02 | All means necessary.

Necessary ProvisionsIt was just a day like any other. Roads are paved and re-paved. Buildings climb without rest. Yet it also marks a step into a new year, ushering in a new beginning of renewed expectations and rekindled resolutions. Parents studiously pack their children’s schoolbags and iron their uniforms, once more pinning their hopes for the future in the generation they have brought forth to nurture.

It’s the time of the year again, journalists, bloggers, and just about everyone else become strangely obsessed with making lists. I have found it perplexing how we readily accept and find comfort in such lists.

“5 things you’ll learn being a waiter,”

“10 ways to change your life for the better,”

“100 best places to find The One.”

I can’t say I’m the least interested to glance through such articles, but it intrigues me how rarely do we question their provenance, and by association, their credibility. Perhaps it isn’t necessary, especially when we find ourselves in satisfying agreement with some, if not all, of the points expressed. I’m not pointing to particular websites like Thought Catalog; besides, if responsibility was to be sought, readers shouldn’t be taking any less blame than writers, for it’s simply an issue of supply and demand.

This market of encouragement, borderline self-delusion, and eager persuasion is a testament of our taste for injecting meaning into the most mundane things, not excluding ‘special’ days like yesterday. While I can’t bring myself to enjoy such comfort with full conviction, I am no less guilty of following the fad by associating life as a pursuit of dreams.

Dreams, they can be such powerful symbols of our persistence, yet they can feel so hollow at the same time. After all, they are mere figments of thought, perhaps wishful-thinking. Embracing them is an implicit recognition that the future is ‘less’ pre-determined than the past (because our present actions are capable of driving us to our intended destinations), or that there is meaning in any form of pursuit, regardless of the actual destination. The former reason calls for pure faith, believing that what we do now will get us there some day. The latter demands more, because it means for us to accept that hollow as the very nature of dreams and strive endlessly into the future.

Whatever the reason is, we will continue our tireless march towards our ideals; it’s the only way forward. And along this grand arrow of time, there is little harm in finding sanctuary, ascribing meanings to the tiniest details in those brief yet special moments. The turqoise cups atop the Spirit Duette, the aptly imperfect tulip on my latte, and the expressive sour tinges of the blood-orange yoghurt cake. The setting of Necessary Provisions inspires the idea of a transient breathe in a dying gasp peace in the relentless chaos, with its lengthy glass windows overlooking the quiet neighbourhood and a vintage fixie-bike surviving the passing of time. Hospitable service, nutty bread, and untamed mustard made my beef pastrami sandwich ever more delicious. Add a chance encounter with a formal colleague, and you have the recipe to concoct a work-free day without complains. What a great way to start a new year!

Hojicha Karigane Cold Brew
Hojicha Karigane Cold Brew

Necessary Provisions
21 Eng Kong Terrace
Singapore 598993
T: 9231 7920


01 | Hummingbirds and Pomegranates.

It’s the last Sunday of the year, and how beautiful it has been. Well, that’s not quite the whole truth. In fact, it started with an upset stomach, but I wouldn’t want to miss an end-of-year lunch with my colleagues. I took a tablet of ultra-carbon, braved the great outdoors, and headed down to Spathe, a diner along Mohamed Sultan Road, just off Clarke Quay. 


I’ve heard about Spathe a few months back, and the concept of communal dining seemed novel. Gone are the days looking for decent places for large-group gatherings. They serve “Mammoth Signatures” to share between a big family. Confit pork puffs, one-metre-long hotdogs, and a huge paellera worth of… you guessed it, paella. However, with some slight over-sight, the much-awaited sharing dishes were not available for weekend brunch, and we almost had to make do with the standard fare of brunch items. Eggs Benedict, Croque Madames, and omelettes, of course these are decent food too, but we didn’t went there for that. Fortunately, our disappointment was assuaged when the service staff offered to serve a selection of the gigantic mains. While waiting for everyone to arrive (including myself), we started nibbling on the addictive garlic fries, and I got myself a double-shot of espresso because… it’s Sunday and I was probably still half-asleep. Not long after, with (almost) the whole crew on board, the “immensely large” dishes were rolled out.

We had the sous-vide Spanish Octopus Salad, the meter-long dog, and the paella, along with an array of brunch items and more garlic fries. Everything was decent, except the off-the-mark paella,. I would probably return for the bratwurst and, if I had a bigger wallet, I wouldn’t mind the lovely ambience, the intricate hummingbird painted on the walls, and that casual sense of communal dining. Nonetheless, it turned out to be a great lunch, on a once-more-beautiful Sunday (with my stomach tamed). The food was decent, the company better. We were recounting the most ridiculous buffooneries that happened during service. We had some great laughs, but such stories are better left unpublished hahaha…

Feeling all satiated, and just a little poorer, a number of us took to our plans and decided to visit a pop-up café, in the heart of Little India. The space, “Temporium”, houses the café named Compliments of. It’s a collaboration between Papa Palheta, Wild Rocket, and Weekend Worker, a ceramics collective. For that wholesome lunch, a bit of walking was due, and we paid it in full. Anyway, it has been a while since I’ve visited this bustling part of town, but the elements that remind you that “this is little india” will never change. The sights, scents and sounds brought me back to my trip to Kerala. Oh how I miss travelling like that! Wandering into foreign streets and alleys, never knowing what you might chance upon. And at last, we arrived at the café. First impression, it was entirely out of place, but that just adds to its charm.

Cold Drip

How dainty, and gorgeous! The ceramics serve-ware lent a bespoke aura to the space, along with the concrete pipes and building blocks. For a temporary place, the thought and effort invested were more than sufficient to create a charming experience. Good coffee (yet another espresso for a relatively dairy-free day), and an unforgettable scoop of peanut butter ice-cream (so much being dairy-free…) I like to be prudent in dispensing superlatives, but here’s an excerpt of my exclamation to a pen-pal: “I don’t really like peanut-butter in general because it sticks in the mouth, but that scoop had bursts of the butter’s rich flavour, well-balanced with cream for a smooth finish, and some crunchy nuts in it for the extra texture.”

PB Ice-Cream

Some friends tell me that Singapore is too small, and too boring. Considering all the shopping malls filled with generic chain restaurants and retail brands, I wouldn’t disagree. That said, if there were more of such places (perhaps I haven’t been searching hard enough), there isn’t much to complain about. I would brave the risk of getting caught in a riot to visit Compliments of again, before it closes for good, and to explore the gallery/retail part of Temporium when it’s opened after the new year holidays.

Spathe Public House
8 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-01
Singapore 238958
T: 6735 1035