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!

Krave_Menu_Salad_Desserts

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.

Krave_Drinks_Menu

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

Krave_Menu_MainsKrave_Menu_Pasta

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.

Krave_Sirap

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.

Krave_Dates_Smoothie

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

Krave_Macarons

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:

Krave_Cash_Register

!! 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).

Krave_Dessert_Display

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.

Krave_Ayam_Bakar Krave_Ayam_Bakar2

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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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:

Krave_Ambience

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!”

Krave_Decor

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:

Image-1

Twinsies!

Krave_Table_Decor


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.

Krave_Menu_3 Krave_Menu_2

Krave_Menu_4 Krave_Menu1

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.

Krave_Steak_Chips Krave_Steak_Frites

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:

Krave_Steak

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):

Krave_Chicken_Pesto_Pizza

Mmm look at those thin-crust, charred edges!

Krave_Chicken_Pesto_Pizza2

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