to Tin Hill Bistro Winebar at the corner of Bukit Timah Road and Sixth Avenue, because it’s one of those places that’s too classy for the neighbourhood and so may not be there for too long…
I went there for lunch on Sep 18 by default. Mrs T had invited. Perhaps she had read an earlier posting abt her, this time there was none of the usual to-ing and fro-ing abt where to go.
She suggested an Indian restaurant with a Russian sounding name at Sixth Ave Centre. I was none too keen because the parking situation there is quite a nightmare but I bit my tongue, in case she would flare up and say “I suggest u don’t like; ask u to suggest u don’t like..”
Thankfully, as I was queuing to go into the carpark below Cold Storage supermarket at Guthrie House, she called to say the restuarant she had chosen was closed and she would walk over and we could then decide where to go.
When she arrived, I suggested and she gladly accepted my suggestion, to try Tin Hill, a place I had just passed when my car turned into Sixth Avenue. I didn’t know much about the place except from what I read in a friend’s kid’s blog.
Weylin had written some nice stuff abt the place: The meal was very good, the mains aren’t expensive ($18-25 and less for the daytime sandwiches), the appetizers and the desserts are the same price at $10.90 which to my mind, does make the appetizers much more worthwhile.”
But since Weylin and the owner, Jaime, know one another, one can’t expect the review to be brutal, even if the food wasn’t so hot.
Still, i thought I should give it a shot and taste for myself.
When Mrs T and I walked in, the wait staff were friendly and wreathed in smiles. Indeed, as we learned at the end of the meal, one of them turned out to be Jaime, the owner.
“I’m glad we came here, the other place looked really tacky,” whispered Mrs T, obviously delighted that my suggestion turned out, on close-up, to be good to look at, and not long after, we found the food was good to eat too, particularly the desserts.
But I’m rushing ahead, so re-wind, re-wind: the menu was quite extensive but what attracted us was the basic set lunch and the executive set lunch, the difference between the two being the price, $14.50 versus $22, be4 all the pluses.
We hummed and hawed a bit and then both settled for the executive set, since the normal set had a sandwich ( Tin Hill called it “pide”) as the main.
For $22 + etc, we had for starters a choice between a Caesar salad with croutons and a tomato soup. We both chose the salad and I quickly asked if the croutons could be set aside.
The waitress said they won’t be mixed in with the salad but be put on top. I was pleasantly surprised when the salad came and the “croutons” turned out to be half a hard-hard biscuit-like mini baguette (I love biscuits). Also, there was a nice touch of red baby radish slices.
For mains, we had a choice of fish n chips or linguini carbonara. Again, we both opted for the linguini. It’s a long time since I’ve eaten anything carbonara, probably not since the last time I visited Pasta Fresca, n that’s perhaps a good decade ago.
So, I felt a bit uneasy when the linguini appeared swimming in a yellowish white cream sauce. Heck, it’s ages since I had a cream sauce.
“Er, can I have some vinegar please, balsamic vinegar?” (My fail-safe method for reducing the yukiness of cream or oil altho I always wonder silently whether I won’t make things worse if the dish curdled).
If the waitress was a bit non-plus, she neverthless kwai-kwai brought a thimble full of balsamic vinegar, and both Mrs T and I happily sprinkled our food with it.
And thankfully once again, the cream didn’t curdle and in my view the vinegar gr8ly improved the taste of the dish. Which was also helped gr8ly by generous portions of bacon bits that were more lean meat than fat.
Unfortunately the pix (below) I took hasn’t turned out to be so gr8: so much for the Nokia 6500 boasting of a 3.2 megapixel cam with Carl Zeiss lens some more!
Then came coffee/tea and dessert. We both took coffee and were offered a choice of two kinds of dessert: passion fruit tart or chocolate cake. I opted for the first and Mrs T for the second.
“With or without ice-cream?” the wait person asked.
“Does it come with the lunch,” I asked, ever cautious not to raise my hostess bill needlessly, as I don’t take ice-cream normally, anyway.
“Yes, comes with the lunch.”
“In that case can I have it separately? I’ll put it into my coffee (my waste-not want-not principle kicking in).”
“Would you like expresso then?” the wait asked, helpfully.
“Expresso, oh no, normal coffee will do, thanks!” (As it was, I’ve started to live dangerously of late, going back to drinking coffee after lunch– something I had skipped for some time, imagining that it affected my bedtime. But seems not as recent venturings have shown).
“Normal coffee for me too,” echoed Mrs T, “with milk”.
The desserts came and wow! They were huge! As illustrated by my passion fruit tart pix below..
We were so carried away by how to finish such large helpings that I 4got to snap the chocolate cake which we asked to be packed to take away and which the restaurant obliged willingly.
The vanilla ice-cream went well with the coffee, and after Mrs T asked for her milk for her coffee a 2nd time and nothing appeared, she too did the peasant act like me: tipped her ice-cream into her coffee.
So how did Bukt Timah (Tin Hill) score?
I won’t say that prospecting for timah we found mas but I would definitely return because:
Value for money: check. Indeed reminded me of the days when Au Petit Salut was starting out in Holland Village.
Food good: check. Generally good, as reflected by the fact that Mrs T who isn’t a big eater finishing both her starter and her main up to 95% and we both finished the shared dessert 100%; ditto the coffee and the ice-cream.
Service good: check. Eager to please, as reflected by how the wait pple responded to all our requests, except one – milk for coffee, although that could have been a misunderstanding, due to my asking for the ice-cream to be put into my coffee, while Mrs T asked for both ice-cream and milk.
One thing that annoyed a little but didn’t mar our experience overall is that after the coffee was served, one wait came and presented us with the bill in a folder, even tho we hadn’t ask for it. Compounding this, someone came by twice to check whether we had done anything about the bill.
I can understand if the restaurant was full and there were other guests waiting. But after one lone diner ate up and left, there were only four guests remaining at two tables, including us.
This is one lapse that will make more picky diners swear off a repeat visit. Hope Jaime can spruce up on this aspect.
PS What almost gave me indigestion after lunch was that on driving out of Guthrie House, I was charged $9.64 for parking. This must surely be one of Singapore’s most expensive carparks, if not the most expensive — at least in the suburbs!
I had been there from a little after 12pm to perhaps 2.35pm!
PS2 My second visit to Tin Hill one week later left me less enthusiastic: http://singaporegirl.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/not-great-2nd-time-around/