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C-Nai Hong Kong Cafe

12 July 2008

This is going to be a special write-up because it's about one of my favourite restaurants and to me, the best Hong Kong-styled cafes here in sunny Singapore. Other than C-Nai, there's the larger Xin Wang Hong Kong Cafe chain (see: I, II and III), Man Jia Le Full House (see I), Tong Shui Cafe (see I and II), Bugis' Wong Kok Char Chan Teng, Orchard and Vivocity's Central HK Cafe etc etc. Yet to me, C-Nai somehow reigns over these other HK restaurants, which is proving to be more and more popular with Singaporeans.

And a la Russell Crowe in the movie Gladiator, C-Nai too believes that "There is only ONE Hong Kong Cafe", there is no one else other than itself apparently. C-Nai boasts quite a few television and magazine reviews and is truly worth a shot, even if you're not exactly a fan of HK-style food. Unless you're from Hong Kong like my friend, who believes Singapore can never replicate the real deal haha. I've never been to Hong Kong though, so this is probably the closest I could get.

This is me and Daphne's first visit to the Novena branch. We used to frequent the Marine Parade and East Coast branches, but Novena's so much closer to her place.

They've revised their menu a bit, seems to have lesser choices now, but still soooooo many dishes to choose from. Don't be fooled by the store's menu about prices from $2 though, typically with a standard main course like fried rice, a side and a drink would cost around $15 per person. And that's what we had =)

I've added two photos for three dishes because they come from my N73 (the orangey ones - but restaurant front pics by my N73 too) and the girlfriend's E900. We forgot to take out her Lumix, probably because we were too hungry?

(237) Hot and Spicy Seafood Fried Rice: 8.5/10

Some might feel this is a far too high rating but man, I love it! Nice slices of fish, bits of squid and prawns to spicy fried rice, which I added more oomph with the sambal chilli provided on the table. Ahhh.... YUMMY!

(231) Cafe Fried Rice: 7.6/10

Daphne impressed me no end with how much she is willing to "sacrifice" for this blog. She initially wanted to eat the same Hot & Spicy Seafood Fried Rice, but after I remarked that that would be one less thing to blog about, she immediately chose something else. Sweet,

Thankfully, she liked what she had too, though I couldn't taste it because it has chinese sausages and char siew, which are both pork. Like me, she added the sambal chilli provided for that spicy zest to her food.

(609) Deep Fried Squid with Spicy Crispy Garlic: 8.3/10

We were flirting with the idea of ordering this because it sounded tasty. We decided not to because it might be too heavy a lunch. And then we saw another table tucking in to it, and I bolted for the piece of paper, scribbled the dish number on it (if you haven't realised, it's the number preceding the dish name) and handed it to the waitress. It came just in time together with our fried rice, and was a splendid side dish.

This had a unique taste because of the mix of fried garlic and chilli. So while you're chewing on the crispy calamari, you've got the garlic and chilli adding oomphloads to the taste. We might be sooooo full after the meal, but it was worth it ;)

(22) Iced Blended "Perfect" Float: 7/10
(57) House Brewed Iced Peach Tea: 6/10

SO MUCH FOR "DIETING". I didn't expect us to order the calamari, so decided to pamper myself with the ice-blend, which came with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream as well. There goes the forty laps. It's called "Perfect" because it's what chinese call "yuan yang", "yin-yang" sorta thing, and is an even combination of milk tea and coffee. I felt the taste was a tad lost in the ice and ice-cream. It was however considerably much less sweeter than the iced peach tea, which Daphne frowned on and thought was really far too sweet and concentrated.

The staff were pretty quick on their feet, but we waited quite a while for the food to arrive. It wasn't very packed on a Friday lunchtime though, but I heard this place (as with it's other two branches) is much more popular for dinners.

Hot and Spicy Seafood Fried Rice: $7.80
Cafe Fried Rice: $7.80
Deep Fried Squid with Spicy Crispy Garlic: $6.80
House Brewed Iced Peach Tea: $3.00
Iced Blended "Perfect" Float: $3.80
(exclusive of the usual 10% service charge and 7% gst)

275 Thomson Road, Novena Ville (opp Novena Church)
Also: 378 East Coast Road (opp Caltex petrol station) and
1000 East Coast Park (next to McDonald's).

Additional Comments
Opening Hours:
Novena Ville (opp Novena Church): 11.30am - 11.30pm
East Coast Road (opp Caltex petrol station): 6.00pm - 3.00am
East Coast Park (next to McDonald's): 12.00pm - 12.00am

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