In the heart of Leisure Park Kallang lies a cosy diner that has ambient lighting and a rather relaxed atmosphere. With more than ample space to park your community of automotive enthusiasts, enjoy a cuppa with a hearty sandwich at Car Cafe…
By Cheryl Tay
They used to change cars quite frequently and it was the hassle of having to keep looking for dealers to help them with the resale of their existing car and then to advise them about the next car that pushed them to start their own automotive agent service called Car Auto Connection LLP.
After a year of helping direct buyers source for cars (akin to a property agent) and having to change meeting place each and every time, Jimmy Chan and Julie Ong – who have been married for more than a decade – decided to start their own café.
Located at Leisure Park Kallang, Car Café overlooks Kallang car park F and can be seen by anyone driving past the mall.
“We thought it would be good to have a place not only to meet our clients, but also for all car lovers to eat and chat at. Car clubs regularly hold meet-ups at Kallang car parks, so this is actually a very ideal place. We wanted a place in the east (as we live in the east) which has sufficient parking,” said Julie, who is in her mid-30s and is a mother of four.
“My hubby and I went to look at other places too but none had the kind of parking space this area has. When we were recommended this unit that looks out over the car park, we felt it suited our requirements very well.”
Business has been steadily picking up since Car Café started operations last December. The 1,200 square-feet diner fills up quickly during concerts at the Indoor Stadium, but usually gets busy during lunch and dinner times too. At the entrance, there is a children’s corner for kids to entertain themselves while their parents have their meals.
Open from 9.00 am to 10.00 pm everyday, the evidently automotive-centric Car Café displays the latest COE prices on the walls and also holds motoring-related promotions. For example, instead of giving credit card promotions, Jimmy and Julie came up with a discount promotion for all owners of Honda cars.
Basically, anyone driving a Honda will be entitled to a 10% discount off their bill. Also, the first Honda owner who enjoyed this discount was allowed to choose the make for the next promotion. So far, Honda, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and BMW have been named.
Having invested $200,000 into Car Café, Jimmy and Julie hope that Car Café will become a regular meeting place for the car enthusiast community. “We feel happy when we overhear customers discussing the COE prices that we pasted up on the wall. Of course, the café is not only and strictly for car lovers, but it will be good to be salient in the minds of all petrolheads in Singapore,” said Jimmy who is in his late 30s and has a hand in the cooking.
With a team of five under them – including kitchen staff and servers – the couple has put together a tasty and affordable Western menu that includes some local delights as well. For just $4.90, one can enjoy a sandwich set that comes with a drink.
Otherwise, you can try some of their specialties at just $9.90 each. I had the opportunity to try their BBQ Pork Ribs, Jumbo Prawns Aglio Olio and Ginseng Chicken.
The meat of the BBQ Pork Ribs was tender and succulent; its sauce tasty and full of flavour.
If you like spice, the Jumbo Prawns Aglio Olio will excite your tongue a little before you sink your teeth into the big, juicy prawns.
To balance the richness of the ribs and pasta, the Ginseng Chicken helps to ease some of the intensity of the flavour. Don’t be too concerned about the ginseng; you can barely taste it in the chicken as it is cleverly masked, but you still get the full benefits of ginseng nonetheless.
All-day breakfast, tom yam soup and kaya toast are available, as well as chicken nuggets and prata for children. Car Café has also held corporate functions for organisations like Singapore Sports Council.
Next time you are planning on a car meet-up, consider Car Café at Leisure Park Kallang, the grounds of car enthusiast activities and events.