Alibabar and the 40 craft beers; O Bun Sesame – the pun goes on. It is hard to describe but it is fun. What used to be an old coffee shop at the East Coast Road-Joo Chiat Road junction is now a curious fusion of old & new, East & West and traditional simplicity & modish hipness. (Just in case you thought this was about the Alibaba IPO, here is the link for you BABA.N.)
Alibabar describes it self as “The Hawker Bar”. It is still a coffee shop and you can get your kopi-o, kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs for breakfast. It is also a bar which carries an impressive range of craft beers. The decor is that of an industrial chic casual cafe with wooden crates, caged pebbles and exposed wires as interesting design elements. Sports programmes are on large screen TVs and trendy pop hits are played over the rather good sound system.
Besides the kopi store/bar, there are 4 other food stores there. Yong Huat sells traditional local food like Fried Mee Suah, Fishball Minced Meat Noodle and Hokkien Prawn Mee ($3.50 to $8).
The Burger Bar serves gourmet burgers and has interesting items like Foie Gras Burger, Beef Tiger Prawn Surf & Turf and Red Snapper Fillet (with prices from about $7 to $17).
Ramen Bar Suzuki is a new addition to Alibabar. It offers a range of Japanese ramen, such as the Tokyo Ramen ($8.90) and Cardinal Red Tonkotsu Ramen (S$12). It also has Mixed Soba ($7) and a choice of toppings for noodles ranging from flavoured boiled egg (S$1.50) to a set of chashu, egg and seaweed for $5.
We tried Yong Huat’s Fried Kway Teow ($4). You can have the Fried Kway Teow in “white style’ or “dark style”. We opted for the dark side which meant the use of the sweet dark sauce on top of sinful pork lard. A generous portion was laced liberally with pork lard crisps. It won’t be on the list of healthy food recommended by the health promotion board, but the Char Kway Teow with great wok hei was one of the best we have eaten.
We had the Burger Bar’s 2 Mini Sliders ($6.90). It came nicely presented, with 2 mini beef burgers, coleslaw and a good portion of thick fries neatly lined up on a metal tray. The Sesame Buns were lightly toasted and the patties were juicy and delicious.
A new addition to AlibabaR is Garcons French Grill – see our post on Garcons French Grill – cheap and good French food in Katong.
Many bars in Singapore boast of spectacular view of the city skyline, beautiful garden or scenic waterfront. At Alibabar, you can have your beer and watch buses and trucks whizzing pass barely a yard from your face. That could be a stunning experience. The bizarre scene of people sitting at the edge of a busy street nonchalantly enjoying their beers is itself a spectacle.
Having a meal or drink at Alibabar could be a somewhat surreal, out of the ordinary but great experience. Highly recommended.
P.S. If you are lucky enough to get hold of Alibaba shares at IPO price, you can well afford to get a great meal at Alibabar and celebrate with a few bottles of fine craft beers. The shares were priced at US$68 per share, opened on its debut day, 19 September 2014, on NYSE at US$92.70 and closed at US$93.79!
Food : 4
Service : 3
Value : 4
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
125 East Coast Road
Sun – Thu: 8:00 am – 11:30 pm
Fri – Sat: 8:00 am – 1:30 am