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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

You've got a thick slice of their fabulous house-baked sourdough, nutty and chewy, lightly buttered and toasted, then topped with an extremely generous layer of nduja and some creamy burrata. The whole shebang's then finished off with some crunchy pistachios and a glug of fruity olive oil. For the unfamiliar, nduja is a sort of spicy, spreadable sausage, with a flavour profile very similar to salami. I first had it at &Sons in a pasta, and fell head over heels in love with its punchy flavours and discernible heat. In this dish, it brought about a complex savouriness with just a touch of acidity, which went really well with the cool burrata and bread. I did however miss the characteristic spiciness nduja often has though, which would've really pushed this to the next level. Still, it’s an extremely delicious starter that I’d definitely recommend trying.

3 Likes

I say this because everything I had from their newly launched menu this week was fabulous, apart from this Big Souvlaki ($18+) that is. I’m a huge fan of souvlakis having had them so often in Melbourne, so I really thought this’d be a definite hit with the pulled lamb ribs, mixed salad, and jalapeño hummus. Well, aside from how this definitely looks like steak and not pulled lamb, which was the protein listed on the menu, as well as how we practically couldn't taste the jalapeño hummus, everything else was unfortunately rather mediocre. The meat was under-seasoned (we even got bits of cartilage in there despite the spot-on medium-rare cook), the dollop of plain yogurt on top failed to lift it up (nothing like the refreshing tzatziki we usually have), and it all just lacked the punchy flavours I expect of a souvlaki. The un-sliced surface of the pita bread was also very floury, in a raw dusted-with-flour kinda way, which was rather unpleasant. I’m guessing there were a couple of teething issues seeing how lunch service is new, and I’m very much able to forgive that considering how great the other dishes we had were. Fingers crossed this’ll taste better on our next visit 🤞

2 Likes

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

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

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

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