Krave – The Ramadan Edition

Krave
28 Bali Lane
Singapore 189864

Opening Hours
Mondays: Closed
Tue-Thu, Sun: 1130am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am to 11pm
Kitchen closed 445pm to 6pm
Notes: Only cash and nets accepted; order at the counter, nett pricing!
Reservations: Email Reservations.krave.sg@gmail.com 3 days in advance

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$31

So remember how I wrote in my original Krave review that I was dying to go back to this restaurant? Well I did, in a space of maybe 2 weeks, after unilaterally deciding that Krave was going to be the site of an iftar (breaking one’s fast) with some girlfriends!

It is imperative to make reservations if you’re planning to break your fast at any of the halal places in Singapore, especially if they’re the hottest new kid in town – everyone’s going to want to eat there at 7:15 pm when the sun sets. However, I think if you’re just looking for a quick dinner starting at about 8:30pm to 9pm, you should be safe.

First off here are photos of the menu!

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I love that they have salad options on the menu, but let’s be real here; I’m never going to order them, in the presence of steak and all.

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It’s all about the smoothies here! Don’t even bother with the plebeian drinks.

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Krave’s iftar dinner edition came with a few extras that were very much appreciated – they had two dispensers of water and rose syrup drink (good old air sirap) for everyone to help themselves to, they prepared dates for diners to break their fast with, AND every table got a plate of assorted macarons after their main course! They really pulled out all the stops for Ramadan. I love these little touches; they go a long way in distinguising a restaurant from the rest of the pack.

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Yum. Everytime I look at plain un-bandung rose syrup drink, I’ll think of the classic 1964 hindi movie Sangam. There was a scene where someone made a pitcher of rose syrup drink, and my 5-year-old self was enchanted.

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The most amazing things to break one’s fast with – moist plump dates, and a cup of Gula Melaka Smoothie (S$8) YUMMMMMMM.

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Macarons are great but free macarons are better. I liked the earl grey chocolate and the lemon.

At Krave, as with most other cafes in the area, you place your order at the counter and pay up before they serve you the food. Being seated closest to the counter, I had the dubious honour of being the orderer for our table of 6. My memorization skills were seriously being put to the test, especially since there were distractions at the counter:

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!! A cash/nets sign made using Lego material! A cute personal message from the cash register! I tried not to get distracted and got most of the orders in. (Not going to lie, I had to go back to the counter a second time).

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A terrible photo of the display counter with macarons, assorted cakes, canned drinks, and rows of Chempedak Crème Brûlée waiting to be torched into deliciousness!

We ordered some Truffle Fries (S$12) to share. They came in a cute little bucket, and had these DELICIOUS shaved parmesan cheese on top with some fresh-cut parsley. So good, I’m going to show you 3 photos of the same thing:

Krave_Truffle_Fries3 Krave_Truffle_FriesKrave_Truffle_Fries2

The fries were delicious, let’s not even mince words here. These thick-cut steak fries were so fragrant with truffle oil, I nearly passed out when they served it to the group who ordered before us. The parmesan on top was also great and added flavour; I truly wish they had been more generous with it, or at least spread it around the other fries a little more. The texture I thought could use just a little improvement – some of the pieces were a smidge soggy/limp, which is fine for some people. I, however, personally prefer my fries to be lightly crispy on the outside and then soft and mushy on the inside. Taste-wise they were perfect, but texture-wise I still think The Royals Steakhouse fries were better (you can read my review here). 8.5/10

On to mains – I was dying to get the Steak ‘n’ Chips (S$20) again, but I resisted and decided to try the infamous Kraving Ayam Bakar (S$16), so at least I could write a review on it. It came on a bed of sweet satay sauce and some cubes of lontong (rice cakes) on the side.

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OMGAH SO YUMMMM. I am happy to report that this giant chunk of chicken lived up to the hype. The chicken itself was so tender and moist, and well-marinated in spices. There was a robust, semi-spicy, kicap (sweet soy sauce) taste that was better than the usual ayam bakar taste you get from Indonesian food stalls. The lontong cubes were soft and went very well with the satay sauce, as always. As a bonus, this whole hunk of chicken was almost entirely boneless, save one thin piece of bone I encountered towards the end. Otherwise, flawless. 9.5/10

One of my friends tried out the Ramadan special, which was the Rendang Bolognese (S$16).

Krave_Rendang_Bolognese

What is that sound they play when Pacman dies in the game?

It pains me to say this because I love Krave and I want them to do well, but my friend and I found this terribly disappointing. We thought the coconut taste was too strong, the rendang sauce colour too light, and the taste not spicy enough (don’t let the chili padi garnish fool you). Also I think we’ve been programmed to expect meat chunks, when you think about rendang, so when we got what was effectively almost a rendang purée, we were sad. I think Bolognese sauce usually has more substantial minced meat in it, but in this rendition we could barely taste any meat. I think this dish would have been way better if they had (a) cut up some of that chilli and tossed it in with the spaghetti, (b) had a more traditional rendang taste, and (c) used actual cubes of beef rendang, or at least, rough-minced beef rendang. Conceptually cool, but flawed in execution. 6/10

Another one of us had the Arrabiata Seafood Pasta (S$16), which came with a symphony of prawns, mussels, squid, and clams. Yum! I love shellfish, and it’s great that this dish had two kinds!

Krave_Arrabiata_Seafood_Pasta

I didn’t taste this one, but my friend told me while it was decent, the sauce still was not as spicy as she would have expected from the term Arrabiata, which literally means angry in Italian. There wasn’t enough heat, but otherwise she liked it. 7.5/10

For dessert, apart from the macaroons that the cafe had generously given us on the house, we ordered two ramekins of the Chempedak Crème Brûlée (S$8) to share.

Krave_Creme_Brulee_Chempedak

Once again, the caramelised top layer was beautifully done, and boy were we pleased by the cracking sounds made when our spoons tapped the hard sugar shell. I also again enjoyed eating the little chempedak bits in the base. However, this time around the taste was just a little more bitter than usual. I also found the chempedak emulsion once again too watery. I really wish it could’ve been slightly thicker/firmer. 8.5/10

Overall Krave still remains a new favourite of mine; the ambience is casual, friendly, and safe. The staff are all smiles and will be more than happy to help you take photos of your table. They are also quite proactive in clearing the plates as soon as you are done with them. I’m definitely coming back for the steak again and perhaps try more of the sides (drumlets!) and the pizza.

Krave
28 Bali Lane
Singapore 189864

Opening Hours
Mondays: Closed
Tue-Thu, Sun: 1130am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am to 11pm
Kitchen closed 445pm to 6pm
Notes: Only cash and nets accepted; order at the counter, nett pricing!
Reservations: Email Reservations.krave.sg@gmail.com 3 days in advance

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$31

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La Marelle on Baghdad St

La Marelle Cafe
25A Baghdad Street
Singapore 199664
Opening Hours
Wed-Mon (closed on Tue): 10am to 11pm
Notes: Order and pay at the counter; no GST and no service charge!

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 7/10

Average spend per pax: S$25

For the past 2-3 years, I have been taking Arabic lessons at the Al-Markaz institute, located on the 2nd floor of Wardah books on Bussorah Street. Over the course of these years I’d forged a real bond with some classmates, and together we went for classes every Saturday morning from Modern Standard Arabic Level 2 to Level 7. These friends provided a great support system – texting me the homework that I had missed from the classes I’d skipped, sharing their grievances about the grammatical difficulties of Arabic, etc. Arabic is so tough; I cannot tell you how many lessons I’ve pontenged (skipped), only to regret it the following week when I have twice the amount of homework to catch up on. The struggle is very real, my friends, so I was thankful to have these folks to motivate me.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. About 2 to 3 months ago, in an egregious act of betrayal, my Arabic gang decided not to advance to Level 8 with me, leaving me in the absolute lurch 😦 Luckily, they missed our teacher so much (he’s so amazing) that we decided to organise a reunion lunch together with him after class a few weeks ago. The place we decided on was La Marelle.

The first time I went here a couple of years ago the menu was rather limited, but I am happy to announce they’ve expanded it quite impressively since. Here’s a look at the items on the menu:

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I mean who DOESN’T love all-day breakfast! YUM.

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I LOVE halloumi cheese!! Why is baguette not spelled correctly?

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Here are some photos of the decor of the place. The cafe comprises two levels, located on the second and third floors of a typical Arab St shophouse. The acoustics are pretty terrible especially if you have a big group on the third floor – it gets really loud and you’ll have trouble hearing your friends!

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The ‘upstairs’ loft-style dining area

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View of the main dining floor from above! Very trippy and whimsical. It’s like an Alice tea party!

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They sell miscellaneous goods and sundry in the cafe too, which is pretty cute. You can look around while waiting for your order!

Orders are placed and paid for at the counter on the main floor, so the prices you see on the menu are actually nett prices. Yay to no service charge!

I can never resist a good steak so naturally I opted for the Grilled Striploin Breakfast (S$17) from the All-day Breakfast menu. It comes with roasted potato cubes, a sunny-side up, and a side salad, as such:

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The sunny-side up and the toast were perfect, I thought. The toast was lightly toasted and the egg yolk was suitably runny and DELICIOUS. The potato cubes were not as tender as I would have liked (try the beef hash at Fika, the potato cubes absolutely melt in your mouth!), but they tasted decent. As for the striploin pieces, I honestly have to say I thought they were a little dry. The seasoning was adequate; the meat tasted spicy/sweet at the same time, in a good way. I think the steak could have been juicier if it had been a little rarer, like maybe medium instead of medium well. I was really quite full from all the carbs and the protein, that I didn’t really touch the salad, so no comment for that! Overall, I think this dish just barely made it to 7/10.

I also got myself one of the mocktails – the Peach Mojito ($8), although it also comes in lychee, mango, and strawberry flavours.

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This was good and very refreshing, and look at the cute coaster!!

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ASTAGHFIRULLAH. Haha I love the cognitive dissonance. And the surfer shark.

I took some photos of what my classmates had, so you guys know what some of the other items look like!

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The French Classic Stuffed Croissant (S$15) with assorted deli meats and cheese in it! When reached for comment, my friend responded with “not memorable”.

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The Spaghetti Bolognaise (S$13) which came in a HUGE portion; my friend was struggling to finish it! She said this was quite plain and she got jelak after a while.

All in all I think La Marelle is one of those safe, cute cafes you can bring your friends to. The location is great, since it’s just a 1-minute walk from the Sultan Mosque. Based on what I had, I don’t think the food is amazing, which is a pity. That being said, I wouldn’t mind coming back for the decor and the location! Plus, the menu is pretty extensive so I should probably try some other items, which could turn out to be really great.

La Marelle Cafe
25A Baghdad Street
Singapore 199664
Opening Hours
Wed-Mon (closed on Tue): 10am to 11pm
Notes: Order and pay at the counter; no GST and no service charge!

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 7/10

Average spend per pax: S$25

J’s On Purvis Street (Permanently Closed)

***Edited to add: Hey guys, it is with a heavy heart that I say J’s restaurant has permanently closed! Boooo, so sad! But fret not, you guys can still get a dose of halal Mexican goodness at Afterwit SG or Fix!***

J’s Restaurant (Permanently closed)
7 Purvis Street, #01-01, S(188586)
Reservations: +65 6887 4787 or online here
Online Menu: Here

Opening hours

Lunch Sun-Fri: 12pm to 230pm
Mon-Thu: 630pm to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 6pm to 1030pm
Sun: 6pm to 930pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8/10

Average spend per pax: S$48

Js_Opening_Hours

I first went to J’s maybe about 3 years ago, and I couldn’t remember much about the food, except that the bread and butter pudding was a little off, but that the location on Purvis Street was the best. So I finally got around to going again so I could have a more accurate and current assessment of the place.

As far as I know J’s is the only halal Mexican place around, so that’s already a great unique selling proposition to diners looking for halal food that isn’t nasi padang! More attractive features: full service, mirrors everywhere, low mood-lighting and a warm inviting ambience! Behold:

Js_Ambience

We got seated almost at the last table at the back, so I felt like a runway model stomping down the aisle. It was great. I enjoyed that they didn’t trick the place out in cheesy mexican themed decorations, like sombreros or green/white/red colourblocks. They had nice colourful chairs, but also some random colourful wall tapestries.

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Inexplicably, a Tree of Life tapestry on the wall. Eh, I’ll allow it!

So what’s for eating? Here’s a look at the menu:

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OMG CHIPOTLE MEATBALLS?! YUMMMM.

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Things I like seeing on a menu: the halal sign, and JALAPENO POPPERS!!!

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My friend all but started hyperventilating in excitement when he saw Jalapeño Poppers (S$17), so that was an obvious starter choice for us.

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Mmm get in my bellayyy you plump little fatties!

Jalapeño peppers are medium-sized chili peppers originating form Mexico. They are usually picked and consumed when green, although if allowed to fully ripen, they turn a deep crimson red. The ones served at J’s are stuffed with mozzarella cheese and breaded.  The result is a warm, fat, juicy popper you can dip in either the hot sauce or the guacamole dips on the side. I really enjoyed J’s rendition of this popular Mexican dish, especially since the jalapeño pepper has just enough heat to make it interesting, and doesn’t have any strong sour taste some jalapeños can have. In fact, they were good enough to eat on their own without the help of dips! The coating was crispy, the pepper was firm, and the cheese was melty. Seal of approval for sure. 9/10

We also went for the Lamb Tostada (S$18), which is made up of a small crispy corn tortilla bowl sitting on a pile of sour cream, filled with slow-cooked lamb ragu, topped with melted cheese and served with some pico de gallo, which literally means rooster’s beak, but refers to a fresh salsa.

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We were initially at a loss as to how to eat it, as these packed bowls were the size of our fists. Eat the ragu out of the tortilla bowl? Cut it in half? Try to bite at it? In the end I just decided to break the whole thing down, and it was the best decision I’d made in a while:

Js_Lamb_Tostada_Closeup

Mmmm gooey meaty cheeeeeeese

I found this dish very delicious; the lamb was soft, tender, and was absolutely soaked in flavour. It reminded me a little of the Cuban dish, Ropa Vieja, which literally means old clothes, but which refers to a sort of shredded beef stew. The shredded lamb in this tostada had a sweet cheesy taste. The ragu I thought was very rich, the downside of which is that you get a little jelak/sick of it after a while, but the salsa sauce on the side helped refresh the palette. I didn’t care much for the tortilla, which I thought was not as crispy as it could have been, but I think this is a common problem you get with baked tortilla chips. This dish is a solid 8/10.

We decided to share 2 mains, one of which was the Paella (S$28), a saffron rice dish with marinated chicken and not just one but TWO types of fish, salmon and tilapia.

Js_Paella Js_Paella_Closeup

Yommehhhh. My friend and I enjoyed this tremendously. The rice was savoury, fluffy, moist, and soft. I will say here that my friend thought the rice was a little too moist, and he wanted his paella a little drier so that you have the crispy bits at the bottom. It’s a personal preference I guess – I prefer my rice moist and fluffy right to the bottom. No crispy rice bits for me! The bits that I DID love were the bits of coriander strewn around the paella; these were a delightful flavour-enhancer with every bite. The chicken was good, the tilapia I thought tasted a little fishy, and I thought the salmon was phenoms. It was so tender and flavourful! Fish is always a little tricky, but I’m glad at least for this batch that I’d gotten, the salmon was juicy and not overcooked. 9/10 for this paella!

Our last item was the Beef Quesadilla (S$24) which features a soft tortilla wrap with minced beef, cheese, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños and some guac.

Js_Beef_Quesadilla

I’m sad to report this was the weak link of all the items we had for the night. Maybe 10% of this had to do with the fact that we were reaching stomach capacity by the time we got to these bad boys, but objectively these quesadillas did not do it for me. The beef stuffing was just not as tasty as everything else I’d eaten, and something about the ground beef/cheese combo made it taste like I was eating regular cheese fries from KFC. I’ve definitely had better quesadillas in my life (Dos Caminos, New York City! Guzman y Gomez Fish Quesadilla at Asia Square! Sorry tak halal 😦 ) so this I found rather disappointing. I think with a few tweaks they could stand to greatly improve the recipe – perhaps if they use shredded beef instead of minced beef, and maybe add some lime or some coriander to the fillings to add a little kick to it! 6/10

All in all, I had a great time at J’s. Service was really friendly; the servers/restaurant manager seemed to be one big family. I saw the servers actually walk down the ‘runway’ looking intently at diners’ tables to see if there were any dishes to clear or water glasses to refill. Definitely a plus. I think because it’s not a typical halal cuisine, J’s would also be the perfect place for a business lunch or dinner, especially if you have Muslim clients to impress. Will definitely be coming back for more!

J’s Restaurant (Permanently closed)
7 Purvis Street, #01-01, S(188586)
Reservations: +65 6887 4787 or online here
Online Menu: Here

Opening hours

Lunch Sun-Fri: 12pm to 230pm
Mon-Thu: 630pm to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 6pm to 1030pm
Sun: 6pm to 930pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8/10

Average spend per pax: S$48

Cahaya At Far East Plaza

Cahaya Muslim Halal Restaurant
#05-91/92 Far East Plaza
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Opening Hours
Daily 11:30am to 09:00pm
Notes: Cash only!

Halal Status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 10/10

Average spend per pax: S$9

Back when I was an angsty teen I used to go to Far East Plaza a lot with my friends after school, mostly for food and for some shopping. Our favourite place to eat was Dahlia’s Cafe, which used to be on the 5th floor right in front of the lifts. I would always get the Bee Hoon Bandung, which was absolutely perfect – the soup was so good and so spicy, and I swear I would spend the first 5 minutes just sipping on the broth before getting started on the noodles and the other ingredients. Yum. Unfortunately, Dahlia’s Cafe closed a couple of years ago to be replaced by some cafe I don’t even bother to remember the name of.

Nowadays I like to get my cheap-but-good food fix from Cahaya Restaurant, just around the corner from the erstwhile Dahlia’s Cafe. The menu is pretty standard:

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With these old nostalgic places I tend to be a creature of habit, so whenever I’m here I always get the Beef Fried Rice With Chicken Topping (S$6), although I did go through a Chilli Crab Sauce Rice (Jimba Rice) phase a few months ago.

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Mmmm what’s better than chicken? Chicken AND beef!!

This plate literally has everything – it’s got moist, fluffy, spicy rice, it’s got juicy beef slices at the bottom of the plate, and then it’s got tasty chicken slices on top! For you healthy types, you’ll be pleased to know the rice comes some bits of mixed vegetables, so everyone can party! It’s a dish for everyone, and my absolute favourite thing to have at this place. I can safely say it’s one of the most satisfying plates one can have for lunch (the Novena Nasi Padang comes close) . The price point is also very attractive – S$6 is a small price to pay for a plate of goodness, my friend. 10/10

My Far East lunch buddy and I like to share a small plate of Fried Wantan (S$3) on top of our rice when we’re feeling greedy:

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YUMMAYYYY pockets of crispy golden brown crunch

Truth be told they’re not very generous with the filling, but hey it’s a whole plate for $3! The texture is spot on – so, so crispy and surprisingly not oily! 10/10

I have to warn you guys though, the plate of wantan comes with this horrid, bitter black sauce. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be, maybe tar, but you HAVE to ask them not to add it, since it’s a default sauce that comes with every order of wantan!

Sometimes, we would forget to tell them not to add it, and then this happens:

Cahaya_Wantan

Worse than BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill 😦

Basically the perimeter of the plate becomes just another surface for us to wipe the icky black sauce off our wantans. My advice is to eat the wantan with this amazing chilli sauce available on every table:

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There are two communal cups of sauces at each table – one is filled with this spicy, delicious chilli sauce; the kinds they serve with Hainanese chicken rice. I LOVE dipping my wantans in this sauce, and also drizzling it over my rice sometimes. It’s really very very good! The other cup is filled with green chili in vinegar, or lada jeruk in Malay, which is not really my thang, but those who do love it will be pleased they have it here!

Overall Cahaya is a reliable go-to place to get your hawker food fix at really affordable prices, and it’s situated in the Orchard area too, so it’s very convenient if you’re doing some shopping or watching a movie in the area. Service is efficient though not the friendliest at times (depending on which server you get), but it’s ok since they get my food to me real quickly and that’s what matters in a place like this! Plus there’s no gst/service charge here so one can’t fault them for not trying to charm you! You guys should definitely check this place out 🙂

Cahaya Muslim Halal Restaurant
#05-91/92 Far East Plaza
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Opening Hours
Daily 11:30am to 09:00pm
Notes: Cash only!

Halal Status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 10/10

Average spend per pax: S$9

Krave On Bali Lane

Krave
28 Bali Lane
Singapore 189864

Opening Hours
Mondays: Closed
Tue-Thu, Sun: 1130am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am to 11pm
Kitchen closed 445pm to 6pm
Notes: Only cash and nets accepted; order at the counter, nett pricing!
Reservations: Email Reservations.krave.sg@gmail.com 3 days in advance

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 9/10

Average spend per pax: S$25

First things first – I’m typing this review with Toploader’s Dancing In The Moonlight playing on loop in the background. Gosh, remember when it first came out in 2000? It was SO GREAT. It’s been earworming me the past couple of weeks, and as Fergie from The Black Eyed Peas coos in that one song, “I’m addicted and I just can’t get enough”. Dancing In The Moonlight is all positive vibes and happiness; it makes you feel lucky to be alive!

OK to end this paean I’m gonna need you guys to take a few minutes to listen to it now!

OK now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you about Krave. It’s a new little cafe on Bali Lane that I’d been meaning to try for a couple of weeks ever since my friend recommended it to me, saying her cousin is the head chef there. I really should have played the ‘I’m friends with your cousin!’ card to get special treatment but I didn’t 😦

Based on their facebook page here, the cafe first opened its doors in late April 2015 as part of a soft launch, before making it official with a grand opening on 8 May 2015.

Here’s a look at the interior and decor:

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Cute waiter guy who asked me if I needed anything when I did a 180-turn back to the cafe right after stepping out, and who laughed when I replied “Sorry, I forgot I wanted to take a photo!”

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Krave wall decor! Also, is that guy POSING for my picture?! Kidding, I know you’re not. Sorry I accidentally captured your face, stranger 😦

My friend saw the circle Krave logo and said it reminded her of former Home Club Singapore. I honestly can’t remember what Home Club looked like but this I know to be true: the Krave logo looks like my workout t-shirt. Behold:

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Twinsies!

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Simple but beautiful table decor! Reminds me a little bit of Rouse’s.

The menu at Krave is actually quite extensive, with a whole page dedicated to pasta alone, complete with a promise that the pasta will be served al dente! Cute. For trivia junkies, al dente is Italian for ‘to the tooth’, meaning the pasta will be firm to the bite, instead of tasting like noodles when they’re overcooked.

To break down the rest of the menu, there are 4 mains with 3 different types of protein (chicken, beef, salmon), 4 different pizzas, 3 salads, 7 sandwiches/toast, and literally 10 items in the dessert section. I have to admit I was really impressed with the variety in their menu. I like that they have uncommon items like the Fried Mars Bar, Mango Prawn Salad, and deep-friend Otak-otak!! Best.

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I was dying to try the Truffle Fries (S$12) since it comes with the works – shaved parmesan and chopped parsley! – but I decided to save it for another day, since I had my heart set on the Steak & Chips (S$20), which already comes with its own side of steak-cut fries.

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OK first of all, anything that is served with ‘jus’, which is the fancy French term for ‘juice’, gets a thumbs up from me. Secondly, this came with shaved cheese on it!!! YUMMMMMM. Thirdly, I requested for a ‘medium’ done-ness, and it came out PERFECT. I mean, just look:

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Mmmmm tender juicy melt-in-your-mouth goodness

The meat was extra juicy, and I have to say, had ZERO tough bits, unlike the one I had at Royals Steakhouse! I mean the Royals steak was good, but Krave’s was on Krack – I felt like crying with every juicy, peppery, flavourful bite. The test of a good steak is whether it’s good enough to eat on its own without any fancy sauce or accoutrements, and Krave’s passed the test in spectacular fashion. Oh, and the jus was really tasty too! I enjoyed dunking bits of meat and fries into it once in a while to change things up. 10/10 for the steak!

My friend got the Pesto Chicken Pizza (S$14):

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Mmm look at those thin-crust, charred edges!

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My friend loved it! I had a slice, but only after I was done with my steak, so I thought while it was very tasty indeed, I also felt the pizza could have been a little juicier somehow. I think if I had had it ‘fresh’ right after serving, it would have been better. Also, I’m more of a cheesy pizza person, so I want my pizzas all extra cheesy, but objectively I think this pizza was pretty good, with that distinctive, familiar pesto taste. This scored a 7.5/10 for me.

My friend also got the That Gula Melaka Drink (S$8) smoothie, which was a blend of palm sugar, coconut, and red bean.

Krave_Gula_Melaka_Smoothie

Um, IT WAS SO DELICIOUS!!! This was basically like a chendol smoothie, without the green chendol bits. So, so good. I am so partial to anything gula-melaka, so I readily bestow a 10/10 to this smoothie.

Finally, for dessert, I got the much talked-about Chempedak Crème Brûlée ($8) (oh my god it took me forever to figure out the accent keys on my Mac).

Krave_Chempedak_Creme_Brulee2

Funny story – while my friend and I were waiting for our dessert, a group of 5 walk-ins entered the cafe, with the leader of the group entreating the waiter to get them a table and promising that the group would be quick about it, as all they wanted to do was have the delicious Chempedak Crème Brûlée. How delightful! It got me really excited to taste mine.

Krave_Chempedak_Creme_Brulee

To get down to brass tacks, did the top properly crack? Well my friends, it did! I even took a crazy video of it so I could capture the sweet sound of the metal spoon cracking the hard sugar shell. I’m not going to post it here, because that would be crazy, but it was really quite heavenly. Amélie Poulain would have been so happy.

As for taste, at the first spoonful, I thought “mm this is…different!” and then the more bites I had, the more delicious it got, especially with the juicy chempedak bits! The heaty chempedak taste was oh so good, and went very well with the burnt sugar flavour. The one thing I didn’t quite like about this was the slightly watery consistency where I would have preferred it slightly firmer, but I guess this was an unavoidable consequence of baking the creme mixture with the chempedak emulsion. Overall still a great item on the menu! 8.5/10

All in all, Krave definitely exceeded my already-high expectations, and I left the restaurant feeling really happy and super ready to go back soon! I definitely want to try out the other things on the menu (The otak-otak! The truffle fries! The mushroom, truffle & egg pizza! etc). So hopefully I’ll get to review these other items soon!

Don’t forget to make reservations by dropping them a Facebook message though – the place has limited seating and tends to fill up on Friday nights and weekends! Another thing to note is that there is no service charge or gst here; you order and pay at the counter before they serve you your food. Also, no credit cards, just cash or nets here!

Krave
28 Bali Lane
Singapore 189864

Opening Hours
Mondays: Closed
Tue-Thu, Sun: 1130am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am to 11pm
Kitchen closed 445pm to 6pm
Notes: Only cash and nets accepted; order at the counter, nett pricing!
Reservations: Email Reservations.krave.sg@gmail.com 3 days in advance

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$25

The Royals Steakhouse on Jalan Pisang

The Royals Steakhouse
10 Jalan Pisang
Reservations: +65 6291 3326
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 10pm daily

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Average Spend: ~S$30 per pax

During the Vesak day holiday, my friends and I decided to have a girly lunch together and check out The Royals Steakhouse, a relatively new halal café/steakhouse on Jalan Pisang, near Arab Street.

It’s a pretty small space; I dare say just slightly smaller than The Lab SG (its hipster neighbour along Jalan Pisang), and perhaps roughly the same size as the old Royz et Vous, which used to be on Bali Lane but has now moved to 137 Telok Ayer Street. The decor is pretty simple and breezy, with some old-school themed wall decorations.

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An anthropomorphized steak called Sir Loin!!! ADORBS.

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I genuinely am not acquainted with the different textures (and tastes?!) of the various cuts, but this tutorial is a good first step.

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We shall see, shan’t we.

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Open kitchen concept with bonus fire.

The restaurant is styled as a steakhouse, so most of the options comprise burgers and steak. Check out the simple menu here:

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I’m not a huge breakfast person so by the time I got to the restaurant I was ravenous and ordered two starters; the Homemade Pumpkin Soup (S$6) and the Crispy Fries (S$6). Out of sheer politeness I invited my friends to “feel free to have some!” but in my greedy heart of hearts I knew I’d want to have them ALL TO MYSELF 😦 Little did I know, I needn’t have worried, as the portions are way generous!

Royals_Pumpkin_Soup

The pumpkin soup was SO GOOD! It’s got just the right consistency – rich, creamy, and of perfect thickness so you can savour it in your mouth before swallowing. The taste was also spot on, slightly sweet and salty at the same time. UGH perfect. I’m not a fan of croutons in my soups, but my friends had them and said they tasted good, so I guess that’s a bonus too. 10/10 for the pumpkin soup!

Royals_Fries

I had my doubts about the fries – I was worried ‘crispy fries’ would mean skinny, unjuicy fries but what came was a large bowl of fat fries that were crispy on the outside but perfectly mushy on the inside. Tremendous. 10/10

For my main, I had the Australian Striploin (S$22) in medium, served with a side salad, grilled Roma tomato, and your choice of either caramelised onion sauce, black pepper sauce, or mushroom sauce. Superb! I went with the reliable black pepper sauce, although next time I would like to try the other sauces.

Royals_Sirloin

The meat had some parts that were tough, but the rest was perfectly done – I had requested for a medium, on a scale of rare, medium rare, medium, medium done, and well done. The meat was fresh, tender, and savoury enough with its own juices (and what I assume was maybe butter). There were also bits of fat that were just SO tasty and nicely charred. The salad though, I did not touch, so no thoughts on that, apart from that I would have preferred a side of fries or mash, instead of them greens! #roadtoheartdisease Overall, 8.5/10 for the steak!

Interestingly enough, the meat dish also came with a trio of condiments – fresh cut chilli padi, freshly milled black pepper, and some rock salt.

The_Royals_SG_Condiments

According to our waiter, they serve these condiments on the side because they want us to (a) really taste the freshness and the quality of the meat, and (b) be able to adjust the taste of the meat to our liking. Definitely a plus point for me!

I took some photos of the other items my friends ordered so you can have an idea of what they look like:

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Special Recipe Homemade Crab Cakes – S$12

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Delicious, with a savoury actual-crab meat filling. 9/10

The_Royals_SG_Baked_Potato

Baked Potato (S$3.50), served with sour cream and beef bacon bits! I didn’t taste this but my friends said it was decent.

The_Royals_SG_Caesar_Salad

Caesar Salad With Herb Croutons, Egg, & Smoked Salmon (S$8). I didn’t taste this either but the portion looks generous!

The_Royals_SG_Lamburghini_Burger

The Lamburghini (S$20) – juicy lamb patty burger with caramelised onions and melted cheese. I had a bite and it was quite good, although I wish the patty were less ball-like. 8/10

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Raspberry Mint Lemonade (S$5)

The_Royals_SG_Green_Apple_Mint_Lemonade

Green Apple Mint Lemonade (S$5)

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The cake display! With slices ranging from S$6.50 to the odd S$7.60 (looking at you, Opera Cake!)

All in all I’d say this place is definitely worth repeat visits. Service was very attentive and patient, although I have to say we were one of two parties present at the time. The food is hearty, tasty, and served in decent portions. A bonus feature is that you don’t have to order and pay at the counter like at some places in the neighbourhood like The Lab SG and Working Title. It’s full-service so you can bring friends and family for a good time!

Speaking of family; my friend brought her 1-year-old daughter to the restaurant and they provided her with a cute frisbee-like plate made of plastic, along with a plastic spoon, for her to play with so she could feel like one of the adults at the table! It was adorable. So feel free to bring your kids here, guys! It’s a family-friendly establishment!

The Royals Steakhouse
10 Jalan Pisang
Reservations: +65 6291 3326
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 10pm daily

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Average Spend: ~S$30 per pax