Firestation Hillside Gastrobar

Those constantly on the lookout for food joints that are far from the madding crowd should just take a trip down to this hidden gem at Upper Bukit Timah. A charming little gastrobar has taken root in a disused part of the old fire station. Called Firestation Hillside Gastrobar, it is one of the many quaint little establishments that have opened in the vicinity. But finding it can be a challenging task for first-timers as it is quite hidden from the main road. Once you’ve nailed the location however, the place is great for those looking for a reprieve from the concrete jungle as its mostly alfresco dining. Diners sit on the large wooden patio out front, but what we like most is the little garden at the back where you can just chill over a beer. Food-wise, don’t expect gourmet cuisine; the menu is typical café fare—think lots of tapas and pizzas, as well as a decent selection of salads, soups, pastas, main courses and desserts. Our starter of Caesar salad with poached egg and smoked salmon was quite run-of-the-mill. There was too much dressing and looked like it was slapped on in a hurry. On the other hand, the beef striploin steak (with handcut fries and mesclun salad) was worth trying. The restaurant uses 120-day, grain-fed beef, which resulted in a steak with a good amount of marbling and was remarkably tender medium rare. For dessert, we had to settle for the warm carrot cake as the kitchen had bizarrely run out of all other desserts. Sadly, our overall food experience was rather lacklustre and the service wasn’t great either. The waiters were inexperienced —they didn’t know what type of tea they serve, for instance. Nevertheless, prices are reasonable and the ambiance appealing enough, which make up for the mediocre food.