The Hainan Story Chapter One. Newly opened restaurant at Jalan Sultan, Singapore and our first visit there today. Why? Needed dinner at 12 am. What can we eat? Always looking for some good grub.
So we heard about this new place opening 24 hours and there’s a long queue there during mealtimes since its so new. So what do we do? Go there as late as we can and miss those long queues. It is opened 24 Hours after all. The Hainan Story Chapter One. Location is in a prominent corner on the ground floor of Hotel Boss. Again, opens 24 hours, for now.
Fun fact, this used to be a bak kut teh hangout that fell victim to the Covid pandemic downturn during the lockdown but somehow this new place is now successfully banging out consistent full house sittings. A business lesson in concept execution and riding the wave during the uptick since we all have nowhere to travel, nowhere to spend our money and it has been a year with all of us stuck on this red dot.
Not too much of a problem since the good food here definitely takes the travel fever out of the equation, again, for now. Anything new and shiny becomes the toast of the town, and I say, she doesn’t disappoint.
Good old fashioned Singapore favourites are put together in this new concept, with a menu so massive it looks like a newspaper, thick as a newspaper, circumscribed like a newspaper and if we weren’t any sure of our choices and bravely ordered, we would have probably spent the next two hours sitting there getting our bearings right figuring out the best combination out of this mind boggling minefield of a menu for a late night dinner. It is a foodie haven for those looking for variety, featuring the best Hainanese cuisine in one shop, including beverages, desserts and bakery that is delicate and satisfying.
So, standing in front of us, a staff ushers us in and gives us a run through of what to do. Orders are through a QR coded ordering system on your handphone. Hey, what if I don’t own a smartphone? That’s just how much we take technology for granted and how quick high tech sets in for 2021. Guys, education is so important so hang in there and get properly educated or get tossed into oblivion before we can google the word “oblivion”. Next, we have to pay and part with some digital cash. Visa card number needs to be typed in, and then payment is a goodbye click away. Don’t like that part, why not Apple Pay or any equivalents? Why not good old cash if we pay for service charge. Yes. We are paying service charge here. What is the meaning of this? Full Service charged requires full service served. Where is the full service?
Instead, I am using my own rather hard earned smartphone, type in my own information, wasted my own time and my own effort to service my own self and get charged for doing all that my own self. Since when did it change to us doing all this manual work ourselves and we have to pay for our own service rendered back to ourselves. To that end, welcome to 2021! The most successful companies hire no staff. You can thank Uber and Airbnb for that.
So how did we roll? Curry looks great and can I especially mention the coffee with a slice of butter for those nights where you just feel unabashedly indulgent and the tremendously tasty accumulation of calorie count thereafter egging on the inner child in us to slurp in delicious like there’s no tomorrow.
Caffeine in the form of an exquisite beverage? Delightful! 12am on a newly belled Friday says nothing of the improper ingestion of a legal drug. Chug it down. Let it course through veins. Heart is thumping harder as we quaff more down. Satisfaction sets in like running my toes across deep pile carpets on a Rolls Royce Phantom. Sleep seems like a far fetched notion but hey, there is still now for now. Living in the present, remember the past, plan for the future and hope for the best execution. For there is no better time now than now.
Ten minutes later, food and drinks start appearing, brought by the waitress that sat us down. All this electronic wizardry sure is efficient. Witchcraft! Burn her at the stake! If our forefather’s alive.
So the food is quite a jump in tasty deliciousness from your normal hawker centre fare with a few exceptions. But ten minutes in, our taste bud gets used to the new norm and it becomes just good enough to fill up our tummy till breakfast. I think we should have ordered a variety rather than just a large serving of curry so a lesson learnt here. The portions were rather large so that makes any price seem worth it especially with a rather delectable dish.
Hopefully I won’t disrespect my usual kopitiam haunt tomorrow after getting used to this newly classy execution of local fare. But for now, the food in front of me is my new higher bar for good tasty Singapore to be savoured.
There’s more to just food here too, as we looked around and take in the decor, with the joint stuffing a photo opportunity booth into a corner to give customers a chance to promote the brand through social media. The red and pretty decor had this effect on everyone around us, whipping out selfies with little regard to any hot scalding food being delivered. Quite smart and effective, but since this place is so new, let’s see how far that hype goes.
What we thought was good: The food, the decor, the quickness.
What we thought was meh: The ordering method using QR code and using Visa to pay. Too much to do for paying that service charge.
Overall, pleasant experiences with quite a good vibe. Good crowd and the staff is doing a proper decent job. Nicely done decor and a given of good tasting food. Definitely worth coming back for a second visit, and definitely trying something new here after we hit reset and reboot back with an empty stomach.