Five & Dime

The buzz: A recent addition to the River Valley area, this tidy spot is founded by Teng Ei Liang of Truffs fame, an I-S Pick in our Sweet Spots Guide 2012; chocolate addicts will already know what we’re talking about.

The vibe: Minimal and cozy, with mint green wooden chairs, a bar counter with cupcakes in glass stands displayed upfront and a bright red coffee machine sitting pretty behind it; just how you’d imagine your local café to be (if you lived somewhere like Sydney).

The food: Despite Teng’s training at Le Cordon Bleu, the menu is anything but classic. It’s more a pastiche of stuff, there are Brit faves like Fish & Chips ($24; hopefully they’ll start putting the vinegar in sauce bottles by our next visit) and Bangers & Mash ($20), steak frites ($32), as well as items inspired by Japanese flavors: namely, mentaiko spaghetti with chicken yakitori ($24) and scrumptiously fatty braised Kurobuta pork belly atop cha soba ($25).

The drinks: Mostly New World wines (from $12/glass, $50/bottle) from Oz, Chile and New Zealand, plus a decent list of original cocktails (from $18) like the Gin & Jade ($18) and their Breakfast Cocktail ($20), a concoction of English Breakfast tea-infused Smirnoff, Grand Marnier, fresh-squeezed lemon juice tempered with orange marmalade (we’d like that for breakfast, please).

Why you’ll be back: Despite the steep prices, the laidback vibe and comforting pub grub make it a reliable standby.

Last orders at 2:30pm and 9:30pm

A tidy, little spot along River Valley Road with undeniably charming décor—mint green wooden chairs, a bar counter with sweet treats in glass stands and a bright red coffee machine that’s reminiscent of Aussie cafés—and Teng Ei Liang’s Le Cordon Bleu credentials (chocolate fans will know Teng for his goods at Truffs) make for a promising start. It’s hard to get a table here at dinnertime unless you call in advance—the modest space accommodates about 30 patrons—which might give one the impression that this is one hot ticket. Unfortunately, the novelty soon wears off, and you’re left wondering “what’s the fuss all about?” The servers are a friendly enough lot, though not well-informed, but the food is good in neither taste nor value. Whether you’re having Western dishes like soggy Fish & Chips ($24) and a bland piece of Cajun chicken with homemade ketchup (an odd pairing as far as we’re concerned; $18) or Japanese-inspired items such as braised Kurobuta pork belly with flaccid cha soba ($25), the combination of conservative portions, merely passable fare and unjustifiably high prices spoils a place we hoped had real potential. And a cute setup isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card. Our advice? Pass on dinner in favor of a slice of very moist banana cake studded with chocolate chunks ($6), but get it to go.

Venue Details
Address: Five & Dime, 297 River Valley Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 9236-5002
Area: Singapore River
Cuisine: Japanese, Western
Open since: December, 2011
Opening hours: Mon-Thu noon-midnight; Fri-Sat 10am-midnight
Nearest trainSomerset
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