), Friday to Sunday (11am to 9.30pm)

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Fried chicken bowl. Photo: Birdfolks – Fried Chicken Cafe/Facebook

Avid fans of fried chicken will fiercely defend their choice of eatery to the death, but Birdfolks – Fried Chicken Cafe aims to win some over with its American-inspired fried chicken seasoned with some Asian spices. Its signature fried chicken is marinated with a spice blend, then left to brine in a mixture with dark-brown sugar and honey for more than 12 hours before being fried.

This laborious process results in juicy, sweet fried chicken with a crispy batter on the outside. You can choose to have the signature fried chicken in a burger, rice bowl or with pancakes. 

Creating a unique Singapore-style fried chicken, the cafe’s offerings incorporate both local and Japanese influences. The mentaiko chicken burger, for example, comes with mentaiko mayo, a favourite condiment among Singaporeans. Teh and kopi can also be found on the menu here.

What to order: Chicken & pancakes (S$14), Angus cheeseburger (S$17)

 

5. Man-Ten Ramen

NEWest, 01-102, 1 West Coast Drive
Nearest MRT station: Clementi
Open: Monday (11.30am to 2pm, 5.30pm to 8pm); Tuesday to Thursday (11.30am to 2.30pm); Friday and Sunday (11am to 8pm)

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Beef omelette. Photo: Man-Ten Ramen/Facebook

An underrated ramen shop in the west, Man-Ten Ramen dishes up authentic Japanese ramen along with a host of other Japanese dishes. 

The tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen broth is rich and flavourful, and comes with slices of char shu, scallions and a piece of seaweed. As all self-respecting ramen stores do, the noodles are served al dente (firm texture). 

In addition to bowls of piping-hot ramen, the restaurant offers various hotplate dishes, including the original beef burger in demi glace sauce, also known as the Japanese hamburg or meat patty. 

What to order: Spicy tonkotsu special ramen (S$15.90), tonkotsu special ramen (S$15.90), fried rice (S$5.90)

 

6. Olla Specialty Coffee

109 Clementi Street 11, 01-03
Nearest MRT station: Clementi
Open: Monday to Sunday (8am to 5pm)

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Barista preparing a cup of coffee. Photo: Olla Specialty Coffee/Facebook

Operating on the belief that “great coffee is about pleasure and enjoyment”, the folks at Olla Specialty Coffee bond over their love for the brew. The team has continued to grow since Olla’s beginnings as a mobile coffee kiosk.

What better way to enjoy a cup of coffee than letting this year’s Singapore Barista Champion and founder of Olla Speciality Coffee, Lee Hee Wei, prepare it. The beans are sourced from Nylon Coffee Roasters and served in five ways: Black, white with milk, pour over filter coffee, cold brew and espresso tonic.

The accompanying food menu is also worth a try. Its most popular food item, the Sunrise burger, comprises scrambled eggs, cheddar, hot sauce and caramelised onions between brioche buns. 

What to order: White coffee — 5 oz, balanced (S$5), shakshouka baked eggs with chorizo — baked eggs with chicken chorizo in dukkah spiced bell pepper served with sourdough bread (S$14.80), Sunrise burger (S$9)

 

7. Dawn’s Gelateria and Cafe

Block 106 Clementi Street 12, 01-38
Nearest MRT station: Clementi
Open: Sunday to Thursday (11.30am to 10pm); Friday and Saturday (11.30am to 11pm)

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Amarena cherry gelato. Photo: Dawn's Gelateria and Cafe

Boasting a list of less common flavours on its menu, Dawn’s Gelateria and Cafe is a great stop to cool down from the tropical heat. All 18 flavours change weekly, so come by regularly to get your hands on flavours, such as the popular ondeh-ondeh and blue pea Hokkaido milk.

Surprisingly, the cafe also has an extensive hot food menu, including pasta, mains and salads. It’s a perfect place to have a full-course meal. A notable dish is the Dawn’s specialty gelato salad that comes with a scoop of savoury gelato in flavours such as olive oil balsamic or garlic aioli. 

And there’s even more incentive for pet owners to come by. Dawn’s Gelateria and Cafe was officially licensed as a pet-friendly cafe in April. 

What to order: Dawn’s specialty gelato salad (S$12), Dawn’s signature boneless pattoria chicken leg (S$18), garlic butter pork rib (S$18), beef cube rigatoni (S$22)

 

8. HoHo Korean Restaurant

Block 106 Clementi Street 12, 01-58/60
Nearest MRT station: Clementi
Open: Monday, and Wednesday to Sunday (11.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 9.30pm)

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Photo: Gaelmaine Hoong/HungryGoWhere

At HoHo Korean Restaurant, expect authentic South Korean hospitality with warm service and generous portions. Although its interior is decorated plainly, the food speaks for itself. 

Familiar dishes you’ll find here include kimchi pancake and bibimbap (rice and vegetables served in a hot stone bowl). And, of course, the meal always starts with banchan, small appetisers ranging from vegetables to tofu. 

What to order: Kimchijeon — kimchi pancake (S$20), cheolpan sogogi — pan-fried beef (S$15), jjamppong — Korean spicy seafood noodle soup (S$18)

 

9. Tan’s Tu Tu Coconut Cake

449 Clementi Avenue 3, 01-211
Nearest MRT station: Clementi
Open: Monday to Sunday (6.30pm to 10pm)

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Coconut cakes. Photo: Tan's Tu Tu Coconut Cake 陳家‘’嘟嘟‘’糕 /Facebook

Kueh tutu is a local sweet snack that never fails to evoke nostalgia, and Tan’s Tu Tu Coconut Cake is one of the few stalls left where you can find the traditional coconut cake made with steamed rice flour.

Filled with coconut shavings and gula melaka, chocolate or sweet peanuts, the cakes are individually moulded into shape with a metal apparatus before they’re placed in a steamer. They are then placed on square-shaped pandan leaves that, upon contact with the hot cakes, release a heady fragrance.

Don’t be surprised if you’ve to wait a little because there’s usually a queue. But you know what they say: Good things come to those who wait. 

What to order: Coconut cake (S$4 for five pieces), peanut cake (S$4 for five pieces)

 

10. Prata Alley

321 Clementi Avenue 3, 01-12
Nearest MRT station: Clementi
Open: Monday to Friday (9am to 11pm); Saturday (7am to 11pm); Sunday (7.30am to 11pm)

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An assortment of dishes at Prata Alley. Photo: Prata Alley/Facebook

Prata is a versatile Indian flatbread that’s a popular dish with Singaporeans, even though the jury is split between deciding if it should be consumed for breakfast or supper. 

For Clementi dwellers, they head to Prata Alley to get their fix of the crispy, brown-edged paratha. The contemporary Indian restaurant does a faultless rendition of prata as well as other classic dishes, such as mutton briyani and thosai (thin pancake made from rice and lentils). 

It also has unique creations such as The Big One, an Indian-Western fusion pizza with prata as its base. 

What to order: Chicken briyani (S$8.50), plain prata (S$1.50), big John — omelette sandwich (S$9.90)

Gaelmaine Hoong contributed to this guide. 

All the places on this list, except Igokochi Dining Bar, Olla Specialty Coffee and Tan’s Tu Tu Coconut Cake, are on the GrabFood delivery service. You can also book a ride to these places.


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