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Café-Restaurants

Café-Restaurants

For cafés that do things a lil differently, leaning to a more western-european fusion take.
Nobelle Liew
Nobelle Liew

Look at that terrible pork rind. I thought these Pork Belly Baos would be a spin off of either kong bak baos or like roast pork buns, but nope these turned out to be — I’m most certainly declaring this — the worst bao creation I’ve had. The description says: pork belly, 5-spice red miso, XO dressed local greens. I expected melt-in-your mouth braised meat with a fantastic miso sauce, shrimpy xo sauce and maybe some slaw of local veggies. Nada. What I got was BOILED pork belly (look at the grey unappetising rind?!) with meat that was crazy rubbery, tough, and completely tasteless. The red miso was insanely salty and unevenly distributed, veggies were simply blanched without any semblance of seasoning, and where’s the XO sauce??? Dude this was so terrible I literally have nothing positive about it I can say.

2 Likes

If you can’t be bothered to read the whole review, the key takeaway is you’ve got to order this. This addictive side sees battered cauliflower florets deep fried then dusted with curry powder, served on a bed of lemon emulsion and a drizzle of mega yumz fish sauce caramel. Sounds funky but it really isn’t. The earth curry notes are super prominent here, especially with the addition of fried curry leaves, making the little cauliflower popcorns extremely fragrant and tasty. Then you’ve got that creamy, slightly tangy emulsion to keep it fresh, and then a umami caramel to tie it all together. So satisfying and exceedingly addictive!!

3 Likes

I 💕 prosciutto. I used to have it every week (since like a decade ago I kid you not), so you can say I’ve had a lot of this cured meat. Gotta say Caffe Cicheti’s is by bar the saltiest I’ve ever had. Now before you go “oh you uncultured swine”, I know prosciutto’s supposed to be really salty so that’s not out of the ordinary; but this was really reeeeally salty. Didn’t have the nice slightly nutty aftertaste either so I’m not entirely convinced with their prosciutto. Biggest bummer though was that the bread was toasted to oblivion and was basically a biscuit — not very pleasant I must say. In fact a little bit of a tang from the bread would’ve really helped cut through that intense saltiness.

3 Likes

The classic chilli crab + fried mantou combo in an easy-to-eat bao, less than $5 a pop and completely mess-free (shell-free is the way to go mmhmm) — need I say just how perfect this is? Especially so when they’ve got the deeply golden, sweet fried bun and chilli crab sauce down pat 😍 So I’ve been eating at their Jiak Chuan outfit for a bit, but westies can rejoice cause their latest store at Westgate’s been up for a month!

2 Likes

It’s by no means revolutionary: pork and apples, a classic combination, accompanied by sides of mashed potatoes, purple cabbage, and a pommery mustard sauce. But every component is given equal attention and executed perfectly, playing its part in balancing the overall dish and bringing it harmony. The pork chop, though tough under the blade, is extremely juicy and tender when you bite into it. The mash is buttery, smooth, and well-seasoned; the purple cabbage holds a touch of crunch and welcomed accidity; and the mustard sauce unbelievably moreish. What sealed the deal for me though, were the apples. Syrupy, perfumed with vanilla, soft to the bite while retaining its structure and bite, the humble poached apples added a lovely (seriously addictive) sweetness and imho ties everything together perfectly. I’ve had apple purée/roasted apples/apple sauce with pork, but never poached apples — and they work so well I’m surprised I’ve not tried it elsewhere 🤤🤤🤤

3 Likes

I’ve never really been a fan of pâté, so it came as my biggest surprise when I found myself digging for the very last bits of South Union Park’s Chicken Liver Pâte. The thing about pâté is it’s creamy, buttery, and lusciously rich — sometimes too rich. Here’s where South Union Park’s genius comes into play: topping theirs with tangy pickled red onions and little cubes of sweet pickled apples lent a fantastic contrast, both in flavour and texture, that keeps the appetiser light on the palate, and unexpectedly addictive.

The only time I settle for fish and chips at any regular non-specialty store is when I’m feeling highly uninspired, so I guess that says a lot in itself. Says even more that this ended up being the best of all we ate over lunch 😐 Batter was light, fish was as decent as frozen white fish goes, fries were...well, fries.

2 Likes

Sous-vide Teriyaki Salmon Donburi: sounds fine and dandy, and with a few tables around me ordering this + pale-looking toast in their breakfast set, I decided this prolly was the better option. Looked so so promising and pretty, but unfortunately fell really short of expectations when it comes to flavours. The salmon was horridiously overcooked and bland, with most of the limited watery teriyaki sauce having seeped into the clumpy, cold, and oddly hard short-grain rice. These, plus discoloured brownish ikura and storebought stiff tamago, meant a very unappealing lunch.

7 Likes

Fusion food has always been an iffy area with us Singaporeans; but when push comes to shove and I had to pick a place, Stateland Cafe's homely and comforting creations are always my first choice. They've recently launched a new series of rice bowls that are, IMHO, really awesome. Think crispy seared Salmon Belly, sambal Unagi, a duo of confit pork belly "Char Siew" and "Siu Yok", and a mega awesome Herbal Duck Risotto. Had me bowlin' over for sure 😍

5 Likes

Think perfectly cooked fish (tender, moist, and silky-smooth flesh with crisp skin), fragrant fried sakura shrimps, and a sweet and tangy Thai mango salad to pull it all together. If I had to nitpick, I'd like the shredded mango to be less finely julienned for more texture and a little more of that characteristic bite, and for it all to pack more heat. But with their nice touch of earthy roasted cashews, I ain't complaining.

5 Likes

I'd expect a Green Shakshuka to be similar to a traditional shakshouka, with a stewed/puréed green peppers, veggies, or chili base. Plentyfull's take however ended up being more akin to a lentil stew than anything shakshouka-y. First off, eggs aren't cooked in a nice hole-in-a-pan with it's whites absorbing some of the flavours of the stew; second, nothing green in there except lentils and chard (or was it kale); and really, it was more soupy than anything. Like I said, not a bad dish at all — it's quite reminiscent of a daal really, just wetter — but NOT in any way a shakshouka.

10 Likes

Spending all my time eating (and eating) cause what else is there to do in small 🌞🌞 Singapore?

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