The Simple Life

Hawker fare at cafés or restaurants can be a bit tricky. While we usually enjoy the air-conditioned setting that comes with such establishments, the food is often mediocre. Thankfully, the recently opened The Simple Life, which takes over from former noodle place Nooch, does not suffer this fate. While it’s not thoroughly original, The Simple Life does offer relatively affordable and pretty decent fare, such as the chicken mee soto, nasi lemak and laksa, which cost less than $10 each. We arrived there on a regular weekday, to find the place surprisingly empty; which in a way was a good thing as we were quickly led to our seats. Half starved, we started our meal with the savory kueh pai tee (pai tee shell filled with chili, garlic, prawns and coriander leaf), which whetted our appetite. The chili was not too spicy, while the shells themselves were suitably crunchy. Our main courses—the mee siam, nasi lemak and black sauce hokkien mee—did not fare too badly either. The nasi lemak, in particular, was value for money: Its fried chicken drumstick may have been a tad overdone, but it was still crunchy and finger licking good. The coconut flavored rice went well with the special sambal (chilli paste) that came with the dish, and it was definitely filling. The mee siam was good too, as the spicy bean paste gravy was not too sweet—in fact, it was just right. And topped with a generous helping of hard boiled egg, tau pok (deep fried bean curd) and bean sprouts, the dish was well worth every bite. The black sauce hokkien mee fared less well though, as it could have done with thicker black soy sauce, which might have added more oomph and fragrance to the dish. Our desserts—chendol and goreng pisang (deep friend banana fritters) with ice cream—were average, though. While the chendol was hardly surprising, it was served on a long glass with a straw intact, rather than a regular bowl, which made it hard to dig through; while the banana fritters were merely serviceable. We would drop by here again if we’re in town to try The Simple Life’s other dishes, but we might skip desserts the next time.