I had heard about this 12 X 12 thingie a few months but never made a huge effort to locate it till last Friday, as I knew it would be a pricey place, judging by the fact it was Mrs Seow who told me about it.
Moreover, I’ve also read somewhere that the people behind 12 X 12 are also the same people behind Spa Espirit at Dempsey and Paragon, both locations which scream expensive. Mrs Seow told me some more that three rice balls (oddly called Fitballs!) there cost $5. How big, I asked? Enough for a meal she said.
Anyway, it was on June 20 that I found myself at Suntec and determined to locate 12 X 12, the detemination boosted by a poster I saw when I emerged from the carpark bowels of Tower 3 that anyone who spent $10 at the cafe would be entitled to a free drink. Just my cup of tea, I thought, as I didn’t intend to spend a king’s ransom for a solo meal.
It was not easy trying to find 12 X 12, even tho it’s supposed to be in the Galleria section and next to the Convention Centre. But then, that’s direction a la Singapore style. You’re presumed to know the other landmarks which, if you don’t, they might as well be all Greek.
After about 15 minutes of walking in circles, I found it, or more precisely I found an information counter whose girl gestured vaguely in the direction less than a dozen steps away. And lo and behold, there it was, beside a cutesy place for brows called Browhaus (apparently a play on Bauhaus, geddit?) that linked right into 12 X 12.
I didn’t stop to savour either Browhaus or Strip (another adjacent salon), since it wasn’t beauty treatment but food I was after.
12 X 12 is quite industrial looking, in other words bare-bare. Even the food looked a paler shade of beige. There were 6 others in the cafe, two twos near the door and a couple in the depths of the cafe.
I might have given the place a miss if it wasn’t already close to 2pm and I was rather hungry. So, I settled for what seemed the most innocuous, taste and pocket-wise: one rice ball (size of a golf ball) stuffed with Spanish ham and leek and potato soup (making for $9 and with GST and SV should surely qualify me for the free drink, I calculated mentally).
But when I went to the counter to place my order, the nice young server suggested taking three Fitballs, since it’s $2.50 for one and $5 for three, thus giving me one extra “free”. I demurred, saying I cldn’t eat more than one ball. He countered that the other two could be taken away. Also, I could try the other flavours, Spanish “choriso” sausage, roasted vegetables etc
I’m always a sucker for eager-2-please service personnel. Since he was so polite and nice, I said “yes”, still in the belief that the free drink shld make up for additional expense.
When I was paying up, I asked, since he didn’t offer, “err which free drink can I have”. His fellow wait, a girl, promptly declared that the offer was “for last month”. Neither were persuaded when I said I saw a poster abt the offer still up at Tower 3.
Perhaps this disappointment affected my enjoyment of the food which came quite nicely presented, in biodegradable tray, bowl and plate, plenty of paper napkins and even a carrier bag (ditto biodegradable) in which was a b-box with the two take-way rice balls.
The leek n potato soup was watery; there were bits of potato, either because the stuff wasn’t properly blended enough, hence the soup had no body; or because the cook wanted to show there was potato in the soup! Whatever the case, I’ve drunk better leek n potato soup. Even the unexpected slice of crisp toast and some crisps (what kind I don’t know — mayb nachos?) couldn’t make up for the below par liquid.
Now for the fitball — if I hadn’t resigned myself to the meal, I would have had a fit at the size and the very ordinary substance. For probably two spoonfuls of brown rice and rather stringy meat (Spanish ham?), I had paid $2.50. For $1, I could have gotten a whole bowl of brown rice (same quality and taste) at Great World City, but a food court of cos.
Now for 12 X 12’s ambience. It was quite noisy, mainly because of or despite the open concept. There was some muzak. As there was muzak at Tea Shake Hut at Bugis Junction. But what a difference! I felt comfotable at TSH but not at 12 X 12. Perhaps the fact that I paid 40% less for a more tasty meal (and a drink) had something to do with it.
Footnote: the two take-away fitballs, one a repeat of the Spanish ham I had eaten and the other with roasted vegetable, went into a fish porridge I made for dinner the same night.