Beyond Pancakes at Marina Square

Beyond Pancakes
03-131A Marina Square
6 Raffles Blvd
Singapore 039594
Online reservations: click here
Phone reservations: +65 6884 6884

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

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Recommended dishes: Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), Le Poulet savoury pancake (S$14.90)

Hey guys!! Can you believe it’s a week to Christmas? So many things to get done, so little time. I usually look forward to some down time towards the end of the year but things aren’t looking like they’ll let up, ugh. Also, I just read about the food crisis in Venezuela where babies are dying from malnutrition because the oil-rich country’s been severely impacted by economic mismanagement coupled with declining oil prices. To make things worse, the government isn’t accepting foreign aid because it’s adamant on maintaining that the country is just fine. I DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND. UGH. You guys can read all about it here.

Anyway a couple of weeks ago I was invited to try out the menu at Beyond Pancakes, a halal-certified joint at Marina Square serving up (you guessed it) pancakes! It’s pretty special though – they don’t just have regular breakfast/dessert pancakes but also Dutch and French-style savoury pancakes, respectively called pannenkoek and galette.

The restaurant was the brainchild of Tiru, who brings with him 10 years’ experience of working in European restaurants in Singapore. After honing his expertise in these establishments, he set out to open his own joint and decided to make it halal-certified to be more inclusive. I 100% approve. (Next up, please make a halal version of Morton’s thanks.)

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#Alhamdulillah

I’ll leave photos of the menu towards the end of the post but for now let’s dive into the dining experience!

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The entrance

I first ordered the Avocado Juice (S$8.90) since my mum is a huge fan off avocado drinks and I wanted to QC it for her:

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Avocado Juice (S$8.90) – 8/10

The consistency is quite light and not too thick, unlike say the Es Alpukat from Ayam Penyet Ria. It was also lightly flavoured with honey so the drink isn’t too sweet. I quite enjoyed it, although there was some graininess almost like it was a chiku drink. Also I may have been tripping but I thought the taste was a little reminiscent of persimmon, so that could be a draw/drawback depending on the individual. I would consider ordering next time although the price point is rather high. 8/10

For starters we got a tasting portion of the Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), featuring nachos, mozarella cheese, avocado, sunny side up egg, onions, olives and capsicum served with various dips. there was the cheese sauce dip, the spring onion dip, cheesy sundried tomary dip, and tangy tomato salsa.

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Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90) – 8/10

OK so this was interesting. I was expecting the nachos to be a little lemau (stale) but surprisingly they retained their crispiness. The mozzarella wasn’t as melty as I would have liked (which is maybe why the nachos remained crispy) but the DIPS! OMG.

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Clockwise from left: cheesy sundried tomato, spring onion and sour cream, cheese, and tangy tomato salsa.

OKAY I could not get enough of the sundried tomato dip!! It was super tasty and went really well with the nacho. The spring onion and sour cream dip was also really refreshing and light, while the cheesy sauce is a safe and predictable choice. The tangy tomato salsa was the weakest link for me though – it was a little too like raw tomatoes. Def worshipping the cheesy sundried tomato dip. 8/10 for this starter.

We moved on to the savoury pancake section and went for the Le Poulet (S$14.90), featuring grilled chicken strips with capsucum, onion, cherry tomatoes and homemade honey mustard sauce, served with mushroom/spring onion pancakes.

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Le Poulet (S$14.90) – 8.5/10

I didn’t expect to like this so much but this was my favourite of the night. The pancakes were fluffy and savoury, and the grilled chicken strips were quite tender and flavourful. Hated the onions but it was nbd I pushed them aside. I wish they had drizzled more honey mustard sauce on the chicken/pancakes because the dish did feel quite dry. I suggested to Tiru maybe like some honey sriracha sauce to go along with it – that would’ve been the bombzzzz dot com. 8.5/10

For our second main we tried the Saumon Fumé galette (S$16.90) comprising smoked salmon, zucchini strips, mozzarella cheese, sunny side up on a bed of pesto sauce and served with crème fraîche:

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Saumon Fumé (S$16.90) – 7/10

The first thing I noticed was that the crêpe-like base of this Galette was a little too thin. It def didn’t hold up under the weight of the ingredients, so we cut them into slices and roll them up before eating. We initially forgot about the crème fraîche so we found it a little dry and lacking in taste, but after the crème fraîche it did taste a little more refreshing and balanced. I also liked the zucchini strips adding crunch to the otherwise all-soft texture of this dish. I wish the strips were a little more substantial though. Not my favourite dish. 7/10

Just as we thought we were done, Tiru whipped us up a tasting portion of the dessert pancake comprising one Original Pancake (S$5.90 for 2 pieces) and one Chocolate Chip Pancake (S$7.90 for 2 pieces).

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The Original Pancakes is $5.90 for 2 pieces, and the Chocolate Chip Pancakes are $7.90 for 2 pieces.

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Original ($5.90 for 2) and Chocolate Chip (S$7.90 for 2) Pancakes – 7.5/10

Yum, I’ll say that Beyond Pancakes does a good, fluffy pancake! There isn’t an annoying baking soda taste, and the texture is really good! The chocolate chips were a little burnt, which is not the worst I guess, but not great. As for the original, it would’ve been good if it had been served with better butter, but the butter we got was unsalted and really very plain. I would’ve preferred salted butter or cultured butter to add more taste, as unsalted butter feels like you’re just eating tasteless slick. 7.5/10

All in all, I had a good time at Beyond Pancakes. I feel like service is a little casual and could use some polish, and the menu could use some refining. It’s a WAYYYY extensive menu with like pancakes and burgers and pasta and pizza – how will the kitchen manage that on a busy day? Plus if they focused on some key items and make that their specialty, I think it could do them some good. (OMG am I a restaurateur now?!)  I haven’t tried the more pedestrian items like the pasta etc but personally I would focus on the pancakes in future. I can definitely see myself coming here if I’m hankering for some fluffy pancakes, or just to have a taste of their dessert pancakes after dinner somewhere.

As promised, here are photos of the menu!

Beyond Pancakes
03-131A Marina Square
6 Raffles Blvd
Singapore 039594
Online reservations: click here
Phone reservations: +65 6884 6884

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

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Recommended dishes: Pannenkoek Nachos Set (S$10.90), Le Poulet savoury pancake (S$14.90)

 

 

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Hyde & Co on North Bridge Road II

Hyde & Co
785 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198753
Reservations: +65 6635 5785
Online brunch/lunch menu: Click here
Online dinner menu: Click here
Remarks: No gst/service charge

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

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating (for this visit): 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$33 for a shared starter and dessert, and one main
Recommended dishes: New Zealand Little Neck Clams (S$12), Nasi Lemak Risotto (S$21)

Hey guys! Day 5 Ramadan, and I’m feeling good about this holy month so far! Sure, I’m severely sleep deprived since I’ve been waking up to sahur (have my pre-dawn meal), and then praying subuh prayers before getting ready for work. Previously I would go back to sleep for 1-2 hours but last year when I did that it was SO hard for me to wake up! I inevitably overslept and had to Uber to work a total of 9 times 😦 #neveragain

So anyway, a couple of weeks ago I tried out Hyde & Co’s dinner menu for the first time, after having brunched there twice before. You can read my previous review of brunch at Hyde & Co here.

As a reminder, here’s a look at both the Brunch and Dinner menus:

Hyde & Co - Brunch Menu

The Brunch Menu

Hyde & Co - Drinks Menu

The Drinks Menu

Hyde & Co - Dinner Menu

The Dinner Menu

I was dyingggg to try the New Zealand Little Neck Clams (S$12) in red sauce, which is made with tomato cream, roasted mushroom, garlic, lemon juice, and topped with cilantro. (Obviously the cilantro did it for me. Who cares about the white sauce!!)

Hyde & Co - New Zealand Little Neck Clams

New Zealand Little Neck Clams (S$12) – My beautiful plump little babies!! 10/10

YUMMMM you guys. You know how much I love clams right? (Do you? Read my Penang Culture reviews if you ain’t convinced. I was worried I was going to be disappointed, but my word, the clams here blew me away!!! Guyssss. They were so plump and juicy and fresh!! The sauce was also perfect – a little tangy, a little savoury, a little earthy. Super delish. I do not even understand why other places cannot make clams THIS good. 10/10 but let it be said I almost docked a half-point because I wished the portion was bigger.

For my main dish I had, haaaad, to try the Nasi Lemak Risotto (S$21), a daring modern take on good old nasi lemak. The background of this story, as told by Chef Nazz himself, was that he was issued a challenge to come up with a new dish for the menu. Coincidentally his mum, who runs a catering business, was preparing nasi lemak one evening as he was waiting for inspiration and lo, there it was.

Hyde & Co - Nasi Lemak Risotto

Nasi Lemak Risotto (S$21) – 9/10

I must say, I really loved it, both in taste and concept. The fresh prawns were coated in delicious sambal that was a mix of sweet and spicy, just how nasi lemak sambal should be. The risotto had really good bite, and had a coconutty taste with a hint of lemongrass. I know some people would be anathema to paying $21 for what amounts to an ‘atas nasi lemak’ which they could’ve otherwise gotten for $5, but I delight in the creativity of this dish. There is a mix of both irreverence and respect for the revered Nasi Lemak. Go try it soon guys! 9/10

For dessert, since I’d had the Ondeh-ondeh French Toast during my last couple of brunch visits, we went for the Butterscotch Popcorn Waffle (S$14):

Hyde & Co - Butterscotch Popcorn Waffle

Butterscotch Popcorn Waffle (S$14) – 6.5/10

As much as I think Chef Nazz is super talented, I have to admit this dessert fell flat for me. The popcorn was a net negative, generally quite dry and flavourless. I thought the banana was not terribly special either, perhaps they could have flambéed it or something to bring the flavour out and make the texture more mushy? I’m def not a culinary expert by any measure, but I know I did not enjoy this dish as it came.  Also: more butterscotch please! 6.5/10, with deepest regrets.

Disappointing though the dessert was, I thoroughly enjoyed the clams and the nasi lemak risotto. I will definitely keep going back to Hyde & Co to try more of the menu (The Steak Frites!!). I think every menu is bound to have one or two duds, but the rest of the stuff are just really so, so good. OK I have to stop talking about food now because it’s torturous (currently 1.40pm on a Friday afternoon boohoo!) Have a good weekend you guys!

Hyde & Co
785 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198753
Reservations: +65 6635 5785
Online brunch/lunch menu: Click here
Online dinner menu: Click here
Remarks: No gst/service charge

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

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating (for this visit): 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$33 for a shared starter and dessert, and one main
Recommended dishes: New Zealand Little Neck Clams (S$12), Nasi Lemak Risotto (S$21)

The Lab SG on Jalan Pisang II

The Lab SG
1 Jalan Pisang #01-01
Singapore 199069

Reservations (only for 6-15 pax): + 65 6299 5681
Remarks: Cash or NETS only please!

Opening Hours
Mon-Sat: 1230pm to 10pm
Sundays: 1pm to 930pm

Have you guys watched Spectre, the last of Daniel Craig’s interpretation of James Bond? No spoilers, but while I enjoyed the first half, the second half was a little disappointing. Which was the second time that weekend I felt let down. The first was about 3 hours before the movie, when I walked in to the new brunch place on Purvis St called Clinton St Baking Company, and was told the wait was going to be 1 hour 40 minutes. WHAT!!! How ’bout NO! So my friend and I detoured to The Lab SG at Jalan Pisang, which was about 5 minutes from opening at 1pm. That’s right, my friend and I were the first to get to the Lab, which really never happens!

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Me shyly having a drank at the totally empty cafe.

The last time I came I was so excited about the lemon-infused water that I ignored the home-made brews they have on display above the order counter, but this time I was determined to get something:

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Water My Lime, Mint Earl Grey Lime, Chrys The Wolfberry. I wanted to order the last one purely for the mystery, but I went with the watermelon/lime tea instead.

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Bad photo, but I love the pink hue, and it tasted really refreshing!

For starters I ordered the Ayam Karat, which is the grilled chicken in a honey and dates marinade, accompanied by a cup of spicy black sambal! I totally forgot how much it costs and I didn’t take a photo of the menu this time, but I will check and update!

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That sauce right there? Is some good ish.

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You guys, the black sauce is SO DELICIOUS!! It tastes like the sambal kicap for Mee Soto, but sweeter. There are plenty of chilli seeds in the sauce, so there’s some bite to it. I’m not sold on the honey date marinade, because I thought it needed to be a bit more savoury instead of bittersweet, but luckily the chicken was very tender. Also is it just me or should there have been more marinade on the chicken? It looked and tasted a little dry on the outside for me, but the amazing black sauce saved the day. 8/10

For my mains I decided on the vegetarian De La Huerta (S$13), which is Spanish for “from the garden/orchard”. It consists of one giant baked bell pepper stuffed with a wild mushroom gratin and cheese stuffing, topped with long strips of crispy fried onion, and served on a bed of salad and capers.

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OMG YUMMMM CHEEEEESE

Guys let’s be real here. I am always the last person who will ever go for the vegetarian option, but I think it was Providence asking me to order it that day. The De La Huerta was surprisingly very yummy! It made me feel virtuous eating the baked pepper, and not in a self-deprivatory way. The red pepper was fresh and juicy, so that with every crunch there was a burst of flavour. The cheese was chewy and delicious, with bits of wild mushroom in it for extra texture. I also thought the crispy onion strips tasted satisfyingly savoury, while the capers revolutionized every bite with some extra saltiness/sourness. Overall the flavours of each component mixed together very well, making for a very robust main dish. 9/10

My friend ordered the La Carte Le Fish (S$17), which is the pan-fried, oven-grilled barramundi drizzled with a prawn cocktail creme:

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That’s the yam latte (S$5.50), that my Friend said tasted too much like flavouring, and was “not worth it”. Also, barramundi in Malay is ikan siakap.

My friend let me have a couple of bites and boy, was the fish SO GOOD! Very tender and fresh, not at all overcooked or dry, which is terribly easy to do with a delicate protein like fish. The crème was rich and umami, pairing very well with the fish. The prawns were quite sweet, but tasted like regular frozen prawns. Overall still pretty decent! 9/10

We rounded off the meal with a slice of the Salted Caramel Cake (S$8.90):

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So the story was, I wanted my friend to get the molten lava cake, but because of some miscommunication he ordered this cake instead. I was all ready to be all “ugh I hate this cake, you should have ordered the lava cake!” but then this cake turned out to be actually pretty good. It wasn’t spongey, but denser and more fudgey, you know? Nice and sweet, but the salted caramel provided some balance to the palette. I didn’t really care for the chocolate bits at the top (they got stuck in my teeth), but otherwise a decent cake. 8/10

At the end of it all I had a great meal at The Lab, and the vibe of the place is really cosy and laid back, so you never feel rushed and every conversation you have feels private. I’ll definitely go more often. I also like that they keep experimenting with the menu, so that sometimes you get things taken off/added to the menu – the Hungarian Goulash, notably, is missing from the latest menu. The cakes are also mostly out of this world. Once I came here just for dessert, and that was also super enjoyable! The Nutella Smores Tart is PHENOMS guys. Get on it!

The Lab SG
1 Jalan Pisang #01-01
Singapore 199069

Reservations (only for 6-15 pax): + 65 6299 5681
Remarks: Cash or NETS only please!

Opening Hours
Mon-Sat: 1230pm to 10pm
Sundays: 1pm to 930pm

Icebox Café on Rangoon Road (Permanently closed)

Icebox Café (Permanently Closed)
89 Rangoon Road
#01-02
Singapore 218375

Opening Hours
Tue-Sun: 12pm – 10pm
Fri-Sat: 12pm-11pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$9.50

So last Sunday after a lovely staycation at Hotel Jen, one of my friends suggested we try  Icebox Café, the newly-opened, 100% halal, Muslim-owned, Korean bingsu place near Farrer Park MRT. In case you didn’t know, Bingsu is a popular dessert from Korea comprising shaved frozen milk with sweet toppings that run the gamut from cut fruits, to condensed milk, to oreo cookies. Bingsu cafes are evvvvvrywhere in Singapore right now, but Icebox Café is the first halal bingsu café in Singapore.

We were the first to arrive – literally, the owner Mus was still putting the chairs out at the storefront, but he gave us a warm – if slightly apologetic – welcome. Off to a good start.

According to Mus they were still not done tricking out the place, but I liked what I saw:

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The cosy corner where my friends and I sat. Also, wake your ass up says the rooster!

 

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Lovely! The computer in the corner plays music videos for a bit of a party/chill vibe. I’m not sure if they accept requests, but that would be awesome (if, a little disruptive).

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The counter area with assorted gelato

 

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MILK COOKIE SHOTS!!!! Probably inspired by Dominique Ansel Bakery’s version in New York City! I will forever regret seeing this ONLY as we were leaving the place 😦

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Love the lighting, très Parisian salon (omg so step)

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LOVE THIS MADNESS. “Jolok motosikal ya bang?”

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Closeup of the hanging bike of Babylon

Icebox Café’s menu has some range and is definitely skewed towards the sweet-toothed diner:

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Shakes in your face!! So great. Also note the slogan of the cafe: Take a chill pill. NOICE.

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The toast selection is not for the faint-hearted.

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Nasi Lemak available Fri-Sun! For when you want to take your family here, but then the older people need proper food. The ‘braided’ is regrettable, but I forgive them because they were the loveliest people

The first thing we ordered was the Turon (S$4.50), which is a local play on a Filipino delicacy of the same name, consisting of jackfruit and banana wrapped in popiah skin. Icebox went a little further and added ice cream and grated cheese into the mix:

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YUMMMM this was really good you guys! I love any dessert with warm, gooey banana, and jackfruit (ahem Krave’s cempedak crème brulee) so this was an automatic winner for me. The sweetness of the fruit fillings paired with the slight saltiness of the cheese, and combined with the melty ice cream and chocolate sauce to form a veritable party in my mouth. So, so good. And at only S$4.50?! What a steal. 10/10

One of us ordered the Salty Mr Brown Milkshake (S$12.90) which had salted caramel, smores, a wafer and a cookie, drizzled with chocolate sauce.

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I had a sip of this and found it truly, truly decadent. I loved the caramel taste of the milkshake, and the fluffy marshmellows were heavenly, but in the perennial fight between shakes and freezes, I’m an ice-blended girl through and through, so this was not for me. Oh but they do have plenty of options in case you’re not totally into sweet stuff, like the Iced Peppermint Cucumber Tea (S$3) which is perfect for cooling off on a hot day. I thought this was a little too sweet, and personally I would probably have regular drinks next time and save my sweetness quota for the other desserts. 7.5/10

For the main event we selected the Chocolatey Banana Delight Bingsu (S$12.90):

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A mountain of yum

The bowl came together with a small shot of milky syrup as a sweetener, which we drizzled all over the ice. YUMMM. So the bananas, the chocolate powder, the vanilla ice cream, and the chocolate sauce, were all top notch and tasted delicious. For real, I mean who does not like the combination of banana and chocolate?  As for the shaved ice, I have to say, I wish the taste had been a little more milky and a little sweeter, but the texture was really great – super soft, and snowy. The sweetness issue was also mitigated by the aforementioned milky syrup, so overall it still tasted pretty fantastic. 8/10

We spoke to owner Mus, who said they were still working on perfecting the taste of the ice. However, he said they couldn’t make the frozen milk too sweet, as it would lower the melting temperature of the ice, and so the ice shavings wouldn’t hold up as long. Fair enough. One other comment we had was that we wished it wasn’t just all the sweet stuff up top, and then all the ice at the bottom – we wanted more layers, so maybe more chocolate and banana layers in the middle of all that ice. We were told they would work on that after getting the ice taste right, so we shall see! I’ll definitely be coming back to this cafe to try more flavours of the Bingsu.  

After all of the goodness above, finally came the Injeolmi Toast (S$5.90), which contained steamed Korean rice cakes, drizzled with honey, dusted with powdered soybean, and topped with vanilla ice cream (I think the vanilla ice-cream is again an Icebox addition).

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Orange you glad to see me?

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OMGGGG

The Injeolmi took forever to come (we were forewarned of the 20-min wait upon placing our order), but boy was it worth it. As I bit down on the toast, there was a satisfying crunch and a delicious sweetness filled my mouth – I believe that was the honey and butter from the toast. The whole thing was really sweet and super rich, so it’s not the thing for you unless you’re a sweet tooth. Which, I am, thanks. The ice cream helped to cut the richness of it a little with the cold texture, so you don’t get super jelak of it. I would still recommend this for sharing though; there is no way I would’ve been able to finish this all by myself and still keep my legs, after all the other items. 8.5/10

All in all, I think Icebox Cafe is a great addition to the halal foodscape in Singapore – the owners are delightful, and endlessly patient with all the questions I and other diners had, the prices are very reasonable, and the selection is pretty impressive (you can’t get anymore diverse than Nasi Lemak and Korean Shaved Ice). I will definitely bring more of my friends here so we can try out all the other things on the menu, like the milk cookie shots!! And actually I’m quite curious about the nasi lemak. Will see if I can try it soon and put up a review!

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(R-L) Mus, his beautiful sister, and I think Mus’ mum-in-law who was making the goodies in the back. They were so, so nice!!! Sorry ’bout my muka sopan.

Icebox Café  (Permanently Closed)
89 Rangoon Road
#01-02
Singapore 218375

Opening Hours
Tue-Sun: 12pm – 10pm
Fri-Sat: 12pm-11pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$9.50

Royz Et Vous Specialty Coffee at Telok Ayer

Royz et Vous Specialty Coffee
137 Telok Ayer Street #01-01
Singapore 068602
Tel: +65 62930270
Online Reservation: Click here
Online Menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 10am-10pm
Sat: 12pm-10pm
Sun: 12pm-9pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$45

I first went to Royz et Vous, back when it was at Bali Lane, with my classmate one day after Arabic class on Bussorah St (check out Al Markaz, it’s great!) and enjoyed the Buffalo Wings tremendously. So when I found out that it had moved to Telok Ayer, I was determined to check it out. Afterall, it was a welcome move, as the Telok Ayer/Chinatown area could use more quality halal establishments.

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The new Royz et Vous is a short walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station, and an even shorter one from Telok Ayer MRT station, if you are coming on the Downtown Line. Finding it is relatively easy as the restaurant faces the Thian Hock Keng temple, the oldest Hokkien temple in Singapore. I arrived there one weekday evening around 630pm, and was pleased by the new interior of the place:

Royz et Vous interior decor

Pretty cosy, and very woody

Royz et Vous Furniture

Definitely a step up from the metal seats/tables they used to have at the Bali Lane location

The menu seems to have expanded quite remarkably, with more substantial appetizers, mains, and drinks:

Royz et Vous Menu Snacks Appetizers

Sliders! Two types of chicken wings! Sweet potato fries! Salad! Very diverse, but I was also wondering why Truffle Fries wasn’t on the menu 😦

Royz et Vous Menu Mains

Beef, chicken, prawns, salmon, duck, cod, lamb – they have everything here! I was spoilt for choice

Royz et Vous Drinks Menu

Halal champagne and wine! What a novelty. I tasted alcohol-free beer in Spain once and HAAAATED it. Wonder how I’d feel about these ones.

My cousin and I decided to share the Buffalo Wings (S$12.90), since it was so good the first time I had them. Upon placing our order, we were warned that it was going to be pretty spicy as they were going to be coated in buffalo sauce made with bird’s eye chilli. I wasn’t worried, since my cousin who came with me, is an absolute chilli fiend – the kind who will drink spicy kuah asam pedas like a soup.

Royz et Vous Buffalo Wings

4 drumlets and 4 mid-joint wings

Royz et Vous Buffalo Wings 2

YUMMMMM

Consistent with my previous assessment, the buffalo wings were SO GOOD!!!! So juicy, and savoury. A mixture of spicy, sweet, and sour at the same time, just so delicious. I didn’t find the sauce too overwhelmingly hot, and even if I did, the sour cream dip would have done the trick to pare it down. The chicken skin had absorbed the flavours of the buffalo wings sauce, while still retaining some of its crispiness, which was great. Definitely a must-order here. 10/10

For my mains, I ordered the R.E.V. Brazen Beef (S$27.90), which is the striploin steak sliced into several cuts (the term for it is Tagliata I think, which is Italian for sliced steak). I ordered it in medium done-ness, and it came accompanied with fries, salad, and chilli aioli:

Royz et Vous Brazen Beef Entrecote

Not the biggest fan of the plastic cup for the sauce, as it marred the presentation a little

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Royz et Vous beef steak closeup

Perfectly pink! Love the colour.

I had wanted so badly to like the striploin, since I was looking for a serious contender to Krave’s amazing steak. The first bite did have me impressed – the beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender – but after a few more bites I realised it wasn’t really as flavourful as I’d wanted it to be. The beef ended up tasting a little bland, so I had to keep eating it with the chilli aioli for more flavour. So while the texture was really tender, I thought the taste needed some improvement. The salad wasn’t bad, pretty standard and enjoyable. I thought the fries were a little soggy and I didn’t appreciate those green bits on it – I think they were seaweed? Or some sort of herb. Personally I prefer my steak fries to be hot, thick-cut, and with no other frills. Overall this dish was slightly disappointing – I would probably want to try the Asparagus Beef on my next visit though. 7/10

My cousin tried the R.E.V. Smoked Duck (S$24.90), which came with herb-roasted potatoes, salad, and a cup of home-made spicy sauce:

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I LOVED the roasted baby potatoes – it tasted of rosemary and, well, good old potato. I don’t think I’ve ever had bad rosemary potatoes, come to think of it. The smoked duck itself, while savoury and flavourful, tasted a little dry. This I thought was disappointing. Before my second bite of this, I dunked the smoked duck meat into the spicy sauce, which mitigated the dryness a little.  7/10

For dessert, we decided on the Mango Crême Brûlée (S$9.90), because truthfully it sounded delicious, and also we wanted some sort of comparison with Krave’s signature Cempedak Crème Brûlée.

Royz et Vous Mango Creme Brulee

How pretty!

Royz et Vous Mango Creme Brulee Close Up

Does that not look terribly delicious!!

I really loved the taste of the mango custard; it was top notch. Sweet, mangoey, and with the perfect custardy consistency (creamy and soft, but with some body). I thought the burnt sugar layer at the top was a little too think/soft – they should have burnt it a little longer, or added more sugar really. I really love the slightly bitter taste of burnt sugar, which I thought would have complemented the sweet mango custard really well, but alas the bitter taste was not at all strong. I must say I really loved the colours of this dish, and the actual mango custard which was so, so delicious. Too bad about the caramelised shell. My cousin and I still preferred the Cempedak rendition of it from Krave, as it’s more special, with the distinct and strong cempedak taste adding some welcome bitterness to the dish. 8/10

I won’t review the drinks much, so here are a couple of photos of my Iced Chocolate (S$8) and my cousin’s Mint Mocha Latte (S$7):

Royz et Vous iced chocolate

Not as thick as I would have liked. Although I wouldn’t have liked it too sweet, this to me tasted a little bland.

Royz et Vous Mint Mocha Latte

HOW PRETTYYYYYY. I didn’t taste this Mint Mocha Latte, but it looks absolutely luxurious on the deep red saucer, against the wooden table.

All in all, I think Royz et Vous still has some room for improvement, although it moving to Telok Ayer is a step in the right direction (more halal options in the Singapore CBD please!). The buffalo wings are the cat’s pajamas, and I really loved the quiet, laid-back, high-ceilinged ambience of the restaurant. It’s a cool space, and I hope they stay there a long time — long enough to improve on the mains! I will definitely go back to try the other stuff, insyaa Allah.

Service is very friendly, and because it is (a) a full-service restaurant that (b) accepts credit cards and (c) sits in the CBD area, I think you could actually go to Royz et Vous not just with your friends and family, but also with business partners for a low-key business lunch or dinner.

Royz et Vous Specialty Coffee
137 Telok Ayer Street #01-01
Singapore 068602
Tel: +65 62930270
Online Reservation: Click here
Online Menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 10am-10pm
Sat: 12pm-10pm
Sun: 12pm-9pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$45

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

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