Cafe Wabi Sabi (Tanjong Pagar)

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Monday: 10:00 - 20:00 Tuesday: 10:00 - 20:00 Wednesday: 10:00 - 20:00 Thursday: 10:00 - 20:00 Friday: 10:00 - 20:00 Saturday: 08:30 - 17:00 Sunday: 08:30 - 17:00

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From the Burpple community

Decent cup of coffee with well-balanced coffee to milk ratio..

Milk toast is well-toasted to slightly crispy outside & soft inside, with notes of milk & sweet taste; tonkatsu is lightly seasoned then deep-fried to crispy outside while maintaining tenderness inside; with mixed greens, cucumber, tomatoes, goma sauce & tonkatsu sauce; opted for set meal which came with wabi fries; fries are crispy, not oily & sprinkled with seasoning; seasoning tastes good but too salty for my liking; nonetheless the sando is worth a try..

Well-cooked salmon with a layer of torched mentai sauce; rice is fluffy with cucumber & pickles; with miso soup at the side; soup is tad salty..

The vibrant colours of the Donburi were pleasing to the eyes. On a bed of fluffy white rice, it is topped with corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and crispy pieces of Japanese-style fried chicken. The fried chicken was light, juicy and without the greasy feeling, and the mentaiko sauce elevated the taste.

There was a point in time when Everton Park had seemingly become a forgotten neighbourhood by the local cafe scene — whilst it was once bustling with cafes such as the likes of Just Want Coffee, Seriously Ice-Cream, The Provision Shop and Audacious Cakery, the neighbourhood had a quiet period just slightly before the start of COVID-19 where most of the F&B tenants had moved out of the shop units. It seems that Everton Park had returned as “hipster central” in the cafe scene again, with the likes of 46Mittsu, Hello Arigato and Bag Me Up Bagel House opening in the ‘hood in recent times. While Little Oasis had moved out of the ‘hood and into the nearby Grassroots Book Room not too long ago, the new Cafe Wabi Sabi has taken over the former premises of Little Oasis at Blk 3 Everton Park — this was also the same exact shop unit which The Provision Shop had operated out from a couple of years ago. With the new tenants, it seems that there is much work being placed I the renovations of the space; there is a clever use of the pillars within the shop unit to segregate spaces, while the interior sees a raw and industrial, yet clean and minimalistic look with the large use of concrete walls and floors matched against furniture and fittings with a wooden finish. The mix of furniture between outdoor chairs and cushioned stools make for a rather eclectic, yet matching look altogether, while the indented space at the entrance that makes for a diagonally-placed entrance door at small outdoor tables with a stool for al-fresco dining can be said as pretty striking. As the name suggests, Cafe Wabi Sabi is a cafe that is mainly focused around Japanese-inspired cafe fare; the menu comprises of sections dedicated to Sandos, Donburi and Sides — there is also a small selection of Desserts available, mostly consisting of cakes. Beverages served up include espresso-based specialty coffee brewed using beans roasted by 2degrees North Coffee Co., as well as Niko Neko Matcha / Houjicha, drinking chocolate, teas and a range of sodas as well.

Visiting Cafe Wabi Sabi on a weekday lunch service, we were pretty much spoilt for choice considering the wide variety of dishes which they have to offer. Wanting to go for something light so that we can try more of what they have to offer, we decided to go for a Sando rather than a Donburi. Skimming through the Sando section of the menu, it is needless to say that the Sando that had caught our attention very early on would have been the Pork Katsu Sando. Based on the description of the item in the menu, the Pork Katsu Sando from Cafe Wabi Sabi comes with elements such as Tonkatsu, Mixed Greens, Cucumber, Tomato, Goma Sauce, Tonkatsu Sauce and their Homemade Shokupan. The Pork Katsu Sando turned out to be a little bit more substantial in its portion size than we had previously expected — it comes with a quite a thick slab of Tonkatsu in the middle. Sinking our teeth into the Pork Katsu Sando, the first thing that we were able to feel would be the lightness of the Homemade Shokupan. Whilst looking pretty thick, the Homemade Shokupan was light, airy and fluffy — toasted to a light crisp for a good texture. As one goes on further with the Pork Katsu Sando, one would chew on the Mixed Greens, Cucumber and Tomato; it is interesting to note that Cafe Wabi Sabi actually tosses the Mixed Greens in Goma Sauce for that slightly roast-y note and creamy flavour that antes up the flavour of the leafy greens — all the elements such as the mixed greens, cucumber and tomatoes added a refreshing crunch / bite to that helps to take away much of the meatiness and carb-iness of the Pork Katsu Sando. Meanwhile, the Tonkatsu also comes smothered with a bit of Tonkatsu Sauce — the slab of Tonkatsu was absolutely on point; think a crisp, panko crumb fried batter that is done to golden-brown perfection. It was an all not particularly greasy, whilst the pork within was a good balance of fat and lean meat that didn’t require much effort to chew; all without being gelatinous as well — absolutely delightful on its own. The addition of the Tonkatsu sauce added a bit of tang and a bright note to cut through all of that sinfulness; absolutely on-point.

To be really honest, we found it a tad strange that Cafe Wabi Sabi had decided to move into the shop unit that they are located in; there is certainly no shortage of cafes that serve up bagels / Sando in Everton Park, considering how establishments such as of 46Mittsu, Hello Arigato and Bag Me Up Bagel House are all situated within close vicinity to where Cafe Wabi Sabi is located. In terms of Japanese cuisine, an establishment that is known as Meshiya is also located within the same ‘hood; being at Blk 6 Everton Park — it is easy to pass off Cafe Wabi Sabi as just a “wannabe” in the F&B scene considering the concentration of such F&B establishments in its immediate vicinity. That being said, we must say that we were left rather impressed after trying out their Pork Katsu Sando — while probably still falling short of the artisanal Sando which 46Mittsu and Hello Arigato are known for serving up, the Pork Katy’s Sando exceeded our expectations in terms of the quality and execution of which it carried. What really truly impressed us here was how the Tonkatsu is being done — quite simply one of the better ones in a Sando that we can find anywhere thus far. Other items that we had tried during our visit to Cafe Wabi Sabi includes the Tamagoyaki — a crowd-pleaser on its own, this was simply slices of Japanese rolled omelette that comes with Mentai mayo drizzled over the top. The Tamagoyaki itself carried an eggy note with a slightly sweet touch; the Mentai mayo being all sorts of umami whilst being blown-torched for a bit of smokiness. The White which we have had was also well-pulled with a medium body and an earthy flavour profile — works great for a mid-day perk-me-up. The prices of the mains at Cafe Wabi Sabi are rather reasonable to what one would expect out of a cafe — prices of the Sandos range between $8.90 to $14.90, while the Donburi (with Miso Soup) are priced from $11.90 to $22.90. For those whom are into Japanese-inspired cafes; Cafe Wabi Sabi is one spot that should not be missed!

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