An Afternoon of Exploration: lunch at The Plain and tea at ReStore

I can’t say for sure I know much about Tanjong Pagar. It’s always been a business district, as far as I know.

Of late, though, Duxton Hill has been home to many eateries that are gaining in popularity. And within Tanjong Pagar itself, little cafés have sprung up,  making the place sparsely garnished with little food surprises.

Having heard some reviews about The Plain, my girlfriends and I decided to give it a try. So yesterday, we met there for lunch.

Coffee drinkers make better lovers.

The place is pretty easy to locate, just a 5 to 10 minute walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station. (Google Maps was pretty good help too, I have to admit.)

A café’s name gives the first clue to an idea of its concept; akin to a preview of your experience there. For The Plain, its name jumps right out at you the moment you approach the place. The Plain has got the right balance of simplicity and modernity. Adopting a very minimalist layout, it seems a perfect spot to perch for a relaxing meal, just to waste the afternoon away.

A cuppa, a sandwich or a salad… They all sound really good. Yet, disappointingly enough, there’s nothing quite distinctive about the food here.

Apart from a limited food menu that is mounted on a wall (making it inconvenient to browse because standing in front of the wall poring over the selection of food and coffees causes the narrow pathway to be congested), the portions are rather conservative and the dishes do let slip some of the chef’s shortcomings.

Our orders were Darling’s Eggs ($6.50 for 1/ $12 for 2), Dean’s Breakfast ($6 for 1) and a Beef Pastrami ($8.50).

A half portion of Darling’s Eggs.

The half portion of Darling’s Eggs was rather tiny. Yet, it’s got the flavour to thank for its attraction. The sweetness of the Roma tomatoes combined with the melted cheese and poached egg on top of a crusty sourdough toast makes for a rather satisfying meal. I would recommend trying this.

A half portion of Dean’s Breakfast.

I was told that the bread pieces were smaller that day so two pieces were served for the half portion. The gesture was much appreciated, considering the sourdough toast was done pretty well. It was also my first time trying vegemite spread, which was used for the toast. It helped to bring out the flavour of the melted cheese, and had a little saltiness to it.

Poached egg not very well done.

However, the poached egg certainly could use some work as part of the yolk was hardened when cut open. There was also something lacking about the overall balance in the flavours for the Dean’s Breakfast. I’m pretty sure the Dean would prefer something more… Wholesome. Perhaps it was a tangy sweetness I simply did not find.

Beef Pastrami.

The ciabatta was tasty. I like beef, and that’s some pretty good beef in there. The portion was reasonable too for this dish. I would recommend it too 🙂

Unfortunately, we didn’t try any coffees. I’ve been told they are worth a taste.

Overall, I’m not too certain I’ll be back to The Plain for more. Still, no regrets having spent lunch there!

The Plain Cafe
50 Craig Road #01-01 Singapore 089688
Tel: +65 6225 4387
Open daily 7.30am to 7.30pm
Check it out here


Continuing in the spirit of exploration, the three of us wandered over to ReStore Cafe, which is just a 3 minute walk away. Situated next to a coffee shop along Tanjong Pagar Road, the place is just opposite a row of shop houses.

Tucked away in a quiet street of Tanjong Pagar, this little space provided just the comfortable respite we were seeking on such a warm, lazy Friday afternoon. With a seating capacity of only 20 people at maximum, the café is truly cosy.

Once again, the name of the place says it all. Aptly named ReStore, the place is actually a used furniture store cum tea place combined into one. Upon entering its doors, one is immediately greeted by waves of nostalgia as the furniture and setting are all reminiscent of a retro house.

Chairs hanging on racks mounted on the wall.

All furniture for sale.

How apt: “A Sense of Place”.

The service staff, though few, are friendly and efficient. I find it so amusing that they all seem to appropriately dress to fit the entire theme — causing them to fit right into the setting.

Not to mention that this waitress is actually my friend!

The menu offers a pretty good selection, given that it is a small café. We were recommended the waffles. And dare I say, they tasted pretty darn good.

Berry Good Waffles ($9.80)

The Berry Good waffles ($9.80) consists of waffles served with freshly sliced strawberries and blueberries, topped with icing sugar and freshly whipped cream. The whipped cream was divine! You can also choose to have an additional scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream with just $2 more.

All in all, everything at ReStore makes you feel right at home. I would definitely recommend visiting this quaint little hideout. I had the most pleasant of afternoons with my girlfriends 🙂

ReStore Cafe
124 Tanjong Pagar Road
Singapore 088533
Tel: +65 6222 3510
Open Tuesday to Friday 11am to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 6pm (Closed on Mondays)
Check it out here


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