Café Discoveries

Café Discoveries

So many cafés, so little time. But slowly and surely, I will conquer them all! :)
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

For the longest time, the cheese-smothered, oven-baked Molten Eggs was one of our go-to items at @brawn_and_brains’ Guillemard outlet. It was awesome to revisit it today, and discover that the all-day dish is as meticulously presented and deeply satisfying as ever.
Slice through the blanket of melted cheese for the yolks resting on a base of tortilla to escape and conquer the terrain with their runny rich gold. Then savour that delectable mess with the rolls of smoked salmon, sliced avocado (somehow, #brawnandbrainscoffee’s is always so perfect in ripeness it triggers tears of joy), sweet baby tomatoes and tasty mixed salad - each a flawless element in this stunning edible universe on a plate. There never used to be toasted sourdough served alongside but I’m sure this inclusion has been warmly welcomed by those with extremely hearty appetites.

(Hosted) Thanks to an invitation from @theategroup, the stopover I did in the “birth continent” of coffee was via a flight of Arabica coffees. My guide was none other than @bachacoffeeofficial’s Training Manager Jules Samson (@jules05_sg). He provided an eye-opening education rich in history and production details of each variant with the benefit of an actual tasting. For eg. geography dictated why the beans, all from Africa, were produced via the “wet” as opposed to “dry” method.
When I sipped on the four types of Arabica beans, it dawned on me that coffee tasting had certain parallels with wine tasting. And by sipping (gulping is not encouraged) them in succession, I could really appreciate their unique characteristics.
My favourites turned out to be the first and the last of that flight. I wouldn’t mind waking up and smelling the “Bantu Secret” each morning as the full-bodied, delicate-in-acidity coffee which comes from the shores of Lake Kivu 1,500 metres above sea level, has notes of honey, brown sugar and dark chocolate notes. And the “Yirgacheffe” would make an ideal nightcap (yes, you read that right) because, surprise surprise, this easy-to-enjoy malty coffee with dry hay and berries in its notes, is decaffeinated!
For someone who tends to order the same few coffees whenever I visit #bachacoffeesg (hello “Three Volcanoes”), it was indeed fun and enlightening to venture out of my comfort zone to explore new aromas and flavours. The next time you are at @bachacoffeeofficial, I encourage you to go for at least two different types of coffee. And maybe slip in something you haven’t had before just for the heck of it. You might surprise yourself with a new favourite 😊

To me, the coffee here is very good. I prefer my Cappuccino made with the Nomad blend of Indonesian beans (it is exclusive to this cafe) as it has caramel notes and a mild citrus quality. Chocolate-lovers, you ought to give their Mocha a go.

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For those who gravitate towards pastas with a tomato-based sauce, you can try this as the shredded crabmeat is cooked in a tangy marinara sauce.

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A rare sight in Singapore cafes, this was real heartiness as it comprised of a 150gms piece of juicy ribeye, wilted baby spinach (lI ove!), a poached egg smothered in hollandaise sauce, grilled potatoes and half a tomato. If you are after a protein-rich breakfast/brunch that’s value-for-money, this ticks the box for sure.

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@twentyeightcafe sits at the base of Mount Sophia on its namesake of Wilkie Road, in a gorgeous heritage building. The white, high-ceilinged casual eatery is quite understandably, a favourite of nearby residents and is always buzzing whenever I’ve dropped by.
They have a wonderfully wide menu which means it is easy for everyone to find something to enjoy, and in all honesty, in terms of taste, quality and presentation, the food at #twentyeightcafe is better than most.
I already foresee a headache on my future visits because it won’t be easy deciding which of these four favourites of mine to have again:

1. B.L.T. ($15+) - It’s done EXACTLY if I were to make it myself. Ratio is everything when it comes to this sandwich and theirs score 10/10 in my opinion for the proportion of bacon (it’s fried-in-butter and is crispy but not hard) to crisp lettuce to juicy tomatoes to sourdough. They only add a smidgen of mayo to their BLT which I agree works best.
2. Sakura Ebi with Kombu Angel Hair Pasta ($18+) - Not sure how I missed seeing this on the menu before but oh boy, is it a blast of umami shiokness! There’s so much of the lightly crispy, tiny yet potent Japanese shrimp, plus the pasta has the perfect bite.
3. Avocado Smash on Sourdough ($18) - Far from basic as the avocado is joined by two poached eggs, feta cheese, guacamole, roasted baby tomatoes, pomegranate, sunflower seeds, sprouts and some lemon vinaigrette. Totes tasty.
4. Fluffy Pancakes ($16+) - As you can tell from my video, this dish lived up to its name. But besides the visually appealing wobbliness, the airy-light pancakes have a rich eggy taste. I tried the sweet version that day as we had shared it for dessert. So it came dressed in mixed berries compote, honey yogurt and walnuts. But there is a tempting savoury option with the fluffy pancakes decked out in smoked salmon and a sour cream and onion sauce.

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I had misread this as Eggs Benedict and only realised my mistake when it arrived. But no matter because I was very pleased with how the dish turned out. It comprised of two 63-degree-cooked eggs on a heap of garlic-sautéed spinach ringed in roasted cherry tomatoes and topped with a luscious beurre blanc sauce. Since I had opted for the vegetarian version, there were also two kinds of mushrooms loaded on. Toasted sourdough is included on the side as well so this dish is really substantial even without meat. The non-vegetarian option has the mushrooms replaced by tender slabs of more-sweet-than-smoky, thick-cut maple bacon (it’s made in-house daily).

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Sure to fill the famished, this is a huge serving of two eggs (I recommend the scramble as they do it exceedingly well here), two tender slabs of more-sweet-than-smoky thick-cut maple bacon (Head Chef Sebastian told me they make it in-house daily), one chicken cheese sausage, a much-better-than-average hash brown, very fragrant spinach sautéed in garlic, sautéed mushrooms and toasted sourdough.
It isn’t just quantity over quality because taste-wise, I think the food is really good too.

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Because he is a fan of burrata himself, @thebrewingground’s Head Chef @sebastiansjl’s is particularly proud of their “Burrata and Tomatoes Tartine” ($18). Having tried it this morning, I must say I love it too.
Served on a thick slice of sourdough is a generous amount of the creamy cheese. The brilliance is in how it is deliciously balanced by sweetness from caramelised onions and marinated cherry tomatoes, as well as the complex tang of balsamic glaze, fragrance from basil and a fun bit of crunch from toasted almond flakes.
As it is not served hot, there is a heightened sense of freshness and lightness about this open-faced sandwich. Yet, it is really filling. The accompanying mesclun salad isn’t an afterthought either. It tastes exceptionally perky and is no doubt, one of the better ones I’ve had.

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(Hosted Preview) Everyone who’s tasted this seasonal fruit will vouch for its extreme fragrance, sweetness, juiciness and superb firm-to-the-bite texture.
And in the hands of award-winning Pastry Chef Cheryl Koh (@tartebycherylkoh) and her team including Chef @kellycheah, it’s a win-win situation. They have unleashed their creativity in a fine display for the limited edition Afternoon Tea Set ($60 per pax) which sets the stage for the magnificence of the Jukhyang and MerryQueen, both Korean Strawberries so fabulous in their own way, to shine.
The set menu will be available daily at 3pm for one month, beginning on Monday, the 15th of March 2021. I would definitely recommend calling ahead to make a reservation because based on the number of people that slid into my DMs, many are very excited to try it.
To pair with the food, the team has concocted a selection of delicious drinks featuring Korean Strawberries as well. You do however, have the option of tea or coffee if that’s preferred.
What’s more, during this period, you can even purchase the fruit right there at the shop. How convenient for those who can’t get enough of the fruit and wish to continue indulging at home.

Thank you very much @brandfit for inviting us to the preview. And congratulations again Chef Cheryl on your new location. Love how gorgeous and comfortable the huge space is.

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Some time ago, @kevin_the_hiak had mentioned to me that his friend and ex-colleague, Chef @sebastiansjl whom I’ve also met, was starting his own cafe. Then recently, I began seeing via Instagram Stories, @fionatingx frequent this charming cafe near her home that serves tempting looking food. I put two and two together and realised it was one and the same. So yesterday, T.H. and I dropped by there to have a quick lunch.
The cafe is tucked away in “The Yards at Joo Chiat” (it used to be a school many, many years ago if I am not wrong) and has a lovely laidback feel. We chose to sit indoors but there is seating outside as well. Right next to the cafe is a magnificent Kapok Tree said to be more than eighty years old.
It took a while to decide what to order as many items in their menu beckoned. Eventually, the Breakfast Burger ($20) won. Mostly because I saw it contains scrambled eggs and I know for a fact Head Chef Sebastian does a most excellent one. Sealing the deal was the knowledge that the pork sausage patty is also made in-house.
What a winner this Breakfast Burger turned out to be. Bigger than I’d expected, the ratio of all the components was 100% on point. While the signature scrambled eggs was a fat cushion of creamy silkiness (it’s every bit as perfect as I remember!), the pork sausage patty was thick, juicy and tastily-seasoned. Even the amount of caramelised onions, ketchup and mayo in between those toasted brioche buns was perfect - not too much, not too little. I highly recommend ordering this.
We plan to return soon. Not just because it is conveniently located to where we live but honestly, there are many more items on their menu we want to try.

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I couldn’t resist ordering the Spam Fries for us to share. Served with a sour cream and onion dip, these are cut big and chunky, and rolled in what I’m guessing is panko or something similar, because the salty-ish meat has an addictive crunchy coating. The two of us couldn’t finish and ended up taking home about half of it in a brown paper bag.

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Follow me on Instagram (@veronicaphua) for richer content of videos and Stories! 😊

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