THE MAD SAILORS @ HAJI LANE
Finally found a foodie pal to check out Haji Lane with me. The narrow road, located in the heart of Kampong Glam, and the other streets running parallel to it has been quite happening since more than a dozen hipster shops, cafes and restaurants have been popping up there in the last few years. As popular eateries such as European-influenced I Am… and Mexican restaurant Piedra Negra were packed to the brim, we decided on the rather cosy-looking The Mad Sailors, a British kitchen at No.24.
Given a choice of a table out front or upstairs, we opted for “where the aircon is” on this sweltering hot evening. So upstairs we went and we were glad ‘cos though the area was simply decorated, what was really cool is the way they made used of old HDB doors (pictured above) as part of the decor. Also, the windows face the Singapura Club next door which has fascinating Singapore-skewed murals on its facade. The place is relatively new too as condiments on the table such as the vinegar bottle and mustard tubes were unopened as yet!
As The Mad Sailors modeled itself on a British kitchen, the place has authentic English favourites such as Bangers & Mash, Toad in the Hole and Steak Pie. Going with the recommendations made by the European lady who served us (and whom we reckoned could be the lady boss), we opted for the fish and chips as the main course. There were a couple of choices for the fish (dory, cod, haddock and halibut, $18-22) and we went for cod. The dish was quaintly served on white paper placed in a deep tin tray with tartar sauce and salad. It was a good choice – fish was fresh and tasty and the chips were among the best we’ve ever tasted.
Another dish recommended to us was these Marmite Honey Wings ($9). Upon seeing us grimaced when she mentioned “Marmite”, the lady boss was quick to ease our fears, explaining that the honey totally “plays down the marmite taste” and that “most customers who had tried it loved it!” Lucky for her, we were in an adventurous mood so we decided to go for it. And voila, it was yet another good recommendation as the wings were really good with no overpowering marmite taste at all.
We were hoping to have beer to go along with the fish & chips and chicken wings, but then we were gently reminded that The Mad Sailors is a halal cafe since it is in the Kampong Glam area, which is of course logical. Though they try to get us to try their Slushy Pints ($7.50, comprising Ribena and Black Tea blends), we decided to go with these Firefly tonic drinks instead, which were refreshing enough.
DESSERTS @ JI DE CHI
Though there’s desserts at The Mad Sailors (apple pie, chocolate melt, carrot cake and fried snickers), we decided they were a tad too heavy and hence rather walk all the way down to Bugis/Liang Seah Street and have the cool desserts at Ji De Chi (#01-03). The place was packed as always but the waitress on duty outside was quick to get us a table and the queue for orders were relatively short. And the long walk was worth it for this gorgeous, be-still-my-heart Durian Pomelo Sago ($6.50)! Heaven in every spoonful!
My foodie friend however – durian fan she ain’t – decided on this “safe and sound” Gui Ling Gao or Turtle Jelly ($3.30) instead. To each her own, as they say.
It was definitely a good food adventure night. The experience at The Mad Sailors was most enjoyable, even though we do feel for the serving staff (young as they may be,) of having to run up and down the stairs every now and then in order to serve the tables. Well, on the bright side, they will build up strong leg muscles in the long run. For us, maybe we will consider a table downstairs next time. Then again, with our horrendous hot weather here, maybe not… But whatever, it won’t be our last visit to TMS or Haji Lane… 🙂