Update: The Mama Shop has closed w.e.f. Aug 2015.
The husband and I went to Chinatown to shop for kitchenware and were about to make our way home from Pearls Centre but we couldn’t catch the CT8 bus in time which meant we had to wait for another 40 minutes for the next one. As we walked around, I noticed that Pearl’s Hill Terrace was just the road next to the building and I remembered reading about the cafe which MediaCorp artistes Felicia Chin & Sora Ma had set up. It was located somewhere near so we decided to walk up the hilly stretch of road to search for our tea break spot instead.
I would not recommend going by this way (especially at night) because Pearl’s Hill Terrace was really secluded and you’d have to walk up a slope (not nice when it’s a hot & sunny afternoon!). Hardly spotted a single soul and all we could hear was the distinctive sound of cicadas.
We discovered an alternative route to get here when we were leaving. If you’re coming by public transport, alight at Chinatown MRT and cut through the People’s Park Complex Food Centre to the back where the entrance to the carpark is. You’d see this flight of stairs leading up to the Old Police HQ building which is where The Mama Shop is located at.
This Mama Shop is obviously different from the neighbourhood mama shops that we are familiar with. Looks adorable, doesn’t it? A mix of new and old with a catchy sign.
The place is open-air with tables & chairs placed outside the cafe. If you come during mid-afternoon like us, it can be really hot to sit out here so I think the best time to stop by will be late afternoon onwards. From where we were seated, there was an air cooler facing us. When the staff replenished the water inside the cooler and turned it on, it really provided some respite from the vicious weather.
I was captivated by the little toys & games which were what I used to play when I was little. And there were biscuit tins of my childhood favourites like the sugar gem biscuits (remember how we’d just eat the colourful sugary tops and leave the biscuits for later, lol), durian wafers, mini mantou biscuits & more. So nostalgic!! These toys and biscuits were for sale, not just for decoration, lol.
The cafe was facing this old courtyard space that I think it used to be a badminton court.
The menu was like a jotter book with handwritten name & address in front just like how we used to write our name and class/standard on exercise/jotter books in primary school. 小明 – what a name! Brought back so much memories.
Just need to tick off the order sheet and hand over to one of their service staff. They would send your order to your table and you’d make payment before you leave.
A glimpse of the full menu:
The menu wasn’t huge but I did like the selection of items. They had Potong Ice Cream too, nice!
The Sparkling Limau ($3.50) was exceptionally refreshing on a hot day! It was a mix of sparkling lime juice with sour plum which really tasted more like a fizzy preserved lime drink. The taste was somewhat unusual at first but the more I drank it, the more I liked it. The citrusy flavour wasn’t very strong and overall it wasn’t very sweet too but there was just too much ice.
The husband went for the Peanut Prince ($4.50 for regular) which I thought was the most bland milkshake I ever had. Really not sweet at all so I presumed this was meant to be a healthy version of milkshake or did they forget to add sweetener? I liked the nutty flavour from the toasted ground peanuts and though according to the menu description, there was supposed to be ice cream in this but I couldn’t quite taste the dairy in it. In fact, the texture wasn’t even silky or creamy. It was more like blending peanuts with shaved ice.
The Okaasan Waffles ($4.90) was served like sandwiches. The waffles were nicely browned and tasted really crispy (bonus point!). It was more on the salty side but it didn’t feel greasy at all so we could just pick up with our hands and eat. The filling consisted of seaweed chicken (basically it was just one piece sliced thinly), bonito flakes and okonomiyaki sauce. Overall I thought this was an excellent combination. Really delicious. I was tempted to order a second serving!
The Mama Quiche ($4.90) looked a tad less exciting compared to the waffles. The top was obviously burnt (pity!) and didn’t look that appetising. The custard filling wasn’t smooth or wobbly like how a regular quiche should be. Though it was like overcooked eggs, the quiche was still quite tasty with juicy button mushrooms. I loved the wheelies snack! Yum. Side salad or rather ‘garnish’ was just made up of a slice of tomato and a leaf of lettuce with no dressing.
There were mustard, ketchup, chilli and serviettes at the counter that we could help ourselves to.
After our tea break, we just walked around the ground level to have a quick look. Spotted interesting statues as well as…
…Terracotta Army! There were some production and event companies there so probably these were used as props for some event. Pretty cool huh.
Overall, I did like the concept of The Mama Shop as it really brought me back to my childhood with all those old school snacks & toys. I was thrilled at seeing those stuffs and was happily sharing with the Brit husband a piece of my childhood. Food wise, I highly recommend the Okaasan Waffles and of course the refreshing Sparkling Limau. This place makes a great spot for a light snack and I will definitely be back.
The Mama Shop
195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace
#01-54, Old Police Operational Headquarters