I love the texture of pulp on my finger tips. That is one of the reasons why I am in, my own way, a bit “old-fashioned” – like my choice of cocktail.
I still take an incredible amounts of notes using pen and paper. I persist with recording my schedule using a Moleskine® planner and I can’t resist purchasing a paperback when I wander into a bookstore. Reading an actual book beats the Kindle experience any day.
There is a strange, almost magical, kind of happenstance at work, when it comes to browsing books in their physical form. My favourite part is absent-mindedly flipping the yellowing pages of a book, hearing the fluttering of paper flapping against paper, stopping suddenly at random and chancing upon one single sentence that from then on captures my attention.
It’s humbling, to become the very thing you once mocked.
– Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
Just a powerful line like that gets me – hook, line and sinker – and I end up browsing a couple more paragraphs. By then, I’m already convinced this will make a good read and I usually make a mental note to add it to my book list.
You won’t believe how many good books I’ve chanced upon from doing this – The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime by Mark Haddon, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson just to name a few.
Reading a new find, Purple Cow by marketing guru, Seth Godin
Choosing a book to read is a very private and intimate experience for me and it takes me quite a bit of time. I’ve found most of my favourite books after visits to bookstores or libraries (I used to frequent Tampines Regional Library back in my teens) rather than through recommendations by friends.
Beautiful potted plants hang from a beam right under the signage of The Reading Room, giving the place an almost-hipster chill out vibe
While looking for a bookstore, Littered with Books at Duxton, I rediscovered The Reading Room just down the road from New Majestic Hotel while wandering around the vicinity. I immediately loved it all over again.
The Reading Room is a homely book-themed cafe by day, housed on the ground level of a heritage shophouse at Bukit Pasoh Road, which turns into a speakeasy-type bar at night.
Cakes, brunch, full-on meals and light bites are all available at The Reading Room along with coffee, teas and wines
The Reading Room is a lovely spot to relax with friends at whether for afternoon tea or a night time tipple
Made to look like a “lived in” living room, you’ll find potted plants, an eclectic mix of lamps, vintage cameras, old-timer radios, paintings and photos in frames and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves loaded with magazines, travel guides, book list selections, non-fiction, instructional, classic, romance, mystery and horror novels and even chick flicks. As a book-lover, I really enjoyed myself thumbing through the different volumes of books and reading short snippets to see which one tickled my fancy.
Intriguing decor can be found on sills, tables, nooks and crannies
Comfortable sofas accompanied by lovely plush cushions and cozy tables help create a relaxed and calming vibe. There is no hurry or rush to leave. The staff at The Reading Room toe the line of efficient service well while remaining friendly and approachable.
The cozy interior is bathed in warm light and the walls are lined with wooden shelves of books
While the music selection is amazing (a Postmodern Jukebox playlist when I was there), it can get a little loud and reading may be a challenge if you’re one to get easily distracted.
With that said, I still found it conducive enough for a nice long chat with friends. I eased into my seat and browsed snippets of books I carefully picked from the shelves.
Browsing new books to add to my book list
What adventures await in the pages of yet another novel?
I noticed some of the books were yet to be unwrapped and the plastic still keeps them protected from potential dog ears.
Curious and amazed by the sheer volume of books in a space, I asked co-owner, Jake Folkoff, if the books were all purchased by him and he quipped, “Some are from me and some are donated by friends and customers.”
An extensive collection of brand new still wrapped Stephen King horror novels
The Reading Room started in 2012 as a project for Jake to merge the two worlds he loves – books and F&B – and has become a little hideaway for his pool of regulars who enjoy the chill atmosphere and a place to read or discover new books without being judged for “taking up a seat”.
“This place started out as a book cafe, but now it’s more F&B focused, because that’s what people like in Singapore,” he added.
From just a small menu of sides to a full-fledged menu with brunch, mains and limited time specials, The Reading Room has added more to cater to the tastes of the local Singaporean crowd of cafe-goers and bar hoppers.
Pan Seared Jumbo Hokkaido Scallops
The Reading Room also has special themed menus now and then to add a bit of variety.
For the month of August, their chefs have come up with a Truffle Menu with fresh black truffles sourced from Umbra, Italy.
I tried the Pan Seared Jumbo Hokkaido Scallops, and loved the plump Hokkaido scallops which were succulent, tender and not the least bit chewy. I found it a delightful creation accompanied with tasty deep fried lotus crisps, tangy beetroot slices, fragrant arugula leaves and topped with shaved blacked truffles.
Truffle Eggs Benedict with English Smoked Ham
If brunch fare is more to your liking, there is also the Truffle Eggs Benedict with English Smoked Ham.
The regular brunch menu is made up of both sweet and savoury breakfast dishes like the Norwegian Royale with smoked salmon, French-style scrambled eggs which is made with no milk, French butter and topped with arugula leaves on two soft and scrumptious french toasts.
A cup of coffee and Portobello Fries – perfect for laid back afternoons
I love my food, but sometimes in the company of good books, I much prefer a piping hot cup of coffee and a snack. The coffee, smooth and flavourful, from The Reading Room is also made from beans sourced from Naples, Italy. Not bad at all.
The deep fried Portobello Fries are made with a batter that remains crunchy and crisp even after sitting out for a bit, waiting to be eaten with the aioli dip it came paired with. The Reading Room has an alternative to the usual side of French Fries or Potato Wedges for those preferring a light bite.
As you can probably tell, this combination is by far my favourite from The Reading Room: books, coffee and a side of Portobello Fries.
Pouring through new books
Looks like a girl has gone reading. Oh yes, and off to buy a new book – Gone Girl.
Read Kenneth’s experience at The Reading Room for a second opinion.
The Reading Room
19 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089833
Open Sundays to Wednesdays from 11:00am to 11:30pm.
Open Thursdays to Saturdays from 11:00am to 1:30am.