I visited Bistro One Zero Three and Jacob's Cafe for dinner within one day of each other. Both seem to sport similar decor, although Jacob's Cafe seems to exude a more homely feel. The dinner crowd is also substantially larger at Jacob's, thanks to its better placed location and more extensive menu. Reservations are highly recommended.
Our ravenous party of 4 started off by ordering a mixed seafood platter, (SGD23.90) comprising battered calamari, fries, fish fillet and scallops. It was an instant crowd pleaser - sinfully satisfying in a cheap greasy kind of way.
Hubby's borscht soup (SGD4.90) arrived next. It didn't look like soup to me, with a deep red paste-like consistency. Nonetheless, it must have been good as he slurped the whole bowl up.
For main courses, we ordered baked macaroni (SGD14.90), mutton stew (SGD10.20), beef stew (SGD10.20) and steak kidney pie (SGD18.90). First to arrive was the mutton stew, which the server mistakenly identified as beef stew. It was prepared Chinese style, braised in a herbal soup with bits of diced chilli and black fungus. We were a little befuddled by its appearance but enjoyed the tenderness of the meat and the richness of the broth.
My order of baked macaroni was greeted with oohs and aahs. It was stacked like a lasagne and a sight to behold, brimming with the aroma of melted cheese and smothered with a generous serving of minced beef drenched in tangy tomato paste. Every bite left us craving for more. This is definitely one of the best versions of baked macaroni I have eaten.
Since I'm not much of a pie person, I wasn't harboring very high expectations of the steak kidney pie. This pie however looked like it was baked with love, sporting a lovely golden brown crust and piping hot creamy interior. I couldn't resist taking a nibble and immediately felt a sense of contentment wash over me. The cubed mushroom and chicken pieces were one with the creamy sauce and blended perfectly with the buttery goodness of the crisp pastry crust. My only (personal) grouse was the addition of kidney in this dish- I absolutely cannot stand the taste of innards.
And then we waited for our final dish- the purported "mutton stew" to arrive.
After 15 mins, we sensed something was amiss and quickly caught the attention of our server. It was only then that we realized that the "beef stew" earlier served to us was actually "mutton stew". If we wanted beef stew, we would have to wait another 5 mins for them to prepare the dish.
As we were not hard pressed for time, we decided to oblige. 5 mins later, we were duly rewarded with a steaming bowl of the real Mc Coy, complete with yummy stewed carrots, potatoes and fork tender beef. Eaten with a crusty baguette, this definitely felt like the ultimate comfort food. However, as everyone was feeling a little too full by then, we struggled a little to finish this dish.
The menu also features an extensive range of juices, drinks (alcoholic and non alcoholic) as well as desserts (cheesecakes, ice cream sundaes etc). Unfortunately, they tend to border on the pricey side (a can of bitter lemon soda cost me SGD4.40!) The upside however is that the restaurant does not charge for service and GST.
In terms of "soul" factor, Jacob's definitely trumps Bistro One Zero Three. Food is hearty, servers are sincere and the vibe feels right. Just remember to come with the same laid back casual attitude and you've got yourself a great night out!
In a subsequent visit, Hubby and I ordered the Chinese style roasted pork knuckle to share. It was delicious and a steal at just until 30 bucks for a set (even comes with complimentary soup and soft drink). Hubby and I were practically fighting over the rinds of crackly skin. The pork slices were infused with a slight herbal flavor (somewhat like five spice powder), which might be an acquired taste for some. We also thoroughly enjoyed the generous side servings of thick crisp fries and steamed vegetables.
Blk 5, Changi Village Road
Tel: 6542 7500