Like going back in time and stepping in to an old Singapore; so surreal, with hints of nostalgia.
Tian Kee & Co is nestled within the old estate of Dakota, and its rural setting exudes an old charm that is so rare in the present Singapore. When we first drove past the unassuming block of low-rise flats, we saw a lovely sight – simple but traditional-looking monochrome signboard, wooden high table and seats, and ceiling fans. We knew we were going to like this retro concept.
It is a small space that is carefully decorated with bits of antiques and blasts from the past. Slow tunes from the 60’s are on the loop. Casual diners fill the little retro café, and a team of warm servers just doing their jobs quietly.
Diners can help themselves to the jars of retro candies that sit atop the cashier, and the self-service water station comes in the form of a traditional bread stand that spots a faded shade of orange and some traces of rust.
We settled down with a slice of Yuan Yang Cheesecake (S$6.50) and some coffee. Cake was decent, but coffee was mediocre. Still, Tian Kee & Co is evidently well-loved. Maybe we would go back for its All Day Breakfast (S$14.90), Tian Kee Eggs Benedict (S$14.90) or Rempah Curry Chicken (S$14.90).
Dakota is one of the last few rural estates in Singapore, but it is to go en-bloc and rebuilt. It is quite a shame, for the area boasts an untouched and traditional charm amidst our cosmopolitan city with nothing but high-rise buildings. That said, Tian Kee & Co will still be around till the end of 2016.
Tian Kee & Co
12 Dakota Crescent #01-48
Tue to Sun: 9am – 11pm
Nearest Station: Mountbatten