Cheng’s @ 27- Zhi Char in a modernised Tiong Bahru coffeeshop


Cheng’s @ 27 coffeeshop in Tiong Bahru looks very different from the typical zhi char coffeeshop in Singapore. It is bright and very clean.  According to a Straits Times article :25 years and counting: Hainanese coffeeshop Cheng’s 27, the Cheng family regularly receives generous offers to buy over the well positioned corner coffeeshop, but they are not selling.   The business has operated in this location since 1989.  Previously known as Cheng’s Delicacies,  a new generation of Chengs had taken over this business and renamed it Cheng’s 27.

Cheng's @ 27
Cheng’s @ 27 Tiong Bahru

Cheng's 27
Cheng’s @ 27 Coffeeshop

Apart from the name, the modernisation of the Cheng’s @ 27 coffeeshop can be seen in some other aspects of the place such as the cleanliness of the place,  the modern fans and lighting.  But it remains recognisable as a traditional coffee shop by the openness of the space, the simple furniture and the type of dishes served.


Cheng’s @ 27 Menu

Cheng’s @ 27 Menu

The menu of Cheng’s @ 27 is rather limited. It is displayed on each table. While simple to read, this menu is not very helpful as it does not have prices.  Only the chalkboard that displays the daily specials provide the prices of the items, but from there one can estimate the type of prices to expect.

These were the items that we ordered that day : crispy pork chop (XS -$15), prawn roll (XS – $12), Tofu minced pork (S) $12, steamed rice $1 each, barley and lime juice $3 each.

 

Being a Hainan coffeeshop, one of their signature items is the pork chop.  This is the ala carte version. The daily specials has a single person portion with rice for $9.   The pork was very dry and not very different from those elsewhere. The magic lies in the curry gravy provided.   It is hardly spicy at all but has a smooth rice curry taste. In fact we would have liked a slight level of spiciness to add a tingle to the taste.

The tofu with minced pork is another dish that has to be eaten with steamed rice.  The minced pork and gravy has a wonderful complex taste.

Our third dish was the prawn rolls. We like these for its clean fresh taste. A staple at many Chinese restaurants and zhi char places, we are put off by those which are overly oily or have a heavy meaty flavour.  Cheng’s @ 27 have managed to avoid both of these.

Another item which Cheng’s 27 is apparently well known for is their kaya.  We were offered a sample of crackers with kaya.  We were impressed by the simple creamy taste of the kaya. Not very sweet and has a nice natural taste.

Overall Cheng’s @ 27 seems to be a hybrid between a traditional coffeeshop and a more formal restaurant.  There is still no air-conditioning and prices are higher than some coffeeshops but we appreciate the cleanliness, the easy-going service and the nice crockery (no sticky or worn-out plates here) that the food was served in.

 

Ratings:

Food: 4

Service: 4

Value: 3

Atmosphere: 3

Overall Rating: 4 TOPs 4 tops

 

Cheng’s @ 27

27 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168654

Mondays: 10:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Tuesdays – closed.
Wednesday – Sundays: 10:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Tel: +65 6223 7883

Website

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