A kopitiam by day and self-service pizzeria by night. The concept makes a lot of sense in land scarce Singapore but is so quirky you half expect it to be hoarded by hipsters. Yet the space maintains an authentic neighborhood vibe, with area residents togged out in T-shirts and shorts forming the bulk of customers. Gussied up with blackboard dividers and playing smooth tunes by crooners like Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra, the coffee shop becomes a cool yet comfortable spot to chow down on simple Western recipes with a local twist. Most dishes pack a real punch and employ plenty of black pepper and red chili (seeds included). The Kiam He Pizza ($14) with capers, olives and Chinese salted fish might sound pretty “out-there” but is actually a well-thought out spin on a classic Sicilian combination, with Chinese salted fish replacing the usual anchovies. Another standout is the aglio olio with mushrooms and bacon ($14), a spicy garlicky plate of firm-to-the-bite spaghetti. Though it might seem like a cheap way to pad the stomach as you guzzle from their fine selection of craft brews such as La Trappe Wit ($12) and Delirium Tremens ($18), we firmly recommend you give the fried appetizers a miss. The deep-fried pork belly with maple mayo ($8) looks great on paper, but is really a sad-looking mound of haphazardly fried pork set on soggy fries. Also, the service is hit-or-miss (very much like a kopitiam, actually). The staff served us plates that weren’t ours and the kitchen missed a couple of orders till we chased them for the food. Still, so long as you go in with your eyes open and know what to avoid, there’s a good, value-for-money meal to be had here.
Eat this at TWO FACE Pizza & Taproom: Kiam He Pizza. It’s one of I-S Magazine’s 50 things to eat before you die (2013).