It's amazing what the nose can do

The really nice thing about Project Shop Cafe is that once you enter in its glass-walled space, it doesn't smell like you're in Singapore anymore. I'm not sure if it's the dark wooden floorboards, the attentive stalks of lemongrass in the vase on each table, the blend of East-West spices wafting over from the kitchen, or a combination of all three --- but it just doesn't smell local.

I can't say what it smells like, either, though my brain tried the darnedest to figure it out during dinner last night. For all I know, it could be the air freshener that they use. That was sufficient recently to trigger my olfactory memory at one of the shopping malls --- my eyes told me I was in Singapore, my brain was convinced I'd been magicked to Woodfield Mall, Illinois.

Even the smell of jet fuel the other night instantly catapulted me elsewhere. As I stepped off the Skytrain at Terminal 2, the signature scent of kerosene stole in between the cracks, and for a splitsecond, I thought I'd just stepped off a plane in North America, at the start of a sparkling new adventure.

(I suppose I could've imagined a sparkling new adventure in any country with an international airport, but most of my flights have been to/from North America, so therein lies the bias.)

Back at Project Shop Cafe last night, my friend EH was also transported elsewhere: she was convinced that the place was the spitting image of a cafe that she'd frequented in Nepal in 1992. Her memories were purely visual: the blackboard scrawled with daily specials, the abnormally tall cake slices waiting patiently under clear glass cake covers, the glass-bottled drinks ranged harmonically on the shelves over the kitchen counter. The likeness was so strong that she spent half the evening reminiscing about all the other cafes she'd visited in Nepal.

Project Shop Cafe does not, in fact, serve Nepalese food, but they have a number of Asian fusiony numbers that are a treat for the tastebuds. We didn't linger for dessert, but that big honking piece of chocolate cake will be mine the next time I'm there.


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At 7/16/2005 12:58 pm , Blogger ampulets said...

Project Shop Cafe is also one of my favourite places to eat...if I manage to get there before their deadline for last orders (8.30pm!!!). Their couscous pulse - yum.

At 7/17/2005 12:01 pm , Blogger Tym said...

I thought only Stellou and I were devoted to it. Eh, next time we have dinner, we go there lah!

At 7/17/2005 10:16 pm , Blogger JellyGirl said...

You must try the banana cream pie and the mango crumble....divine!


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