Krave on Bali Lane II

Krave
28 Bali Lane
Singapore
Reservations: +65 9856 4249
Remarks: Cash-only, no gst, no service charge

Opening Hours
Tue-Thu & Sun: 1130am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am-11pm
Closed Mondays
Kitchen is closed between 5-6pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax:~S$23
Recommended dishes: Steak ‘n’ Chips (S$25), Kraving Ayam Bakar ($18), Kurry Kremoso (S$18)

Hey guys! I know, I have been SO absent. Life has been a little crazy, with year-end holidays, tying up loose ends at work prior to said holidays, and of course, the horror of the impending inauguration of Trump as POTUS on 20 Jan 2017.

I’m not sure about you guys but I’ve been reading probably way too many commentaries and articles about Trump and his family, with their attendant conflicts of interests (business vs government). I came across this ABSOLUTELY ABSORBING feature on his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump.  I can’t even begin to summarize its extensive breadth of coverage, so please go read it!! It’s really insightful and fascinating. (A little bit of trivia – Jared is the older brother of Josh Kushner, a venture capitalist who also happens to be dating supermodel Karlie Kloss, lol.)

Aaaanyway, I digress. Back to the matter at hand – I recently went back to Krave cafe on Bali Lane for a catch-up dinner with one of my friends who lives in New York came back to Singapore for a quick visit.

The menu has changed a little since the last time I was there, so here is a look:

 

As usual, I got the Steak ‘n’ Chips (S$25) in medium:

Krave - Steak and Chips

Steak ‘n’ Chips (S$25) – 10/10

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Comes with steak-cut fries, grated cheese, a side salad, a cup of jus and a cup of chilli sauce.

Krave - Steak cut

PERRRRFECTLY DONE – LOOK AT THAT PINK! SO JUICY UGH

I don’t know how they do it but the steak is always so juicy, and so tender. I never ever encounter any tendons or tough bits, they must use super-quality meat. The jus is as usual super tasty and great for dipping chunks of meat/fries into. 10/10

As an aside, I know some of you like your steak well-done, but you’re missing out on the juiciness of a perfect medium steak!! Trust me, it is life-changing. A well-done steak is an overcooked steak, so the juices are all dried up and the meat will invariably be tough. Give medium it a try one day. Maybe you start with baby steps; from well-done you go to medium-well, and then you transition to medium. See how you feel about it, who knows you might be won over by the change!

Anyway so one of us got the Kurry Kremoso (S$16) which is curry chicken pasta, essentially:

Krave - Kurry Kremoso

Kurry Kremoso ($16) – 9.5/10

Yum, we all had a taste of this and I really liked it – the curry was rich but not overly heavy. It was adequately spicy (as forewarned by the one chilli icon next to the listing on the menu) and they were generous with the chunks of chicken breast meat. A solid pasta dish at 9.5/10.

Another one of us was craving laksa, so she ordered the Laksa Sayang Eh! (S$18), a terrible but hilarious play on the Malay folk song Rasa Sayang Eh:

Krave - Laksa Sayang Eh!

Laksa Sayang Eh! (S$18) – 7.5/10

While they were generous in topping this dish with plump prawns, this was not well-rated by my friend – primarily because she found that the tough, al dente penne did not go well with the laksa sauce. I’m not sure if this is due to her overwhelming craving for real laksa, but she did not like the texture so much. (To which I say, hey friend, maybe just stick to actual laksa next time? LOL). So yes if you think you wouldn’t mind this fusion of pasta with laksa sauce, feel free to give it a go. For my friend though, this was a firm 7.5/10.

Finally we also got the Kraving Ayam Bakar (S$18):

Krave - Steak n Chips

Kraving Ayam Bakar (S$18) – 9.5/10

So it was our friend from New York who got this, and I’m happy to say she loved it. As with my previous experience chronicled in my former review of Krave, she found the chicken really tender and well-flavoured thanks to the sweet and spicy kicap marinade, along with the tasty peanut sauce. The lontong cubes were also still on point – soft and perfectly-paired with the sauce. 9.5/10 

All in all, we had a terrific time, although I would really counsel you guys make a reservation in advance. They allocate some seats for walk-ins, but these fill up way quicker than you think.

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 9.5/10
Average spend per pax:~S$23
Recommended dishes: Steak ‘n’ Chips (S$25), Kraving Ayam Bakar ($18), Kurry Kremoso (S$18)

Flava Bistro at East Coast Road

Flava Contemporary Asia Bistro & Grill
01-03, 907 E Coast Rd
Singapore 459107
Online menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1am
Sun: 9am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$40

I’ve been on a mission to introduce my family to more food options outside of our Arab St comfort zone, so yesterday for lunch, I brought them to the newly-halal Flava Bistro at Upper East Coast Road. I’d had some snacks here a few weeks ago when they were in the process of getting their halal cert, and remember being really impressed by what little I had, so I figured I should come back for real real.

Flava Bistro - Ambience 3

Warm lighting and a pleasing aesthetic

Flava Bistro - Ambience 2

Booth seats for 4 pax

For starters, we shared the Prawn Paste Chicken Wings (6 pieces for S$8):

Flava Bistro - Prawn Paste Chicken

Prawn Paste Chicken (S$8) – SO GOOD 9/10

Right from the time the waitress served us this plate of chicken wings, we knew we were in for a treat. The intoxicating smell of the prawn paste was irresistible, and we could already see the accompanying achar on the side, which was really a bonus. I LOVE ACHAR (crying emoji).

The chicken wings tasted as good as they smelled, which is to say they were fantastic and very flavourful. I did find them sliiightly on the oily side, and wish they had been strained a little better. Otherwise, exceptional, and a steal at S$8++. 9/10

For my main I opted for one of the Chef’s specialty, the Seafood Laksa Pesto (S$16), which consisted of linguine, clams and prawns sautéed in a fusion of Peranakan laksa spices and Italian pesto.

Flava Bistro - Seafood Laksa Pesto Pasta 2

Seafood Laksa Pesto (S$16) – 9/10

Flava Bistro - Seafood Laksa Pesto Pasta

YUMMMMMMMM

So to break this down into pros and cons, let me just start with the cons. Firstly, the menu indicated there would be fishcake in this dish, but I didn’t have any, so that was a little disappointing. Secondly, the clams did not taste super fresh, they were a bit dehydrated and tasted of nothing. Thirdly and less importantly, the linguine was JUST a shade overcooked, but I really didn’t mind that, so that’s fine.

The pros lie in the abundant prawns and the delicious, delicious taste of the laksa spice combined with the Italian pesto. It was really flavourful – just spicy enough without being too fiery – and I could taste the dried shrimp in the sauce, which was just heavenly.  I counted about 7 plump prawns in the whole thing, which is great because I love prawns. I wish there had been squid though. 9/10

My mum got another chef’s specialty, the Chili Crab Linguine (S$16), which consisted of linguine tossed in with the FLAVA signature chili crab sauce, and topped with generous chunks of chili crab meat:

Flava Bistro - Chili Crab Linguine

Chili Crab Linguine (S$16) – 7.5/10

My mum really liked it, but personally I found the sauce just a tad sweet, and too tomatoey for my liking. I loved the generous chunks/flakes of white crab meat though. 7.5/10

My sister-in-law went for the Balinese Beef Stew (S$22), also a chef’s special item, consisting of slow-braised Angus beef brisket, potatoes, and other root veggies in a special blend of Balinese herbs and spices, serbied with a choice of country bread or golden turmeric rice:

Flava Bistro - Balinese Beef Stew Closeup

Balinese Beef Stew (S$22) – 8.5/10

Wow, you guys. The beef brisket was SO, so tender and absolutely melted in the mouth! Props for that good beef. The stew was tasty and robust, a little bit like an upgraded mutton soup. The chunks of potato and carrot were soft and delicious. We opted for the bread, which was basically ciabatta, and pretty average. The stew itself was far and away the star of the show. At S$22 though I did think it was just a little pricey given the portion. 8.5/10

My brother got the Bacon Cheeseburger (S$18), essentially 180gms of juicy all-Angus beef patty, beef bacon, swiss cheese and FLAVA beef sauce, with the usual accoutrements like tomato and lettuce with a side of coleslaw and fries.

Flava Bistro - Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger (S$18) – 10/10!!

UM YOU GUYS. This burger!!! Was a revelation. No sooner had I taken a bite of it than the taste absolutely exploded in my mouth. Yes, it was a mouth party. The patty was so thick and juicy, with a great consistency that wasn’t too minced or berderai. The Swiss cheese added a slight bitter but delicious taste, while the beef bacon was actually quite moist and salty. LOVED IT ALL. The bun was also soft which a slightly chewy texture, like all perfect burger buns. 10/10

Just a note about the fries – these too were awesome. Very crispy on the outside but mushy on the inside, just how I like my fries. Perffff.

My other brother had the Asian Crusted Lamb Chops (S$26), which comprised turmeric and basil-crusted grilled lamb chops, served with Asian potato croquettes (alah fancy begedil, you know lah):

Flava Bistro - Asian Crusted Lamb Chops

Asian Crusted Lamb Chops (S$26)

Sorry the photo is so blurry! Pretty sure I got grease on my iPhone camera lens :/ Anyway so I’m not a fan of the breading around the lamb chops because that takes away from the flavour and the juiciness of the meat itself, but that’s what the sauce in the middle is for. It tasted rather like satay sauce, which is good and all but I’d rather just have satay then. I had a bite of the lamb and thought it was just a little overdone, and slightly dry. Not my favourite dish of the day, sorry! 7/10

I didn’t have any dessert because by the end of the mains I felt wayyyy full and just could not stuff myself anymore, although my family happily went ahead with an assortment of desserts ugh no.

All in all I had a really great time at Flava bistro. Service was super pleasant, smiley, and accommodating (you know how it gets sometimes with family meals). The food was very impressive and surpassed my expectations. Ambience was lovely, and quiet, what a gem of a place. I will def come back again next time in spite of the distance.

Brunch/Lunch menu:

 

Dinner menu:

 

Flava Contemporary Asia Bistro & Grill
01-03, 907 E Coast Rd
Singapore 459107
Online menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1am
Sun: 9am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$40

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

The Malayan Council on Dunlop Street

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

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

Reservations: Facebook message

Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Malayan Wings, The Ultimate Lopez Cake

Hey guys! I’m sorry for the long absence – I’ve been busy running around town accompanied by Rihanna’s and Kanye’s new albums called ANTI and The Life Of Pablo respectively. SO GOOD. Have you guys checked out the new permanent exhibition at the ArtScience museum called Future World: Where Art Meets Science? It’s fascinating and so entertaining for adults and kids alike. Also been busy watching Peep Show on Netflix, it’s hilarious. What a wondrous time we live in today.

So yesterday I checked out a fairly new restaurant called The Malayan Council, located on Dunlop Street right opposite Masjid Abdul Gafoor, and 4 units down from the erstwhile Rouse.

The Malayan Council - Entrance

The outdoor seating has a ceiling fan to mitigate (but not quite eliminate) the suffocating heat and humidity we’ve been facing lately in March ugh

The Malayan Council - Masjid Abdul Gafoor

Abdul Gafoor Mosque on Dunlop St

The Malayan Council opened its doors to hungry diners in December 2015, boasting a fusion menu that marries western fare with the richness and spices of Malayan cuisine. Burgers are topped with spicy sambal ikan bilis (anchovies in chilli sauce), fish and chips are fried in asam pedas (sour and spicy stew sauce), chicken wings are marinated in kicap cili padi (soy sauce with bird’s eye chilli) and the good old kueh lopes (glutinous rice cake coated in grated coconut and drizzled with palm sugar sauce) is given the modern cake treatment — the list goes on.

Here’s a look at The Malayan Council menu:

The Malayan Council Menu - Starters, Pasta and MainsThe Malayan Council Menu - Brunch Dessert and Drinks

I was heartened to learn from the bottom of their menu that The Malayan Council donates a percentage of their sales to the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home, which provides shelter and 24/7 residential care and protection for boys between the ages of 10 and 19 years. (crying face emoji) I love that they are giving back; much respect guys.

The decor is very cosy and quirky, mixing vintage and Islamic elements. There are packs of Old Maid, Snap, and other old-school card games available by the glasses counter (my friend and I briefly considered playing Old Maid but decided against it since we were only two!). Our table was a re-purposed Carrom table with a glass top and an old sewing machine pedal as the table legs:

The Malayan Council - Carrom Table

I legit kept wanting to flick these pieces absent-mindedly while waiting for our food to arrive. Sorry I didn’t get photos of the sewing pedal!

The Malayan Council - interior decor

Sometimes I forget to say the prayer before eating, so this was a good reminder. Also the WiFi snark! Love it.

The Malayan Council - Jawi Arabic Clock

9pm at first glance but 3pm in actual fact because it’s a reverse clock in Jawi/Arabic numerals. Cute, but also distressing for a split second before you remember it’s in reverse.

My friend and I split the Malayan Wings (S$13) for our starter:

The Malayan Council - Chicken Wings

The Malayan Council - Malayan Wings

Mmmmm yummyyyyy

I really liked these wings; I thought it would be pretty fiery and salty judging by all the chilli seeds on top and the pool of soy sauce underneath the chicken. Thankfully, the flavours were very well-balanced. The kicap sauce was fairly spicy, slightly peppery, and not too salty. The chicken itself was lightly crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside. I worked my way through 4 pieces and didn’t feel like it was too spicy/salty, so that was good. 10/10

For mains, I had the Salted Egg Softshell Crab and Mudcrab Linguine (S$28):

The Malayan Council - Salted Egg Crab Pasta

They paired two softshell crabs together to look like a giant fried fish atop the linguine

The Malayan Council - Salted Egg Softshell Crab and Mudcrab Linguine

The mudcrab meat portion is way generous

I loved the linguine. Admittedly it was overcooked and not at all al dente, but as a noodle-lover I subjectively did not have a problem with this. The salted egg sauce was not heavy and in-your-face; rather, the linguine was lightly coated in this mild, subtle sauce which did not make me jelak.

On their own, the numerous lumps of mudcrab meat were pretty tasteless, but if you mix well with the linguine in salted egg sauce, it’s much better. The softshell crab was very crispy and was slightly oilier than I would’ve liked. I wish the portion hadn’t been quite so big too. They could’ve definitely downsized to just one softshell crab, and maybe reduced the pasta by a quarter. Although the portion seems fair for what you’re paying (S$28), it was way too much for me. 7.5/10.

My friend got the March monthly special, Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine (S$28):

The Malayan Council - Lemak Chilli Padi Linguine with Smoked Duck

This was a home-run, guys. The linguine came coated in delicious and reassuringly-familiar lemak cili padi sauce, which was really tasty and decently spicy. The smoked duck was juicy and slightly sweet, which balanced the spiciness of the linguine. Loved this dish, and the novel pairing of lemak cili padi with smoked duck. My only gripes – if you can even call ’em that – again are the oversized portion of the pasta and the overcooked texture. 9.5/10

We couldn’t finish the pasta due to sheer volume,  but naturally we had still some room leftover for dessert. I got the Cempedak Crème Brûlée (S$9.50) just to compare it to Krave’s amazing version:

The Malayan Council - Cempedak Crème Brûlée

Not the best photo, sorry!

So before I even tasted the crème brûlée, I already marked it down for presentation. It came in a narrow glass jar instead of a wider ramekin, which meant that there is less surface area to torch the sugar top, which in turn meant there was less of the hard sugar shell for me to eat. Boo!

The custard itself was a little too dense, and tasted shockingly like blue cheese. I’m not sure if I got a bad batch, but it tasted slightly rancid, like it had gone off. I let my friend have a spoonful to confirm my thoughts on it, and upon tasting it she grimaced and suggested I ordered something else. I had high hopes for this thinking it could give Krave’s version a run for their money, but this was a huge let-down for me. Plus it didn’t have the juicy chunks of cempedak like in Krave’s rendition. 3/10, unfortunately.

My friend, in her infinite wisdom, ordered The Ultimate Lopez Cake (S$9.50), which turned out way, way better:

The Malayan Council - The Lopez Dessert Cake

Tiny triangle of actual lopes on top!

The Malayan Council - The Ultimate Lopez Cake

The cake contains layers of coconut mousse and bits of gula melaka (palm sugar), and is topped with a mini kueh lopes, drizzled with gula melaka syrup. I had a bite of this and really loved it. It’s really like a cake version of kueh lopes. There is nothing quite like the feeling of crunching into solid chunks of gula melaka,YUM. Well-played, TMC. Well-played. 10/10

All in all I had a positive dining experience at The Malayan Council. The crème brûlée was disappointing but everything else was pretty good. The prices are on the high side, but justified by the generous/crazy American-sized portions, and mitigated by the fact that you know a part of it will go to the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home. Service was very friendly – our waters were always topped up without us having to ask, and we were asked by one of the owners mid-meal if everything was alright with the food. They also brought the NETS portable terminal watchamacallit to our table so we didn’t have to go over to the counter to pay. Full-service! (Btw you pay service charge here but no GST, phew).

I had a chat with the other co-owner who was super friendly and happy to answer my questions (How long have you guys been open? 4 months. How’s it been so far! Ups and downs, but so far okay. Is this the old Rouse? No, Rouse is 4 units down but we have the same landlord.) Will definitely be coming back to try the Roti Kirai Beef Ribs (S$39) and Kacang pool with Angus Ribeye Steak (S$37) soon!

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

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

Reservations: Facebook message

Halalicious Rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Malayan Wings, The Ultimate Lopez Cake

 

Savoury at Jalan Kayu (Permanently Closed)

**Savoury is now permanently closed**

Savoury
246 Jalan Kayu
Singapore 799470
Reservations: +65 6752 9288

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 530pm to 11pm
Sat-Sun: 1130am to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10

Last weekend I had brunch at a fairly-new halal restaurant at Jalan Kayu called Savoury together with my girlfriends, one of whom had previously tried it and breathlessly raved about it. It was kind of a pain getting there for a Westie like me (makes gangster West-side hand signs), but I did it anyway because I am a Conqueror, as Estelle defiantly sings, and also I will travel for food, it ain’t no thang.

image

Love the high ceilings, and cosy interiors. It felt pretty spacious inside (you can’t really see in this photo, sorry!).

Located right next to Le Steak by Chef Amri (in what I feel is a great arrow to the knee for said establishment, because as you will find out later, Savoury makes GREAT steak. Sorry #spoilers), Savoury specialises in Western fare such as steak, pasta, and gelato! The establishment got its halal certification from MUIS in August 2015, so now you can eat entirely guilt-free and bring the most was-was of your Muslim clan there to eat!

The menu has quite an impressive array of dishes, but my attention was immediately drawn to the very meat-heavy mains section:

imageimageimageimageimage

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As you guys know (or will come to know soon enough), I love chicken wings and have eaten probably my body weight in them in the past year alone, so naturally I had to try the Buffalo Wings (S$10.80) from Savoury:

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Stop glistening so much and just get in my belly already!!

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Glisten glisten tsk

Savoury’s version of buffalo wings were really delicious! Very tasty and lip-smacking good, BUT, they were not as spicy as I would’ve liked. Plus kind of wish they had been just the slightest bit more saucy, but that is really a personal preference. I like when the sauce spreads through your whole mouth when you chew down on the chicken, and when there is a lot of excess sauce to lick off of your fingers at the end :/ So gross right? Whatevs.

Also, and this is nitpicking a little, the wings did not come with any blue cheese or sour cream sauce, which I think is a significant detail especially since the sauce-meat ratio is only just sufficient (which, to a sauce-hound like me, is not enough). In the battle between Savoury’s and Royz et Vous’ buffalo wings, I’m afraid Royz et Vous wins out. The REV version is spicier, saucier, and comes with a sour cream dip for variety! But of course these are all subjective preferences so you kids can decide which version you’d prefer. Also, Savoury’s is $2 cheaper than REV’s, so that could factor into your decision too. For me, the Savoury buffalo wings get a solid 8.5/10.

For my main dish I decided to go for the Beef Tenderloin (S$29.80) in medium done-ness. The pan-fried New Zealand beef comes with black pepper sauce and a side of potato gratin:

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Like a Kandinsky masterpiece

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That orange puree though, no thanks

YUM this was REALLY good!!! The black pepper sauce had just enough punch without being too heaty in your throat, and the meat was really tender and tendon-free! (looking at you, Royals Steak House) My only gripe about the meat was that I thought it was overdone, and therefore slightly dry. This was of course mitigated by the pepper sauce, so it wasn’t too bad. Plus, the meat tasted so good I was convinced it would taste phenomenal if cooked slightly less. For those who prefer their meats pinker and juicier, I would definitely recommend taking the plunge and opting for medium rare in the future. If not, then ok medium should work for you. Shoutout here to the potato gratin which was so creamy and delicious. This dish gets 8/10, with a point docked for the tenderloin being overcooked.

One of my friends ordered the Agnolotti (S$18.80), which is fresh pasta stuffed with fresh prawns and crab meat in a tomato and cream sauce:

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Yum the sauce was really delicious!! Rich, savoury, slightly tangy, and creamy all at once. Perf. The pasta had a good texture and was tender, but my personal opinion is that the stuffing itself could have been slightly tastier so the pasta wouldn’t have to rely on the strength of the sauce to carry the dish. Still a very tasty pasta dish on the whole though! 8/10

We ended off with the Salted Caramel Waffle with 2 Scoops (S$17), and we went with the Peach sorbet and Snickers flavours:

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The gelato spread – they have the standard chocolaty sweet ones, assorted sorbets, and also – OMG – salted egg ice cream!! It tasted like the custard in salted egg buns.

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OMG gnomes/snowmen with strawberry hats SO CUTE!!! Dying.

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Muumuuumuuuhhh SO CUTE HOW TO EAT!

Guys, the peach sorbet was SO YUMMYYYY. It wasn’t as thin or tart as regular sorbet, but tasted a little like frozen peach Vitagen. Which I love. The snickers flavour was aiiight; I’m not a huge fan of nuts (particularly peanuts) in my ice cream unless they’re candied pecans, but my friends wanted it so we compromised 🙂 THE WAFFLES THOUGH!! Were so good! So fluffy and crisp and light, but still substantial! I loved the salted caramel sauce drizzled on the plate,YUM. Also if you couldn’t already tell, LOVE the presentation!! The little creatures were so adorable, and their strawberry hats tasted very sweet! It felt weird lopping off their heads and scooping it into my mouth, but well food is food. The ice cream men were also standing on a layer of wafer that separated the ice cream from the waffle, so it wouldn’t become a mushy creamy mess so quickly! I LOVED that attention to detail. 10/10

On the whole, Savoury is a GREAT addition to the canon of restaurants at Jalan Kayu, and I would definitely come back here to have the steak again and again. Finally a worthy competitor to Krave’s Steak! I am also curious to try the other things on the menu, so rest assured I will report back when that time comes 🙂

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Savoury
246 Jalan Kayu
Singapore 799470
Reservations: +65 6752 9288

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 530pm to 11pm
Sat-Sun: 1130am to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10

**Savoury is now permanently closed**

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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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:

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!! 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).

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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:

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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.

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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).

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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!

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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.

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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

La Marelle on Baghdad St

La Marelle Cafe
25A Baghdad Street
Singapore 199664
Opening Hours
Wed-Mon (closed on Tue): 10am to 11pm
Notes: Order and pay at the counter; no GST and no service charge!

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 7/10

Average spend per pax: S$25

For the past 2-3 years, I have been taking Arabic lessons at the Al-Markaz institute, located on the 2nd floor of Wardah books on Bussorah Street. Over the course of these years I’d forged a real bond with some classmates, and together we went for classes every Saturday morning from Modern Standard Arabic Level 2 to Level 7. These friends provided a great support system – texting me the homework that I had missed from the classes I’d skipped, sharing their grievances about the grammatical difficulties of Arabic, etc. Arabic is so tough; I cannot tell you how many lessons I’ve pontenged (skipped), only to regret it the following week when I have twice the amount of homework to catch up on. The struggle is very real, my friends, so I was thankful to have these folks to motivate me.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. About 2 to 3 months ago, in an egregious act of betrayal, my Arabic gang decided not to advance to Level 8 with me, leaving me in the absolute lurch 😦 Luckily, they missed our teacher so much (he’s so amazing) that we decided to organise a reunion lunch together with him after class a few weeks ago. The place we decided on was La Marelle.

The first time I went here a couple of years ago the menu was rather limited, but I am happy to announce they’ve expanded it quite impressively since. Here’s a look at the items on the menu:

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I mean who DOESN’T love all-day breakfast! YUM.

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I LOVE halloumi cheese!! Why is baguette not spelled correctly?

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Here are some photos of the decor of the place. The cafe comprises two levels, located on the second and third floors of a typical Arab St shophouse. The acoustics are pretty terrible especially if you have a big group on the third floor – it gets really loud and you’ll have trouble hearing your friends!

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The ‘upstairs’ loft-style dining area

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View of the main dining floor from above! Very trippy and whimsical. It’s like an Alice tea party!

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They sell miscellaneous goods and sundry in the cafe too, which is pretty cute. You can look around while waiting for your order!

Orders are placed and paid for at the counter on the main floor, so the prices you see on the menu are actually nett prices. Yay to no service charge!

I can never resist a good steak so naturally I opted for the Grilled Striploin Breakfast (S$17) from the All-day Breakfast menu. It comes with roasted potato cubes, a sunny-side up, and a side salad, as such:

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The sunny-side up and the toast were perfect, I thought. The toast was lightly toasted and the egg yolk was suitably runny and DELICIOUS. The potato cubes were not as tender as I would have liked (try the beef hash at Fika, the potato cubes absolutely melt in your mouth!), but they tasted decent. As for the striploin pieces, I honestly have to say I thought they were a little dry. The seasoning was adequate; the meat tasted spicy/sweet at the same time, in a good way. I think the steak could have been juicier if it had been a little rarer, like maybe medium instead of medium well. I was really quite full from all the carbs and the protein, that I didn’t really touch the salad, so no comment for that! Overall, I think this dish just barely made it to 7/10.

I also got myself one of the mocktails – the Peach Mojito ($8), although it also comes in lychee, mango, and strawberry flavours.

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This was good and very refreshing, and look at the cute coaster!!

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ASTAGHFIRULLAH. Haha I love the cognitive dissonance. And the surfer shark.

I took some photos of what my classmates had, so you guys know what some of the other items look like!

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The French Classic Stuffed Croissant (S$15) with assorted deli meats and cheese in it! When reached for comment, my friend responded with “not memorable”.

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The Spaghetti Bolognaise (S$13) which came in a HUGE portion; my friend was struggling to finish it! She said this was quite plain and she got jelak after a while.

All in all I think La Marelle is one of those safe, cute cafes you can bring your friends to. The location is great, since it’s just a 1-minute walk from the Sultan Mosque. Based on what I had, I don’t think the food is amazing, which is a pity. That being said, I wouldn’t mind coming back for the decor and the location! Plus, the menu is pretty extensive so I should probably try some other items, which could turn out to be really great.

La Marelle Cafe
25A Baghdad Street
Singapore 199664
Opening Hours
Wed-Mon (closed on Tue): 10am to 11pm
Notes: Order and pay at the counter; no GST and no service charge!

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 7/10

Average spend per pax: S$25