Apr 7, 2014

1942 Alfresco @ Changi Restaurant & its War Museum


During the Japanese Occupation of Singapore in World War II, Changi had been the site of many prisoner-of-war (POW) camps and inevitably taken its place in history as a place of much torture, pain and suffering. In fact, it has been said that more PoWs perished under imprisonment than in battle itself.

So it is all rather apt that the 1942 Alfresco @ Changi restaurant - a war-themed eatery - is suited right at the heart of where the war action used to be.

But its location has got to make it one of the most ulu, or remote, restaurants that I have ever been to in Singapore. Situated diagonally opposite Selarang Camp and at the tail end of Cosford Road, it still takes some distance of driving before some of the war props come into full view.

Trust me though, the journey will be far worth your time. For one, the entire restaurant is very nicely done up, complete with sandbag bunkers scattered around the alfresco area.

Throw a machine gun (obviously fake) into the centre of the bunk, and I could tell Ash and Ayd were getting really excited about this restaurant!

Besides the alfresco area, patrons can opt to dine in air-conditioned comfort as well. The interior of the restaurant is a gem in itself too, with loads of war memorabilia adorning its walls. There are also quite a few actual movie props that the owner of 1942 had collected too, but more on that later.

Because there was an area of the restaurant that the boys had been bugging to go the moment they saw it upon arrival.

Yes, a private War Museum set up by the restaurant owner with tons and tons of interesting World War II related items on display.

From rifles, to uniforms, to even actual combat rations, there were lots of to see and touch in the mini museum.

The monkies' interest were noticeably heightened when they came across the actual currency (or Banana money) that were used during the Japanese Occupation.

Which led to them, especially Ayd, yearn to find out more about the period when the Japanese Army occupied Singapore. And in case you didn't realise, the name of the restaurant refers to the year when Singapore fell to Japan... which was wonderfully narrated by this storyboard walkway on its premises.

See how intently Ayd was reading every single word of the storyboards?

I found out that a stretch of plain fields beyond the restaurant was the site of the horrific Sook Ching Massacres. Shudder.

The monkies were kept so occupied that when our food eventually arrived, they exclaimed, "Huh? So fast??" This has got be a first.

The wifey ordered the 1942 Hamburger ($13.90), which consisted of a char-grilled Beef patty topped with freshly sliced tomato, lettuce, caramelised onion and melted cheese.

One sentence - the patty was very juicy and well-marinated!

Ayd and Ale shared the Carbonara ($18), which was pretty decent I guess... seeing that they too polished off everything.

Ash (and by default, me) had a go at the Hawaiian Pizza ($18). It was pretty alright but then again, how far can one go wrong with Hawaiian pizzas?

Most of the food are American-influenced, although there are some Asian dishes like Fried Noodles, Fried Rice and Hor Fun on offer as well.

If you ask me though, the main stars of the 1942 restaurant are not the food but the enormous amount of activities to keep the children busy and happy!

In addition to the War Museum, there are board games readily available in the restaurant for the kids... just so that parents can enjoy that extra cup of coffee or plate of dessert in peace.

Not a fan of board games? Children can step outside and indulge in a game of pinball. And it's free to play at all time!

The boys though, were far more intent in brushing up their dart-throwing skills.

Something that I love about the restaurant is that everyone is welcome to have fun there - adults and kids alike. So there are no exactly out-of-bounds areas for the little ones, including the alfresco pool table.

This must have been my first time seeing a horde of children crowding a pool table rather than grown-ups!

If the weather permits and is cooling, then I will strongly advise snagging a table outside the restaurant instead. The ambience was rather nice, and we kind of regretted not having our meal outside.

The chillax area serves up some wonderful Live Band performances come nightfall too.

Remember I mentioned about the war memorabilia decorating the interior walls of the restaurant?

If you are lucky enough, you may even get a chance to feel and have a go at some of them!

I don't know if the friendly old man in the photo above is the owner of the restaurant - he introduced himself as Uncle Sim - but he was very kind to go around in the restaurant and offering to let the children try out some of the guns and rifles on display.

There were even actual movie props that the boys got to pose with too, like this sword and shield set from the movie '300'.

Yes, apparently these items are actual props used in the movie and judging from the strained look on Ayd's face when he was attempting to lift the sword and shield up, it must be true. Heh.

To say the monkies enjoyed themselves at 1942 Alfresco @ Changi is an understatement. Our final bill came up to about $65, but this must have been one of those rare eating out times where we stayed on for a further 2 hours AFTER we were done with our meals. And we were all happy to do so... even me, and I am not saying it just because I held a sword prop from The Lord of the Rings movie.

Okay, maybe it helped. But really, it was such a fun and kids-friendly place for the monkies that you probably would have guessed what they asked when it was time to leave.

Useful Information

1942 Alfresco @ Changi
30 Cosford Road, Singapore 499550
Tel: 6542 4492
Operating Hours: Monday, Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to midnight (Closed on Tuesdays)
Website: http://www.nineteenfortytwo.com.sg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/1942Changi

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C@RoL said...

Do you know if restaurant is still in operation?
I tried calling for many times but couldn't get thru to anyone at all.

Kelvin Ang said...

Hi Carol,

Sorry but I am not sure if it is still in operation. Its Facebook page doesn't seem to have been updated since March.

It will be a real pity if it is permanently shut though.

Anonymous said...

it's open! but closed on mondays

Kelvin Ang said...


Oh! Thanks for the information!!! :)

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