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Meals to wake up to

Meals to wake up to

What could make your day better than a hearty brunch on a lazy weekend morning? Here are some of those breakfasts that you might want to wake up to!
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Went to Maxi Coffee Bar’s new space at 6 Ann Siang Hill yesterday — the coffee bar had officially opened the doors of its new location just yesterday having moved from their previous spot at Emerald Gardens along Club Street.

Apart from serving up specialty coffee and a selection of bakes just like how they did at Club Street, Maxi Coffee Bar also now serves up a variety of food items on their menu for those who are looking for a substantial eat. The Kinda Ploughman’s caught my attention whilst skimming through the menu here — features components such as Onion Chutney, Mature Cheddar and Soft Egg on Sourdough. Simple as it sounds, but I absolutely love the flavour profile of this one — that immense sweetness of the onion chutney was almost like a marmalade on its own, which paired so well with the slight tanginess from the fermentation of the sourdough toast; the sourdough toast also being crusty with a good chew. The mature cheddar further balances out the sweetness while a light, savoury note, while the soft boiled egg provides a more wholesome feel to the entire dish. A rather simple open-faced sandwich that is pretty fuss-free, yet satisfying for a light breakfast.

Given how Maxi Coffee Bar was only open during the weekdays when it was still a hole-in-the-wall spot at Club Street, I am certainly glad that they are now open from Tuesday to Sunday which makes it an ideal weekend spot to hangout. Seating is still a tad limited, though definitely more than before — that being said, do be prepared to wait a little while for seats even on the weekend; they have since garnered quite a loyal fan base ever since the opening of their first space back then, and everyone seems excited about visiting their new space after their short hiatus to move to the new premises. Still, a spot worthy to add to the list for cafe-hoppers who have not yet done so; would be back to give the other food items a try in the future!

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Taking over the former premises of what was formerly Stirling Steaks at 43 East Coast Road (also the same shophouse which used to house now-defunct Carvers & Co.), Firewood Chicken and Bagel is a new F&B establishment which serves up bagels in the day, whilst also serving up a completely different menu featuring Korean fried chicken for dinner service.

The Cowboy Bagel here comes served on a familiar pink plate that seems to be similar to that used at Fluff Stack at Suntec City (the Northpoint City outlet uses a slightly different plate); features elements such as Iceberg Lettuce, Cucumber, Gherkins, Caramelised Onions, Tomato, Guacamole, Mozzarella and Beef — patrons can get to choose between Plain, Blueberry or Onion & Sesame Bagel (which we opted for the Onion & Sesame variant), while all orders come with a side of curly fries. Felt that the Cowboy Bagel was pretty decent; well-portioned given the size of the meat served with the bagel, the Onion & Sesame bagel was pretty satisfying given the firm bite it carries, while the beef was not particularly gamey — pretty tender without having any veiny or fatty bits that are difficult to chew on. The other elements such as the caramalised onions provides a hint of sweetness that compliments the entire package, while the iceberg lettuce helps to add a refreshing crunch; the bagel also comes slathered with mustard sauce which seems to cut through the meatiness of the bagel, whilst also providing moisture to the dish. The curly fries served on the side comes satisfyingly crisp; a crowd-pleaser which is good to have.

A pretty unique establishment given how the menu seems to go through a 180 degree change between brunch/lunch service and dinner service; from classic bagels to Korean fried chicken — two rather separate themes considering that the bagels offered here do not really come with Korean-inspired elements. That being said, the bagels are pretty satisfying; quite a spot worth dropping by for brunch though with pretty limited seating due to restrictions in place to curb COVID-19 — a spot that is worth keeping a look out for!

Checked out the new Puteca Abate Italian Street Food and Deli Sandwich Bar; a new concept opened by the folks behind Pastaria Abate which is located within The Working Capitol at 1 Keong Saik Road — also known as the former premises of now-defunct The Daily Roundup, 1KS, The People Vs and more.

Focusing on Italian street food such as Paninis and all, Puteca Abate Italian Street Food and Deli Sandwich Bar is still currently in its soft launch phase — items such as pasta and pizza are *likely* to be available next week, along with a wider selection of desserts and bakes. Going for the specials for the day, the Monte Cristo is more of sandwich of a French origin that uses elements such as ham and melted cheese; all that in between two slices of bread and egg-dipped before being pan-fried — comes with a sprinkling of icing sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup over the top. Think of it as savoury rendition of a French toast; shaved ham that seems to be provide not only the savoury notes of cured meat, but also texture in between the slices given how it is layered out, all with melty, gooey cheese in between the egg-dipped bread that is done the same way as our local variant of French Toast — all that combined with the sweetness of icing sugar and that rich maple syrup that gives it a nice sweet-savoury balance. Certainly a sandwich I hope makes it to the main menu here, and something which I most certainly wish that I can have yet again!

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Having been through renovations fairly recently, Olla Specialty Coffee had since seen an expansion that is two times bigger than before with more al-fresco seating outdoors as well — the revamp also saw the introduction of their savoury food menu aside from the specialty coffee and selection of waffles they had been serving since they had started operations at Sunset Way.

The Shashuka Baked Eggs with Toast comes with a slight twist from the usual here; features elements such as Sunny Eggs, Dukkah Spice Bell Pepper with Brioche Toast. One main difference between the Shashuka here lies in the use of ham rather than sausage; not sure if it’s a good move considering how it’s easier to have the sausages with the brioche toast than ham which requires further slicing, but the ham does provide a lighter, more well-balanced savouriness to the Shashuka — also liked how the ham comes with crisp edges from the baking process which was a nice touch. Otherwise, the Shashuka is fairly decent and comforting; a bright, tangy tomato base with bell peppers for an added crunch — the sunny side-ups could be more consistent however, considering one of the two egg yolks came fully cooked and solid. The brioche toast worked great here; light and fluffy, yet slightly crushed with a hint of sweetness; totally fitting to mop up all of that sauce-y goodness at the bottom of the casserole.

Still; must say that this is quite the affordable Shashuka dish at S$9.80 — pretty much a steal as compared to most other cafes. It’s little wonder how Olla Specialty Coffee has managed to grow since they were a small little nook back then — great coffee and comfort food at affordable prices; pretty much explains why it seems to be a favourite amongst the residents at Sunset Way. Congratulations to the opening of the extended space; and wishing them all the best with what is to come!

It’s pretty rare how I find myself ending up here for the mains; didn’t plan for this but no regrets indeed. Available as part of the specials menu, the Mushroom Bomb is essentially a dish featuring an assortment of sautéed mushrooms served atop sourdough, whilst also coming with melted, blow-torched cheese and greens on the side.

The sautéed mushrooms comes all earthy and roasty with a hint of garlic and seemingly balsamic (?); a slight zing that helps to add a contrast to the mushrooms, while the toasted sourdough soaks up all of that juiciness of the mushrooms, providing a hint of earthiness amidst the light tang that comes from the fermentation process of the bread which still retains some of its crustiness that adds to the texture to the dish. Liked how the melted cheese on the side can be paired with the toast for an extra hint of savouriness and smokiness that goes exceptionally well with the sourdough toast on its own, or even with the mushrooms, while the garden salad which also features elements like capsicums and cherry tomatoes help to provide a refreshing mix of flavours and textures to cut off the earthiness of mushrooms for the dish.

An item that is worth considering for those looking for a hearty brunch item that does not involve meat — pretty simple, but satisfying.

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Yet another new addition to the Rangoon Road neighbourhood, Daizu Cafe is a new cafe which has taken over the former premises of now-defunct Jok Jok Mor (also the same space that used to house Jewel Cafe + Bar) with a minimalist Japanese-Western concept that serves up a fusion menu consisting of rice bowl and brunch items alongside specialty coffee and other beverages.

Featuring elements such as Brioche Bun, Poached Eggs, Smoked Salmon, Sautéed Mushrooms, Mixed Greens and their very own House Specialty Lemon Miso Hollandaise Sauce, the Lemon Miso Eggs Benedict is their very own twist to the classic brunch dish. The star of the dish is undeniably the Lemon Miso Hollandaise Sauce itself; a rather interesting flavour that carries a tangy note amidst the earthiness of Miso — provides a rich note that complimented that of the savoury flavour of the smoked salmon instead of being a creamy sauce with a slight zing that cuts through those flavours as with the usual Hollandaise sauce elsewhere. Otherwise, the dish is comforting brunch fare; the eggs being all runny with the egg yolks bursting to reveal its golden goodness as one pokes them with the knife, while the sautéed mushrooms were that of Shimeiji mushrooms with a cream sauce — creamy with an earthy note. The use of brioche buns over English muffins was something that I didn’t quite fancy for this variant, though I guess it just boils down to my own preferences after all — whilst being light and fluffy, the buns felt that it lacks the sturdiness to hold up to the molten egg yolk; felt they would do well being in a burger instead.

Overall, still quite a decent variant of the classic brunch dish with a slight twist to showcase their minimalist Japanese-Western theming; all with a great environment that seems minimalist yet posh with a second level that overlooks the ground level. A spot that avid cafe-hoppers should probably check out at least once.

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Shakshouka-style Baked Eggs, Spicy Arrabiata, Roasted Pepper and Onions, Pesto, Garlic Toast

From Bar Milano; a new Italian establishment that had recently opened its doors at Keong Saik Road. This item comes off their Day Menu, and can be found in the “Breakfast” section of the menu. Really enjoyed how rustic this dish felt — nothing is more comforting than having baked eggs in Shashouka-style, but the Uova in Purgatorio stands out from the other Shashouka-style dishes we have had for a simple reason; the way that the toasts go hand-in-hand with the baked eggs. Giving the Shakshouka-style Baked Eggs a good mix, the baked eggs come with a good contrast of flavors — the bright tang of the tomato used in the Arrabiata against the slight herb-ish zing from the Pesto, the baked eggs provide a richness to the various elements when mixed together. We particularly enjoyed how the tomatoes in the dish came with a soft bite without feeling particularly squishy, providing the baked eggs with a myriad of textures alongside the roasted bell peppers. Dipping the sourdough toast into the baked eggs, we absolutely loved how the exterior of the toast remains crusty even despite being soaked in all of that tangy and zippy goodness, whilst also providing a good chew — a plus point considering how we have had some Shashouka-style baked egg dishes that came with toasts that turn limp after absorbing the sauces. A very well-thought and put-together dish that was simple yet wholesome, but showcasing knowledge and understanding of the various elements that come together which leaves an impression.

Despite being a spot that seemingly serves up rustic Italian fare that comes with a certain level of quality, the prices here are pretty fair without breaking the wallet — think sandwiches and breakfast items with prices around or even below $20, and desserts averaging around $10. A spot that would work well for dates to impress!

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From the new Breakfast Club at The Coffee Shop by Yaowarat, which is conveniently located just a stone’s throw away from Kovan MRT Station and houses other concepts such as Shen Ye Pig Trotter Rice, Ng Kuan Chili Pan Mee and a few others.

Serving up all-day breakfast platters, the Rosti Combo is pretty affordable at it's price point — $6.90 is definitely a steal for a Rosti even in a coffee shop setting. The Rosti Combo is described to come with Sausage and Tomatoes according to the menu board, though the tomatoes seemed to have been on a leave of absence on the day of my visit — prepared fresh-upon-order, the Rosti here comes slightly thicker than that served at other places; a little closer to being a potato cake with slightly less-defined strips of potato, but still satisfyingly crisp and not too greasy — savoury without being overly salty, while the dollop of sour cream helps to neutralise the saltish notes as one smothers the cream with every morsel of potato. The sausage was pretty well-sized; adds a meaty touch that would hit those who must have their rosti with cured meats such as bacon, sausages or smoked salmon on the side — well-grilled without being too dry, yet carrying a good bite.

Now, who says you would need to splurge on a meal at a cafe for some satisfying western brunch ...

It’s been quite a while since I had returned to The Bakehaus; their Kouign Amann and Brownies left quite an impression on the very first visit there. After skimming through what they have to offer in their display case, the Flatbread looked like something substantial that is good for lunch — and it sure is. Available in an assortment of flavours, this was almost akin to that of Ham & Cheese, and would work well for those who love their Hawaiian Pizza sans the pineapples. While the toppings work well here with the tomato-based sauce helping to provide some zing for a refreshing note amidst the meatiness of the ham and melted cheese atop, it’s the Flatbread itself that is the star of the show here. Liked how light and fluffy the Flatbread was, while giving a very nice pull of tension as one tears the Flatbread apart — it is also a pretty rustic one, considering the charred parts that give a smoky hint and a slight crustiness for a contrast of textures.

PS: Paired this up with a Cold Mocha from Old Hen Kitchen, since The Bakehaus is conveniently located just across the road — finally got my grubby hands on their Cold Mocha; a chocolate-y version of their smooth and creamy Cold Brew (White) that is also aptly sweet at the same time.

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From The Food Peeps; a new hole-in-the-wall cafe situated in Maxwell House — a pretty small nook which serves up simple brunch items as well as specialty coffee brewed using beans roasted by Sarnies.

A simple item with a local influence, the Rendang on Toast features Beef Rendang, Poached Eggs and Yoghurt on Sourdough toast. Really liked how the Beef Rendang comes all chunky here; not having any bits that are too fatty or veiny — the beef providing a good chew and a very slight gaminess amidst the spicy rendang that is all savoury and gives a good kick of spiciness that tingles the taste buds. The poached egg over the top comes with all that eggporn action worthy of the ‘gram; revealing its golden goodness as one slices through the egg, whilst everything sits atop a slice of sourdough toast that gives a slight crustiness and a good bite, absorbing the elements above it. Nothing too fancy, but incredibly satisfying with a local twist.

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Knew I had to head down to Two Men Bagel House when news about the Holland Village outlet being opened was dropped. Featuring elements such as Pork Roast, Stuffing, Tomatillo Salsa Verde and Cardina Mustard Sauce, we also opted for the plain bagel for our order.

Really liked how meaty this particular Bagel-such is; the roast pork being immensely chunky, yet easy to chew and tender without carrying a porky stench — comes even with the crisp skin that carries a good crunch, all that being accompanied with the stuffing above that makes it feel some sort of a deconstructed Porchetta. The Tomatillo Salsa Verde helps to cut through the meatiness with its zesty and zippy notes which was actually rather refreshing; all of that in between their light and chewy bagel that did not require much effort to chew through, yet carrying a good bite. Still remembered how I have had my very first Two Men Bagel House experience pretty late at Tanjong Pagar being a non-bagel lover, but so glad that their standards have remained consistent through the years with the opening of the branch at Novena and now, Holland Village — which is how they have got such a strong following now with queues spilling over to the road despite being only opened just a few days ago. Would most certainly be back for more!

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Visited the new Baker’s Bench Bakery, which had recently opened its doors along Bukit Pasoh Road just beside Eight Cafe & Bar just a short walk away from Outram Park MRT Station. Offering quite a variety of bakes on display at the counter, they also offer a small selection of sandwiches for those who are looking for something more substantial; everything made from scratch in-house with the breads baked freshly on a daily basis.

The Savoury Scroll is best enjoyed heated up; essentially a savoury danish, the pastry is not only buttery, flaky and crisp, but also features a pesto paste and crusty, melted cheese swirled within the pastry for a savoury, herb-y flavour profile that was alluring — very delicious indeed. Also liked the fact that the pastry did not feel all soggy nor greasy; so good we ended up taking away one more. Pretty impressed with the other items they have to offer as well, including the K. Pork Belly Sandwich and the Cherry Chocolate Cake (in the background); certainly a place we are looking forward to return to and a gem in the neighbourhood that it is in!

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Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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