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)

Springleaf Prata Place at Upper Thomson

Springleaf Prata Place
No. 1 Thong Soon Ave
Singapore 787431
Tel: +65 6459 6970
Open 7am-12am daily (last order 1145pm)

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$10
Recommended dishes: Murtaburger (S$7), Portobello Mozzarella Cheese Prata (S$6)

Hello guys! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while – I’ve been so busy with family stuff, but rest assured I have been eating so much halal food and taking pictures on the reg LOL. You can check out my newish instagram account @halalicioussg for a sampler.

On to brass tacks – I know I’m so ketinggalan (left behind/outdated) but I finally got around to trying the notorious Murtaburger from Springleaf Prata Place near Upper Thomson Road!! Even then, it was at the behest of a colleague who was dying to try the Plaster Blaster, which is sort of like an eggs benedict but with prata instead of english muffin/brioche.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s have a look at the menu at Springleaf Prata Place:

Springleaf Prata Place - Menu 1

Ewah-ewah, check out their Ultimate Hawkerfest section right thurrr

Springleaf Prata Place - Menu 2

Dranks and stuff

We arrived early on a Tuesday evening, and were the second ones there (apart from the abang-abang airforce making their orders in the reflection):

Springleaf Prata Place - Ambience 1

Red, like the interior of WORD. too.

Springleaf Prata Place - Ambience

Order and pay at the counter first, so you can leave without a care in the world after you’re done eating

Springleaf Prata Place- Alfresco

If you don’t want to sit inside, you can also sit at the wilderness-adjacent tables outside

Springleaf Prata Place - Halal Certificate

So halal it hurts

So I got the Murtaburger (S$7), which features a ramly-style mutton patty wrapped in egg, and mixed in with gooey mozzarella cheese and mayonnaise, with a delicious, crispy prata folded over it:

Springleaf Prata Place- Murtabak Burger

The Murtaburger (S$7) – 9.5/10

Springleaf Prata Place - the Murtaburger

YUMMMMM

I was really worried the portion was going to be insane and it was just going to be one massive heart attack on a plate, but thankfully it was pretty sensible! I think there was only one mutton patty in this serving, although reviews that I’ve read in the past talk about a two-patty party. !!! I guess one patty is enough for me, while a second one might have taken me over the edge, so it’s all good.

The explosion of textures and tastes in my mouth when I had my first forkful, was just phenomenal. The prata was crispy, the mutton patty ultra juicy, and the cheese!! Oh, the delicious, stringy, gooey cheese was just the best. It was the most satisfying prata dish I’ve had in years. 9.5/10

My colleague had the Plaster Blaster (S$5), which features slices of ham (probably turkey) on a bed of crispy, plain prata, and topped with a beautiful poached egg with hollandaise sauce:

Springleaf Prata Place - Plaster Blaster Prata

Plaster Blaster (S$5) – 8.5/10

I thought this would be an odd combo, but strangely enough I thought the textures and tastes worked well together, especially due to the salty taste of the ham slices. Personally, I still much prefer the Murtaburger though! More is more. 8.5/10 

We were also curious to try the other specialties at Springleaf Prata Place, so we got the Special Paper Prata with Milk and Sugar (S$1.90).

Springleaf Prata Place - Special Paper Prata

Special Paper Prata with Milk and Sugar (S$1.90) – 7/10

This was a little disappointing – I don’t know what I was expecting, but this was like basically really, really, crispy prata with condensed milk drizzled all over it. I think I wanted it to be crispy on the outside but to still retain a bit of the chewiness within. Alas, this was all crisp so it was like eating plain old Khong Guan biscuits with milk and sugar on them. A novelty and worth a first try, but probably not for repeat visits. 7/10

We followed up these earlier acts pretty quickly with the Portobello Mozzarella Cheese Prata (S$6), which is basically a bougie version of the regular mushroom cheese prata:

Springleaf Prata Place - Portobello Mozzarella Prata

Portobello Mozzarella Cheese Prata (S$6) – 9.5/10

I have to say, I REALLY enjoyed this. The slices of portobello mushroom imparted a lot of flavour, whereas the relatively blander mozzarella cheese provided a beautiful stringy, oozey texture. The prata here isn’t crispy, maybe because of the cheese, so it was pretty soft and tender, which I also thought was great in this instance. A winning combination. 9.5/10 

Being the greedy guts that I was, I gatal-ly (naughtily?) ordered a bowl of Kambing Soup (S$4), just to try even though I was nearing capacity:

Springleaf Prata Place- Mutton Soup

Kambing Soup (S$4) – 7/10

The colour was not at all inspiring, as was the very discernible layer of oil, but I have to admit it tasted slightly better than it looked. Slightly only! I found it a little bland and dilute, which was disappointing. I like my mutton soup rich and ultra tasty. This was pretty weak. Luckily the chunks of mutton within were very tender and delicious, so it wasn’t all bad. 7/10

I ordered a Mango Lassi (S$3) to wash down all this food:

Springleaf Prata Place - Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi (S$3) – really delicious

The colour of the lassi was not at all inspiring, but the taste was delicious! It was sweet, not tart or sour, and you could really taste the mango in the drink. Yum.

After inhaling all of that food, we trooped out of the restaurant feeling full and satisfied. The location is a bit of a pain for a Westie like me, but I really enjoyed the specialty pratas here. I definitely foresee myself coming back here (or the Jalan Tua Kong branch) for more of the murtaburger when I’m feeling a little #PBG (perangai budak gemok, which loosely translates to fat kid behaviour).

Springleaf Prata Place
No. 1 Thong Soon Ave
Singapore 787431
Tel: +65 6459 6970
Open 7am-12am daily (last order 1145pm)

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$10
Recommended dishes: Murtaburger (S$7), Portobello Mozzarella Cheese Prata (S$6)