Both of us graduated in 1999. Though we have been together since, the number of times we had lunch together on a working day is less than the fingers on my one hand. There are various reasons but the key one would be that of different timing issue between us.
Last Thursday, we had our very rare chance to lunch together without the kids. We wanted something nicer than hawker fare but not that expensive. A quick google revealed more than several cafes within Ang Mo Kio town and we quickly decided on one that I have long heard of but never patronized before. We decided to check out Next Door Deli, a cafe along Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 which is owned and run by their next door, famous but humble old school bakery – The Pine Garden’s Cake. The neighbourhood bakery has been around for decades and makes a mean selection of tasty cakes and pastries for sale. We have made several orders for children’s birthday cake over the past few years too.
The premises of Next Door Deli is small and cosy with a few alfresco dining tables along the corridor. The main entrance is simply furbished with a row of 70s grilles above the door and windows. The designer had probably tastefully retained the original fitting when the owners took over the old shop house premises. With a full house during lunch time, it was a tight maneuver trying to get to the only 2 seats available at 1pm. The selection on the menu was not big but instead great variety consisting of Asian Wok-fried Laksa and Meesiam, Korean K-Pork Rice, to Italian Pasta and American burger and grills is being served daily.
Next Door Deli is half self-service cafe as I spotted my hubby expertly helping himself navigating through the picking up of cutleries and helped me with the drink selection immediately after he placed order, evident that he must have been visiting the place with colleagues.
The cafe interior was cluttered with tables and various stations for self-help with the ordering, cutleries, dessert fridge, canned and home-made cold drinks as well as hot beverages straight from the machine. The range available for dessert and beverages include part of set meal selection and additional top-up for premium selections. I love the feel of the mosaic tiles in various shades of blue as a feature wall next to the cashier.
I could not make the decision over the Wok-Fried Laksa or Wok-Fried Meesiam, for both looked very good on the menu and their names are fighting each other to call out to me. Don’t know why, but I ended up ordering the K-Pork Rice which looked equally good. With the sublimal pressure to quickly place my order because hubby was in a rush, I regretted my decision for a short and wondered if I should have ordered my Laksa or Meesiam.
Even though we were issued a pager for food collection when our order is ready, one of the cafe staff very helpfully brought over our food as some of the diners have left the cafe by the time our food was served and they were less busy by then. Typical of an efficient eatery with on-the-ball staff, I was impressed by the speed at which order was churned out (probably took them about 10 min at peak hour) and the tables were also promptly cleaned and set up for the next diner.
K-Pork Rice, $8.80
When my order came, I was quickly bought over by the dish presentation when my K-Pork was served. Everything looked perfect from the sunny egg to the accompanying lettuce except for the Korean Kimchi which I generally have not acquired the taste for. It was very sour and I really don’t know if Kimchi is supposed to be that sour. I didn’t touch it after the first taste. Other than that, it was a bull’s eye hit over the selection of my main course. I was a happy diner that day with soft and tender Korean pork that is so easy to bite I bet my little didi who does not like to chew on meat would not reject the serving too. The sunny egg was cooked just the way I prefer my yolk to be and I spooned them out to drizzle over the fragrant rice. For a moment, I nearly wanted to request for some premium dark soya sauce to go with the rice!
Grilled Chicken Steak, $7.80
Hubby ordered his favourite grilled chicken steak with a side of a chunky serving of garlic bread, mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. While he loved everything on the plate, he found the insides of the mashed potato a little too dry and also had to share his chicken and garlic bread with his greedy wife. >.< The savoury grilled chicken steak was done just perfectly with a crispy skin and succulent meat. I would gladly feed the children this piece of protein than a bowlful of rice.
For an additional amount of S$2.50 with any main course ordered, we got to enjoy a FULL MEAL with drink plus a dessert as well. Check out the Lemongrass Green Tea and Zesty Lime with Plum, both of which are in-house concoction that are worth a punch. The dessert-of-the-day was Vanilla Chiffon Cake or Chocolate Eclair. I would have opted for further top up $1.30 to get a slice of blueberry cheese cake but I could not pack it away and expect to eat it comfortably while on the go.
We were in such a hurry that I chose to pack my giant eclair for tea-break than to swallow the whole thing without a slightest bit of enjoyment after a good meal. In the end, jiejie was the one who enjoyed the sweet eclair and was eagerly searching for the crunchy chocolate balls within the chocolate mousse.
For the price without service charge or GST, I would say that both the food quality and quantity is value for money. I will certainly return again but most likely will time myself out of crazy lunch hours.
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~ SAys! Shirley 🙂
About Next Door Deli
Full Menu here