Hyde & Co at North Bridge Road (Closed)

**Edited on 8 Jan 2018 to add: Hyde & Co have officially closed their outlet ūüė¶ ***

Hyde & Co
785 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198753
Reservations: +65 6635 5785
Online brunch/lunch menu: Click here
Online dinner menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Sun-Mon: 11am to 6pm
Wed-Sat: 11am to 1030pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$45 (for a drink, starter, main, shared dessert and pot of tea!)
Recommended dishes: Beef Brisket Man Tou (S$10), Fried Chicken Waffles (S$17), Chilli Crab Pasta (S$18), Ondeh-Ondeh French Toast (S$12.50)

Guys! I just discovered a newly halal-certified caf√© in my favourite food hood, Arab St, and it’s called Hyde & Co. As DJ Khaled likes to say, ANOTHER ONE! I owe it all to my tennis coach, who brought me to the caf√© earlier today after our lesson.

Hyde & Co - Table Decor

Hyde & Co has been around on North Bridge Road close to about a year and a half now, but they’ve only just received their official halal certification in early April 2016, so I expect it to get real crazy real fast.

Hyde & Co - Halal cert

Yes.

With the talented Chef Nazlie (Nazz) at its helm, Hyde & Co offers up a menu that boasts an enviable range of dishes so everyone is guaranteed to find something they like. In a number of the starters and mains, you see western fare with an Asian twist, such as the Nasi Lemak Risotto. This fusion dish is available on their dinner menu, and is the brainchild of Chef Nazz himself.

Unlike a lot of the other halal cafés in the vicinity, Hyde & Co also has a dedicated brunch menu which you can peruse online here.

Hyde & Co - Chef Nazz

Chef Nazz, who was kind enough to answer all my fangirl questions

First, pictures of our drinks! I had the Into The Woods (S$7.50), which is an iced tea of a blend of berries, hibiscus and rosehip. YUM.

Hyde & Co - Into The Woods Drink

I KNOW RIGHT! Too pretty. Wish I could’ve had a whole vat of it. 9.5/10

My coach had an Iced Black (S$6), which came looking like the manliest drink ever on a black saucer:

Hyde & Co - Iced Black Coffee

My coach’s very manly-looking glass of iced coffee. Unrated, but I liked the way it looked on the black saucer.

We decided on a couple of starters to share pretty quickly, the first of which was the Parmesan Fries (S$8), with a chipotle aioli dip:

Parmesan Fries

Parmesan Fries (S$8). That delicious chipotle aioli dip though!!

Hyde & Co - Parmesan Fries 2

YUMMMMM UGHHHHH

The parmesan smelled delicious, and was a welcome addition to these thicker-cut fries. I really, really liked the chipotle aioli dip which was smokey and flavourful. I love all chipotle everything!! I thought the fries were just the slightest bit dry, but I suppose it’s good that these weren’t dripping in oil. I can’t wait for them to have a truffled version of these! 8/10

We also went for the Hyde signature starter, the Beef Brisket Man Tou (S$10), which features slow-cooked, pulled beef brisket in homemade BBQ sauce and slaw served between fried mantou buns (the kind you dip in chilli crab sauce!):

Hyde & Co - Beef Brisket Mantou

The Beef Brisket Man Tou (S$10). In love with the plate, but even more taken with what’s on it ‚̧

Hyde & Co - Beef Brisket Mantou Close-up

OMG crispy glistening mantou with that shreddy af beef brisket!

I MEAN. I bit into the mantou slider and it was like heavennnnn. The mantou bun was crispy and the beef brisket was just the most delicious, juicy, tender meat ever! The slaw provided some crunch and also helped to cut the rich barbecue taste of the brisket, so you get a good mixture of tastes and textures.

My only concern was that the mantou buns could get a little oily, and so I asked Chef Nazz if we could request for steamed mantou buns instead of fried ones to go with the brisket. He confirmed it can be done, folks! When I go back again maybe I’ll try ordering that and let you guys know how that is ūüôā 9.5/10

When I checked out the list of mains, I found myself wanting to order several dishes at once, since everything sounded delicious. In the end, however, I went for the option that jumped out at me most — the Fried Chicken Waffle (S$17) which has a sunny side up¬†egg atop some prawn paste chicken and fries, served on a waffle alongside¬†honey dijon syrup:

Hyde & Co - Fried Chicken Waffle

Fried Chicken Waffle (S$17). PRAWN PASTE CHICKENNNNNN. And a few of my favourite things.

AHHHH you guys where do I begin. From the first bite of the chicken and waffle, I knew this was going to be a winner. The prawn paste taste was strong and pungent, in a good way. I complimented Chef Naz on the chicken, and he revealed the¬†secret behind¬†it –¬†they marinate their chicken in prawn paste for 48 hours to make sure it’s not just the coating but alsi the meat that¬†absorb the flavour. Thumbs all the way up.

Usually in chicken and waffle dishes I find the waffles to be quite a distraction, like it’s too sweet or gets in the way of the chicken, but Hyde & Co’s waffle was quite perfect as a subtly salted base to absorb the runny egg and the honey dijon. I could not get enough of that sauce, which was at once sweet and tangy with a mustard kick. Overall a superlative combination of flavours and textures. 10/10

My coach got the signature Hyde’s Chili Crab Pasta (S$18) which features blue swimmer crab, linguini, and spicy arrabiata sauce topped with herbed panko:

Hyde & Co - Hyde's Chilli Crab Pasta

Hyde’s Chilli Crab Pasta (S$18). YUMMMMM.

I found this dish very pleasing – it’s just the thing if you’re looking for a simple plate of pasta. The¬†linguini was al dente, and the arrabiata sauce had a good spicy kick to it so you don’t get jelak. I also liked the¬†grape¬†tomatoes providing a little tangy flavour. 9/10

For dessert we just had to try their signature Ondeh-ondeh French Toast (S$12), which comprises a brioche French toast topped with grated pandan coconut and vanilla bean ice-cream, sprinkled with chocolate brownie bits, and drizzled with gula melaka sauce:

Hyde & Co - Ondeh-ondeh French Toast

The Ondeh-Ondeh French Toast (S$12). OH DEAR GOD.

This was a straight up home run. I usually prefer my desserts on the tangy end of the spectrum, but all it took was a bite of this and I was sold. With every bite of the brioche, my mouth filled with a a heady mix of syrupy, creamy, and buttery goodness. The delicious gula melaka made the dessert taste like a scrumptious ondeh-ondeh/kueh lopez hybrid, which was just so reassuring. The different flavours, textures and temperatures at play here combine to make a solid dessert that will surely become a crowd favourite. 10/10

A distinguishing characteristic of Hyde & Co is that they chose tea, not coffee, as their specialty, so of course we had to end our meal with a pot of our own:

Hyde & Co - Teapot

My mum would love this! Terrible picture though.

We went for the Premium Lapsang Souchong at S$12.50 a pot. It was SO delicious and had a lingering smoky taste. I’m more of a green tea/earl grey girl but I think I might be a lapsang souchong convert after this!

Here’s their extensive and descriptive Tea menu:

Hyde & Co - Wall Decor 1

All in all I had a fantastic time at Hyde & Co and have already made plans with some other friends to go back, particularly to try their dinner menu (Steak Frites! Nasi Lemak Risotto! CLAMSSSSSS.) I already can’t wait! The food is really top notch here; service is friendly and the aesthetic is quite minimalist and clean. Go check it out ASAP¬†guys!

Hyde & Co - Ambience

What it looks like on the inside of Hyde & Co café!

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Hyde & Co
785 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198753
Reservations: +65 6635 5785
Online brunch/lunch menu: Click here
Online dinner menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Sun-Mon: 11am to 6pm
Wed-Sat: 11am to 1030pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$45 (for a drink, starter, main, shared dessert and pot of tea!)
Recommended dishes: Beef Brisket Man Tou (S$10), Fried Chicken Waffles (S$17), Chilli Crab Pasta (S$18), Ondeh-Ondeh French Toast (S$12.50)

**Edited on 8 Jan 2018 to add: Hyde & Co have officially closed their outlet ūüė¶ ***

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Hajah Maimunah at Jalan Pisang

Hajah Maimunah Restaurant
11 & 15 Jalan Pisang
Singapore 199078
Tel : +65 6297 4294

Opening Hours
Mon-Sat: 7am to 8pm
Closed on Sundays
Remarks: No GST and no service charge

Halal status: Halal certified
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$15
Recommended dishes: Lemak siput sedut, beef rendang

So as you know,¬†Arab St area is now teeming with hip caf√©s such as The Lab, I Am…, Krave and the like, which is cause for rejoicing. However, I find myself still going back to stalwart establishments like Victory and Bumbu, which offer more Asian¬†fare.

Another place I wish I frequented more is Hajah Maimunah restaurant, which serves up¬†delectable Nasi Padang and an array of varied dishes. Although the flagship restaurant ¬†is on Joo Chiat Road, I much prefer the Jalan Pisang outlet because there’s just more things to do in that area – drop by the National Library, go for dessert elsewhere, etc.

On a recent Saturday, my friend and I headed to Hajah Maimunah for lunch and here’s what we had:

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Flatlay sort of

That’s right; all this for just us 2 :/

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Smorgasbord

YUMMMMMM

Here’s a breakdown of each of the dishes that we got:

  1. Lemak Siput Sedut (Medium, S$5)
Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Siput Sedut

Lemak Siput Sedut (S$5) – 10/10

Mmm, I love this, but I might be biased. I grew up with my aunt and she cooked this for us a lot when I was younger, but since she passed away I hardly ever get to eat this. Back to the taste though – the lemak is spicy and not too rich, which means you won’t get too jelak of it. 10/10

2. Beef Rendang (S$6 for two persons’ portions)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang (S$6 for two) – 9/10

The beef rendang is decent Рthe meat is moist and tender, while the rendang gravy is fragrant and flavourful. A little heavy on the oil (as is visible in the picture), but otherwise a good solid staple. 9/10

3. Ulam & Sambal Belacan (S$2)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Ulam Sambal Belacan

Ulam & Sambal Belacan (S$2) – unrated

I don’t even know why we even took this, as we were both not used to eating ulam, a traditional Malay/kampung salad with raw vegetables served with sambal belacan. I guess I liked the idea of it, but after trying a couple of cucumber sticks with the bright red sambal ,I thought “thank you, but never again please”. On the plus side, the vegetables were fresh. I suspect my mum would like this. Unrated.

4. Chicken liver and gizzard/ Hati & mempedal ayam (S$4 for Small)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Hati Mempedal

Hati & mempedal (S$4) – 8/10

So this is a classic kampung dish of fried chicken liver and gizzards coated in spices. I know it can be polarizing – some detest the grainy texture of liver while enjoying¬†the chewiness of the gizzards, and others¬†avoid innards altogether. I have fond memories of eating this as a kid and so I didn’t mind it. I like the¬†rempah¬†(or spices) that these gizzards are usually cooked in. 8/10

5. Tempe (S$0.80)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Tempeh Goreng

Tempeh (80cts) – 6.5/10

I LOVE TEMPEH, or fermented soybeans. When I was taking arabic classes at Al Markaz, I would always rush down to Kampong Glam Café to get a tempeh as a snack during our 15 min breaks in between class. And the tempeh there was delicious and cost 50cts. So I was a little outraged that Hajah Maimunah charged us 80cts for this sad-looking, lemau (no longer crispy) and skinny strip of tempeh. The taste was normal, but the texture was a letdown. 6.5/10

6. Paru Belado (S$4 for small)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Paru Belado

Paru Belado (S$4) – 6.5/10

Paru means lungs, and in this case we’re talkin’ beef lungs. (Gee, so much innards in today’s meal). I love most belado dishes, since the chili paste is delicious! Hajah Maimunah’s paru was a little disappointing though – the paru texture was a little hard. I like my paru in one of two ways – deep fried and crispy, or a little thicker and chewy. The one I had here was neither. 6.5/10

7. Lemak Pucuk Ubi (S$3 for small)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Pucuk Ubi

Lemak Pucuk Ubi (S$3) – 9/10

Finally we come to the lemak pucuk ubi, or cassava leaves in coconut stew. I really enjoyed¬†this. It’s got an earthy, kampung taste that is at once familiar and reassuring. The leaves are cooked well, retaining a good bite while still being juicy. If taken in large quantities the leaves can taste the slightest bit bitter, so try to pare it down with the coconut gravy and some rice. 9/10

All in all, I would definitely come back here again with my friends, especially for the lemak siput sedut, and also to try the tahu telor and other dishes! I reckon my friend and I definitely over-ordered, so my advice is to stick to about 2 dishes per person, and skip the ulam if you’re not a fan.

You can eat with your hands since they have a separate handwash station right by the washrooms. The staff are ever ready to clear empty plates once you’re done, and although you can def get like a simple $5 nasi padang from regular coffeeshops, it’s the variety of dishes and the air conditioned comfort that draw me and my friends to this establishment.

Hajah Maimunah Restaurant
11 & 15 Jalan Pisang
Singapore 199078
Tel : +65 6297 4294

Opening Hours
Mon-Sat: 7am to 8pm
Closed on Sundays
Remarks: No GST and no service charge

Halal status: Halal certified
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$15
Recommended dishes: Lemak siput sedut, beef rendang

WORD. at Upper Thomson Road

WORD.
906 Upper Thomson Road
Singapore 787110
Reservations: Text 96858468 and state the number of pax, date and time, and a confirmation text will follow
Remarks: No GST

Opening hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1030pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~$40 for 1 app, 1 main, and 1 drink each
Recommended dishes: Cut the Crab crabcakes (S$15), Cow’ch Potato steak (S$24)

I first heard about WORD. a couple of weeks ago from a friend of mine who is ever the intrepid food-explorer with her husband.  Not to be outdone by this Magellan of halal dining, I made the trek out to this new container-style bistro/café yesterday, dragging my endlessly patient BFF with me.

Tucked away among a row of shops on Upper Thomson Road, and further obscured by major construction works for the future Springleaf MRT station, WORD. is definitely not easy to find without directions from Google Maps, so keep your phones handy, people.

By the time I got there right around 230pm, the place was almost full and buzzed with conversation.

Word Café - Ambience 2

I really loved the decor of the place – it had elements of industrial-chic but managed to feel very cosy at the same time.

Word Café - Decor

The very Instagram-worthy main wall of the container

Word Café - Ambience

How do you not love the stylized lion poster?

Word Café - Wall

The wall behind the counter – how delightful!

So given that this place is only some 2+ months old, their menu is still a work in progress as they continue to experiment and streamline it. This explains all the blacked out bits and the manual additions. Take a look here:

Word Café - Menu 1

Salmon Khan!!! I love it, and can’t believe I hadn’t come across this pun before.

Word Café - Menu 2

Confession: “Between the Buns” makes me quite uncomfortable HAHA

The first starter we had was Magic Mushrooms (S$10), which consisted of fleshy white mushrooms coated in savoury batter, served with an aioli dip:

Word Café - Magic Mushrooms

Yum – I’m more of a stir-fried mushrooms type of eater, but I have to say these were pretty good. The batter was light and crunchy, with some sort of salty seasoning that I liked. However, the seasoning was not quite even, so you got some mushrooms that are a little saltier than others. Apart from that, all good – the aioli was decent too. 8.5/10

We also shared the Cut the Crab (S$15), which are mozzarella cheese crabcakes served with a spicy belado dip:

Word Café - Cut the Crab

OK immediate cons: As you can see, this looked almost identical to the battered mushrooms. Same platter, same dip, same side salad, same coating. I was a little disappointed. Also, where is this spicy belado dip? It looked and tasted like regular old aioli to me – not that I don’t like aioli, but I wish they hadn’t set up that expectation for an imaginary belado dip.

Pros: Bells and whistles aside, the crab cake itself tasted really good! It was fairly savoury and packed with crab meat!  9/10

For my main, I chose to go big and got myself the Cow’ch Potato (S$24), which is the beef fillet steak with potato pur√©e and a side of mesclun greens.

Word Café - Cow-ch Potato Steak

Now, again I encountered some mismatch in the menu description and the platter that arrived Рthis was supposed to have come with the grilled spinach onion, and a choice of hollandaise or brown sauce, but all I got was the steak, the salad, and the potato purée. Where the grilled spinach onion and sauces at, bruh?

The absence of sauce was problematic because the potato purée was so finely puréed that it was more like a dense paste, whereas I prefer a light, fluffy mash. I asked one of the servers if I could get the sauce and it seemed she was not aware the steak should come with any sauce at all. In the end I did manage to get a steaming hot cup of brown sauce though, so that made the puree quite nice and runny, and the meat very juicy.

I requested for my steak to be medium, and I think it came perfectly cooked:

Word Café - Steak cut

Mmmm so juicy and pink ‚̧

The meat was tender and succulent, especially when you cut up a chunk of it and drag it through a pool of saucy potato purée. I thought the done-ness was perfect. There were no sinewy or tough parts, except for the one strip of (is it tendon? I want to say tendon.) running lengthwise on one side of the fillet, which was easy enough to remove. I did wish the steak had come with fries or actual mash potatoes, instead of the purée though! 9/10

My friend got the cheekily-named Mother Cluckers (S$14), comprising of a whole chicken leg with grilled garlic potatoes, poached asparagus and pimiento with b√©arnaise sauce. Unfortunately, neither of us remembered to take a photo of it! I was too busy digging into my steak when the chicken leg came, sorry guys. I’ll update you once I find a photo of it online ok!

My friend liked the lemony béarnaise sauce, but found the chicken meat too dry and a little stringy, if you know what I mean. I eyeballed the chunk of chicken leg and had to agree with him. Until they can make us moister, juicier chicken, 7/10 for the Mother Cluckers.

I had no room for dessert, thanks to the Coconut Shake (S$7) I got, which was thick as thieves (incorrect use of the simile, but you know what I mean):

Word Café - Coconut Shake

The Coconut Shake (S$7) was a little too thick and tasted like melted Paddle Pop ice cream with a hint of coconut. Get the Iced tea next time if you’re looking for something more refreshing! 7/10

Word Café - Latte

My friend got the Latte (S$5), which came on this adorable red saucer shaped like a paint palette! Loved it. Can’t comment about the coffee though!¬†

All in all, I felt there was some promise with the menu items, and I do want to come back and try more dishes soon (like the Salmon Khan! And the Ikea Made Us Do It beef balls!). However, the location is a little out of the way for me. I know they have a 3-year lease on the place, so I figure if they stick it out a little longer until the new Springleaf MRT station opens up in 2020, they’ll definitely be set then.

Because of the container shape of the place, the acoustics are not the greatest. There are several tables with kids around us, and so the place became really quite noisy at times, making us feel a little harried during our meal. I suppose it will be much better on quieter days instead of Saturday peak.

I’ll leave you guys with some photos of the place:

Word Café - Crate tables

Crate tables and seats for those who just want snacks and drinks!

Word Café - Dessert display

The counter/dessert display area

Word Café - Mirrored ceilings

Check out the mirrored ceilings and the crazy wired lights all over

Word Café - Mirrored ceilings 2

Word Café - Kitchen View

A window into the “open” kitchen

 

Word Café - Tyre plants

I don’t know what to make of this, but points for recycling old tires

Word Café - HDB Door Table

An old HDB door as a long tabletop!!! I LOVE IT <3<3

WORD.
906 Upper Thomson Road
Singapore 787110
Reservations: Text 96858468 and state the number of pax, date and time, and a confirmation text will follow
Remarks: No GST

Opening hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1030pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~$40 for 1 app, 1 main, and 1 drink each
Recommended dishes: Cut the Crab crabcakes (S$15), Cow’ch Potato steak (S$24)

The Malayan Council II

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

Opening Hours
Mon to Sat: 11am to 11pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm

Reservations: Facebook message

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

Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Roti Kirai Beef Ribs (S$39), Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine (S$28)

So very quickly after my first visit to The Malayan Council (you guys can check out my review here!), I went back again to try out the other items on the menu.

It was a scorching Saturday noon, and I had skipped breakfast in lieu of a tennis session with my coach earlier in the morning. You can imagine just how famished and weak I was by the time I got to The Malayan Council. Although we knew better than to load up on appetisers due to the American-sized portions at the café, I truly could not refrain from ordering the Wild Mushroom Truffle Soup (S$9):

The Malayan Council Wild Mushroom Truffle Soup

Eww the oil looks like slime

I will be honest – I was so hungry, this tasted really good. Objectively though, it really was like a fancy Campbell’s mushroom soup, with better ingredients added. I would not be surprised if they had indeed used Campbell’s as the base. I found this quite problematic. At $9 a bowl, I would expect a from-scratch base, or something more home-made. Not entirely offensive, but definitely a little disappointing. 7/10

My friends and I were unanimous in our mission to try the Roti Kirai Beef Ribs (S$39), which consists of beef short rib glazed in the TMC secret sauce, and roti kirai (net pancake) with lettuce and quail egg salad:

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 2

I MEAN…

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 4

OMGGGGGGGGGGG

UGH YOU GUYS THIS WAS SO GOOD!!!! I really just could not even, with this. The meat was just falling right off the bone!! So, so tender and so juicy. It wasn’t doused in curry sauce like regular roti kirai – instead, the beef ribs rauce tasted a little like rendang – spicy, and with a hint of coconut. It was seriously so rich and tasty.

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 1

LOOK AT HOW SHREDDY AND DELICIOUS

The accompanying roti kirai had the perfect texture – slightly elastic, not too tough and not too soft. I also love quail eggs so having them in the side salad was a bonus. Here’s a final picture of the masterpiece, which I rate 10/10:

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 3

The second untested main we ordered was the Kacang Pool with Angus Ribeye Steak (S$37), in the medium doneness we had requested for:

The Malayan Council Kacang Pool Angus Ribeye Steak

Mm all that wholegrain bread!

The Malayan Council Kacang Pool Steak Close Up

Look at that coddled egg sitting pretty atop the steak!

My first reaction was horror – horror at the ¬†tremendous size of the onion chunks crowding around the ribeye ūüėĪ. Is that a thing, guys? Does Kacang Pool usually come teeming with just absolute bulbs of onion?! Kacang Pool is not something I eat regularly, but the rare few times I did I don’t recall quite so much onion.

Onion nightmare aside, I quite liked this dish. Sure, the pool was a little subtle and could stand to have been tastier, but boy it was pretty satisfying to dunk pieces of bread in the thick sauce, and following through with a bite of juicy steak.

The Angus ribeye steak had some tough sinewy parts, but the other unaffected parts were really tender! Medium – or medium rare if the cut is of high quality – is really the way to go with red meat you guys! 8/10

Of course, for the third main we just HAD to get the off-menu item, Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine (S$28) again:

The Malayan Council Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine 1

SO MANY SLICES OF SMOKED DUCK YUMMM

The Malayan Council Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine 2

Faint. Look at the sheen on the duck skin, and the pink of the meat. SO DELICIOUS. 

In my first review of The Malayan Council I said that everything was perfect but the portion was too big, and the linguine overcooked. This time around, the portion was just as American, but the linguine was a little more al dente. Perf!!! The lemak chili padi taste is still as delicious, and the duck ever so juicy. slightly sweet, and very tender. I had a friend who tried it recently and did NOT like the odd combination of pasta with the lemak cili padi sauce, so I guess it’s a question of personal preference and expectations. *I* loved it, so I’m giving this a¬†10/10.

According to the owners they are probably keeping the Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine around for the month of April, although I’m hoping it becomes a permanent menu item.

I’ll leave you guys with some photos of the decor of the cafe, both interior and exterior:

The Malayan Council Interior

Records on the wall, that table with the sewing machine base, and the two school desks on the left!

The Malayan Council Magazines

(Sentiasa Manjaaaa!) – Some newspapers and magazines for you to browse. I hope they stock more publications, although it’s cool that they even offer any at all.

The Malayan Council Games

A smorgasbord of traditional games like Congkak!! And 5 stones, card packs like Snap and Donkey, and capteh feathers. 

The Malayan Council Talk Makan Chill

The outside seating is SO colourful and instagrammable. With all the cushions it’s really a place to talk, makan and chill with your friends.¬†

The Malayan Council Alfresco

Look at these crazy tables. There are another two tables that are perfectly combinable, making it perfect if you’re going with a larger group of friends.

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

Opening Hours
Mon to Sat: 11am to 11pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm

Reservations: Facebook message

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 8/10

Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Malayan Wings, The Ultimate Lopez Cake

So Pho at Novena Square / Paragon

So Pho
B1-20, The Paragon
290 Orchard Road
Singapore 238859
Tel: +65 6235 0414

Opening Hours
Daily 11am to 10pm

Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Halal status: Halal-certified
Average spend per pax: S$16 including drinks
Recommended dishes: Summer roll (S$4.80), Beef Pho (S$8.80)

I was delighted to find out So Pho, a Vietnamese chain in Singapore, had gotten its halal certification a few months ago. There is a branch in Paragon, which is pretty central for those looking for halal food in the area, and also others at NEX, Tampines Mall, JEM, and Novena Square. For branch details, you can check out their website here. ¬†To date, I’ve tried the Paragon and Novena branches so the photos are going to be a mixture of both locations’.

My favourite starter is the Summer Rolls with Prawns and Lemongrass Chicken (S$4.80 for 3), and they cut the 3 rolls into halves so you effectively get 6 mini-bites! Yum!

So Pho Summer Rolls Closeup 2

SO PRETTY!!! We’d eaten 3 halves by this point – too hungry, and too good ‚̧

I really like this starter since it’s pretty healthy and not fried or overly processed. The rice wrap has a good texture – slightly elastic so it holds the ingredients well, but tender and not dry – and thanks to the vegetables there is a satisfying crunch when you bite into it. The Vietnamese dipping sauce that comes with the rolls is also top notch – I’m guessing some fish sauce in it too, so it is nice and savoury. 9/10

My go-to main at So Pho is the Pho Bo, or Sliced Beef Noodles (S$8.80):

So Pho - Beef Brisket Pho

The hot pho broth is umami and super comforting on days when you just want something soupy and delicious. The pieces of coriander are heaven. HEAVEN! I love coriander. I also find it a must to squeeze as much lime into the broth – it is much more refreshing when there is a great tang contrasting with the soup. Ditto for the cut chilli padi – it gives the soup a slight kick. The beansprouts though, can step to the left.

So Pho - Beef Pho

The beef slices are great too – they’re not overcooked and tough, but slightly pink and tender. I think you get the odd sinewy piece or two if you’re unlucky, but otherwise, can’t complain. 8.5/10

I was delighted to find that So Pho serves the famous Hanoi delicacy, Cha Ca La Vong (S$10.80, pronounced chah-gah-lah-vong). It consists of hotplate fish fillets served with some dill, and a plate of rice vermicelli noodles on the side:

So Pho - Cha Ca Vermicelli Noodles

I was slightly disappointed with this dish because the original version in Hanoi comes with a bowl of fish sauce, which you mix in with the noodles and some peanuts, so you can calibrate the ingredients and tastes to your own liking. However, So Pho’s version did not actually come with the fish sauce – just a bowl of watery chilli sauce (pictured), and the dill is just placed on top of the fish.

The fish tasted a little too oily and slightly soggy for my taste, but I reckon it could have been sitting out on the counter for a little too long. I wish the fish and the sauce could have been tastier and more savoury too, but maybe I’ll give this a go at the Novena branch next time. 7/10 for now.

On another visit, I also tried the Vietnamese Fried Rice with Seafood (S$9.80):

So Pho - Special Seafood Rice

This was a mistake guys; one that would surely teach me for ordering fried rice at an establishment with Pho in its name. It’s not that it was really bad – it was just pretty average. It was a little bland, and there was just not enough flavour or ingredients to keep me satisfied. For this price I could get two plates of amazing fried rice from Cahaya. Or, a plate of ayam penyet and a drink! Bottomline: Stick with the pho! 7/10

Overall I would definitely go back to So Pho because of the simplicity and freshness of the summer rolls, and the comforting pho. The food is pretty affordable (most mains under $$10) and of decent quality. I’ll end off with some extra photos for you guys to enjoy ūüôā

So Pho - Mixed Appetizer

The Mixed Appetizer (S$10.80) – Prawn Cakes, Summer Rollsm and Fried Spring Roll

So Pho - Table Spread

The spread during one of the visits

So Pho - Menu PhoSo Pho - Specials menuSo Pho - Fried Noodles Menu

So Pho
B1-20, The Paragon
290 Orchard Road
Singapore 238859
Tel: +65 6235 0414

Opening Hours
Daily 11am to 10pm

Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Halal status: Halal-certified
Average spend per pax: S$16 including drinks
Recommended dishes: Summer roll (S$4.80), Beef Pho (S$8.80)