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Café Invasion

Café Invasion

Discovering coffees, mains and desserts served in the local café scene.
Siming T
Siming T

It’s a different interpretation of Kaya Toast at The Affogato Lounge, because for S$4.50, I got for myself three half-slices of toasted sandwich bread. Accompanying this all-day brunch item was a scoop of unsalted butter and a piped Kaya cream, so one could spread the two smooth and creamy stars on the toast as desired.

Upon putting everything together, I thought that there were some missing elements in this version of the Kaya Toast. Firstly, the butter was somewhat tasteless because of its salt-free nature. While the Kaya had prominent notes of coconut cream, I thought that it was a little too smooth unlike the familiar Kaya I would usually associate with, also with a lack of burst of Pandan leaves and sugar flavours. Putting the toast aside, if there were a little more contrast on the flavours and textures of the spreads, I might derive more satisfaction from this easy breakfast. On the other hand, if a smooth butter-cream texture was what you would look for, this might actually work well for you.

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d’ Good Café’s third restaurant played a more Asian theme, specifically on the local coffee and tea scene and our familiar Kopitiam heritage.

The Hainanese Roulade & Risotto Balls (S$19.50) repackaged the local favourite chicken rice into a more Westernised presentation. The chicken was tender and juicy from the poaching, and the garlic-ginger chilli remoulade encapsulated the ginger and chilli sauce quite perfectly. And that small piece of foie gras was more of a touch of luxury to this dish, giving me a sense that the food was worth the money. My only slight gripe from this dish was their risotto balls, because the rice was not as compact within the ball and was a tad marshy for its texture. Overall, it was still a good dish and I would actually recommend this dish to those who loved chicken rice anyhow.

They also had an in-house coffee museum that was open to public, but given that visitors would be shuffling their way into the museum without any obligation to spend in the restaurant, sitting near the entrance of the museum might cause some inconvenience to those who minded someone squeeze behind their seats.

The Warm PB Cookie (S$13.00) was not a single piece of skillet cookie that encased “lava” in it, but it was still a yummy surprise to all cookie monsters out there. A few large cookies were laid out and baked on the skillet, making them crispy by the edges and more chewy inwards, so chewy until I could ditch my imagination of it as a lava cookie.

On top of the cookies came the salted Speculoos softie swirl, which further enhanced the peanut butter accents in this dessert. Let it melt a little so that the cookie can be soaked with some of that soft serve. Heaven in my mouth with this one, and it was so difficult to choose between this and the Mochi waffles for the more mood-lifting dessert.

#BurppleEatup

KARA’s own version of a chilled (凉拌) Mala meal was quite an interesting dish for me, because I would not expect to find a Chilled Mala Chicken and Noodles (S$19.00) behind those frozen yoghurt dispensers.

Having said that, the dish had almost everything in there, from noodles to pulled poached chicken thigh meat to homemade pickles to sliced cucumbers to roasted peanuts. What was really missing was the anticipated Mala’s numbing and spicy kick, maybe because they had held back from splashing the food with lots of their self-concocted chilli oil.

To raise the game instead of going for this 小小辣 (very mildly spicy) combo, give the friendly staff a request that you needed more spicy kick, especially if you were mindful like me about their price point.

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KARA appeared to be quite packed with students from nearby schools and institutions, but it was surely not just a frozen yoghurt shop, just because it was by Sogurt. It seemed that they also served coffee, snacks and proper meals, and their latest additions had some Japanese or Sichuan influences.

Their Aburi Mentaiko Salmon grain bowl (S$16.00) was filled with cooked salmon bits, but more distinctively there was the Mentaiko mayonnaise that gave the food a nice pinkish appearance, before further garnished and topped with an open Ajitama (boiled egg with molten yolk). It would have been aesthetically pleasing to have the yolk slightly less cooked, but the overall flavours of the dish easily compensated that imperfection.

A more guilt-free option was to substitute the Garlic Japanese Rice with Quinoa Salad for an additional S$3.00, to get more dietary fibre and less carbohydrate intake out of a grain bowl.

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A relatively hearty all-day breakfast that was originally priced at S$23.00, but when Burpple Beyond was used the savings was quite worth it.

One thing that I definitely enjoyed was the generosity of grilled bacon strips given on that plate. I also liked their meaty sausages that was actually quite nicely seasoned. And last but not the least, that hash brown had a really crispy finish to it without appearing dry at all!

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When one could not decide despite staring at the menu for a while (just like me), one option is to order The Works (S$19.00) from the day menu (up to 4.00pm).

The Works was the breakfast platter offered by Birdy’s, with a choice of eggs to go with Kurobuta sausage, thick-cut bacon sautéed mushrooms, vinaigrette-tossed greens, sourdough and a good portion of mashed avocado. Most of the ingredients scored a good brunch because of the hearty portions and yummy flavours (they taste like what they taste like). With the richness in flavours, perhaps the guacamole could be left clean to be just the mashed avocado, to create that fine balance in taste and not to mask the distinct sourdough notes as a spread.

5 Likes

The 6 pieces of prawn paste chicken winglets here costed S$8.00 and they were not prepared in the open concept kitchen. I enjoyed the very light and crisp chicken skin with that familiar but not overpowering fragrance of a good Har Cheong Kai.

However, I discovered that there were granules of salt resting on the chicken skin, which also gave the snack a bit more saltiness. Actually if I may request for the dish without additional salt, I might enjoy the dish more without having to grab water after the meal.

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Coming from a heartlands café that recently commenced its business, the Funghi & Cheese savoury crepe (S$10.00) comprised a crepe with sautéed mushrooms, melted cheddar, mozzarella and some greens by the side. It was a little different from the other crepes considering that most creations here were sweets. The crepe mix tasted good, but perhaps I would enjoy this a little more if the crepe was less crispy, and that the cheese was melted completely. At first I was a bit skeptical about the rawness of the sunny side up (S$1.00), which seemed to be cracked over the crepe, but it turned out fine after some tampering with.

3 Likes

I was probably not the biggest fan of Eggs Benedict without English muffins, but I could give approval to the Eggs Benedict (S$18.00) here. The pancakes were multi-grain, so very likely they packed higher amounts of fibre within. And because they were snugly packed, the towering effect added some aesthetic points to the dish.

On the other hand, I was really hoping that the Hollandaise sauce were made less buttery and more citric, even though the current composition would be more suitable to go with pancakes. Maybe an extra poached egg could have also added more satiety to my brunch.

There is a wide variety of pancakes and waffle to choose from, with sweet and savoury options available. For those who value healthier choices, these multi-grain pancakes might just be the answer.

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3 Likes

Mellower Coffee had been on my private wishlist for the past 1 year, and finally I managed to come by for a quick break. With a range of fancy beverages and some classic cuppa options, I went for their Bailey’s Misu (S$9.80), which was their signature coffee cocktail with creamy Bailey’s liqueur, milk and cocoa powder.

Other than tasting like a rich cup of mocha, the highlight of this coffee, if it was not obvious enough, was the inclusion of alcohol in the drink. Obviously present but subtly pleasant, it kind of made my day after a long, trying week. No regrets in ordering this at all!

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Listed as one of their popular choices, the 462 Prawn Laksa Pasta (S$17.00) was by far the most accurate expression of our local favourite reinvented in a plate of pasta. I found myself slurping away at the Laksa sauce because it was rich with that Sambal chilli kick, coupled with fresh prawns to give a sweet crunch. No doubt that the spaghetti would not give that springy texture like our thick Bee Hoon, the overall flavours were almost on point.

I don’t know why, but I was thinking if they could add some small pieces of Tau Pok to complete that Laksa experience. Why not, right?

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2 Likes

First world problem: What to eat for the next meal?

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