Heard quite a fair bit of the new Swish Rolls x Ollella at Cluny Court — taking over the former premises of Telok Ayer Arts Club after its move out of McCallum Street (that space of which has since become City Donuts), the stall operates as a takeaway kiosk where half of the space operates as Swish Rolls retailing a variety of Swiss Rolls and Mini Croissants, while Ollella still serves up their assortment of Kueh and main courses (think their Signature Nasi Lemak, Lontong Sayur — a favourite of mine when I first visited Makan House by Ollella etc.). While the space operates on a takeaway basis, there is a alfresco dining space of two tables for those looking to dine-in, though one would be exposed to the elements of the weather. Specialty coffee brewed using beans roasted by Brawn & Brains (yes, another favourite of mine) is also available here.

Since I had made the visit to Swish Rolls x Ollella alone, I only had the stomach to try out the items off Swish Roll’s menu, especially considering that I already had lunch prior to visiting though I had always been a fan of Ollella’s offerings. Given how some of the items were already sold out when we had made our visit, we went for the Lemon Meringue Swiss Roll and Sea Salt Mini Croissant.

Wasn’t expecting much from the Sea Salt Mini Croissant but I was fairly surprised by how well-executed it was; beneath that crisp, flaky exterior is a pastry that is very well-laminated; soft, fluffy insides with plenty of air pockets — taking a bite into the croissant, the croissant retains its structure without being all sunken in, while the sea salt sprinkled atop gives it a slight saltish note that went complimented the buttery flavours very well.

Have always been a fan of Ollella’s stuff, and I am glad to say that Swish Rolls does as a great accompaniment to what Ollella has to offer — especially so since Ollella has re-branded itself from the choux puff and eclair specialist to a concept serving up Indonesia-style Kueh and bakes. While dine-in may be a little difficult with this one, Swish Rolls is a spot I would not mind visiting for a quick grab-and-go breakfast, or if I am just feeling a little peckish when around the area. Looking forward to returning here for Ollella’s items some time soon!

Heard quite a fair bit of the new Swish Rolls x Ollella at Cluny Court — taking over the former premises of Telok Ayer Arts Club after its move out of McCallum Street (that space of which has since become City Donuts), the stall operates as a takeaway kiosk where half of the space operates as Swish Rolls retailing a variety of Swiss Rolls and Mini Croissants, while Ollella still serves up their assortment of Kueh and main courses (think their Signature Nasi Lemak, Lontong Sayur — a favourite of mine when I first visited Makan House by Ollella etc.). While the space operates on a takeaway basis, there is a alfresco dining space of two tables for those looking to dine-in, though one would be exposed to the elements of the weather. Specialty coffee brewed using beans roasted by Brawn & Brains (yes, another favourite of mine) is also available here.

Since I had made the visit to Swish Rolls x Ollella alone, I only had the stomach to try out the items off Swish Roll’s menu, especially considering that I already had lunch prior to visiting though I had always been a fan of Ollella’s offerings. Given how some of the items were already sold out when we had made our visit, we went for the Lemon Meringue Swiss Roll and Sea Salt Mini Croissant. The Lemon Meringue Swiss Roll is pretty much one would expect out of a lemon meringue tart but served in a Swiss Roll format; fluffy, light and airy torched meringue smeared above the pillowy soft, light and spongy cake that encases a zingy lemon-infused pastry cream within — overall, a pretty well-executed cake that wasn’t particularly heavy or jelat, with the lemon-infused cream being pretty refreshing and suiting those who prefer desserts that are less sweet in general.

Have always been a fan of Ollella’s stuff, and I am glad to say that Swish Rolls does as a great accompaniment to what Ollella has to offer — especially so since Ollella has re-branded itself from the choux puff and eclair specialist to a concept serving up Indonesia-style Kueh and bakes. While dine-in may be a little difficult with this one, Swish Rolls is a spot I would not mind visiting for a quick grab-and-go breakfast, or if I am just feeling a little peckish when around the area. Looking forward to returning here for Ollella’s items some time soon!

Having tried the Vietnamese sizzling plates from Miss Bò Né at Ubi previously, it has probably led me to yet another realm of Vietnamese cuisine that I had yet to explore and have since developed cravings for — so much so that when I had chanced upon Viet King Quan at the Chang Cheng Mee Wah coffeeshop at Blk 201C Tampines Street 21 (also where another outpost of Jiak Song Mee Hoon Kway and King of Pao Fan are located; it is a short walk away from Tampines East MRT Station), I made sure I would make a return trip to the neighbourhood to settle for dinner there.

The Bò Bit Tét Thâp Câm here comes with elements such as sliced striploin, “Xiu Mai” (i.e. homemade meat ball), egg, pate and sausage — every order of the Bò Né also comes with a Vietnamese baguette; the same which is used in the Banh Mi. Essentially the full works, this is the item that one should go for if one is looking to dry the various items that they have in a sizzling hot plate. To be fair, I personally felt that the hot plate could be served hotter; there wasn’t much of a sizzle going on after the first few minutes (unlike the one at Miss Bò Né). That being said, I enjoyed the entire ordeal here; the runny fried eggs with a molten yolk, the butteriness of the sauce that was puddling around the savoury pate, the chunky, yet tender and soft-to-the-bite Xiu Mai, and the sliced striploin that comes swimming in savoury brown sauce — I especially liked how the beef elements here are nothing gamey, whilst being served relatively hot with the hotplate maintaining that sort of comfortably warm temperature for the dish throughout the entire time. The Vietnamese baguette, which is sliced into three, is the perfect vehicle to all the sauces and juices on the hotplate; soaks up all that buttery, savoury goodness amidst the shattering crisp baguette that comes with a slight chew — smear on some of that pate for the extra oomph! And for those looking for a kick of spiciness to the dish; there is that saucer filled with Sriracha that you can always rely on.

Whilst I really enjoyed the Bò Bit Tét Thâp Câm here, I personally felt that there is something that fell short between the Bò Né here and the one I had from Miss Bò Né; perhaps the heavier flavours, or maybe it was how they seem to place a strong emphasis on serving the hotplate sizzling. But there again, perhaps first experiences of a dish of its class always bears a stronger impression in the mind. That being said, the Bò Bit Tét Thâp Câm is certainly the dish I would go for if I am looking to splurge a little on a trip to a coffeeshop; it’s price tag of $13.90 does make it lesser of a daily affair — though it does certainly make for an affordable and luxurious weekend brunch affair that is wallet-friendly as compared against to the same from specialty coffee joints around!

Having tried the Vietnamese sizzling plates from Miss Bò Né at Ubi previously, it has probably led me to yet another realm of Vietnamese cuisine that I had yet to explore and have since developed cravings for — so much so that when I had chanced upon Viet King Quan at the Chang Cheng Mee Wah coffeeshop at Blk 201C Tampines Street 21 (also where another outpost of Jiak Song Mee Hoon Kway and King of Pao Fan are located; it is a short walk away from Tampines East MRT Station), I made sure I would make a return trip to the neighbourhood to settle for dinner there.

The Bò Bit Tét Thâp Câm here comes with elements such as sliced striploin, “Xiu Mai” (i.e. homemade meat ball), egg, pate and sausage — every order of the Bò Né also comes with a Vietnamese baguette; the same which is used in the Banh Mi. Essentially the full works, this is the item that one should go for if one is looking to dry the various items that they have in a sizzling hot plate. To be fair, I personally felt that the hot plate could be served hotter; there wasn’t much of a sizzle going on after the first few minutes (unlike the one at Miss Bò Né). That being said, I enjoyed the entire ordeal here; the runny fried eggs with a molten yolk, the butteriness of the sauce that was puddling around the savoury pate, the chunky, yet tender and soft-to-the-bite Xiu Mai, and the sliced striploin that comes swimming in savoury brown sauce — I especially liked how the beef elements here are nothing gamey, whilst being served relatively hot with the hotplate maintaining that sort of comfortably warm temperature for the dish throughout the entire time. The Vietnamese baguette, which is sliced into three, is the perfect vehicle to all the sauces and juices on the hotplate; soaks up all that buttery, savoury goodness amidst the shattering crisp baguette that comes with a slight chew — smear on some of that pate for the extra oomph! And for those looking for a kick of spiciness to the dish; there is that saucer filled with Sriracha that you can always rely on.

Whilst I really enjoyed the Bò Bit Tét Thâp Câm here, I personally felt that there is something that fell short between the Bò Né here and the one I had from Miss Bò Né; perhaps the heavier flavours, or maybe it was how they seem to place a strong emphasis on serving the hotplate sizzling. But there again, perhaps first experiences of a dish of its class always bears a stronger impression in the mind. That being said, the Bò Bit Tét Thâp Câm is certainly the dish I would go for if I am looking to splurge a little on a trip to a coffeeshop; it’s price tag of $13.90 does make it lesser of a daily affair — though it does certainly make for an affordable and luxurious weekend brunch affair that is wallet-friendly as compared against to the same from specialty coffee joints around!

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Abang Kampung Nasi Lemak may be quite a recent opening at the coffeeshop named Kai Xiang Food Centre at Blk 349 Jurong East Avenue 1 of Yuhua Place (it’s the same coffeeshop where Joo Siah Bak Koot Teh is situated in), but the stall previously had a short stint at Geylang it had closed and moved over here. Whilst serving up their Nasi Lemak in various sets with pre-determined ingredients, the highlight would probably be the Malaysian-style Nasi Lemak Bungkus that they serve up — the most basic form of Nasi Lemak where it comes with only the coconut-infused rice, cucumbers, peanuts and anchovies, half of a hard-boiled egg and chili all wrapped up in waxed paper and banana leaf.

Decidedly went for dine-in so the Nasi Lemak Bungkus comes served on a plate with waxed paper instead — also opted for an additional fried chicken wing for my order; still relatively cheap considering how the entire deal only costs $3.70. Digging into the coconut-infused rice, the rice was actually pretty decent here — served warm, the rice was sufficiently moist and it perfumes of a light coconut-y fragrance; it gets a little clumpy when it cools down, though personally it wasn’t too much of a bother. The chili that they serve here is pretty unlike the sweet sambal that one would have expected with local variants of Nasi Lemak; instead, the one here carried a savoury note without being too spicy — should do well for those whom have a lower tolerance to spiciness. Liked how the anchovies here are still crisp; gives another dimension of savouriness when had together with the rice and sambal. Was also actually pretty impressed with the fried chicken wing flavour-wise; there is a distinct note of turmeric that was consistent throughout the flesh, though it was a shame how these were fried in a batch and I presumed that they were left in the display from the morning (they open at 8am; we visited for lunch at around 1pm) and thus the flesh was a little tough with the batter lacking crispness, and the wing absorbing much of the oil as well.

Truth to be told, I was actually fairly impressed with the Nasi Lemak Bungkus at Abang Kampung Nasi Lemak — it’s affordable, and checks the right boxes for a good Nasi Lemak, though personally the issue with the fried chicken wing was one that was a deal breaker for me that I probably wouldn’t travel out of the way just to have this. That being said, perhaps their forte is in their other cooked dishes such as their rendang; items that I did not manage to try during my visit. Still, Abang Kampung Nasi Lemak is a spot I think residents around will come to appreciate — pretty decent Nasi Lemak that is worth going for as long as one isn’t making too far a trek out-of—the-way for

Pretty ecstatic when I heard about Queic, which had recently opened their doors at 41 Kreta Ayer Road. Taking over the former shophouse unit that was occupied by Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist which still operates their stall at Hong Lim Food Centre, the area may seem a tad of for a dessert-centric establishment. That being said, things start to get a little clearer when the association of Queic with Olivia Restaurant & Lounge (located at nearby Keong Saik Road) is being drawn. Queic is pretty much an extension of Olivia Restaurant & Lounge with a focus on cheesecakes — the Olivia’s Creamy Homemade Cheesecake being of the restaurant’s signature offerings that have been widely-raved so far. Apart from several variations of cheesecake, they also do offer a Gateau Basque and an American Cheesecake Macaron — selected cheesecakes and Gateau Basque are also available in slices apart from being sold as whole cakes; works great for dine-in with the limited seating area available. Beverages offered here includes coffee brewed using a Nespresso-branded machine and tea, amongst other beverage options.

The Gateau Basque is essentially a French dessert — it seems fairly reminiscent to the King’s Cake that Tiong Bahru Bakery does serve up as a limited time-only item from time-to-time. Here, the Gateau Basque is said to come with pastry cream that is infused with vanilla and rum. First taste into the Gateau Basque and it was simply divine; the flaky puff pastry on the top is just light and crisp; the almond pastry base gives off that crumbly texture that holds up the entire pastry so well (think something akin to the pastry of an apple crumble pie), and carried a whiff of nutty fragrance — what simply stole the show was the rum and vanilla pastry cream; so luxurious and decadent. Dotted with speckles of vanilla bean, the pastry cream is light, smooth and carried the aroma of vanilla; yet made particularly elegant with a touch of the alcoholic notes of rum that made every forkful really enticing. Whilst some may note that the pastry base may be a little tad hard to cut through towards the end, I am sitting on the fence slightly on this here, given how I appreciated that slightly “toasty” note of browned pastry in the crust that gave the Gateau Basque yet another contrast of flavour.

Olivia’s Creamy Homemade Cheesecake is one item that has pretty much been raved about on social media for a while now — whilst I have still yet to have the opportunity to give it a try, it is pretty heartening to see Olivia’s acknowledgement of the same with the launch of Queic that brings such offerings from Olivia to greater heights. For fans of Olivia’s desserts and those whom have yet to give their Creamy Homemade Cheesecake a try, there is no better opportunity to hit Queic to give their bakes a try before the crowd comes!

Puffs & Peaks Bakery had been a spot that I had wanted to visit for quite a while for their donuts, but having heard of the queue for their bakes at their physical store at Tampines North Community Centre pretty much ruled out a visit for me due to the sheer distance to travel. Pretty surprised to know about Homeground Coffee Roasters carrying their bakes now during a fairly recent visit — so much that we have to order one knowing about that.

Between the two flavours that are left for the day, we were especially intrigued by the Taro with Coconut Donut given how this is spiritually sounded much like a flavour inspired by the classic Teochew yam paste. Given how the donut has been left around for quite some time when we made our visit on a weekday afternoon for a mid-day treat, the donut still maintained some fluffiness whilst being dusted with sugar crystals as one would expect for a bombolini-style donut — the bread being pretty light and airy whilst the filled with taro and coconut cream within. The cream was undoubtedly smooth and creamy; a little bit more of a milky rendition of yam paste that was similar to that of the Taro Pie that is available at Burger King or the ones that were discontinued from Old Chang Kee some time back — just a rendition that was significantly less sweet with a milder earthiness that made it seem rather balanced.

Given how Puffs & Peaks is a tad difficult to get for me, plus how the door always seemed to have attracted loyal queues willing to wait in line for their donuts and other bakes, Homeground Coffee Roasters is a great alternative spot for one to try the various items that Puffs & Peaks have to offer and are available here — all over a well-brewed cuppa by the folks behind Homeground Coffee Roasters, which sounds like a great plus for me!

Depot Heights Shopping Centre seem to be pretty bustling with the new cafes that have sprouted up in the neighbourhood shopping centre of the late — apart from Mad Roasters which has recently opened here, there is also the new Bailey & Whiskey that operates an even larger space towards one end of the mall. The sprawling space, named after the owner’s cats, is warm, cosy and inviting — filled with random mismatched furniture and decor that is close to nature; a welcoming change from the pristine, clean and minimalist cafes of today. The menu items served here are rather basic, featuring items such as pasta, burger, open-faced toasts etc., while also offering bakes and cakes seemingly sourced from suppliers whilst offering specialty coffee, tea and milkshakes for beverages.

Wasn’t feeling all that brunch-y so decided to go for their Carbonara — whilst most Carbonara elsewhere usually involve the use of ham or some sort of cured meat, it is interesting to note that the Carbonara served at Bailey & Whisky comes with a choice of protein — either prawn or salmon. Purists may point out how the Carbonara probably isn’t the dry sort, but I guess the creamy Carbonara still has some sort of appeal with other folks out there. The Carbonara here is nothing short of being creamy — whilst coming with linguine, the linguine felt that it was done a little past al-dente, but I could see how some people may like it done this way. It also comes accompanied with bits of mushrooms and some greens for a wholesome feel; the chunks of salmon does come with a rather distinct note typical of the fish that goes particularly well with the dish; a twist to the usual savoury note of cured meat that is found in Carbonara.

With a tagline that says “when you’re here, you are family”, Bailey & Whisky does feed their patrons like family — hearty portions with an emphasis on wholesome fare, the food here seems nothing short of broth comforting and homey; comforting dishes that is great for the soul. Needless to say, Bailey & Whisky is that sort of spot to hit for those looking for a conducive spot to get some work done alone, as much as it is somewhere for a brunch date with couples and a family-friendly cafe for young families alike (especially after the lifting on dine-in restrictions of two pax) — sincere and unpretentious as they are.

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Hadn’t been to Lola’s Cafe in quite a while —they are still popular as ever, considering that the cafe is pretty much at its maximum capacity even with dine-in restrictions in place, filled with patrons who have made a reservation and still bustling with takeaway orders as well; there is even a small waiting time involved for walk-in dine-in patrons as well.

Having seen how Lola’s Cafe had recently released a few new tarts and that I have been rather intrigued by tarts lately (must have been those visits to Tarte by Cheryl Koh lately; one time too many), I decided to stop by to give the Sakura Yuzu Meringue Tart a try. Consisting of elements such as White Chocolate Ganache, Fresh Yuzu Curd, Toasted Meringue and Salted Pickled Sakura Flowers, I actually found the Sakura Yuzu Meringue Tart to be pretty appetising. Whilst I had initial concerns that the White Chocolate Ganache carrying a distinct sweetness for a dessert that should be focused on the zingy notes of Yuzu, my fears were unfounded — in fact, the element seems to be largely unnoticeable if included still. The dominant flavours here come from the Yuzu curd — zippy and tangy whilst being smooth like how it should without being overly sour. I wasn’t too much of a fan of the Salted Pickled Sakura Flowers however; understand how it was supposed to provide a flavour contrast but there was this odd lingering sweetness even in the light, airy and smooth meringue that didn’t quite sit well with my taste buds. The tart base was however pretty well-made; slices off cleanly without crumbling into a mess — not too hard but also not too moist and soggy as well. I was actually pretty surprised how well the Sakura Yuzu Meringue Tart went so well with the Iced Peach Oolong Tea I have had on the side as well; a dessert and drink pairing that is especially well-matched to end the day with.

Lola’s Cafe has been pretty much the go-to spot at Kovan for most cafe-hoppers, and it is easy to understand why — reasonable prices and a decent quality of food for what one is paying for essentially makes them a pretty popular and almost “default” cafe option when dining in the ‘hood. While the Sakura Yuzu Meringue Tart has its own shortcomings when it comes to my preferences, it is an item that stays true to that narrative that made Lola’s Cafe what they are now. Would really like to see more creations from them such as these — something that would keep things especially interesting for a reason to revisit.

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Located within Onze @ Tanjong Pagar, Sugar & Tease was previously a patisserie with an online presence until they had opened their physical shop space fairly recently — occupying a unit that faces the main road, the cafe is decked in a clean and minimalistic theme with the use of white elements in its furniture and fittings. Dine-in space is relatively limited here, with two tables with bench seating that lines along the windows. For walk-ins, Sugar & Tease serves up sliced cakes, tarts, pound cakes and even specialty coffee to go along with the cakes, just to name a few.

Of the items in the display chiller, the Pistachio Musk Melon Tart is one that stood out to me the most — perhaps it might be how the musk melon seem like a “premium” product, or that the flavour combination is just something that seemed rather unique; that being said, the item is also considerably pricey given its price point at $12. Taking a first slice into the tart, the tart base slices down fairly neatly; almost cookie-like and doesn’t crumble down into a mess — pretty easy to have. The scoops of muskmelon were fresh and juicy, and comes with a light sweetness; there isn’t that usually “siap” aftertaste that one would sometimes associate with similar melons (i.e. honeydew). That being said, the juices of the muskmelon does mask off quite a bit of the flavours of the pistachio pastry cream that sits beneath the balls of scooped muskmelon. When it does get prominent enough though, it does provide a slight hint of saltish nuttiness that actually provides for a rather unique sweet-savoury note with the muskmelon that was actually pretty appealing — a rather interesting note I would say.

It is pretty evident from its setup that Sugar & Tease is an establishment that is run by folks who care about intricacies with the desserts that they serve — a place where one can feel the heart and soul living in the products that they attempt to put out. Whilst not all the items are quite as adventurous as the Pistachio Musk Melon Tart, there seems to be a care or detail from the flavours to the appearance. Whilst no doubt that the balance for the Pistachio Musk Melon Tart was a tad off, it is needless to say how this was great attempt and one that showcases what they have to offer — just probably need a bit of refining to reach perfection. Given it’s relatively hidden location in Tanjong Pagar, Sugar & Tease is somewhere that I would hit looking for a serene and tranquil cafe that is humble and earnest, serving thoughtful cakes and bakes in the heart of Central Business District.

Came across a few new posts on the new Good Intentions at 45 East Coast Road — the establishment takes over the former location of Bergs. Being an all-day dining establishment, Good Intentions serves up mains and bar bites — they also do serve a burger menu in collaboration with Bergs as well. Offering beverages such as specialty coffee on the menu, the primary focus here would be their alcoholic selections — think draft beers on tap, cocktails and a limited selection of wine. For those who are not into alcoholic beverages, there are also house-made concoctions such as their very own Ice Cream Soda as well.

Being one of the sides listed on the menu, the Shrimp Paste Karaage would be a great item to share across the table or to have as a light bite with the various alcoholic beverages that they have to offer. A fusion between the local Har Jeong Kai with the Japanese Karaage Chicken, I really liked how the chunks of chicken are well-sized — the batter on the exterior being crisp but not too thick; each piece carrying an evident hint of umami-ness from the shrimp paste. The flesh within is juicy and tender as well. Needless to say, we found ourselves snacking on them whilst mopping up our choice of mains — pretty addictive and would work especially well as bar bite.

Being an all-day dining spot in the Katong neighbourhood where there are no lack of F&B establishments, I like how Good Intentions is styled as a destination that stays true to its conceptual theme. There is that intimacy in its dining space within the first level, but the dining area on the second level is nothing short of being a peaceful sanctuary with a laid-back vibe; suitable for couples on a date or a bunch of friends gathering for a drink. The menu also boasts of suitable options that is as versatile as it can get — being great for a filling lunch or a sharing plate for dinner with drinks. With all that and a range of draft beer on tap available, Good Intentions is probably a watering hole that residents in the area would love to have around.

boon café is one of those places that is hidden in the least likely locations around — being situated in ITE College Central at Ang Mo Kio, it is located at Block F; the block is at the furthest end if one enters the campus from the bus stop at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5. The cafe is being decked out in a rather clean decor theme featuring white elements against furnishing and fittings with a wooden accent; gives off a slightly minimalist, European vibe. Whilst best known for their bakes such as the Cream Cheese Garlic Buns; also one of their best sellers, they do also serve up BYO Bowls (i.e. Build-Your-Own Bowls) where patrons can get to mix-and-match the ingredients of their grain bowls according to their preferences on weekdays only. The menu also features western cuisine and pancakes that are available on all days, whilst also serving beverages such as specialty coffee, tea and a Homemade Orange Soda apart from soft drinks and mineral water.

Since we had dropped by boon café for breakfast and that the Cream Cheese Garlic Bun was their best seller, we decided to give it a go. Sure enough, we could understand the hype over the Cream Cheese Garlic Bread here. Despite looking rather dense, the Cream Cheese Garlic Bread is actually rather light and fluffy; spread with cream cheese that is infused with garlic within, the spread was nothing short of being smooth, creamy and luscious, yet tangy and garlicky that makes it so enticing. The nibs of garlic on the exterior also gives a crispness for the bun for a contrast of textures, while the knob of whipped butter also comes infused with garlic for an extra savoury burst of flavours. Needless to say, we are pretty impressed with this one.

Being one of those locations being situated within a school campus, it is good to know that the prices of the food items served at boon café are targetted at the student population, and is pretty wallet-friendly — the bakes being priced at around $4.50 for students and staff, while the mains come below $10 each for students and staff, with most hovering around the range of $6 to $7; the prices for the public being an additional $0.50 more per item. With its location being on campus, boon café is undoubtedly a peaceful hangout especially on Saturdays (they are closed on Sundays) for conducive catch-ups, or for some me-time over a book or to get some work done on the laptop — more so with delicious bakes at an affordable price that makes them pretty accessible a choice even for the public.

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