Love the ad. Should go there for a new year.


Image Source:

Image Source:

I met a lovely scene this morning.

I saw a couple with a child. The child, she was about 10.

They walked into a café where I was working on my book.

The couple came in smiling and holding hands.

Spontaneously, they very lightly pecked each other on the lips.

Their daughter  was looking at them. She was smiling most delightedly.

This is what all kids should see of their parents growing up.

I met a lovely scene this morning.

(Important Update: Oregano’s is closed for good as of 25th December 2009. See this.)

I was born in Singapore but the first 10 years of my life, we lived in Kobe, Japan. The family came back to Singapore in 1976 when I was a kid and our first rented place was on Frankel Avenue. I’ve always been a Katong person having gone to school in St. Stephen’s and St. Patrick’s.

Back then, on Frankel Avenue, the only thing I could remember was a provision store called Yeo Brother’s which after many, many years has sadly folded. For many years, there was a row of shop houses on Frankel Avenue where nothing much really happened while just around the corner, Siglap was morphing into a Holland Village/Serangoon Gardens kind of situation.

Over the last few years though, there has been some major food activity on Frankel Avenue with Different Tastes (an eclectic collection of local food), Baba Inn (Peranakan), Cedele (Sandwiches and Coffee), Swiss Baeckerei (er, a Swiss Bakery), Gourmet Plus (European Bistro), Blue Lobster (Continental /French Seafood) and now the latest addition, which is a small, cute hole in a wall Pizza/Sandwich joint called Oregano’s.

Sample Page of Menu

Sample Page of Menu

(click pictures to enlarge)

It just opened on Tuesday, 14th April, a day later than planned and is run by a couple, Augustine and Charlene and another friend, Justina. I live very near there so I watched it being renovated with interest. My interest was further piqued when they brought in their coffee machine which was quite impressive. It is hard to get really good “ang moh” style coffee in the East so I was looking forward to it. (Lots of great local coffee though in the East though).

Anyway, I went there today for lunch and I was very impressed.

Smoked Salmon and Rocket Sandwich on Walnut Bread

Smoked Salmon and Rocket Sandwich on Walnut Bread

The Sandwich Opened

The Sandwich Opened

(click to enlarge)

I had a smoked salmon with rocket sandwich with walnut bread and an expresso. The meal was under S$10. For what I got, that was great value. Next door, Cedele has a sandwich/coffee set meal at S$10 but the quality and quantity of the sandwich I had far surpasses that of Cedele. Now, Cedele has good coffee as they moved to organic fair-trade coffee beans last year but Oregano’s is better. Only one slight problem is that it wasn’t hot enough. However, when I mentioned that to Augustine, there were no excuses and he said yeah, they are getting the machine tuned. I appreciate that kind of honestly.

But bottom line is that if all their food is of the quality, quantity and cost of what I had, it’s definitely great value for money and I’ll certainly go there again. An added benefit is that off road parking is free because it is by and large a residential area.

On a side note, these guys also have another outlet called Herbs & Spices which is interestingly, “Authentic Italian and Indian Cuisine” at Orchard School Campus Café plus Canteen, on 1 Lorong J Telok Kurau. I’ve never been there so I have nothing to say about that yet.

But yeah, highly recommended. At the moment, they only have 3 small tables and they are planning to double that but still, it’s quite small. So if it picks up as I’m sure it will, it may be hard to get a table.

Oh yes, one more thing. They are at the moment sourcing for the appropriate house wine and according to Augustine, they will charge anywhere between S$4 and S$6 for a glass of house pour. Again, that’s great value.

So yeah, check it out.


113 Frankel Avenue

Singapore 458230

Tel: 62529038

Opening Hours:

Tuesday to Friday – 11am to 10pm (No Pizza Available on Tuesdays)

Saturday and Sunday – 7am to 10pm (Breakfast available on Weekends)

Closed on Mondays


Update: 16th April 2009 – Went back next day with my sister and family. My bro in law had two sandwiches which he said was very good and my sis the Margarita Pizza. The good was that as usual, they were generous with their ingredients but we both felt that while the crust was nice and thin, it could have been a bit crispier and blistered (wood fired type) but the crust was a bit on the softish side. But still, for what you pay, great value. Mind you, they have been opened for 3 days so I’m sure it’ll take a few weeks before they get everything down pat.

Update: 22nd April 2009 – they fixed the pizza crust issue. It’s now nicely crisp and blistered.

Update: 23rd April 2009 – more food pictures from Oregano’s

Kahlua Tiramisu

Kahlua Tiramisu

Salad Caprese

Salad Caprese

The lady above is one of the owners, Justina, shaking up the Italian Juice for us. She’s wearing her trademark “Lucky Cap”. She always has that on.

And this is Chef Augustine.

Click any of the pictures to enlarge.

One Sunday, driving back from church, I decided to take an alternative route and drove back home through Guillemard Road. As I was approaching the corner at which I would turn right to go home, I caught a glimpse of a little restaurant called Little Vietnam in Grandlink Square and made a mental note to check it out.

That very night, I had dinner with CWF and decided to go there.

Firstly, due to its location, we were expecting shall we say a fairly base place like the Vietnamese joints along Joo Chiat. Initially, we wanted to sit outside al fresco but due to the presence of many stray cats (my dinner companion has a cat phobia), we decided to sit inside. We were actually surprised with the interior decor. It was café-like with a book shelf in the corner with design books and a whole stack of magazines. The place was entirely run by young Vietnamese men and women.

The menu had its usual suspects like rice paper rolls, Phở , salads and a whole host more. The prices were most reasonable with a bowl of Phở going at $5. For $1, you could add extra beef which I would recommend because they are quite sparing with the amount of beef in a $5 bowl. As Phở should, it comes with a plate of bean sprouts, chilli, onions, basil, etc. Rice paper rolls were fairly good and a plate cost only $3.

Bowl of Phở

Bowl of Phở

Little Vietnam does not charge GST or service charge so as far as prices go, what you see in the menu is what you pay. We also had morning glory (kind of kang kong, I think) with beef which was excellent and this one I will surely repeat. Dessert was Vietnamese chendol (which includes yellow beans as opposed to our usual red beans). A pint of Tiger, $4.50.

Fried Spring Rolls

Fried Spring Rolls

The whole meal which included:

1. Bowl of Combination Beef Phở with extra beef

2. Bowl of Regular Phở

3. Fried Spring Roll

4. Rice Paper Roll

5. Morning glory with beef

6. Pint of Tiger

cost around $32 all in.

Rice Paper Rolls

Rice Paper Rolls

Fried Morning Glory (?) with Beef

Fried Morning Glory (?) with Beef

How was the food? Decent but not the best Vietnamese food in the world, I’d admit.

Would I go again? Surely.

Why would I go there again?

Decent food, great prices and I love these hidden gems in off the beaten track sort of locations. And with all the Vietnamese twenty-somethings (I’m guessing) running it and the surprising setting and decor, it made me feel I was on holiday. 🙂

Little Vietnam Restaurant and Café

511 Guillemard Road #01-25 Grandlink Square

Singapore 399849

Tel:   +65 65478587  

Note to photographers: Pictures taken with my Olympus point and shoot. I broke my 50mm f1.4 and haven’t got it repaired yet 😦. Lighting inside at night is dim so bring a fast lens or a flash. I think you’ll be sorted above 800 ISO and a large aperture of 1.4 and above though. Should be okay during the day.