Makansutra: Jane's back with a bang
Former owner of Thai restaurant at Orchard Towers back with Tampines stall
Orchard Towers may be known for things you wouldn't normally tell your tween kids about.
But I have my story on why I used to frequent the place.
On the fourth storey, just a shout away from the once popular Top Ten club (where some of the best local and international acts put up sold-out performances), was Jane Thai restaurant, a humble but popular eating spot.
I have this theory that if you work hard, you need seriously good food to compensate for it. I remember their pad si yu (soy sauce fried kway teow), prawn cakes and the spicy mussel bowls. We ranked the restaurant highly in previous issues of our Makansutra guides.
Boss Jane Pamakam subsequently sold her thriving business and returned to Chiang Mai, Thailand, for a six-month hiatus in 2012.
The permanent resident returned later and had a string of uninspiring gigs at various Thai restaurants.
Now she's back in all her former glory with a new brand in a little kopitiam.
A glance at the standard picture menu poster with 34 items - there is more off-menu stuff - brought me back to my Top Ten days.
"I can make the mussels for you next time," boss Jane told me about my favourite snack, which was not pictured.
When the Fried Pandan Chicken ($6) was served, I could tell at a glance it did not come from some supplier (very common practice among some famous chain restaurants). It was bigger, boldly marinated and not dry as though it was sitting in a freezer for a week.
She followed up with the Chiang Mai Sausage ($6). That stopped my train of thought momentarily - it was the best I have ever eaten in Singapore, and better than many I have tried in Thailand.
It was packed with spices and minced meat, and I could see the minced lemongrass bits peering out of a slice.
Her fried Pad Thai ($5.50) was moist and was just sweet enough as they used palm sugar. The dish came together with a squeeze of lime.
Her star dish that day was the Thai Green Curry ($6). It was spicy, rich, very smooth and, well, green. After having so many failed relationships with so many other versions of green curry in Singapore, my faith in this dish was restored.
I also had her off-menu Prawn Tang Hoon (Kung Voon Sen, from $10) as the crab version was not available. I always look for that layer of lard below that moistens and flavours this iron pot of seafood noodles.
I dug in and a whole layer of it was staring back at me, as though I had found the Holy Grail.
The smooth seafood sauce that came with it was specked with peppercorns - I loved it.
I knew I was back, not at Top Ten but at this top little gem of a Tampines makan stall.
Welcome back Jane, and stand by for my mussel bowl plus more sausages, prawn cake and green curry.
Nimman Soi 5
21 Street Eating House