Several floors high above the hawker stands (and several degrees lower in temperature), Kopi Tiam in Swissotel The Stamford consistently draws crowds for their true-to-form Singaporean cuisine. And we’re not talking just hotel guests and tourists. This City Hall area eatery has stolen many a local’s heart (and stomach) from the local hawker!
It takes a lot to sway local palates from hawker fare (and hawker prices), but Kopi Tiam rises to the challenge. With no-frills yet refined décor, the restaurant channels the humble hawker with notes of nostalgia: stacked cups and coffee pots, antique-treated furnishings and a complete lack of white table cloths and chandeliers that are often hotel staples. The ambiance is chatty and breezy, somewhat helped along by the air con that does wonders for the dining experience.
Nonetheless the cuisine is resolutely authentic, including Tahu Telor, Fish Maw and a lip-smackingly good Chicken Rice. There’s little to no “fusion” or “interpretation” going on here, but rather honest-to-goodness local gastronomy. It’s an ideal spot to introduce out of towners to our multicultural melting pot of a cuisine, but it’s also great when you crave local dishes but need a bit more ambiance for the occasion. Prices, though not hawker-esque, are certainly reasonable for the quality of ingredients use in the cooking. In all, Kopi Tiam will make us think twice before scoffing at hotel versions of beloved local cuisine. (Jun 2014)