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Café Discoveries

Café Discoveries

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

Regardless of the name, this is a really cool way to get your caffeine fix and munch on a donut at one go.
Made from scratch in-house by @syukriyouki and team, the large bowl-like cup is freshly made bread coated with thick layer of #Nutella on the inside. Sugar and cinnamon is dusted all over. Freshly brewed espresso is tipped in followed by hot foamed milk, with latte art adding the finishing touch.
Once I finished drinking the coffee, I took a fork and knife to the edible receptacle, slicing up the hazelnut-chocolate donut bowl (which surprisingly, wasn’t soggy at all) into neat segments for all to share.

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H O S T E D
On the street level of ION Orchard (#01-15/16) is the newly open @bachacoffeeofficial which happens to be the first international outlet of the Marrakech-born coffee specialist brand. The original Bacha Coffee, built in 1910, is still housed in the Dar el Bacha palace or “House of the Pasha” and if you explore online, you can see how beautiful it is. Naturally, the Singapore venue is nothing but stunning as well. Coffee-lovers will have a field day here as it houses over 200 single origin 100% Arabica coffee beans from farmers in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Asia and beyond. From fine flavoured and fine blended coffees to naturally C0₂ decaffeinated coffees, there is something for every palate. The company’s focus is on achieving the perfect roast and grind to accentuate each coffee’s unique qualities and complexities, and I had the pleasure of trying three types (each pot costs $9++) beginning with the strongest, a Single Origin from Ethiopia’s Sidamo Mountain. It had a spicy, fragrant aroma, very full body as well as floral and cracked cocoa bean notes. From the fine blended coffee range, I was served the malty-flavoured, nutty-overtoned “Three Volcanoes” that contained Central American and Arabian beans. It was my favourite of the lot. Named “1910 Coffee”, the third was a fine example from the fine flavoured section with its mesmerising fragrance of strawberries and cream. I think it might be the one that can convert the non-coffee drinkers because it’s really lovely, especially with some chantilly cream or milk (these accompany every order of coffee here).
To be frank, I wasn’t expecting a lot from the food because at first look, I thought it might be a “style over substance”. How wrong I was! The food menu may not extensive but what I had by Head Chef Jeremy and Pastry Chef Ryo were very good. These are what I recommend: the superbly buttery Croissants ($8++ for 2), the Scrambled Eggs with Truffle and #brioche that’s TO-DIE-FOR ($24++), the Tiramisu with Rwanda Superior Coffee (love its incredibly luxurious mouthfeel) and the Strawberry Soup with vanilla ice-cream, a most delightful and refreshing creation ($12++ per dessert).

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H O S T E D
Antoinette has just opened an outlet in Millenia Walk. This much-loved made-in-Singapore brand by Chef Pang Kok Keong is bound to be welcomed with open arms by folks working in the surrounding offices and living in the area.
Launching on 1st Oct is the Breakfast Menu (available on weekdays, 8am to 11am) that offers freshly baked Butter Croissant and Pain au Chocolat ($3.50 each), a hearty Classic Breakfast plate ($12), Scrambled Eggs with sausage mushroom gravy and a Smoked Salmon with poached egg (the latter two have other trimmings too making them very worth it for $10).
If you want to grab and go, the six options in the “Le Menu Sandwich” (available from 8am to 5pm on weekdays), has different combos of breads (all made in-house) and proteins you can pick from. A big hit with us was the Egg Muffin ($5), Chef Pang’s take on a popular fast food breakfast item. His Chicken Foccacia ($8) which has sous vide chicken breast, cheddar cheese, pesto butter and lettuce between the Italian bread is another solid choice. My personal fave though was the Ondeh Ondeh Kaya Toast ($6) where light-as-air pandan kaya, gula melaka and cold French butter make magic with crunchy Italian ciabatta.
The Millenia Walk outlet of Antoinette is also the only one with a Crepe Menu now. They do sweet and savoury versions of it built on a base of the very thin classic French-style buckwheat pancake. Meat-lovers should opt for the Sierra ($18) as it comes with Serrano ham. Fans of smoked salmon should try the Nordic ($18) while those whose palate favour Asian flavours will likely find the Okonomiyaki-inspired Tokyo Crepe ($18) enjoyable.
If you love Soufflé Pancakes, you need to order the NEW Earl Grey Bubble Tea ($14) pronto. It’s a lot like eating clouds perfumed with the bergamot oil scented tea coupled with QQ pearls. “Heavenly” is probably the best word to describe this creation.

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Dropped in with our niece for a bite on Saturday afternoon. It was full when arrived, so we had to wait for a few minutes for a table.
As per our S.O.P. (standard operating procedure), we ordered an assortment of items to share. One of these was the housemade potato hash ($7). Smothered in finely-grated cheese, it was extremely addictive - think rostï but in rectangular blocks and very, very crunchy. Portion is large as well so there’s plenty to go around if you are a group of 3 or 4.
Both of the burgers we chose came between medium-soft house-baked brioche buns and a side of potato chips. I preferred the scrambled eggs and bacon over the double cheese burger personally, but if you like your beef patties with a bit of a bite, theirs will suit you fine.
Xavier the owner kindly gave us a slice of their soon-to-be-launched cheesecake to taste. We loved it! It’s very rich, creamy and smooth, so it’s ideally enjoyed with a cup of coffee. Fortunately, Brawn & Brains’ coffee is one of Singapore’s best in my opinion. Their “Pen & Pencil” blend in cappuccino form is my go-to but I think a long black would be an even better complement for this cheesecake.

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F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S

At yesterday’s private lunch event, “Starter Lab Singapore” brought out these platters of sandwiches, all constructed with their made-and-baked-fresh breads, for us to try. Basically, it’s a preview to what they will be offering customers starting at 8:30am on 5th August when they officially open for business.
Served at room temperature, I found the sized-down versions of the sandwiches crafted well.
And although I have never really been into rye bread, the Salmon Smørrebrød turned out to be the one I loved most from this lot. The thin slice of nut-studded bread was made-me-go-whoa delectable, with smoked salmon, house-pickled cucumber and radish, a sprinkle of sumac and housemade crème fraiche layered on in the ideal proportion.
Jostling for second spot in my heart from amongst these Posh Toasts would be the Curried Cauliflower and the Meaty Mushrooms with Ricotta. Coincidentally, vegetarian creations both. Which says a lot, given how much I enjoy meat.
The other thing I think most people will like is that Starter Lab lets you pick the bread to make your sandwich with.

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For a brand with so many outlets, Cedele does some eye-raisingly good quality and scrumptious bakes and cakes. Coincidentally enough, I seem to have been indulging in a few of them over the last week and thought it’s a good time to share what I’ve enjoyed.
Besides the well-balanced Matcha Chocolate Cake my friend Gabriel chose for a birthday cake to culminate his recent celebration dinner, my parents and I shared three items when we popped into the expanded Cedele outlet at Raffles City for tea break. One was my beloved thickly-frosted Carrot Cake of theirs, cut tall and small; the others were baked bars of an Apricot Pistachio and a Pear Frangipane. As far as my parents and I were concerned, they were all faultlessly executed with the respective lovely fragrance and the right texture. Sweetness level was well controlled across the board, something I really appreciated personally.

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A brand new hip coffee brand from Kyoto just opened up on Arab Street but the whole neighbourhood of Kampong Glam in Singapore already boasts a number of very good cafes that have their own strengths. For eg. Muslim-owned @allthingsdelicious, a place I recently took my parents and relatives visiting from the U.K. and New Zealand, for an afternoon snack.
We ordered drinks (the ginger and lychee lassi is lovely), a couple of freshly made sandwiches (their Tuna Melt and the hot-pressed Sriracha Chicken are really appetising with a nice kick of spice plus they both have a generous amount of filling), and a tall slice of Gula Melaka cake (it’s honestly, one of the best I’ve had in a long time and my Aunty Siew Leng was full of praises for it too).
If you are an ice-cream lover, their Affogato which has the coffee served in a cup you can cradle, will be very appealing because they give double scoops of vanilla ice-cream.
I have noticed that this cafe is always full because many people drop in for their bakes which are produced fresh on the premises daily. Here are a few of their offerings you can pick from to enjoy with a cuppa or to take away: sweet or savoury scones, assorted tarts, sticky date pudding and more.

H O S T E D
If you’ve dined at Ken Loon‘s passion project @magicsquare.sg before, you may find the curry leaf cream sauce accompanying the pan-roasted Kuhlbarra Barramundi ($24.90) familiar. Yup, it is one and the same and is still as dizzyingly aromatic and mouthwateringly good as
when Chef Desmond Shen (@dzzfizz) served it back then. Here, you get to enjoy a generous serving of it with a nice large piece of crispy-skinned fish.

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H O S T E D
I would order this again at the drop of a hat.
Although it was a last minute addition to the tasting menu, the Cray Roll blew my mind the moment I bit into it.
Served warm, the brioche bun was unbelievably soft and buttery, and went perfectly with the gloriously rich stuffing of chunks of crayfish tumbled together with ebikko and fried capers in prawn mayo. On the side was a pile of some really decent fries.

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The name says it all, the “Simple Summer Breakfast” at Summerlong has two eggs cooked however you like, sliced avocado, sourdough, baby spinach and half a grilled tomato. You can always choose to make things less simple by adding bacon, a slab of halloumi cheese or a short, thick merguez sausage which is what we did.
For what you get—attractively presented food that is decent in taste—prices here are a little higher than at other cafes but the central location, spaciousness and easy-breezy ambience of this Mediterranean-lite restaurant, as well as the friendly, on-the-ball service of the experienced staff are the reasons why I would return.

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It’s been a while since I last dined here so when it came to deciding where our group should go for brunch today, the answer was obvious.
Without hesitation, I tend to gravitate towards the “Pimp Your Breakfast” section of the menu but the “Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich” caught my eye and that was it - I knew instantly what was destined for my belly.
Between the soft hot dog buns was a very large and very juicy piece of thigh meat. It wore a thin layer of crunchy crumbed coating that made the sandwich more fun texturally. Rounding things out with a bit of creaminess was a dollop of coriander mayo and a generous layer of smashed avocado. The rush of spicy heat that I particularly loved, came courtesy of Chef-owner Darren Farr’s housemade sriracha. Last but not least, fresh lettuce and sliced tomatoes were layered in between.
Verdict: A really solid chicken sandwich that I wouldn’t hesitate to order again.

Figs is one of those fruit that piques my immediate interest. And it is hard to resist when I know it comes with yogurt ice-cream, buckwheat crumble and a drizzle of honey. The salty facet, courtesy of the butter used for the crumble, gives this light dessert an extra tasty edge that I really enjoy.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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