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Western-style Cafes

Western-style Cafes

Big fat ol' steaks and weekend brunches galore
Chew Sher Mein
Chew Sher Mein
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I wanted something really refreshing and high volume before working out so I got this salad bowl ($17) from Craftsmen Specialty Coffee.

The salad was a generous helping of mesclun greens and pea sprouts. The toppings of fresh pomegranate and mandarin orange slices added a fruity sweetness to the salad. There was also beetroot slices and roasted mushroom in the salad, adding to the texture and color in what would otherwise be a very boring salad. The crowning glory was the feta cheese along with the drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette on top. It was the first time I had feta and I was totally blown away by the way its creamy and salty flavor elevated the salad with the vinaigrette. My dining partner had ordered extra feta ($5), it was so good to sprinkle some of that additional feta on top of my salad. Thank you Craftsmen for showing how a non-boring salad should be done.

We also had an additional order of cheesy scrambled egg ($5) and there was actually a cheese pull when I yanked out a portion of the creamy scrambled eggs. Buttery, bright yellow, cheesy, rich scrambled eggs are absolute perfection. :) worth every dollar!

I also had a Regular iced Cold Brew ($6) and while I was quite disappointed by its 8oz size, it was pretty flavorful. Not the best cold brew out there, but still very satisfactory. A really lovely lunch/brunch place I would love to continue to patronize.

8.5/10

2 Likes

Bagels are one of my favorite kind of breads, and their donut shaped appearance just makes them so much more fun. TMBH's Unlox ($12) consisted of a huge, freshly baked, chewy bagel generously smeared with cream cheese (I'm talking cream cheese explosion when I bit into it) and with layers upon layers of smoked salmon. To cut the richness of the smoked salmon and cheese the sandwich also had pickled cucumber, capers and red onions.

It was more of a burger than a bagel, and in such a good way. The salty, tangy and rich flavors melded together well in an interesting, complementary manner. And the gorgeous bagel was the anchor for it all; it was so warm, soft and chewy. It was well worth the price. I would love to be back to try the more exotic bagels and their other smoked meats.

8/10

2 Likes

This was a huge six ounce slab of salmon on top of roasted mixed veggies (zucchini, carrot, mushroom and baby potato). The salmon was well cooked, moist and tender although the skin wasn't really crispy. I was more impressed with the veggies, which were roasted to bring out their natural sweetness and flavors. The poached egg and hollandaise on top added richness to the meal with the flowy yolk acting as a sauce that bound everything together and the soft whites providing a variation of textures to the dish. Altogether a well-balanced dish with simple flavors that paired well together.

The ambience of the cafe had an industrial appearance with its whitewashed tiles. But the lights dangling from the ceiling, cushions on the seats and soft music made for a cosy ambience, along with the friendly and efficient wait staff.

This dish cost $18 which is average for cafe food. But I enjoyed it very much, it was the perfect portion size for me. Plus it was made much more with it with the Burpple Beyond deal.

1 Like

This was ordered off the brunch menu and cost $18 with a drink of choice. I went with the Hoshino Blend of coffee with hot milk and it was AMAZING. I am fussy about my coffee having worked as a barista for two years and this cuppa ticked all the boxes for me. Strong, aromatic, low acidity and the nutty flavor shone through the entire mouthful. I was really impressed as I was not expecting such good coffee despite the cafe's name.

I was impressed by the food as well. The souffle omelette was foamy on the inside yet full of eggy and umami flavor, especially enhanced when eaten with a dash of ketchup. The pancakes weren't of the souffle type but like a thicker, more airy version of the McDonalds hotcake, and I personally love McD's hotcake so no complaints there. I also like how they give an entire full jar of maple syrup to dress my pancakes with. The smoked salmon wasn't overly salty and paired with the simple salad well.

Overall, it was a very pleasant first dining experience at Hoshino Coffee. I would love to come back and try some of their other food like the souffle pancakes and steak. Also to order another cup of that coffee.

8/10

Breakfast for dinner :)))) how could I resist their Dinner Frenzy (20% off mains)

This stack of deliciousness ($18 before discount) was anchored by thick, fluffy brioche and guacamole, with slices of smoked Norweigan salmon and two poached eggs. The whole tower was generously drizzled with their slightly spicy, rich signature sauce and finished off with pea sprouts.

This was a really rich, decadent meal with the perfectly poached egg yolk flowing down and mixing with the creamy sauce and the generous layer of guacamole hiding beneath the salmon. I especially loved the guacamole, which tasted of fresh avocado studded with onions and tomatoes. The brioche absorbed all the saucy and eggy goodness and paired perfectly with the slightly salty salmon. The greens and a sprinkle of nuts provided that crunch and contrasting texture and cut through the richness of the dish with their light, refreshing flavor. It was delicious and extremely filling.

The ambience had a vintagey, cosy feel with the last few customers sipping their lattes and cakes on a quiet Tuesday night. The wait staff was friendly and there was free flow water and wifi. I would love to be back to try some of their french fries and other breakfast mains. :)

8.5/10

We ordered the Swiss Rosti, one with smoked salmon and the other with veal bratwurst. ($14.50) I changed my sunny side up to a poached egg so I could have some yolk-porn with my rosti haha.

Oh boy this was good. The bratwurst was meaty, delightfully juicy and generously portioned. (it was a really big sausage!) The rosti was really crispy but not overly oily and I could really bite and taste each shred of potato instead of it being mushy. The sour cream when mixed with the lemon gave the dish a delicious sourish tang. It was a simple, fuss-free meal which my dining partner and I enjoyed over good conversation.

The wait staff and baristas were attentive and patient. I paid $18.50 for two rostis and a long black, which is such a good deal for good quality food and ambience. In addition, Burpple Beyond can be used for the other mains on the menu, which is great for picky eaters. :)

8/10

1 Like

This was a large salmon fillet with crispy skin and a perfectly cooked pink juicy center sitting on top a huge dollop of creamy, garlicky mashed potatoes ($18.90). It was drizzled in bright yellow hollandaise sauce and paired alongside arugula salad and grilled tomato. Technically it ticked all the boxes and was extremely filling and hearty for me, but somehow it just lacked that "wow" factor in terms of flavor and presentation. It was simple, fuss-free but lacking that complexity I expected for paying that price.

I have to praise the ambience though, full of vintagey, retro fittings and a bustling crowd. It certainly made a unique, pleasurable spontaenous dining experience for my dining partner and I. There were lots of other delicious brunch, desserts and dinner options that I wouldn't mind dropping by to try if I was in the area again.

7/10

1 Like

1 for 1 mains at The Coffee Academics!! I added $5 for 2 poached eggs because salmon and eggs are just the best combination. <3 The salmon fillet was a hearty portion and just perfectly cooked, the fish juices flowing out from the center of the tender fillet crowned with crispy skin. The flavorful potatoes and vegetable side dishes completed a protein-filled, relatively healthy, delicious meal.

It was about $50 for 2 mains (1 salmon fillet + 1 Eggs Benedict) and 2 manuka lattes with Burpple's 1-for-1 deal. Which I felt was worth it given the relaxing ambience, convenient location and attentive staff. And I know I'm paying for quality food and coffee. My dining partner and I thoroughly enjoyed our brunch experience at TCA and would definitely come back to try the other stuff on the menu! :)

8.5/10

2 Likes

A thick slab of grilled tuna (my dining partner thought I ordered chicken) atop some pineapple rice and garnished with pineapple salsa. ($28)

I have never tried cooked tuna (only maguro) and this was on their summer-inspired Tropicana menu. The tuna was chunky, meaty, and cooked to perfection. The pineapple rice didn't have a strong pineapple flavor but the raisins in the rice and pineapple salsa helped bind all the elements in the dish together so it wasn't bland. The portion seemed smaller than the huge steaks and burgers my neighbours were being served, but with an appetizer this filled me up nicely.

Service was wonderful with free flow water. This was a first date affair and while the music was really good, sadly I could barely hear my date over it. Something to take note!!

7/10

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