The 37-year-old Prince Coffee House
is named after the now-defunct Prince Cinema at Shaw Towers. Today, they are a
household Hainanese western food brand all on their own. They began life in Shaw
Towers and stayed for 13 years before moving to Coronation Plaza at Bukit Timah
for the next 21. They have been roosting at Beach Road for the last 3 years.
For those of a certain golden era,
you will remember the grandeur that once adorned their old interior at Shaw
Towers. Well, it’s all gone now, but the soul and spirit of the food culture
remain. It’s the same familiar cosiness and air of warmth that you’ll find the
moment you step in. It’s something that is clearly missing in most of the
modern eateries of today. Mr Jimmy Lim, the owner, is usually the first person
to welcome you. He has been with the Coffee House since 1977, and he used to be
the Head Waiter before he bought the business with his partners when the
original owner retired. His enthusiasm reminds me of a fatherly figure who is
eager, warm and confident. He beamed when I regaled tales about my meals at
their old Shaw Tower outlet, especially about their famous Chicken Pie.
Today, they still serve the same dishes
on the same Pyrex plates, using the same type of table mats just like before.
My personal favourites are their Stewed Ox Tail ($23), Beef Horfun ($6.80) and
still, their iconic Chicken Pie ($7.50). Although prices are naturally steeper
now, they still offer affordable set lunches from $8.80+ from Mondays to
Fridays (11 am to 3 pm.)
Their Stewed Ox Tail is impressive. The
slow-cooking process softens the meat and nicely breaks the fats. They serve it
with boiled potatoes and blanched vegetables accompanied by the rich brown gravy.
It warmed me comfortably so to no end. I wondered what took me so long for this
You would often expect to find Beef
Horfun at such Hainanese western joints but, not this good. Their old Hainanese
Chef, who has been at it with them since the 70s, is still rocking and lording
over the kitchen. Good quality beef is used with the horfun. The former was
perfectly cooked to gain the desired tenderness. The latter was skilfully
charred. The smokey and distinct wok hei (or wok fired aroma) is present. This
is probably one of the best Beef Horfun in Singapore.
Their Chicken Pie, as you would know
by now, brought back warm memories for me. Though it is squarish and much
larger in size, the taste is still the same. The filling consists of chunky
pieces of chicken meat together with potato cubes and some carrot bits with a
layer of flaky pastry over it.
Mr Lim mentioned that their business
has been brisk and that their old customers are still visiting regularly with some
new, younger customers. During our chat, he caught sight of a regular customer;
he quickly walked over to greet her by name and I overheard him asking, ‘I
haven’t see you for a while, how have you been?’ That is an old school warmth
that hardly exists in today’s service culture. I could feel that decades-long
passion is still residing in Mr Lim.
PRINCE COFFEE HOUSE
249 Beach Road Singapore 189757
Opening Hours: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm