195 Pearl Hill Cafe and Ah Pui Tiong Bahru Satay – a well kept secret

Ah Pui’s Satay

Ever heard of Tiong Bahru Satay ?

You will be forgiven if you think they are housed within the popular Tiong Bahru Food market but they are not.

There is a delightful background which adds to the aura of this famous satay.

Tiong Bahru Satay has been featured in media outlets across the globe, including The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Straits Times, Business Times, Alvinology, ieatishootipost, and many more.

Wow really ? Uncle has been busy.

This satay uncle is affectionately referred to as “Ah Pui”. To the uninitiated, this is our local dialect slang for “Fattie”.

http://www.est1930.co

A misnomer if ever there was one.

In which universe would you call him Fattie ?

It would be more accurate if you called him “Two Mole uncle “.

The Push Cart Villain

This uncle has street cred because in the last 30 years (1980s to 2010) he has been peddling his satay illegally from a wooden push cart and has been “on the run” so to speak from the National Environmental Agency, our local government authorities.

Uncle Villain Two Mole has been fined four times by the authorities for illegal hawking prior to setting up shop at the current location which is licensed.

He is satay fugitive no more.

195 Pearl Hill Cafe

195 Pearl Hill Cafe is located at 195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace and is a gazetted URA conservation building due to its rich heritage and being one of the few remaining pre-WWII structures still in existence in Singapore today.

It was home to the Singapore Police Force’s Operational HQ during the mid-20th century.

When I arrived, I took a moment to savour the surroundings.

It was like time stood still.

Nostalgia flooded my senses.

Back to the days when policemen still wore shorts.


What a quaint place !

I saw Uncle Villain 2 mole seated. He was skewering the meats.

Not running no more.

The charcoal was being prepped.

My lunch companions were also prepping themselves.

Kuan had made the booking more than a month ago and had pre-ordered the satay.

Indeed as we were sitting there through lunch, we heard at least three groups of walk-in customers being told that no satay was available and they were fully booked for the satay until Jan 2021 and would they like to order something else!

Was it worth the wait ?

Yes.

The Pork Satay

The satay was plumb and tantalising.

The skewered satay was a little bigger than most satay offered at other stalls, and the skewer had a generous strip of fat or two which added to the magic.

The sauce had a huge dollop of pineapple sauce which I demanded of all pork satay sauces. No pineapple Not gangster.

The satay was enticing and succulent, well seasoned and well grilled with bits of char adding to the allure.

Chicken Satay

We were recommended the chicken satay and ordered a portion.

Very good as well.

The chicken satay was luscious and even softer than the pork and the accompaniment of the Spanish-Indonesian fusion pincho sauce worked well, despite my irritation with fusion.

The Pastas

We ordered a portion of the Pesto prawn pasta and the Alio Olio bacon pasta.

Both were very well executed and authentically Italian.

The pesto sauce tasted home made with the freshness of the basil coming through.

And I couldn’t get enough of the Aglio Olio. See the glistening bacon and the thick slices of garlic coating the pasta ?

Super delicious 🤤.

Saturday Grandpa Meatballs

This was a handmade pork meatball dish drizzled with a tangy tomato based sauce.

I wasn’t wowed.

I didn’t think the tomato sauce worked well as it was too delicate and didn’t have a punch.

Also, the meatballs were a little low energy when we just had the most explode in your mouth satay.

So to be fair, perhaps it was the fact that it was eaten just after tasting that rebel rousing satay.

So make a mental note to try it before your satay arrives.

Epilogue

An enjoyable memorable experience.

Tantalising satay eaten in a tranquil throw back to a bygone era surroundings.

I want to come back before Uncle Ah Pui Two Mole gets restless and starts running again.

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EST. 1930 | 195 Pearl Hill Cafe

195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace #01-56 Singapore 168976

Opening Hours: 

11.00am – 5.00pm (Mondays to Saturdays)

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