Kaw Kaw SG II

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$31 including drinks!
Recommended dishes: Smokey Beef Bacon burger (S$16.30)

Hey guys! So who is obsessed with Game of Thrones right now? Are you guys up to date? Please go watch if you haven’t, it’s really one of the best things on TV right now (in addition to Veep, It’s Always Sunny and so many others!) Anyway GoT is consuming my life and it’s the only thing that makes me look forward to Mondays LOL.

On to the matter at hand – I’d been jonesing for a good burger lately so I decided to go back to Kaw Kaw SG and give them a second try. If you guys haven’t already read it, click here for my first review of this burger joint from when I first went in Dec 2015!

So I’m glad I went back because the menu had been updated so much, and had so many more items compared to the old menu! Here’s a look at the new menu:

 

The ambience and interior still look mostly the same, although I imagine some pieces of furniture have been updated here and there, since all the furniture in the restaurant is up for sale!

Kaw Kaw SG - Ambience

I love the high ceilings for real

Kaw Kaw SG - Decor

Check out the giant Surat Yasin there on the left lol

Kaw Kaw SG has more starters on the menu now so my 2 friends and I opted to share two of them. The first was the Chilli Cheese Fries (S$11.90), featuring fries drizzled in mildly spicy beef bolognaise and grated parmesan:

Kaw Kaw SG - Chilli Cheese Fries 1

Chilli Cheese Fries (S$11.90) – 7.5/10

Kaw Kaw SG - Chilli Cheese Fries

Mmmm fries meat and cheeeeese the trifecta of a good meal

My first reaction to this starter was to exclaim “Omg why so little sauce?!” to my friends.I think that was the crux of the problem I had with this dish. I’m not looking for *fries* with a meat dip. I want my fries to be bathed in beef bolognaise sauce, I want the whole thing to be sloppy and I want each fry to be coated in sauce. Is that too much to ask?

We ate the fries with our hands, and it was SO difficult to get the bolognaise sauce and cheese onto the fries so what happened was we would just use our fingers to scoop up the beef bolognaise together with the fries and shovel it into our mouths. So as an executive summary, the bolognaise sauce was tasty enough, but there needed to be more of it, and it should have been runnier. The dryness of the sauce was a big part of the problem. 7/10

OK now that you guys know I’m a crazy Chilli Cheese Fries Nazi, let’s take you to the next starter that we had, the Castro Chicken Wings (S$10.90). I’m SO SORRY but the wings came late (after all our burgers!!) so I totally forgot to take a photo and anyway my hands were totally messy from the burger I was having. So here is a photo from their instagram page (@KawKawSG):

Kaw Kaw SG - Castro Wings

Castro Chicken WIngs (S$10.90) – 7.5/10 (photo credit: @KawKawSG’s instagram page)

So these bad boys have been baked in Castro Sauce, which to this day remains a mystery to me. A google search for “Castro Sauce” yields mixed results, none of which come even close to actual sauce (except Carbonara Sauce recipe from someone named Castro). All I can say is it tastes like honey-lemon sauce. My reaction after a couple of bites was “oh ok I think I prefer Pizza Hut’s Sweet and Spicy Drumlets” haha so rude. It’s true though – as far as baked chicken wings go, I think the flavours really need to come through to make up for the nothing-texture. In the case of these Castro wings, I thought the flavour was a little insipid. I can’t resist chicken wings in general though so I think I’d still order them the next time I’m here. 7.5/10  

On to mains! I decided to revisit the Smokey Beef Bacon Burger (S$16.30) which consists of their standard beef burger with slices of beef bacon and their signature smokey sauce:

Kaw Kaw SG - Snokey Beef Bacon Burger 1

Smokey Beef Bacon Burger (S$16.30) – 8/10

Remember in my first review how shocked I was by the absence of fries? Well it’s still viscerally upsetting to me that they would force us to eat these nacho chips with salsa that is served in a tiny cup that would not fit the actual chip unless you broke it in two. Thankfully though we had the chilli cheese fries as our starter so that helped satisfy my fundamental need to have my burgers with a side of fries.

This time around I thought the burger was slightly juicier than the first time, and the beef bacon slices were generous and had good bite, imparting a salty deliciousness to the burger. The patty was thick and generous. Could be a little juicier, but it’s still fairly juicy on its own. I thought the burger could have used more of the smokey sauce too, but oh well. The jalapeños were delightful and refreshing, adding crunch and tang to the mouthful. 8/10

One of my friends had the Permaisuri Burger (S$16.30), which is the classic chicken burger upgraded to include turkey ham, chicken floss and the permaisuri sauce which is basically some sort of yellow gingery sauce.

Kaw Kaw SG - The Permaisuri Burger

The Permaisuri Burger (S$16.30) – 7/10

Once again I thought this was exceedingly dry – if the burger was going to have a fried chicken patty with no sauce on it, then they have to make sure the patty is really juicy. To be fair they did have a small cup of sauce accompanying the burger, but I didn’t really understand if we were supposed to dip the burger into the sauce (logistically impossible, because of size mismatch) or if we were supposed to spread the sauce onto the burger ourselves (too much work, and the sauce is too potent to spread too much of it onto the burger, which then does not help with the dryness issue.) Still disappointing. 7/10

My other friend opted for the Spicy Bolo Burger (S$15.50) which consists of spicy beef bolognese topped with an egg à la McMuffin:

Kaw Kaw SG - Spicy Bolo Burger 1

Spicy Bolo Burger (S$15.50) – 7.10

Kaw Kaw SG - Spicy Bolo Burger

Mmmmm bolognaisssseeee

OK so my friend ordered it fully expecting it to come with a patty, sort of like a regular burger but doused with a healthy ladleful of beef bolognaise sauce, you know? We thought they didn’t mention beef patty in the decription on the menu because it was already going to be on it by default. But NOOOO ~~~, so it’s on us for assuming. (You know what they say when you assume. You make an ass out of u & me LOL that never gets old. So cheesy I love it!)

Anyway so we ordered a S$5 beef patty as an add-on, because we just could not understand how to eat burger with only bolognaise sauce and no real patty. With the additional patty it was ok, especially since the bolognaise sauce was tasty enough. The egg was ok for me – not entirely necessary, but not terrible to have. 7/10

So there you go, my burger ended up being the best of the 3 – I felt so bad for polishing off half of it before offering it to my friends :/ I still think they could majorly majorly improve the burgers by (a) making the patties juicier and more succulent (b) serving actual fries instead of that nacho chips substitute, and lastly (c) having better buns, that are softer and chewier. That being said, I think I would probably still come back and try to stack both the chicken and beef patties together next time and see how THAT goes LOL. I love the build-a-burger concept 🙂 Service is warm and friendly, they accept only cash and credit cards; no NETS. OOH also the prices are nett all-in prices, so no GST and no service charge!

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$31 including drinks!
Recommended dishes: Smokey Beef Bacon burger (S$16.30)

Kaw Kaw SG at Aliwal St

***Edited to add: The menu has been considerably updated since this first visit, so please check out my more recent Kaw Kaw SG post! Thank you 🙂 ***

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating:7.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$26
Recommended dishes: Fried Portobello Fingers (S$9.90)

I love burgers, it ain’t no lie, so when I heard about the new halal-certified burger joint in Singapore called Kaw Kaw, opened by the folks at Makanstate group (purveyors of “good food lifestyle”), I knew I had to check it out post haste!

Located on Aliwal Street near the Arab Street district, Kaw Kaw SG occupies a spacious dining spot where the erstwhile A For Arbite once stood. It’s so big, there are literally two different entrances to the restaurant. Love it, and love the interior:

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How spacious and charming! The long tables are perfect for larger catch-up sessions 🙂

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Quirky art adorning the faux-brick walls. Did you know that the art pieces and furniture at this café are all for sale? One of the co-founders of Makanstate, Ainil, told me this when I was paying later that night. Great marriage of lifestyle/dining concepts.

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Even these “lonely hearts” bar seats looked cosy

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They also have a mini stage with a lovely National Education-style mural as the backdrop! And notice the felled-timber tabletops on stage! Cute.

I’d like to add here that since the place is quite spacious and there is some recess area at where the stage is, it is actually rather child-friendly. There were some kids playing together at the stage, either propping themselves up on the tabletops, or just generally running around chasing each other in that corner of the café. Bring your kids here, people! But please make sure they don’t make too much noise, thank you!

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Is that an antique bicycle I spy, next to those old-school suitcases? So hipster it hurts.

The menu is pretty standard – some burgers and some mains. I wish they had more appetizers for us to try, but I suppose the specialty is really the burgers.

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Omg it’s impossible to read because of the printed background, sorry

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I love Thai Milk Tea ice cream!! Will definitely want to try that the next time I’m here.

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As mentioned in an earlier photo caption, their furniture and art pieces on display at the café are up for sale too!

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Can I really forgive them for naming one of their tea coolers “The Cu-Tea”? LOL yes I can. It’s adorable.

For starters, we went for the Fried Portobello Fingers (S$9.90):

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I loved these portobello bites!! They were really yummy – fat, juicy strips of giant portobello mushrooms with a very light and crunchy breading that was not excessively oily. I can’t comment on the mayo dip because I hate mayo, but I can reassure you eating them on their own was good enough. 9/10

Burger-wise I opted for the Smokey Bacon Beef Burger (S$14.80), which featured a 175g beef patty topped with beef bacon, jalapeños, smoky sauce and melted cheese.

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OMG TORTILLA CHIPS?!?! WHERE THEM FRIES AT!!! 😡

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A cross-section of the burger. Patty looks a bit dry, eh?

The burger bun was really good – soft and slightly chewy, with good bite. I’m glad they didn’t skimp on the bun and go for those nonsense aerated/styrofoamy ones. The beef patty itself was tasty, substantial, and did not come apart like the one at The Lab, which is good, BUT. I thought it was a little dry, and wished it had been juicier.

MOST EGREGIOUSLY THOUGH, the burger did not come with a side of fries. Instead, it came with some healthy flippin’ tortilla chips and dip!!! What! Duuuuude I need my burger with friessss. What is this tortilla chips business? Did I order a buckwheat pita with vegetarian stuffing, or did I order a big fat juicy beef burger? Tortilla chips go with one but not the other. I was very sad. I also thought that the salsa dip that came with the chips were excessively watery – the tomato juice ran down my hands after I dipped the chips into it, not good. The other spicy aioli-ish sauce was delicious though! 7.5/10 for the burger overall, with points docked for the tortilla chips and slightly dry patty.

My friend ordered Kaw Kaw’s signature burger, The Permaisuri Burger (S$16.70) which consists of fried chicken thigh with turkey ham, chicken floss, and lemongrass sauce topped with melted cheese. For info, Permaisuri means Queen in Malay, so really what my friend had was the queen of burgers:

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Eee onion.

I had a bite of this and thought it was decent, but not life-changing. The chicken patty was crispy and tasty, but I found it all a little dry still. The sauce that came with the burger tasted very strongly of ginger, to the point were it was a little biting. My friend wasn’t terribly impressed either, whoops. I would give the Permaisuri around 7/10.

We didn’t have any space left for dessert, so the meal ended with the burgers. Overall I thought the burgers were not as good as they’d been made out to be in the blogosphere, but I reckon I had a good-enough experience to warrant a repeat visit to give them a second chance. Who knows, maybe I caught them on a bad night. I will definitely report back here again after my next visit to Kaw Kaw.

Aside from the food, I really loved the ambience of the café, and service was attentive and friendly. Waiting time for the burgers was admittedly quite excessive, but it was a very busy night, so I guess the kitchen was just backed up. I hope the quality of the burgers improve, and they consider having a fries option instead of the sacrilegious tortilla chips.

Some random pictures to end off the post:

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The pretty decorative board over the entrance doors

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Totally legit, you guys. I love halal.

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Random drinks picture. The iced chocolate was rather pedestrian. The cu-tea my friend had was excessively sweet, so perhaps less syrup next time please!

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Kiblat (prayer direction) provided at the café for those looking to do a quick prayer while waiting for their food! Alhamdulillah.

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating:7.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$26
Recommended dishes: Fried Portobello Fingers (S$9.90)