As Jurong East and Boon Lay have no lack of shopping centres, finding a restaurant to dine in is as easy as ABC, which might be a reason why cafes avoid Jurong area. And just when I thought the area is highly lacking in cafes/bistros, Jurong East (Street 31) pops out one cafe which probably makes people living nearby really excited!
“The Usual Place”, for Chinese it probably translates to 老地方, not to be confused with the vegetarian restaurant though. It’s opened by a group of youngsters who probably have hit the jackpot by opening the cafe there. We went around lunch time, 1pm+ and there was quite a crowd! Though we didn’t have to wait much for a seat, but if the business continues to bloom, I’m sure the stools outside will be put to good use.
The place looks really comfy with dim lights, during the afternoon, the sun light shines through the glass windows. You are required to order through the counter after looking through their menu, free drinks and sauces are available nearby. If you could notice, tissue papers are also provided at the counter, so don’t hesitate to take one in case you need it later.
The walls are decorated with decals, tables are small, but ample enough to place 3-4 plates of food?
The first dish we ordered was the Calamari (S$6.50), well, it had the chef’s recommendation icon beside it, so the verdict? It’s crispy, the sotong/squid was springy and not too tough. The batter was actually really nice as it wasn’t too salty to overpower everything. The portion was also generous for the price, you probably need to pay $10 at a decent restaurant? I only wished there was more mayonnaise for me to dip in, just a personal preference (=
Next on the Chef’s recommendation list was what’s trending recently, everything with salted egg sauce, ta-dah! Salted Egg Prawn Pasta (S$12.90)! I first tried a similar rendition of this dish at Petite Menu @ Lavendar AQueen Hotel, which was using Soft Shell Crab with Sakura Ebi prawns (but since then their standard dropped). So I was excited to try this dish to see how it fares!
First thing I noticed was the size of the prawns was pretty big and it’s all peeled (I hate peeling prawns). The aroma of the salted egg yolk makes me wanna try this dish straight away, haha. Anyway, the sauce was creamy and fragrant, compared to Petite Menu’s version, I felt the sauce could have been reduced a little more to make it thicker, so it sticks to the spaghetti better, this one’s creamier.
One thing to note, spicy lovers might notice the menu indicate this dish to be spicy, but there’s actually only a hint of spiciness in it, so don’t expect flaming levels here. Having said that, it also means everyone can take this dish, it’s not gonna burn your tongue or something.
The next main course was their Prime Sirloin Steak (S$16.90), their priciest dish on the menu, yes, their most expensive dish doesn’t even set you back above S$20!
My boyfriend estimates it to be around 180-200gm, so that’s quite a reasonable portion of steak for that price. Should you read on the menu that it comes with roasted potatoes, do note that they have since changed to french fries, seasonal vegetables remains. The black pepper sauce was nice, fries was crispy, nothing much we can complain here.
The most important point was it was cooked to the done-ness that was requested, as sometimes when you request for Medium-Rare, it usually comes Medium-Done. I don’t eat beef for religion reasons, but from the photo below, it should tell you everything. It was commented that the skin could have been seared for a longer time to be more crispy.
And we ordered something else which had Chef’s recommendation again, after seeing so many people ordering this, a drink. Yuzu with Mint (S$4.00). A really refreshing drink with the sweetness of yuzu and hint of mint taste. As you can see, they really give plenty of mint leaves, if you would like a minty taste, you should use the stainless steel spoon to crush the leaves more, though it’s also provided so you can scoop the yuzu bits at the bottom.
So westies, would I recommend this cafe? Yeah, why not? For the price, you do get a fair quality of food there, plus an ambience among the neighbourhood. Certainly worth a trip if you’re staying nearby. It’s quite near to Jurong West too actually, and a walk from Chinese Garden MRT station.
The Usual Place
Blk 346 Jurong East St. 31, #01-73
Tel: 6425 1517
Tuesdays to Sundays:
11AM to 3:30PM
5.30PM to 10PM
Closed on Mondays