Jacob's Cafe, A Hainanese Western Restaurant in Changi Village
Stepping into this restaurant is like stepping back in time. The walls are covered with memorabilia and newspaper clippings which at a closer look will tell you some stories of this 20-year-old restaurant. On the newspaper clipping, it is autographed by a team of skydivers showing their appreciation of the excellent food served here back in 2004. There is also a Certificate of Appreciation from RAF Changi Association awarded to Jacob Lim, owner of Jacob's Cafe.
When I was there on a Saturday evening, an old uncle was helping out in the restaurant. We ended up chatting quite a bit about the food and how it was in the past and as recent as before Covid-19. It is bittersweet to see this frozen-in-time restaurant not as busy as before. Bitter because the survival will depend on the crowd. Sweet because the quiet atmosphere of the restaurant in a village is something we should treasure.
We have been walking past this restaurant for years, but I have never got the chance to have a meal here. Only recently, the billboard caught my attention because it stated Hainanese Mutton Soup. Only a Hainanese Western restaurant will serve this dish. Therefore, I made a mental note to myself that I have to try it.
Hainanese Mutton Soup is a herbal soup made with mutton and herbs. Traditionally, it is made from goat meat and other must-have ingredients such as black fungus, bamboo shoots and tofu skin. Usually, it comes with julienned ginger to balance out the gamey taste of the mutton. The soup is served hot with rice.
On our first visit, we don't know what to expect. But, of course, our original intention of trying the mutton soup makes our ordering very easy. We ordered the Hainanese Mutton Soup (S$15.9) and the Chicken Stew(S$14.9). The word that comes to mind when we first tasted these is "Homely". The Hainanese Mutton Soup tastes just like my mum's cooking. The bamboo shoot and tofu skin is a nice touch. As for the Chicken Stew, it has a large chunk of carrot and potatoes cooked till soft. It is perfect with a plate of steaming hot rice.
On our second visit, we wanted to check out what else Jacob's Cafe has to offer. So for this trip, we settled for Shepherd's Pie (S$19.9) and Oven-baked German Pork Knuckle (S$46.9).
Shepherd's Pie consists of minced lamb and carrot. The mashed potato is fluffy and smooth. I love to mix my Shepherd's Pie all up and slowly lick the mixture from the spoon. Even though this is supposed to be the main course, I, being a big eater, think it should be an appetizer.
This Pork Knuckle is big enough for two, and it comes with a sauerkraut and two pretzel rolls. I find the pork to be a bit too porky to my liking, and it is not seasoned enough. However, when I have it with the brown sauce, it is still not a bad dish. They served the pork knuckle with three condiments: mustard, pineapple puree, and uniquely chicken rice chilli. The pork skin is perfectly crackle.
Jacob's Cafe deserves the third visit from us and we look forward to trying their stuffed whole chicken and lasagna. We will update this blog if we do go.
Address: 5 Changi Village Rd, #01-2049, Singapore 500005