27th June 2014.
It is unfortunate to hear that the Dakota Crescent Estate is on the list of estates to slated for development from 2016 onwards (Straits Times, 25th July 2014).
The Dakota estate is historically significant in the sense that it is one of the few remaining physical landscapes that was constructed in the Lim Yew Hock self-government period that Singapore seemingly tries to forget. It reminded me of a similar attempt to erase the physical reminders of that grey chapter of history such as the National Theatre constructed in 1963.
Beyond erasing a significant heritage piece of Singapore’s public housing, I thought it showed that Singapore has not exactly come in terms with its history in the 1950s-1960s which carried some unpleasant memories in our national history. For those who haven’t been through them like me, the textbooks or official media will constantly remind us of such unpleasant memories from time to time such as the 1950 Maria Hertogh Riots, the Communist activities in the 1950s, the 1955 Hock Lee Bus Riots, the 1964 Racial Riots, the Separation in 1965 are just some of examples.
History aside, the Dakota Estate is a really pleasant neighbourhood to visit (especially for cat lovers). One of the landmarks of the Dakota Estate besides the 1950s-era public housing is its provision shop-turned café that serves up some pretty decent cakes and coffee.
I quite enjoyed their Mango Tango Cake, a rather light, mango cake with mousse-like texture and a thin layer of mango gel. It could be seen as a more refined version of old-school neighbourhood mango cakes.
The Toffee Caramel Salted Cheesecake on the other hand was pretty rich, heavy and a tad too sweet for me. You will enjoy this a lot if you love Werther’s Original a lot.
The owners set up the café by their own and did the interior design by themselves, even though the crowd has been seen as “hipster” to some, I thought it was a rather nice, cosy café with a touch of unpretentious rawness that gives it a very different feel from the usual atmosphere compared to the typical “nostalgic café”. It is run by a dedicated couple who sees it as a thing they enjoyed doing. It has so much potential to develop into an institution like its predecessor, Tian Kee & Co. the provision shop. It is sad that the 2016 may spell the end of yet another such opportunity.
If you do drop by Tian Kee & Co. for a cooling glass of Snag (5.50 SGD), a delicious mix of rose syrup, espresso and steamed fresh milk if you can before it joins the former Katong Red House Bakery and Hock Hiap Leong.
12 Dakota Crescent
#01-48, Singapore 390012