I am not in Singapore. I was but am not currently. And the eatery’s name is I Am. Say it carefully and you might say Ayam (chicken).
Located in the now-hip area of the Arab street vicinity, it sits on the corner of cool Haji Lane and busy as heck North Bridge road. It has the usual industrial hipster boxes all ticked, dark and broody, ceiling fans, no air conditioning, and tables spilling out on to the little road that it sits alongside. The real draw to this place is the promise of tasty Western style halal food that has not been doused in cheap chilli sauce. I’d read about it on various blogs and it honestly looked good, and bonus! we can eat anything on the menu.
We were looking through the photos earlier today, and my son reminisces over our lunch there, to quote verbatim, he said, “the food was really nice there, I liked it, mummy. And the people were nice too!” He’s right, the food was decent, the prices were reasonable and the boy who I presume is head of the wait staff (what are they called? Maitre d’?) was particularly friendly and not in an overly contrived manner which is rare in sunny Singapore. We ordered a margherita pizza, a big bear burger, the fries in a cone, calamari rings, and hot wings.
My kids are pretty easy to please when eating out; the establishment has to be clean and the food straightforward. I Am ticked those boxes for them. But what really shone was the Maitre d’s attention. He was a lovely guy, and very friendly towards the children, he often came to our table to engage them, and us a little as well. He was able to make small talk and was chatty in a non-obtrusive way, a skill I find that many in Singapore’s service industry are lacking (obviously a sweeping generalisation there, but you know what I mean). Perhaps we’re shy? As for the food, from an adult’s point of view, it lacked a little something, but for the price point, the location, and the peace that comes with when the kids are stuffing their faces, I’d say it wasn’t too bad. The hot wings weren’t spicy in the least, was relatively tasty and reminded me of korean fried chicken, sticky, sweet and salty. The fries were coated, like wedges, and served with a giant dollop of mayonnaise in a cone cup, much like in Amsterdam (the inspiration behind the cafe’s name, and the theme of the menu it seems), except in Amsterdam the chips would be regular, uncoated. The calamari rings were fairly generic, and the burger, although not amazeballs, we finished. We did notice that the bread bun for the burger was not a mass made bun, it was a little misshapen, had the typical sweetness of proper burger buns that hold well against a patty, was toasted on the sliced sides, and with this we were impressed. Don’t know if they make this in-house, but props for trying to hold true to the ideals of an authentic burger. Plus it was pretty damn huge. So on a whole, not earth shattering stuff, but nothing to complain about either.
No, there was one thing. They used dried parsley flakes as a garnish on the wings and the pizza. Why would anyone do that??
I understand they are currently under renovation, but at this time of writing, they should be re-opening soon.