Penny University at East Coast Road

Penny University
402 East Coast Road
Singapore 428997
Tel: +65 6345 9055

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 830am to 6pm
Fri-Sat: 830am to 1030pm
Sun: 830am to 7pm

Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Halal status: Muslim-owned
Average spend per pax: ~SS24 for shared fries, a main, and a juice
Recommended dishes: Steak & Cheese Sandwich (S$14)

What up WordPress! So have you guys watched La La Land and Arrival? I really liked La La Land – Emma Stone does some really good acting and also inception-acting, as in she auditions for a role in a movie within the main La La Land movie, and her acting in that audition was tremendous. I also thought the ending was good in a throat-constricting way. No spoilers or anything but please go watch it!

Arrival, I have mixed feelings about – I love that on the surface it’s a movie about the arrival of aliens, but then what we really get is a subtle but powerful commentary on mankind’s inability to cooperate, as well as some ethical issues I won’t go into here. After reading some analyses of the movie, I realised that a lot of the things I didn’t like about the movie (Jeremy Renner’s non-role, among other things) were edited out of either the original novella by Ted Chiang, or of earlier versions of the script. So ok fine, I can kind of imagine the full script if it had been fleshed out, and it’s pretty good.

Aaaaanyway I came here to talk to you guys about food – a couple of months ago my main baes and I were planning brunch, and I suggested Penny University because I hadn’t been there ever (it’s way too far east for me ugh).

They didn’t take reservations so the 6 of us showed up fairly early around 11ish on a Sunday, and had to wait maybe 15-20 minutes for a table inside.

Penny University - Exterior Decor

This was the exterior decor of the cafe, right next to the entrance. Something about it reminds me of Buffalo Bill and it is low-key freaking me out.

Penny University - Ambience

A view of the interior from our table at the back of the cafe

Penny University - Weighing Scale

My Zara mini bag feels at home next to this antiquey/decorative weighing scale

I approve of the decor. The warm lighting and wooden tables give it a very cosy feel and although they packed quite a lot of people into the space, it still felt rather intimate for my and my friends.

Here’s a look at the menu:

Penny University - Menu

4pm is a little early for the kitchen to close, for a cafe that opens till 6pm, but I’m guessing this will allow the kitchen staff to pray Zuhur before Asar, perhaps.

We started off with the Chilli and Cheese Fries (S$8) and Truffle Fries (S$8) to share:

Penny University - Truffle Fries and Chilli Cheese Fries

Chilli Cheese Fries (S$8) and Truffle Fries (S$8) – 7.5/10

First things first, how huge are the bowls! I was very pleased with the serving size of the fries, especially since all 6 of us were going to be sharing them. Points for portion! I also liked that these were not shoestring fries, because those have a tendency to be rather desiccated. Thicker cut fries are more likely to be crispy on the outside and still be adequately mushy on the inside.

So all that aside, I thought these fries were good, but not great. I like my chilli cheese fries to be pretty sloppy, and for some reason the chilli cheese was just not properly sticking to the fries, so we would have to deliberately scoop it up onto the fries, otherwise our fries were coming off totally chilli cheeseless. As for the truffle fries, they also tasted a little dry. The truffle taste was maybe a little too subtle, and overpowered by the parmesan. I like my parmesan and truffle flavours to be equally strong, if served together. 7.5/10 for both fries.

Onto the mains – eager as I was to try traditional brunch food, I got the Salmon Eggs Benedict (S$15), comprising two poached eggs, smoked salmon on brioche toast, topped off with homemade hollandaise sauce, and with a side salad:

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Salmon Eggs Benedict (S$15) – 6.5/10

This was pretty disappointing – you know how I like to post videos of when the knife slices through the poached egg and the yolk gushes out? I had my camera all ready, and when I cut into the egg, NOTHING oozed out. The yolk was pretty well-cooked. Look, I know poached eggs are really difficult to make, but this was the only place I’d been so far where there wasn’t the slightest of yolk runs. It’s an integral part of eggs ben, and eggs ben are in turn an integral part of any brunch menu worth its salt, so I wish they had gotten this right. The brioche toast was also a little burnt, and the side salad a little skimpy, so I was not impressed. The salmon was average, and the hollandaise sauce was decent. 6.5/10

My friend had better luck – she got the Steak and Cheese sandwich (S$14), which came with 100g premium striploin, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, tomatoes, honey mustard on ciabatta — the works!!:

Penny University - Steak and Cheese Sandwich

Steak and Cheese Sandwich (S$14) – 10/10

Now THIS is what I should have ordered ARGH. One bite of this bad boy and I felt the crushing weight of regret descend upon my shoulders. The steak was soooo juicy and savoury! The rocket leaves were a touch of genius, imparting that slightly nutty flavour to contrast with the umami of the meat and cheese. I don’t even like onions but the caramelized onions in this sandwich really took it to a whole other level of flavour. Super regretted not getting this ugh. 10/10

Our other friend tried the Spanish Omelette (S$7.50) which, together with the Eggs Ben, was also part of the all-day brunch menu. It consisted of eggs cooked with capsicum, chicken chili sausage, caramelized onions, potato cubes and chives, served with garlic aioli and a side salad:

Penny University - Spanish Omelette

Spanish Omelette (S$7.50) – 6/10

At first bite, this Spanish omelette tasted OK, but the more you chewed the more it dawned on you just how utterly salty this omelette was!! I’m kind of a salt hound, but omg this was so beyond salty it made me cringe. Why so heavy-handed with the salt, guys? Why. The omelette texture was also nothing to write home about – turgid, and a little dry. I was so glad I didn’t get this for myself :/ 6/10

These were the 3 dishes I managed to taste that day. I’ll leave you guys with photos of other food we ordered that I didn’t get a chance to try, as well as photos of the decor. Before that though, let me take a second to talk about the service at this place. We were waiting outside for a while before one of the staff said they had a table for us and ushered us in, but when we walked in, there was already someone else sitting at the designated table, and the staff didn’t really try to remedy it. I mean it’s fine, eventually the guy realised and moved to the end of the long table, but it would’ve been nice if the staff could’ve been a little more proactive.

One more observation – we realised that upon ordering, quite a few diners were not assigned any table numbers or one of those markers so that the servers would know which tables to send the food to once they are ready. As a result, the servers would come bearing plates of food and just go from table to table asking if the diners had ordered those plates. It was mayhem, and a lot of tables had to wait quite a bit for their food to come. It really was gnarly to witness. The servers themselves were a little flustered and did not seem to manage the situation well. I felt bad for them but at the same time I wondered why the cashiers were not more diligent with dispensing table markers. Surely this was not their first day on the job?

OK that’s all for service. I think I might come back here IF I needed a place in the east, and just for the steak sandwich maybe. Also I suppose I like the decor enough to want to come back on a quiet day maybe. The other food stuff are all rather forgettable, which is a pity because I’d heard good things about this place. Maybe it was just an off day for them, who knows.

Photo time!

Penny University - Turkish Eggs and Spinach

Turkish Eggs (S$8.60) with 2 portions of sauteed spinach (S$1.50 per serving)

Penny University - Eggs Benedict with Turkey Ham

Turkey Ham Eggs Ben (S$15)

Penny University - Dessert Counter 2

The cake display! You can tell Earl Grey and Pandan Gula Melaka are hot favourites lol

Penny University - Dessert Counter 1

They also have buttermilk waffles starting from S$7.50 for a basic one with butter and maple syrup!

Penny University - Newspapers

Lots of reading material, probably best for weekdays instead of busy weekends.

Penny University - Cash Register

‘A penny for the people at Penny’! Cute.

Penny University
402 East Coast Road
Singapore 428997
Tel: +65 6345 9055

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 830am to 6pm
Fri-Sat: 830am to 1030pm
Sun: 830am to 7pm

Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Halal status: Muslim-owned
Average spend per pax: ~SS24 for shared fries, a main, and a juice
Recommended dishes: Steak & Cheese Sandwich (S$14)

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One thought on “Penny University at East Coast Road

  1. Pingback: List of Restaurant Reviews (always updated!) | Halal Eats in Singapore

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