195 Pearl Hill Café: Smoky Satay + Butter-Roasted Cold Brew Near Chinatown

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You may know that Chinatown is a hub of mouthwatering good food in Singapore, but did you know that Pearl’s Hill—located just behind People’s Park Food Centre offers food options too?

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If you make the trek up Pearl’s Hill, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of 195 Pearl Hill Café, housed within Pearl’s Hill Terrace. This historical building used to be a police headquarters back in the 20th century, and it’s one of the longest pre-war civic buildings in existence.

195 Pearl Hill Café has a rather unique concept: they’ve brought together a number of heritage brands, in hopes of growing the community and keeping traditions alive.

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For one, Tiong Bahru Satay is helmed by their resident ‘Satay Man’, affectionately known as Ah Pui. He used to sell satay in the Tiong Bahru estate with his iconic wooden pushcart; a legend, if you will. Settling down from his nomadic business, he still serves up his famed handmade Hainanese pork satay at 195 Pearl Hill Café.

Food in Singapore is multi-cultural, much like the fare that Chef L (Sebastian Liu) offers. Handmaking his ingredients to nourish his diners’ souls, Chef L serves up innovative, localized dishes like kaya pizza, chilli padi pizza and chilli crab pasta.

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Every café needs coffee, and Rickshaw Coffee offers traditional coffeeshop-style kopi in drip form. A coffee delivery service founded by Benjamin Tan, Rickshaw Coffee offers tradition with a modern twist, for the young and the old.

195 Pearl Hill Café is doing their part too, with the current COVID-19 situation. They’ve introduced an aptly-named CB Menu for delivery. And yes, they deliver island-wide—how awesome is that?

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I tried the CB Three – Hoarder Happiness (S$42.90) for three to four pax, and delivery costs another additional S$10. I can already hear your groans of “Wah, delivery so expensive!”, but let’s be fair—they’ll deliver even if you stay in the far reaches of Punggol or Changi.

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If you’d like some thirst-quenchers, The Attic Fox (Mocktail) (S$7) comes in four different blends, all with pretty feminine names. I tried two—the Elizabeth, a smooth and refreshing elderflower chiller that’s light on the palate, and the Lydia, a surprisingly sour lime and lemongrass concoction that helps to beat the heat.

Coffee drinkers can take their pick of Ice Nanyang Latte (S$6) or Rickshaw Coldbrew (S$5.90). The Rickshaw Coldbrew really packed a strong, caffeinated punch—imagine getting kopi o kosong, gao (black coffee without sugar, extra strong) at the coffeeshop, but smoother, and with an almost buttery mouthfeel on the finish.

To mellow the robust flavours, the Ice Nanyang Latte brought together the best of butter-roasted coffee beans and steamed milk. The result is a rich brew with bittersweet, burnt caramel notes, lightened by milk.

Thirst slaked, let’s talk about the food.

The CB Three – Hoarder Happiness comes with one pasta (either Pomodoro Chicken or Spaghetti Bolognese Beef), Grilled Chicken Quinoa Salad With Honey Mustard Sauce, Grilled Chicken Sandwich, and 15 Hainanese Pork Skewers with handmade peanut sauce and pineapple puree.

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The star of the show was definitely the Hainanese Pork Skewers.

Smoky, juicy and tender, each skewer came with a delightful layer of fats that simply melted in my mouth.

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I like my peanut sauce chunky, and the handmade sauce from Tiong Bahru Satay did not disappoint. Fragrant nutty notes dominated the palate, with good crunch from the peanut bits. You could also try enjoying the satay with the pineapple puree for more tartness.

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The Pomodoro Chicken Pasta came with sauce on the side—in a cup, so don’t mistake it for coffee as I almost did. The upside is that the pasta remained al dente and springy!

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Depending on how far you stay from Chinatown, you might want to heat up the dish before eating. The sauce was actually still warm when it arrived, so I just poured it over the pasta and popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds.

I liked how prominent the tomato flavour was in the sauce; it wasn’t overly sweet, though some may find the sourness overwhelming. Paired with grilled chicken chunks and the pasta, this made for a simple, hearty meal.

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For a healthier choice, the Grilled Chicken Quinoa Salad With Honey Mustard Sauce hits the right spots. Served with fresh lettuce, cherry tomatoes, corn, juicy grilled chicken chunks and a healthy portion of quinoa, it’s tasty and wholesome.

Do add in the honey mustard sauce, for warm spicy notes that add more sweetness to the salad.

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For those who prefer sandwiches, the Grilled Chicken Sandwich comes in a hearty portion—I actually couldn’t finish it on my own. A substantial chunk of grilled chicken was sandwiched between fluffy ciabatta with crispy edges, with melted cheese oozing from the sides.

It comes with shoestring fries, but since I left it out for while I was taking photos, it started to get a little soggy. If you have an air-fryer at home, I’d recommend popping the fries in for a short while, just to crisp them.

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During this ‘Circuit Breaker’ period, you can also consider getting a bulk order of 100 sticks of Tiong Bahru Satay for S$80.90—delivered frozen, for you to grill at your convenience.

And all of you caffeine monsters (myself included) can enjoy heritage coffee with Rickshaw Coffee Bags (S$12.30). Indonesian robusta beans are caramelised with sugar and butter, and each resealable bag comes with 15 pyramid bags of coffee. Easy to brew, and just as tasty.

If you’re still deciding what to get delivered for lunch or dinner, why not give 195 Pearl Hill Café a go? Definitely get the satay, and more sticks too, because you wouldn’t want to be fighting over the last skewer.

Expected Damage: S$15 – S$20 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

195 Pearl Hill Cafe

195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace, #01-156, Singapore 168976

Our Rating 4/5

195 Pearl Hill Cafe

195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace, #01-156, Singapore 168976

Telephone: +65 9676 2079
Operating Hours: 11am - 8pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun
Telephone: +65 9676 2079

Operating Hours: 11am - 8pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun