Crew Eats: The crew at The Coconut Club share their go-to places for a bite

  • Ever wondered where the staff at your favourite food and beverage haunts dine at outside of work? We have and we asked, so you don’t have to.
  • In our new series, Crew Eats, we reach out to popular restaurants in Singapore to hear not just where the chef likes to eat, but also staff in both the front and back of houses too.
(Photo source: The Coconut Club / Facebook)
(Photo source: The Coconut Club / Facebook)

The food and beverage industry in Singapore has been hit hard by the pandemic. But what would this island nation be without its food culture? And more importantly, the people behind the scenes and front of house, who are essentially the soul of the eateries we patronise and go to for delicious food and exceptional service?

But how do they satiate their own hunger after hours, or when they are not at work? 

TheHomeGround Asia spoke with the team at The Coconut Club (TCC), a famed nasi lemak restaurant located at 28 Ann Siang Road, which in April joined the stable of restaurants owned by The Lo and Behold Group. Opened in 2016, TCC’s late chef-founder Lee Eng Su, who died in 2019, is often praised by staff to have instilled a sense of family among all who work at the restaurant.

From TCC’s sous chef to assistant manager, we asked where their go-to places for a meal are before and after their shifts. While most of the nine staff of this crew spend their days at TCC, they do take the time outside of work for a comforting meal. 

We hear from Swenn Chng the Assistant Manager; Anggit Zafendi the Central Kitchen Head Chef; Patricia Nale Ann Navarro the Supervisor; Sulaiman Jamaludin the Sous Chef; Muhammad Syafiq the Senior Waiter; Kamarrul Hakim the Assistant Manager; Michelle Paul the Executive of Accounts; Muhammad Amir bin Jamil the Assistant General Manager and Felicia Leow a full-time Waiter. 

Swenn Chng, Assistant Manager

While she spends most of her time at the restaurant, Assistant Manager Swenn Chng does prefer places that make her comfortable, like The Assembly Ground for her favourite pasta, the crab pomodoro. (Photo courtesy of The Coconut Club)

Swenn Chng says that she tends to venture to places that brings her comfort: “My current go-to is Jerry’s at Club Street! The auntie is an angel, greeting us with a huge smile and taking care of us whilst we’re dining. The sofa chairs are few, but so comfortable that you never want to leave.”

Most of Ms Chng’s after-shift meals are at home, where she feels the most, well, at home. But she also enjoys heading to The Assembly Ground (two outlets at The Cathay and Cineleisure) for her “absolute favourite pasta”, the crab pomodoro, and to binge watch Space Force.

For a well-deserved cocktail, or two, at the end of a long work-week, she recommends The Spiffy Dapper. Ms Chng says that staff at this bar are extremely passionate about what they do: “The team is… always down to have a quick chat, even under the mountain of orders they have during the peak of service. I’m always greeted with a yell of my name, hugs when possible, and a double whiskey sour by the bar!”

Jerry’s BBQ & Grill
Address
92 Club Street
Singapore 069460

Opening hours
Tuesday to Thursday: 12 – 10pm
Friday: 12 – 12.30am
Saturday: 2 – 11.30pm
Sunday: 12 – 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Fill up with items on The Assembly Ground’s extensive menu at one of two outlets located at Cineleisure and The Cathay. (Photo source: The Assembly Ground / Facebook)

The Assembly Ground (one of two outlets)
Address
The Cathay
2, Handy Road, #01-21
Singapore 229233

Opening hours
Monday to Thursday: 11.30am – 9pm
Friday: 11.30am – 10pm
Saturday: 11am – 10pm
Sunday: 11am – 9pm

Originally located at Boat Quay, this cocktail dive bar has since moved to the trendier Amoy Street. (Photo source: SG Magazine)

The Spiffy Dapper
Address
73A Amoy Street, 2/F
Singapore 069892

Opening hours
Monday to Friday: 5pm – 12am
Saturday: 6pm – 12am
Sunday: 7pm – 12am

Anggit Zafendi, Central Kitchen Head Chef

Central Kitchen Head Chef Anggit Zafendi prefers a home-cooked meal. (Photo courtesy of The Coconut Club)

For Central Kitchen Head Chef Anggit Zafendi, nothing beats a hearty, home-cooked meal after his shift. But if Mr Anggit is going to eat out, he does enjoy his seafood or a meal at Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant.

Popular fish head curry at Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant. (Photo source: Time Out)

Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant
Address
808/810 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 678144

Opening hours
Tuesday to Sunday: 10.30am – 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Patricia Nale Ann Navarro, Supervisor

Supervisor Patricia Nale Ann Navarro, or ‘Pat’ as everyone calls her, craves a Mickey D’s after her shifts. (Photo courtesy of The Coconut Club)

Fast food to wrap up a busy day? What’s not to like! For Patricia, or ‘Pat’, Nale Ann Navarro, the Supervisor at TCC, it’s a McDonald’s meal that hits the spot. And what would it take to quench that thirst? It’s “Starbucks for their caramel macchiato,” says Ms Navarro, who also enjoys dining “almost anywhere that sells sushi, pizza or pasta.”

Sulaiman Jamaludin, Sous Chef and Muhammad Syafiq, Senior Waiter

Sous Chef Sulaiman Jamaludin, also affectionately called ‘Bear’, enjoys something light and fast after a shift. (Photo courtesy of The Coconut Club)
Senior Waiter Muhammad Syafiq is happy with a snack from the 7-Eleven near work, after he is done for the day. (Photo courtesy of The Coconut Club)

Simple and quick is the way to go after a long shift, say Sulaiman Jamaludin, TCC Sous Chef and Senior Waiter Muhammad Syafiq.

Mr Syafiq shares that he usually grabs a snack from 7-Eleven as “it’s the nearest and most convenient”, while Mr Sulaiman prefers “something light and fast.”

On freer days, Mr Sulaiman, whose nickname is ‘Bear’, enjoys heading to Arab Street or Simpang Bedok for a meal, while Mr Syafiq likes dining at Golden Mile, a haven for Thai cuisine. 

Kamarrul Hakim, Assistant Manager

Assistant Manager Kamarrul Hakim enjoys Indian food, particularly at Al-Ameen, which is near his home. (Photo courtesy of The Coconut Club)

Assistant Manager Kamarrul Hakim, also known as ‘Kimmy’, enjoys dropping by Al-Ameen for a comforting Indian meal on the way home. On other days, you might also find Kimmy putting away a ‘legendary steak’, ‘grillworks chicken’ or burger at Andes by Astons, which has more than five outlets around the island. And perhaps hanging out at Kanpai, his favourite spot for grabbing a drink.

Kanpai
Address
25 Church Street, #01-02
Singapore 048768

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday: 3 – 10.30pm
Closed on Sundays

Michelle Paul, Executive of Accounts

They call her ‘Mama’ or ‘Mummy’ at the restaurant. Meet Executive of Accounts Michelle Paul, who started out as a part-time waiter. After work, nothing beats a clear bowl of fish soup noodles at Maxwell Food Centre. (Photo courtesy of The Coconut Club)

Sometimes, a traditional Singaporean meal is all you need to end the day. Michelle Paul, the Executive of Accounts at TCC, who has been with the team since 2019, satisfies Ms Paul’s stomach with a trip to Maxwell Food Centre after her shift, which is around the corner from the office. Her go-to meals at the hawker centre include Yi Jia Teochew Fish Porridge & Soup and Michelin-recommended stall Rojak. Popiah & Cockle.

Nothing like a comforting, hot bowl of fish soup with noodles to end a shift from Yi Jia Teochew Fish Porridge & Soup. (Photo source: HungryGoWhere)

Maxwell Food Centre
Address
1 Kadayanallur Street
Singapore 069184

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday: 8 – 2am
Closed on Sundays

Muhammad Amir bin Jamil, Assistant General Manager

Assistant General Manager Muhammad Amir Jamil likes a plate of chicken rice after work, specifically from Thai brand, Go-An Pratunam. (Photo courtesy of The Coconut Club)

Similarly, Assistant General Manager Amir Jamil delights in a local meal at East Coast Lagoon Food Village, when he gets a chance. After a shift, though, a hearty plate of chicken rice from Go-Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice (four outlets across the island at NEX, Plaza Singapura, VivoCity and JEM) is all Mr Amir needs. The chain from Thailand is on the Michelin Bib Gourmand of the Bangkok Guide, and it opened its first overseas outlet in Singapore. As someone who appears to like being by the sea, he also recommends Privé at Keppel Bay for drinks.

Michelin Bib Gourmand chicken rice from Thailand, Go-Ang Pratunam , with its first overseas outlet in Singapore. (Photo source: SG Halal Deals)

Go-Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice (one of four outlets)
Address
1 HarbourFront Walk, VivoCity, #B2-30
Singapore 098585

Opening hours
Monday to Sunday: 11am – 10pm

Privé @Keppel Bay
Address
2 Keppel Bay
Vista Marina at Keppel Bay
Singapore 098382

Opening hours
Monday to Friday: 9am – 10.30pm
Saturday and Sunday: 8am – 10.30pm

Felicia Leow, Waiter

Full-time waiter Felicia Leow likes Japanese food, but prefers a smoke after her shift. (Photo courtesy of The Coconut Club)

Japanese food is Felicia Leow’s cuisine of choice if eating out. But when it comes to after a shift, Ms Leow says she is not “usually hungry for food.” Instead, a cigarette is all she needs. For drinks, she shares her favourite spot with several other TCC colleagues, The Spiffy Dapper.

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