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Fish & Chips

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I am (hehe) pretty sure most of the cafe-hopping crowd in Singapore would be familiar with I am… Cafe (yes, the name includes the ellipsis) and their signature red letter blocks at the corner of Haji Lane:

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Living on the better side of the island and don’t want to join the throngs of poor west-siders in queuing for ages? Now you can just stay in paradise!

I am… Cafe (Our Tampines Hub)

Just opened on 28 February 2017, I am… Cafe now brings all that burger and fries (with some pizza) goodness right to our doorstep in the East. Situated on the third floor of Our Tampines Hub right next to the HomeTeamNS clubhouse,  where there are already plenty of fun things to do, it takes a little bit of eyeballing but you won’t miss their trademark signage even from level 1.

Interior wise, it does remind you of Haji Lane, and I very much prefer an air-conditioned experience, although it does contain the noise of the hustle and bustle going on (it is a family casual restaurant after all so don’t expect classical music and hush-hush conversations).

I am Cafe Tampines I am Cafe Tampines I am Cafe Tampines I am Cafe Tampines

Likewise, the menu still consists of old favourites such as their side of truffle fries, which is topped off with thick and creamy truffle mayo. Burgers, pizzas, and their fish & chips are also available, along with their signature mocktails (they’re halal certified). Don’t forget their desserts like the RAINBOW CAKE! Call me nitpicky, but while my ‘the boss’ burger is definitely scrumptious, I’d wish for the patty to be at least the same diameter as the buns so that I can pick it up to chomp down on it (hehe) without risking it popping out of the buns mid-bite.

I am Cafe Tampines I am Cafe Tampines I am Cafe Tampines I am Cafe Tampines

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Waitrr Pls

One new addition since I last ate at I am… Cafe is the use of a mobile app called “Waitrr“. From browsing the menu, all the way to ordering and paying for your meal, it’s a seamless process that’s quite frankly a well-designed user experience. No more hems and haws when your service staff probes whether you are ready to order, or yelling through to them during busy weekend dinners and hoping he/she read your order right. Just scan the QR code, pass the phone down the table and pick your food and drinks! What’s also good I realised, is that you don’t have to make one person pick up the tab or get service to split your tabs (a horrible experience for large groups, please don’t do this to wait staff…). Just use your own phone(s) to order separately and pay immediately after! EZPZ!

Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
This is in (what’s becoming) a very popular hangout in Tampines, so it’s not something too out of the way. Also the brand is already a staple in halal Cafes.

Price:
Prices are still pretty fair, nothing out of the ordinary for cafes (I spent about 20 per pax).

Quality:
You probably need to order dessert if you’re really hungry, but portions are not scrimped on here.

Overall: I
Joining the fray with other cafes showing up in Tampines, like one I previously visited, I am… Cafe banks on its already solid reputation in dishing out relatively affordable premium western cuisine that’s halal-certified, right in the heartlands! Surely, a #newbeastfromtheeast!

More Information

I am… Cafe (Our Tampines Hub)
51 Tampines Ave 4
#03-04
Our Tampines Hub
Singapore 529684
​Tel: 6295 5509
Email: enquiry@iam.com.sg
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You can’t go wrong with fish and chips. 

-Michael Sandel

Dive bars used to get a lot of stick back in the days for being shoddy; even the name supposedly comes from people diving under tables whenever a bar fight broke out!

Sam’s Cottage’s Fish & Chips

But nowadays, it’s a label for a place of quaintness and good ol’ get-together. It started with a simple wish from Mr Samuel Sam over 10 years ago: to have a place where people in the neighbourhood can get together. With blocks of condominium apartments all over the Dairy Farm Estate where his dive bar is situated, he feels that neighbours don’t interact with one another as often as they used to back in the ‘kampung’ days. Home to many is just a hiding place to rest before the next day comes. He also finds it a safer alternative to heading out for drinks and possibly driving to bars elsewhere; several years before the Upper Bukit Timah area is connected by train with the new Downtown Line, which only started operation in late 2015.

It was a weekday when I first visited and even then there were quite a few residents just enjoying a pint or having some of Sam’s signature menu item: Classic English Fish & Chips.

Sam's CottageSam's CottageSam's Cottage

Like at any respectable Fish & Chips place, you get the  food piping hot and wrapped up in white paper. The fish has nice golden-brown batter and fluffy white meat, and the chips are well, chips! These are best accompanied with generous sprinkles of salt and malt vinegar. Now, although you can’t beat serving traditional cod fish, his take on the dish is decently done.

Other than Fish & Chips, Sam’s also takes pride in having free Heineken beer on tap, which turnovers relatively quickly. Supposedly, no keg is left unfinished after 2-3 days, tops! Here’s Sam himself taking pride in serving only the freshest food and drinks to his loyal following of customers:

The place itself is a perfect example of what this website seeks out: a quaint place that’s serves really good food, has a good ambiance, and serves a really niche group of customers but definitely deserve a lot of attention. With seating for just over a dozen inside and a handful of tables in the alfresco, it can get quite bustling on weekends. The bar is also run in a very relaxed and open style. Sam shows a great affection to everyone, and remembers almost all their names!  If you’re lucky enough, you can challenge Sam to a game of darts or fuzzball. But don’t ever think that he’ll make it easy for you!

Sam’s carefree attitude to running the place is even more reflected, the bar’s opening hours are “when he comes” and closes “when he leaves” (translated: about 8pm to 12am, with some variance). But don’t even fret; Sam is honest and reliable to a tee and will always be ready to let you have a place to unwind, mingle and have great food!
Sam's Cottage Sam's CottageSam's Cottage

The Verdict

hole-in-the-wall-ness:
This place doesnt just feel hole-in-the-wall, it represents it!

Price:
Be prepared to shell out a little bit more for fresh food and beer, although it is not very big of a pinch

Quality:
Decent quality Fish & Chips and other finger food like chicken drumlets, with clean Heineken beer on tap

Overall:
If you’re not put off by the distance because you live in the #eastsidebestside, or you live in the west, it’s worth visiting what could be one of Singapore’s best dive bars, tucked away in a little corner called Dairy Farm Estate!

Sam's Cottage Fish & Chips

Bonus: Check out their 90s spot commercial below!

More Information

Sam’s Cottage
17 Dairy Farm Rd
Dairy Farm Estate,
#B1-09
Singapore 679043
Opens daily from about 8pm to midnight, or as Sam puts it: “Sam’s Cottage is open when he comes and closes when he leaves”.
Phone: 6766 3907
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Sams-Cottage-169232239761773/


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