The Bravery on Horne Road

The Bravery
66 Horne Road
Singapore 209073
Online menu: Click here
Remarks: No gst, no service charge

Opening Hours
Mon, Wed-Fri: 9am to 6pm
Sat-Sun: 8am to 7pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Halal status: all dishes are made with halal ingredients
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: $22 for a drink and a main

Hey guys! Another puasa day another review. How is everyone doing? Hope each day is better than the last. The mood this year for me is  #taubatlikeitshot (thanks Abang Snoop!) and I really hope to become a better Muslim, Sisyphean though the task may seem!

Aaaaanyway, have you guys been to the Bravery café near Jalan Besar? I went there last Saturday for the third time ever to refresh my impression of the café. I mean, there’s really no two words about it, The Bravery is about as hipster as it gets. Check out the Bravery FAQ on their website and you’ll see why!

The Bravery Café - Outdoor Table

Look at the outdoor tables. So hipster aiyoh.

Located on Horne Road which is quite isolated compared to other similar establishments, The Bravery offers its patrons a quiet respite on any given weekend. There are individual tables, as well as communal tables with newspapers for you to read while you wait for the food to arrive.

The Bravery Café - Exterior Facade

There’s the door in the middle. Lots of people seem to have problems finding it, including my friend whom I spotted from the inside, walking around right past the door and around the back entrance LOL

The Bravery Café - Sir Mixalot

Any Sir-Mix-A-Lot reference, no matter how cheesy, gets a plus in my book!

The Bravery Café - Table Decor

Did I mention the centrepiece for the communal table is an aluminium foil horse? It’s beyond great.

The Bravery Café - Decor Viam Light Experience

Also you get a bonus light installation by lifestyle brand MUKK. I have no idea how long it’ll stay here, but I really like it IDK

The Bravery Café - Viam Light Experience

So yes the interior decor gets an A- for me. The – comes from the uncomfortable chairs, some of which are backless.

Here’s a look at the Bravery menu:

 

My friend got the Flat White (S$4.60) with an extra shot for an added $0.50. He wanted it to be known that when he asked the waitress if the Flat White came with a single or double shot, the waitress didn’t immediately know, and had to check. I was like, hey dude that’s fine right, and he was all “no, they should already know this.” Divas, oy!

Anyway I got the Iced Raspberry Tea (S$5.50) which was delish and had bits of raspberry seeds at the bottom, in case you doubted the authenticity of the tea LOL.

The Bravery Café - Flat White and Iced Raspberry Tea

Flat White (S$4.60) // Iced Raspberry Tea (S$5.50)

So for my main, I got The Prime Burger (S$18), which consists of prime cut beef patty, aged cheddar cheese, Spanish onion, Roma tomato and baby arugula. According to the website it’s supposed to come with truffled potato chips, but first of all I’m not sure if they meant chips in the British way (which would then mean fries), and second of all my burger came with French Fries that did not taste truffled.

The Bravery Café - The Prime

The Prime (S$18) – 7.5/10

The Bravery Café - The Prime Burger

The Bravery Café - The Prime Burger Cross Section

Mmm that patty

OK quick sidebar, I can’t believe I’m voluntarily reviewing food when I’m fasting. Cobaan… (Tests or trials). Back to the food – I thought the patty was really good quality, but was just a little dry. Not unlike the patty from The Lab SG, this one needed more binders or whatever holds the ground meat together. Still, not a big deal – you can taste the quality beef in the patty. Also I had asked for no onions, and I suspect the onions would have made the burger juicier.

My real gripe is reserved for the bun 😦 The bun was a little too aerated and insubstantial, with hardly any bite and none of that chewiness that I look for in a good, solid, burger bun.

Apart from that, the tomato added a nice tang and the rocket provided a delicious nutty flavour – wish there had been more of it, together with more cheese! More cheese is always a good idea. 7.5/10

My friend got the Holy Crab (S$14.50), which is the béchamel crab cakes with sautéed mushrooms and a poached egg, together with some side salad.

The Bravery Café - Holy Crab Crabcakes

Holy Crab (S$14.50) – 7.5/10

The Bravery Café - Holy Crab

Another angle for good measure

His first reaction was “That’s it? So small? This is why I hate café food” LOL. And I mean, I have to agree. I’m definitely a daintier eater than my friend who is a veritable food monster, but come on man these were like 3 very small begedils. To make matters worse, another major flaw is that the coating was too big for the crab filling – when we cut through one crabcake, we could feel the shell giving way for a split second before the knife actually touched any crabmeat. So yes, major problems with the portion.

Size aside however, I really liked the taste of the crab cake, and there is truly no way to screw up sautéed mushrooms, so I enjoyed the taste and texture of them both very much. The poached egg was a little overcooked so it wasn’t as runny as we wanted, but I’ll allow it. 7.5/10 for this dish with 0.5 docked because of the portion.

All in all, I had a pretty good time at the Bravery largely due to the quiet, very laidback, easy-like-Sunday-morning, ambience of the place. The food is OKAY, like it’s not life-changing, but I definitely see myself coming back for more of like, the avocado toast with smoked salmon, while I read my New Yorker, that sort of thing. Also maybe I’ll check out the widely-Instagrammed Pancake Stack (S$15) because who doesn’t love ricotta pancakes!! YUMMM. I’ll def update with another post the next time I’m here 🙂

The Bravery
66 Horne Road
Singapore 209073
Online menu: Click here
Remarks: No gst, no service charge

Opening Hours
Mon, Wed-Fri: 9am to 6pm
Sat-Sun: 8am to 7pm
Closed on Tuesdays

Halal status: all dishes are made with halal ingredients
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: $22 for a drink and a main

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Afterwit SG at North Bridge Road

Afterwit SG
778 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198746
Online reservations (only for Mon-Thu): Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri: 11am to 11pm
Sat-Sun: 12pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal Certified! (as of 8 Dec 2016)
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$28
Recommended dishes: Jalapeño mid-wings (S$10), Dendeng Tacos (S$17)

Hey guys! So last weekend I went to watch the new X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse. Have you guys watched it? I really enjoyed it even though it got terrible reviews online. I mean, 47% on Rotten Tomatoes?! That’s way harsh dude. Even Sacha Baron Cohen movies get higher than that. Except for Brothers Grimsby, which got a 38% so I guess it’s not entirely indiscriminate.

Also I  think it helps that I’m not too fussed about the disjointed timelines (how is Jean Grey so young when Wolverine is basically entering middle age? Et cetera.)

Anyway after the matinée showing of the movie, my friend and I went to the new Mexican taquería joint on North Bridge Road, Afterwit SG, which was opened by the same folks behind Working Title on Arab St! (You can read my review of Working Title here)

Afterwit SG - Ambience

The Afterwit SG interior. So hipster aiyoh

Afterwit SG - Sauces

They sell the sauces that come with the food! CHIPOTLE SAUCE OMG

You can have a look at the menu online in high res and perfect lighting, but just in case you’re too lazy to click onto another website, here are photos I personally took of the menu, in terrible lighting and questionable camera focus:


One side of the wall at Afterwit SG also has a gigantic periodic table of beverages, complete with color coding!

Afterwit SG - Periodic Table of Beverages

Hilarious but also really paralysing when you need to pick just one.

The red and blue boxes are for hot beverages coffee/alternatives and tea, while the rest are for cold beverages. Brown is for iced coffee, grey is for canned drinks, orange is for iced tea and juices, gold  is mocktails, purple is for dessert smoothies and green is for fruit smoothies! Phew.

Anyway for starters we shared the Jalapeño Mid-Wings (S$10), which were seasoned in garlic, honey, lime, and salsa picante:

Afterwit SG - Jalapeño Mid-Wings

Jalapeño mid-wings (S$10) – 9/10

These were really good! The sweetness from the honey went well with the heat from the salsa picante. I did think it could stand to be just the slightest bit spicier, and I really wish they hadn’t garnished it with raw onions, but that’s on me. Otherwise, a solid chicken wings starter. 9/10

For my mains, I decided to get the beef Dendeng Tacos (S$17) even though soooo many other flavours were jostling for top spot like the Lime Butter Crab (S$17) or the Sriracha Tuna (S$15) ugh. But I figured let’s try the most Malay (and perhaps most dissonant?) taco first and get that out of the way:

Afterwit SG - Beef Dendeng Tacos

Beef Dendeng Taco (S$17) for three soft tacos and some tortilla chips with salsa and guac – 9/10

So I’m not naturally a fan of vegetables, like I will eat it because I know it’s good for me, but if I had to choose between a veggie burger and a regular cheeseburger, it’s not even a contest, know what I’m sayin’? So when these tacos first came, I was like, oh no where is the meat?! What be all these crunchy veggie stuff on top? But then I rolled the soft taco shut like a popiah and had a bite — my word, it was delicious.

Afterwit SG - Beef Dendeng Taco Closeup

Yummmm

It was a winning combo of tastes and textures – the soft taco contrasted with the crunch of the vegetables, while the sweetness of the beef dendeng (yes, there was some dendeng meat buried underneath all that veggie) balanced out the sour-spicy flavour of the jalapeños and the tang of the tomatoes. I loved it, it made me feel quite virtuous and healthy eating it. My only gripe is I really wish they had more of that good dendeng. Just like another strip or two, please! I love my meat! 9/10

My friend had the Cranberry Turkey Bacon Burrito (S$15), which consisted of turkey bacon and cranberry sauce, rolled in with some guacamole, refried beans, Mexican-style rice, mozzarella, pico de gallo, whole black beans and assorted sauces:

Afterwit SG - Cranberry Turkey Burrito

Cranberry Turkey Bacon Burrito (S$15) – unrated because I didn’t try it, but the presentation is so pretty!

I can’t really rate this because I didn’t taste any of it, but my friend said it was pretty good, but also really starchy and filling, so I guess you know what to order when you’re hungry! Anyway I’m putting the photo up here anyway so you can see what it looks like 🙂

Also because I’m a terrible blogger, I didn’t take photos of this amazing Sabai Sabai Smoothie (S$8) that I had, which was a blend of Thai iced tea, fresh milk, and vanilla, but dear Lord it was DELICIOUS! It was thick and icy (I need some ice guys, I can’t deal with a thick iceless sludge, gimme some slush), and tasted heavenly. Who doesn’t love Thai iced tea?! My friend got one of the mojitos which to be frank came off rather weak in comparison with my amazing smoothie, which is getting a 10/10 in this review 😀

So I am definitely jonesing for another round of tacos at Afterwit now. I had a great time, service was pleasant (although cutlery and iced water are self-service, and you order at the counter) and I’m really excited we have another halal mexican joint in addition to Fix cafe! I’ll def update you guys again when I go back for the other flavours of tacos!

Afterwit SG
778 North Bridge Road
Singapore 198746
Online reservations (only for Mon-Thu): Click here

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri: 11am to 11pm
Sat-Sun: 12pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal status: Halal Certified! (as of 8 Dec 2016)
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$28
Recommended dishes: Jalapeño mid-wings (S$10), Dendeng Tacos (S$17)

The Malayan Council II

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

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

Reservations: Facebook message

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Roti Kirai Beef Ribs (S$39), Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine (S$28)

So very quickly after my first visit to The Malayan Council (you guys can check out my review here!), I went back again to try out the other items on the menu.

It was a scorching Saturday noon, and I had skipped breakfast in lieu of a tennis session with my coach earlier in the morning. You can imagine just how famished and weak I was by the time I got to The Malayan Council. Although we knew better than to load up on appetisers due to the American-sized portions at the café, I truly could not refrain from ordering the Wild Mushroom Truffle Soup (S$9):

The Malayan Council Wild Mushroom Truffle Soup

Eww the oil looks like slime

I will be honest – I was so hungry, this tasted really good. Objectively though, it really was like a fancy Campbell’s mushroom soup, with better ingredients added. I would not be surprised if they had indeed used Campbell’s as the base. I found this quite problematic. At $9 a bowl, I would expect a from-scratch base, or something more home-made. Not entirely offensive, but definitely a little disappointing. 7/10

My friends and I were unanimous in our mission to try the Roti Kirai Beef Ribs (S$39), which consists of beef short rib glazed in the TMC secret sauce, and roti kirai (net pancake) with lettuce and quail egg salad:

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 2

I MEAN…

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 4

OMGGGGGGGGGGG

UGH YOU GUYS THIS WAS SO GOOD!!!! I really just could not even, with this. The meat was just falling right off the bone!! So, so tender and so juicy. It wasn’t doused in curry sauce like regular roti kirai – instead, the beef ribs rauce tasted a little like rendang – spicy, and with a hint of coconut. It was seriously so rich and tasty.

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 1

LOOK AT HOW SHREDDY AND DELICIOUS

The accompanying roti kirai had the perfect texture – slightly elastic, not too tough and not too soft. I also love quail eggs so having them in the side salad was a bonus. Here’s a final picture of the masterpiece, which I rate 10/10:

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 3

The second untested main we ordered was the Kacang Pool with Angus Ribeye Steak (S$37), in the medium doneness we had requested for:

The Malayan Council Kacang Pool Angus Ribeye Steak

Mm all that wholegrain bread!

The Malayan Council Kacang Pool Steak Close Up

Look at that coddled egg sitting pretty atop the steak!

My first reaction was horror – horror at the  tremendous size of the onion chunks crowding around the ribeye 😱. Is that a thing, guys? Does Kacang Pool usually come teeming with just absolute bulbs of onion?! Kacang Pool is not something I eat regularly, but the rare few times I did I don’t recall quite so much onion.

Onion nightmare aside, I quite liked this dish. Sure, the pool was a little subtle and could stand to have been tastier, but boy it was pretty satisfying to dunk pieces of bread in the thick sauce, and following through with a bite of juicy steak.

The Angus ribeye steak had some tough sinewy parts, but the other unaffected parts were really tender! Medium – or medium rare if the cut is of high quality – is really the way to go with red meat you guys! 8/10

Of course, for the third main we just HAD to get the off-menu item, Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine (S$28) again:

The Malayan Council Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine 1

SO MANY SLICES OF SMOKED DUCK YUMMM

The Malayan Council Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine 2

Faint. Look at the sheen on the duck skin, and the pink of the meat. SO DELICIOUS. 

In my first review of The Malayan Council I said that everything was perfect but the portion was too big, and the linguine overcooked. This time around, the portion was just as American, but the linguine was a little more al dente. Perf!!! The lemak chili padi taste is still as delicious, and the duck ever so juicy. slightly sweet, and very tender. I had a friend who tried it recently and did NOT like the odd combination of pasta with the lemak cili padi sauce, so I guess it’s a question of personal preference and expectations. *I* loved it, so I’m giving this a 10/10.

According to the owners they are probably keeping the Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine around for the month of April, although I’m hoping it becomes a permanent menu item.

I’ll leave you guys with some photos of the decor of the cafe, both interior and exterior:

The Malayan Council Interior

Records on the wall, that table with the sewing machine base, and the two school desks on the left!

The Malayan Council Magazines

(Sentiasa Manjaaaa!) – Some newspapers and magazines for you to browse. I hope they stock more publications, although it’s cool that they even offer any at all.

The Malayan Council Games

A smorgasbord of traditional games like Congkak!! And 5 stones, card packs like Snap and Donkey, and capteh feathers. 

The Malayan Council Talk Makan Chill

The outside seating is SO colourful and instagrammable. With all the cushions it’s really a place to talk, makan and chill with your friends. 

The Malayan Council Alfresco

Look at these crazy tables. There are another two tables that are perfectly combinable, making it perfect if you’re going with a larger group of friends.

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

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

Reservations: Facebook message

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 8/10

Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Malayan Wings, The Ultimate Lopez Cake

Working Title (Moved to North Bridge Rd)

**Working Title has reopened at North Bridge Road with an updated menu you can check out here**

Working Title
48 Arab St
Singapore 199749
Tel: +65 6298 8721

New Location at 783 North Bridge Road (next to Tipo and The Ramen Stall!)
Singapore 198751
Tel: +65 8768 0463
Email: ask@workingtitle.sg
Online Reservations: Click Here

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 10pm
Fri: 12pm to 11pm
Sun: 12pm to 10pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average Spend per pax: S$22
Recommended dishes: Truffle tater tot (S$10), Chicken ‘n’ Waffles ($16), Fowl Play Burger (S$17)

In the past couple of years there has been a burgeoning of halal cafés in the Arab St and Kampong Glam area, much to my and my friends’ delight. It’s a great staple in my life, and I hope all the establishments remain open in the years to come.

So this past weekend my friend and I had a staycation at Parkroyal on Pickering, next to Hong Lim food centre. Have you guys had a chance to check it out? It’s AMAZING. I LOVE the hotel; the architecture is stunning and the eco vibes are sophisticated without being Birkenstocky. It’s very tranquil and relaxing, but I would not recommend bringing kids or having a huge family staycay there. The vibes I get are more couples and small groups of friends who want to get some respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

ANYWAY I digress. So we went to Working Title, which also doubles up as a backpackers/boutique hostel on the second floor, so dining patrons get to enjoy extra perks such as quirky decor, and free WiFi!

Working Title - Floppy Disk

Cafe and Wifi details on a floppy disk!! How charming and recyclish.

You can check out the menu online here, or you can also flip through the photos of the menu I took below:


For starters, my friend and I decided to share the Truffle Tater Tots (S$10), because who doesn’t love these cute buds of mini hash browns seasoned with parmesan and truffle oil?! Here’s a look:

Working Title - Truffle Tater Tots

Served in a dimsum steamer basket!

Working Title - Truffle Tater Tots 3

Yummm cheeeeeese

Ugh guys, these were SO crispy and fluffy!!! I loved the parmesan shavings, which add extra flavour, and I wished they had had more of it. I know, so greedy. I did think the truffle taste was a little weak, so maybe that’s something they can work on for future batches of their tater tots. Thankfully, the texture was super on point, and the parmesan helped round up the taste of the tater tots. Can I also just say, you get A WHOLE LOT of tater tots for just S$10, which I think makes it great value for money. I think the serving size is good for 2 very hungry diners, or 3 normal eaters. 8.5/10

For my mains I ordered the Chicken ‘n’ Waffles ($16), which are only available on their weekend brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays till 5pm. This dish features pan-fried chicken thigh seasoned lightly with cayenne pepper, garlic and paprika, served on belgian waffles with honey. You also get a small shot of hot sauce on the side, together with some mesclun greens:

Working Title - Chicken 'n' Waffles

MMMMMM chikinnnnnnn

Working Title - Chicken Waffles

OMG chicken yummmm

Ok so I’ve never had chicken and waffles before even though I dream about it all the time (maybe in another like I was a southern belle). I’ve seen many, many un-halal versions of it, but they all used battered fried chicken, so this unbattered version was new for me. I have to say, I LOVED it.

I’m not naturally a person who likes sweet and savoury at the same time, but the combination of salty chicken, sweet waffle, and tangy hot sauce, worked perfectly. I wasn’t sure it would, especially since I’m not the biggest fan of Tabasco sauce, but it was delicious. The mesclun greens (with shiitake mushrooms eww) can step aside. 9/10

My friend ordered the Fowl Play Burger (S$17), which consisted of a chicken patty with smoked duck and topped with crispy turkey bacon, cheddar, and greens with sriracha sauce.

Working Title - Fowl Play Burger

My friend was really happy with the triple-fowl threat. Firstly of all the turkey bacon was so perfectly crispy and delicious, but I must caution against eating it on its own. I was given a whole strip to eat and without the brioche and other meats to accompany it, it felt terribly sinful and way too rich. Second of all, the chicken was crispy on the outside and flavourful. Thirdly, the smoked duck was also a treat, adding a slightly different texture and taste to the mix. I would say 9/10 for the fowl play.

All in all, I would definitely recommend Working Title. It’s rather no frills – you order and pay up at the counter, you get your own water and cutlery, and you help yourself to a counter of sauces if you want anything beyond what is served. But in return, you don’t get levied any GST or service charge! The staff are pretty cheery and accommodating. It was a little dark inside the cafe, but I suppose that’s “mood-lighting” for you. The food is GREAT, and I definitely see myself coming back here to try more burgers and apps! (appetizers)

Working Title
48 Arab St
Singapore 199749
Tel: +65 6298 8721

New Location at 783 North Bridge Road (next to Tipo and The Ramen Stall!)
Singapore 198751
Tel: +65 8768 0463
Email: ask@workingtitle.sg
Online Reservations: Click Here

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 10pm
Fri: 12pm to 11pm
Sun: 12pm to 10pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average Spend per pax: S$22
Recommended dishes: Truffle tater tot (S$10), Chicken ‘n’ Waffles ($16), Fowl Play Burger (S$17)

**Working Title has reopened at North Bridge Road with an updated menu you can check out here**

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:

image

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.

image

Even these “lonely hearts” bar seats looked cosy

image

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!

image

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.

image

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!

image

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):

image

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.

image

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

image

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:

image

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)

The Lab SG on Jalan Pisang II (Permanently Closed)

**The Lab is permanently closed 😦 **

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

**The Lab is permanently closed 😦 **

I Am… Cafe at Haji Lane

I AM… 
674 North Bridge Road (off Haji Lane)
#01-01, Singapore 188804
Notes: Accepts NETS/credit cards, no reservations
Online Menu: Click here 

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 1130am to 11pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am to 1am
Sun: 1130am to 10pm

halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 7.7/10

Average spend per pax: S$32

For the past year or so, I’d been absolutely dying to try I AM Cafe, since it’s probably one of the only hipster cafes in the area that I hadn’t previously tried. Whenever I walked past it on Saturdays the lines would always be prohibitively long, so I would – rather spitefully – tell my sinking heart “well, it’s not air-conditioned anyway“.

Cut to roughly 2 years since it first opened its doors on 15 Aug 2013, look where we are:

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We’re in Amsterdam! – OK no, this is a wallpaper at I Am…

I came here with my cousin on a hoppin’ Friday night and waited about 30 minutes for a table. The cafe does not accept reservations, which is understandable, but always annoying. That being said, I think it acts as a discreet filter to screen out certain types of diners, e.g. those who don’t really care about food. Yes, those eat-to-live types who proudly proclaim ‘I’ll never line up for food’. Nothing wrong with that, but I sure would love to eat in the company of people who love eating, that’s all. It makes for a very cheerful crowd.

My cousin and I both got the Charcoal Grilled ‘Sloppy’ Beef Burger (S$14.90).

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The burger tasted delicious, but I wish there’d been more of the messy sauce. Whatever little they coated the patty with was really yummy and meaty, so I was quite sad there was so little of it – now I get why they put quotes around ‘sloppy’ 😦 All cheekiness aside, I think the sauce is spot on and the patty really quite tender. The patty also didn’t come entirely apart like the ones from The Lab. I did however wish it were just slightly juicier; it felt a little dry towards the end. 8/10

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The fries deserve their own paragraph. These were great!! These bad-boys still had their skin on so you can tell they’re legit. I am usually in favour of fries that are rather crispy on the outside, but while these weren’t terribly crispy, they did taste DAMN good. I was very impressed. 9/10

We also shared the I Am…The Platters (S$18.90) since we wanted to be able to try more things from the menu. The platter came with 4 hot wings, 3 mussels, a whole soft shell crab cut into two, some squid, and 4 prawns.

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My verdict for each component:

Chicken wings: Yum, my favourite of the platter. The wings were savoury with a subtle hint of spice, and did not taste too oily. I did however expect them to be a little spicier (c.f. the hot wings from The Lab, which were really quite garang , or fierce). 8/10

Baked Mussels: The mussels themselves did not taste too fresh/plump/juicy, and the paste on top of it was pretty bland. That being said, I love mussels so it was like “Eh, I’ll it eat, what the hey…” 7/10

Soft-shell crab: A little bland and oily, but the portion was generous and there was quite a bit of crab meat. Yum. 7.5/10

Calamari: Not very memorable, though ironically I remember not being impressed. 5/10

Prawns: These were described in the menu as baked garlic butter jumbo juicy prawns, which is quite a tall order. They were pretty yummy, as grilled prawns are wont to be, but I found them a little dessicated and not as plump/fresh as I would’ve liked. The baked garlic butter was average and didn’t really add too much to the prawns. 8/10

For drinks I got the Iced Chocolate (S$5.50) which came in a mason jar (so hipster) topped off with a floating fat piece of marshmallow. My cousin got the Honey With Lemon (S$3.50) which came on a saucer roughly the size of a UFO.

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I’m not a huge fan of marshmallows unless they’re melted (like in smores or in baked pie-type recipes), but the chocolate drink itself was great. It wasn’t too sweet and had a slightly bitter note, which prevented it from being too cloying. 9/10

Service was surprisingly chipper for a Friday night, despite the full house. I think I would do well to come back and try their famed Fish ‘N’ Chips (S$15.90) soon. Will definitely review that once I’m done! Overall I Am.. seems like the hip spot to be at with your friends (it’s small, cramped, and water is self-service so it’s not the family-friendliest of places) for a fun night out. The ambience is great and abuzz with energy – there’s an open kitchen where they charcoal-grill half their menu, and you can see the cooks being all jocose and hipster. The downside of this is that if you sit close to the kitchen area, you WILL leave the place smelling like charcoal 😦 Still, small price to pay for relatively decent food with great heart and a great ambience!

I AM… 
674 North Bridge Road (off Haji Lane)
#01-01, Singapore 188804
Notes: Accepts NETS/credit cards, no reservations
Online Menu: Click here 

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 1130am to 11pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am to 1am
Sun: 1130am to 10pm

halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 7.7/10

Average spend per pax: S$32