40 Hands, another joint within the Spa Esprit stable, is located at Yong Siak Street, a newly gentrified area of Tiong Bahru that now also hosts Books Actually and Strangelets. Unfortunately that also means that it’s pretty crowded on weekends with the cool, chi-chi set. When we were there at 10.45 am on Sunday, the last table available was a tiny one partially blocked by a pillar, and about two inches from the adjacent table.
Food-wise, I must admit that we came here pretty much on a whim, so I didn’t have time to do much research on what their specialties were. We only remembered cousin L telling us about their tau sar pau. Yes, apparently they get these made specially for them, so it’s not Khong Guan or anything like that.
At $2.50 each, these are quite pricey as far as tau sar paus go, but damn they’re good. They’re quite big, around 5 inches in diameter, and super soft and fluffy. They also don’t skimp on the tau sar filling, which is very smooth, refined, and just sweet enough. Sure they don’t come cheap, but I always maintain that if you’re going to indulge in something, anything, it might as well be a good version of it.
A ordered the salmon hash, which was completely unlike what we expected. Somehow I assumed that it would be a salmon version of a corned beef hash, i.e. with shredded potato. This was 2 slices of bread, served with a watery chowder of salmon and potatoes. Quite underwhelming.
Mine fared much better. I ordered the Eggs Cocotte, which had baby spinach, sautéed mushrooms and mushroom duxelles (a kind of mushroom paste), topped with two poached eggs. I think traditional Eggs Cocotte entail the eggs being baked in a dish together with the ingredients, so this was definitely a somewhat deconstructed version. Pretty tasty though, mainly due to the very flavourful mushroom duxelles.
The coffee here is good, so that coupled with the awesome tau sar paus will probably keep me coming back. Not sure if the food is worth jostling with the crowds for, so maybe once I get my ass back to yoga a few doors down, A can wait for me here and reward me with a hard-earned tau sar pau after my practice…
Great service. Great tau sar paus. Great coffee. But...
It’s very crowded, there’s a propensity for trendy posers and the stuff’s not cheap. And the brunch items are totally not worth it.
We’ll be back at some point to try the other menu items though.
78 Yong Siak Street
#01-12 (opposite Strangelets)
Tuesdays, Sundays: 8.30 am to 6.30 pm
Wednesdays, Thursdays: 8.30 am to 10 pm
Fridays, Saturdays: 8.30 am to 11 pm