1942 - That year signified the start of World War 2 in Singapore.
It wa also the year where this small nation had fallen and was captured. That bit of history is all but faded memories in history books. Youths of today and even middle age folks like me would have little inkling of how war would be like back in those days.
Fast forward 2014 .
The boys are into the movie Ah Boys to Men. Granted it is not a classic movie, it is still one that had introduced the concept of National Service effectively for the little ones . However there was one burning question the boys had asked. " Why do we need to be in the army when we are not fighting anyone?"
That is where 1942 Alfresco @ Changi comes into the picture. This restaurant literally hidden in the Far East is the perfect place to bring little ones to introduce the concept of war ( we do not promote war passe , but we do treasure the lessons that history had taught) So on the day when we had the CITROËN Grand Picasso for a ride, we decided to bring the boys together with their cousins to explore 1942 Alfresco @ Changi since we had ample space in the car.
Finding the place proved to be a challenge. Your topography must be top notch. Alternatively the car GPS should suffice to help you locate it. Located deep in the bowels of Cosford road with Changi Prison as it's neighbor, the road trip itself was entertaining as the children were perplexed as why we chosed the prison as our dining destination.
Note : We do not think buses much less Mrt ply this route.
Their fears subsided as soon as we turned into the Battlefield , otherwise known as the car park. The entrance was flanked by a guard post and a lookout post. On the far side was a war bunker rumored to be originated from Anderson.
A lone soldier on an Eiffel tower structure guards the fields. He is there to protect and honour the souls of those departed in the war.
There was even a mini battleship and artillery guns and massive bombs on site to give this place that authentic war feel.
A point to note. 1942 Alfresco was said to be build near the site that was said to be on the beach that served as a killing ground during the Sook Ching massacre during World War 2.
No , we did not made it up. It was told to us by the Uncle who designed this venue. Neither did we hear strange noises during the evening while we were there...
However the boys were not spooked by the news. I guess the big guns were pretty good distractions for them.
As mentioned earlier, this place is a good place to start teaching the young ones about Singapore past. For a start, there are boards with past war stories for them to read along the perimeter of 1942.
The kicker would be the War Museum purposely set up to hold relics from the War period. However this is NOT the official Changi War Museum which is located nearby on the main road.
|The Little Brick Man @ War Museum|
Even The Little Brick Man could not resist a shot with some of the soldiers there.
(By the way, if you have notice, this Little Brick Man keeps popping up in our posts. You can follow his adventures on Instagram)
As authentic as it may look, we do think that some of the props are not from World War 2 ( save for those housed in the glass cabinets) For one the boys are able to pose with some of the props there which gave away the fact that it may not be a war relic.
|The War Museum @ 1942|
A bonus for those who like a different dining experience. You could also choose to have your meal in the war museum. A little creepy with all the guards around, but for that world war experience, it is a charm.
|218 Squardon flag|
|A look at the past|
This would probably be a useful place to start on National defense education. Time to explain to the kids that these are the guns are not toys and the symbolic meanings behind the displays.
|Halt ! Who goes there.|
Other than war 'relics', this place has other slightly modern entertainment such as darts, snooker table , a half working pinball machine and a pink scooter which coincidentally place under some disco lights for kids to boggie around it.
Board games are also available for those who wants a game of scrabble or RISK to re-enact the war period (Actually we are not too sure if RISK is available, but given the setting, it would be perfect if they have the game)
|Modern games available too!|
After a long long time exploring the place, it is time to place our orders!
|Please order at the counter|
You can order your food at the counter or via a staff... Just try not to make an order with the one in army uniform.
Take your pick from western to...
We recommend the in house burger special.
Food prices are quite reasonable with some selections for kids. It is not exactly a culinary classic, but quality suffice.With a total of 3 adults and 4 kids , the total bill came in at a reasonable $80.
Seriously, you don't travel all the way to the end of Changi just for food. The main selling point for this place would be the unique and historic concept 1942 promises. For that, it delivers on the ambiance by its own.
Take your pick of place to eat, indoors at the colonial house, outdoors at the open area or in the War Museum. We do think indoors would be more suited for kids simply because it is air conditioned. There are some areas outdoors(especially next to the forested area) that can be a mosquito feasting zone. There are mosquito coils on request and we suggest you use it if you intend to sit outdoors.
For authenticity, having a drink at the 'bunker' seems like a great idea especially when there is a band playing on stage. Do check with 1942 on the timing of the band's performance.
There were quite a few interesting finds indoors too. We spotted the plane propeller above the bar , some roman shield, a gas pump. Not all of home are from World War 2, but a sight no less.
Most of the stuff are actually for sale. There are jackets, guns, old books, 'old' helmets and even $5 Grenades with a "kaboom" sound for sale.
|For sale !|
Overall , the children enjoyed themselves that evening. There were sufficient distractions to keep them occupied at every turn. As a war theme restaurant, 1942 does adequately in the overall presentation. However , if you meant to take this outing to educate the younger ones , the Changi War Museum may be a better place to do so. If you are looking for a kid's friendly restaurant, this will make it to the list.
1942 is a unique restaurant on its own. It takes you back in time and exudes a certain old school charm. In modern Singapore, this itself is a rarity and worth a visit.
1942 Alfresco @ Changi
30 Cosford Rd, 499550
Opening : 11am-12am (Close on Tues)