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

img_4763

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)

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WORD. at Upper Thomson Road (Permanently Closed)

**Word Cafe has permanently closed**

WORD.
906 Upper Thomson Road
Singapore 787110
Reservations: Text 96858468 and state the number of pax, date and time, and a confirmation text will follow
Remarks: No GST

Opening hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1030pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~$40 for 1 app, 1 main, and 1 drink each
Recommended dishes: Cut the Crab crabcakes (S$15), Cow’ch Potato steak (S$24)

I first heard about WORD. a couple of weeks ago from a friend of mine who is ever the intrepid food-explorer with her husband.  Not to be outdone by this Magellan of halal dining, I made the trek out to this new container-style bistro/café yesterday, dragging my endlessly patient BFF with me.

Tucked away among a row of shops on Upper Thomson Road, and further obscured by major construction works for the future Springleaf MRT station, WORD. is definitely not easy to find without directions from Google Maps, so keep your phones handy, people.

By the time I got there right around 230pm, the place was almost full and buzzed with conversation.

Word Café - Ambience 2

I really loved the decor of the place – it had elements of industrial-chic but managed to feel very cosy at the same time.

Word Café - Decor

The very Instagram-worthy main wall of the container

Word Café - Ambience

How do you not love the stylized lion poster?

Word Café - Wall

The wall behind the counter – how delightful!

So given that this place is only some 2+ months old, their menu is still a work in progress as they continue to experiment and streamline it. This explains all the blacked out bits and the manual additions. Take a look here:

Word Café - Menu 1

Salmon Khan!!! I love it, and can’t believe I hadn’t come across this pun before.

Word Café - Menu 2

Confession: “Between the Buns” makes me quite uncomfortable HAHA

The first starter we had was Magic Mushrooms (S$10), which consisted of fleshy white mushrooms coated in savoury batter, served with an aioli dip:

Word Café - Magic Mushrooms

Yum – I’m more of a stir-fried mushrooms type of eater, but I have to say these were pretty good. The batter was light and crunchy, with some sort of salty seasoning that I liked. However, the seasoning was not quite even, so you got some mushrooms that are a little saltier than others. Apart from that, all good – the aioli was decent too. 8.5/10

We also shared the Cut the Crab (S$15), which are mozzarella cheese crabcakes served with a spicy belado dip:

Word Café - Cut the Crab

OK immediate cons: As you can see, this looked almost identical to the battered mushrooms. Same platter, same dip, same side salad, same coating. I was a little disappointed. Also, where is this spicy belado dip? It looked and tasted like regular old aioli to me – not that I don’t like aioli, but I wish they hadn’t set up that expectation for an imaginary belado dip.

Pros: Bells and whistles aside, the crab cake itself tasted really good! It was fairly savoury and packed with crab meat!  9/10

For my main, I chose to go big and got myself the Cow’ch Potato (S$24), which is the beef fillet steak with potato purée and a side of mesclun greens.

Word Café - Cow-ch Potato Steak

Now, again I encountered some mismatch in the menu description and the platter that arrived – this was supposed to have come with the grilled spinach onion, and a choice of hollandaise or brown sauce, but all I got was the steak, the salad, and the potato purée. Where the grilled spinach onion and sauces at, bruh?

The absence of sauce was problematic because the potato purée was so finely puréed that it was more like a dense paste, whereas I prefer a light, fluffy mash. I asked one of the servers if I could get the sauce and it seemed she was not aware the steak should come with any sauce at all. In the end I did manage to get a steaming hot cup of brown sauce though, so that made the puree quite nice and runny, and the meat very juicy.

I requested for my steak to be medium, and I think it came perfectly cooked:

Word Café - Steak cut

Mmmm so juicy and pink ❤

The meat was tender and succulent, especially when you cut up a chunk of it and drag it through a pool of saucy potato purée. I thought the done-ness was perfect. There were no sinewy or tough parts, except for the one strip of (is it tendon? I want to say tendon.) running lengthwise on one side of the fillet, which was easy enough to remove. I did wish the steak had come with fries or actual mash potatoes, instead of the purée though! 9/10

My friend got the cheekily-named Mother Cluckers (S$14), comprising of a whole chicken leg with grilled garlic potatoes, poached asparagus and pimiento with béarnaise sauce. Unfortunately, neither of us remembered to take a photo of it! I was too busy digging into my steak when the chicken leg came, sorry guys. I’ll update you once I find a photo of it online ok!

My friend liked the lemony béarnaise sauce, but found the chicken meat too dry and a little stringy, if you know what I mean. I eyeballed the chunk of chicken leg and had to agree with him. Until they can make us moister, juicier chicken, 7/10 for the Mother Cluckers.

I had no room for dessert, thanks to the Coconut Shake (S$7) I got, which was thick as thieves (incorrect use of the simile, but you know what I mean):

Word Café - Coconut Shake

The Coconut Shake (S$7) was a little too thick and tasted like melted Paddle Pop ice cream with a hint of coconut. Get the Iced tea next time if you’re looking for something more refreshing! 7/10

Word Café - Latte

My friend got the Latte (S$5), which came on this adorable red saucer shaped like a paint palette! Loved it. Can’t comment about the coffee though!

All in all, I felt there was some promise with the menu items, and I do want to come back and try more dishes soon (like the Salmon Khan! And the Ikea Made Us Do It beef balls!). However, the location is a little out of the way for me. I know they have a 3-year lease on the place, so I figure if they stick it out a little longer until the new Springleaf MRT station opens up in 2020, they’ll definitely be set then.

Because of the container shape of the place, the acoustics are not the greatest. There are several tables with kids around us, and so the place became really quite noisy at times, making us feel a little harried during our meal. I suppose it will be much better on quieter days instead of Saturday peak.

I’ll leave you guys with some photos of the place:

Word Café - Crate tables

Crate tables and seats for those who just want snacks and drinks!

Word Café - Dessert display

The counter/dessert display area

Word Café - Mirrored ceilings

Check out the mirrored ceilings and the crazy wired lights all over

Word Café - Mirrored ceilings 2

Word Café - Kitchen View

A window into the “open” kitchen

 

Word Café - Tyre plants

I don’t know what to make of this, but points for recycling old tires

Word Café - HDB Door Table

An old HDB door as a long tabletop!!! I LOVE IT <3<3

WORD.
906 Upper Thomson Road
Singapore 787110
Reservations: Text 96858468 and state the number of pax, date and time, and a confirmation text will follow
Remarks: No GST

Opening hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1030pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: ~$40 for 1 app, 1 main, and 1 drink each
Recommended dishes: Cut the Crab crabcakes (S$15), Cow’ch Potato steak (S$24)

**Word Cafe has permanently closed**

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

Royz Et Vous Specialty Coffee at Telok Ayer

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

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

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

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

image image

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

Royz et Vous interior decor

Pretty cosy, and very woody

Royz et Vous Furniture

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

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

Royz et Vous Menu Snacks Appetizers

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

Royz et Vous Menu Mains

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

Royz et Vous Drinks Menu

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

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

Royz et Vous Buffalo Wings

4 drumlets and 4 mid-joint wings

Royz et Vous Buffalo Wings 2

YUMMMMM

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

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

Royz et Vous Brazen Beef Entrecote

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

image

Royz et Vous beef steak closeup

Perfectly pink! Love the colour.

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

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

image image

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

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

Royz et Vous Mango Creme Brulee

How pretty!

Royz et Vous Mango Creme Brulee Close Up

Does that not look terribly delicious!!

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

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

Royz et Vous iced chocolate

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

Royz et Vous Mint Mocha Latte

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

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

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

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

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

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

Krave – The Ramadan Edition

Krave
28 Bali Lane
Singapore 189864

Opening Hours
Mondays: Closed
Tue-Thu, Sun: 1130am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am to 11pm
Kitchen closed 445pm to 6pm
Notes: Only cash and nets accepted; order at the counter, nett pricing!
Reservations: Email Reservations.krave.sg@gmail.com 3 days in advance

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$31

So remember how I wrote in my original Krave review that I was dying to go back to this restaurant? Well I did, in a space of maybe 2 weeks, after unilaterally deciding that Krave was going to be the site of an iftar (breaking one’s fast) with some girlfriends!

It is imperative to make reservations if you’re planning to break your fast at any of the halal places in Singapore, especially if they’re the hottest new kid in town – everyone’s going to want to eat there at 7:15 pm when the sun sets. However, I think if you’re just looking for a quick dinner starting at about 8:30pm to 9pm, you should be safe.

First off here are photos of the menu!

Krave_Menu_Salad_Desserts

I love that they have salad options on the menu, but let’s be real here; I’m never going to order them, in the presence of steak and all.

Krave_Drinks_Menu

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

Krave_Menu_MainsKrave_Menu_Pasta

Krave’s iftar dinner edition came with a few extras that were very much appreciated – they had two dispensers of water and rose syrup drink (good old air sirap) for everyone to help themselves to, they prepared dates for diners to break their fast with, AND every table got a plate of assorted macarons after their main course! They really pulled out all the stops for Ramadan. I love these little touches; they go a long way in distinguising a restaurant from the rest of the pack.

Krave_Sirap

Yum. Everytime I look at plain un-bandung rose syrup drink, I’ll think of the classic 1964 hindi movie Sangam. There was a scene where someone made a pitcher of rose syrup drink, and my 5-year-old self was enchanted.

Krave_Dates_Smoothie

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

Krave_Macarons

Macarons are great but free macarons are better. I liked the earl grey chocolate and the lemon.

At Krave, as with most other cafes in the area, you place your order at the counter and pay up before they serve you the food. Being seated closest to the counter, I had the dubious honour of being the orderer for our table of 6. My memorization skills were seriously being put to the test, especially since there were distractions at the counter:

Krave_Cash_Register

!! A cash/nets sign made using Lego material! A cute personal message from the cash register! I tried not to get distracted and got most of the orders in. (Not going to lie, I had to go back to the counter a second time).

Krave_Dessert_Display

A terrible photo of the display counter with macarons, assorted cakes, canned drinks, and rows of Chempedak Crème Brûlée waiting to be torched into deliciousness!

We ordered some Truffle Fries (S$12) to share. They came in a cute little bucket, and had these DELICIOUS shaved parmesan cheese on top with some fresh-cut parsley. So good, I’m going to show you 3 photos of the same thing:

Krave_Truffle_Fries3 Krave_Truffle_FriesKrave_Truffle_Fries2

The fries were delicious, let’s not even mince words here. These thick-cut steak fries were so fragrant with truffle oil, I nearly passed out when they served it to the group who ordered before us. The parmesan on top was also great and added flavour; I truly wish they had been more generous with it, or at least spread it around the other fries a little more. The texture I thought could use just a little improvement – some of the pieces were a smidge soggy/limp, which is fine for some people. I, however, personally prefer my fries to be lightly crispy on the outside and then soft and mushy on the inside. Taste-wise they were perfect, but texture-wise I still think The Royals Steakhouse fries were better (you can read my review here). 8.5/10

On to mains – I was dying to get the Steak ‘n’ Chips (S$20) again, but I resisted and decided to try the infamous Kraving Ayam Bakar (S$16), so at least I could write a review on it. It came on a bed of sweet satay sauce and some cubes of lontong (rice cakes) on the side.

Krave_Ayam_Bakar Krave_Ayam_Bakar2

OMGAH SO YUMMMM. I am happy to report that this giant chunk of chicken lived up to the hype. The chicken itself was so tender and moist, and well-marinated in spices. There was a robust, semi-spicy, kicap (sweet soy sauce) taste that was better than the usual ayam bakar taste you get from Indonesian food stalls. The lontong cubes were soft and went very well with the satay sauce, as always. As a bonus, this whole hunk of chicken was almost entirely boneless, save one thin piece of bone I encountered towards the end. Otherwise, flawless. 9.5/10

One of my friends tried out the Ramadan special, which was the Rendang Bolognese (S$16).

Krave_Rendang_Bolognese

What is that sound they play when Pacman dies in the game?

It pains me to say this because I love Krave and I want them to do well, but my friend and I found this terribly disappointing. We thought the coconut taste was too strong, the rendang sauce colour too light, and the taste not spicy enough (don’t let the chili padi garnish fool you). Also I think we’ve been programmed to expect meat chunks, when you think about rendang, so when we got what was effectively almost a rendang purée, we were sad. I think Bolognese sauce usually has more substantial minced meat in it, but in this rendition we could barely taste any meat. I think this dish would have been way better if they had (a) cut up some of that chilli and tossed it in with the spaghetti, (b) had a more traditional rendang taste, and (c) used actual cubes of beef rendang, or at least, rough-minced beef rendang. Conceptually cool, but flawed in execution. 6/10

Another one of us had the Arrabiata Seafood Pasta (S$16), which came with a symphony of prawns, mussels, squid, and clams. Yum! I love shellfish, and it’s great that this dish had two kinds!

Krave_Arrabiata_Seafood_Pasta

I didn’t taste this one, but my friend told me while it was decent, the sauce still was not as spicy as she would have expected from the term Arrabiata, which literally means angry in Italian. There wasn’t enough heat, but otherwise she liked it. 7.5/10

For dessert, apart from the macaroons that the cafe had generously given us on the house, we ordered two ramekins of the Chempedak Crème Brûlée (S$8) to share.

Krave_Creme_Brulee_Chempedak

Once again, the caramelised top layer was beautifully done, and boy were we pleased by the cracking sounds made when our spoons tapped the hard sugar shell. I also again enjoyed eating the little chempedak bits in the base. However, this time around the taste was just a little more bitter than usual. I also found the chempedak emulsion once again too watery. I really wish it could’ve been slightly thicker/firmer. 8.5/10

Overall Krave still remains a new favourite of mine; the ambience is casual, friendly, and safe. The staff are all smiles and will be more than happy to help you take photos of your table. They are also quite proactive in clearing the plates as soon as you are done with them. I’m definitely coming back for the steak again and perhaps try more of the sides (drumlets!) and the pizza.

Krave
28 Bali Lane
Singapore 189864

Opening Hours
Mondays: Closed
Tue-Thu, Sun: 1130am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am to 11pm
Kitchen closed 445pm to 6pm
Notes: Only cash and nets accepted; order at the counter, nett pricing!
Reservations: Email Reservations.krave.sg@gmail.com 3 days in advance

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: S$31

Krave On Bali Lane

Krave
28 Bali Lane
Singapore 189864

Opening Hours
Mondays: Closed
Tue-Thu, Sun: 1130am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am to 11pm
Kitchen closed 445pm to 6pm
Notes: Only cash and nets accepted; order at the counter, nett pricing!
Reservations: Email Reservations.krave.sg@gmail.com 3 days in advance

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

Average spend per pax: S$25

First things first – I’m typing this review with Toploader’s Dancing In The Moonlight playing on loop in the background. Gosh, remember when it first came out in 2000? It was SO GREAT. It’s been earworming me the past couple of weeks, and as Fergie from The Black Eyed Peas coos in that one song, “I’m addicted and I just can’t get enough”. Dancing In The Moonlight is all positive vibes and happiness; it makes you feel lucky to be alive!

OK to end this paean I’m gonna need you guys to take a few minutes to listen to it now!

OK now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you about Krave. It’s a new little cafe on Bali Lane that I’d been meaning to try for a couple of weeks ever since my friend recommended it to me, saying her cousin is the head chef there. I really should have played the ‘I’m friends with your cousin!’ card to get special treatment but I didn’t 😦

Based on their facebook page here, the cafe first opened its doors in late April 2015 as part of a soft launch, before making it official with a grand opening on 8 May 2015.

Here’s a look at the interior and decor:

Krave_Ambience

Cute waiter guy who asked me if I needed anything when I did a 180-turn back to the cafe right after stepping out, and who laughed when I replied “Sorry, I forgot I wanted to take a photo!”

Krave_Decor

Krave wall decor! Also, is that guy POSING for my picture?! Kidding, I know you’re not. Sorry I accidentally captured your face, stranger 😦

My friend saw the circle Krave logo and said it reminded her of former Home Club Singapore. I honestly can’t remember what Home Club looked like but this I know to be true: the Krave logo looks like my workout t-shirt. Behold:

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Twinsies!

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Simple but beautiful table decor! Reminds me a little bit of Rouse’s.

The menu at Krave is actually quite extensive, with a whole page dedicated to pasta alone, complete with a promise that the pasta will be served al dente! Cute. For trivia junkies, al dente is Italian for ‘to the tooth’, meaning the pasta will be firm to the bite, instead of tasting like noodles when they’re overcooked.

To break down the rest of the menu, there are 4 mains with 3 different types of protein (chicken, beef, salmon), 4 different pizzas, 3 salads, 7 sandwiches/toast, and literally 10 items in the dessert section. I have to admit I was really impressed with the variety in their menu. I like that they have uncommon items like the Fried Mars Bar, Mango Prawn Salad, and deep-friend Otak-otak!! Best.

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Krave_Menu_4 Krave_Menu1

I was dying to try the Truffle Fries (S$12) since it comes with the works – shaved parmesan and chopped parsley! – but I decided to save it for another day, since I had my heart set on the Steak & Chips (S$20), which already comes with its own side of steak-cut fries.

Krave_Steak_Chips Krave_Steak_Frites

OK first of all, anything that is served with ‘jus’, which is the fancy French term for ‘juice’, gets a thumbs up from me. Secondly, this came with shaved cheese on it!!! YUMMMMMM. Thirdly, I requested for a ‘medium’ done-ness, and it came out PERFECT. I mean, just look:

Krave_Steak

Mmmmm tender juicy melt-in-your-mouth goodness

The meat was extra juicy, and I have to say, had ZERO tough bits, unlike the one I had at Royals Steakhouse! I mean the Royals steak was good, but Krave’s was on Krack – I felt like crying with every juicy, peppery, flavourful bite. The test of a good steak is whether it’s good enough to eat on its own without any fancy sauce or accoutrements, and Krave’s passed the test in spectacular fashion. Oh, and the jus was really tasty too! I enjoyed dunking bits of meat and fries into it once in a while to change things up. 10/10 for the steak!

My friend got the Pesto Chicken Pizza (S$14):

Krave_Chicken_Pesto_Pizza

Mmm look at those thin-crust, charred edges!

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My friend loved it! I had a slice, but only after I was done with my steak, so I thought while it was very tasty indeed, I also felt the pizza could have been a little juicier somehow. I think if I had had it ‘fresh’ right after serving, it would have been better. Also, I’m more of a cheesy pizza person, so I want my pizzas all extra cheesy, but objectively I think this pizza was pretty good, with that distinctive, familiar pesto taste. This scored a 7.5/10 for me.

My friend also got the That Gula Melaka Drink (S$8) smoothie, which was a blend of palm sugar, coconut, and red bean.

Krave_Gula_Melaka_Smoothie

Um, IT WAS SO DELICIOUS!!! This was basically like a chendol smoothie, without the green chendol bits. So, so good. I am so partial to anything gula-melaka, so I readily bestow a 10/10 to this smoothie.

Finally, for dessert, I got the much talked-about Chempedak Crème Brûlée ($8) (oh my god it took me forever to figure out the accent keys on my Mac).

Krave_Chempedak_Creme_Brulee2

Funny story – while my friend and I were waiting for our dessert, a group of 5 walk-ins entered the cafe, with the leader of the group entreating the waiter to get them a table and promising that the group would be quick about it, as all they wanted to do was have the delicious Chempedak Crème Brûlée. How delightful! It got me really excited to taste mine.

Krave_Chempedak_Creme_Brulee

To get down to brass tacks, did the top properly crack? Well my friends, it did! I even took a crazy video of it so I could capture the sweet sound of the metal spoon cracking the hard sugar shell. I’m not going to post it here, because that would be crazy, but it was really quite heavenly. Amélie Poulain would have been so happy.

As for taste, at the first spoonful, I thought “mm this is…different!” and then the more bites I had, the more delicious it got, especially with the juicy chempedak bits! The heaty chempedak taste was oh so good, and went very well with the burnt sugar flavour. The one thing I didn’t quite like about this was the slightly watery consistency where I would have preferred it slightly firmer, but I guess this was an unavoidable consequence of baking the creme mixture with the chempedak emulsion. Overall still a great item on the menu! 8.5/10

All in all, Krave definitely exceeded my already-high expectations, and I left the restaurant feeling really happy and super ready to go back soon! I definitely want to try out the other things on the menu (The otak-otak! The truffle fries! The mushroom, truffle & egg pizza! etc). So hopefully I’ll get to review these other items soon!

Don’t forget to make reservations by dropping them a Facebook message though – the place has limited seating and tends to fill up on Friday nights and weekends! Another thing to note is that there is no service charge or gst here; you order and pay at the counter before they serve you your food. Also, no credit cards, just cash or nets here!

Krave
28 Bali Lane
Singapore 189864

Opening Hours
Mondays: Closed
Tue-Thu, Sun: 1130am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 1130am to 11pm
Kitchen closed 445pm to 6pm
Notes: Only cash and nets accepted; order at the counter, nett pricing!
Reservations: Email Reservations.krave.sg@gmail.com 3 days in advance

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$25

The Royals Steakhouse on Jalan Pisang

The Royals Steakhouse
10 Jalan Pisang
Reservations: +65 6291 3326
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 10pm daily

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Average Spend: ~S$30 per pax

During the Vesak day holiday, my friends and I decided to have a girly lunch together and check out The Royals Steakhouse, a relatively new halal café/steakhouse on Jalan Pisang, near Arab Street.

It’s a pretty small space; I dare say just slightly smaller than The Lab SG (its hipster neighbour along Jalan Pisang), and perhaps roughly the same size as the old Royz et Vous, which used to be on Bali Lane but has now moved to 137 Telok Ayer Street. The decor is pretty simple and breezy, with some old-school themed wall decorations.

The_Royals_SG_Wallpaper

An anthropomorphized steak called Sir Loin!!! ADORBS.

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I genuinely am not acquainted with the different textures (and tastes?!) of the various cuts, but this tutorial is a good first step.

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We shall see, shan’t we.

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Open kitchen concept with bonus fire.

The restaurant is styled as a steakhouse, so most of the options comprise burgers and steak. Check out the simple menu here:

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I’m not a huge breakfast person so by the time I got to the restaurant I was ravenous and ordered two starters; the Homemade Pumpkin Soup (S$6) and the Crispy Fries (S$6). Out of sheer politeness I invited my friends to “feel free to have some!” but in my greedy heart of hearts I knew I’d want to have them ALL TO MYSELF 😦 Little did I know, I needn’t have worried, as the portions are way generous!

Royals_Pumpkin_Soup

The pumpkin soup was SO GOOD! It’s got just the right consistency – rich, creamy, and of perfect thickness so you can savour it in your mouth before swallowing. The taste was also spot on, slightly sweet and salty at the same time. UGH perfect. I’m not a fan of croutons in my soups, but my friends had them and said they tasted good, so I guess that’s a bonus too. 10/10 for the pumpkin soup!

Royals_Fries

I had my doubts about the fries – I was worried ‘crispy fries’ would mean skinny, unjuicy fries but what came was a large bowl of fat fries that were crispy on the outside but perfectly mushy on the inside. Tremendous. 10/10

For my main, I had the Australian Striploin (S$22) in medium, served with a side salad, grilled Roma tomato, and your choice of either caramelised onion sauce, black pepper sauce, or mushroom sauce. Superb! I went with the reliable black pepper sauce, although next time I would like to try the other sauces.

Royals_Sirloin

The meat had some parts that were tough, but the rest was perfectly done – I had requested for a medium, on a scale of rare, medium rare, medium, medium done, and well done. The meat was fresh, tender, and savoury enough with its own juices (and what I assume was maybe butter). There were also bits of fat that were just SO tasty and nicely charred. The salad though, I did not touch, so no thoughts on that, apart from that I would have preferred a side of fries or mash, instead of them greens! #roadtoheartdisease Overall, 8.5/10 for the steak!

Interestingly enough, the meat dish also came with a trio of condiments – fresh cut chilli padi, freshly milled black pepper, and some rock salt.

The_Royals_SG_Condiments

According to our waiter, they serve these condiments on the side because they want us to (a) really taste the freshness and the quality of the meat, and (b) be able to adjust the taste of the meat to our liking. Definitely a plus point for me!

I took some photos of the other items my friends ordered so you can have an idea of what they look like:

The_Royals_SG_Crabcakes

Special Recipe Homemade Crab Cakes – S$12

The_Royals_SG_Crab_Cakes

Delicious, with a savoury actual-crab meat filling. 9/10

The_Royals_SG_Baked_Potato

Baked Potato (S$3.50), served with sour cream and beef bacon bits! I didn’t taste this but my friends said it was decent.

The_Royals_SG_Caesar_Salad

Caesar Salad With Herb Croutons, Egg, & Smoked Salmon (S$8). I didn’t taste this either but the portion looks generous!

The_Royals_SG_Lamburghini_Burger

The Lamburghini (S$20) – juicy lamb patty burger with caramelised onions and melted cheese. I had a bite and it was quite good, although I wish the patty were less ball-like. 8/10

The_Royals_SG_Raspberry_Mint_Lemonade

Raspberry Mint Lemonade (S$5)

The_Royals_SG_Green_Apple_Mint_Lemonade

Green Apple Mint Lemonade (S$5)

The_Royals_SG_Cakes

The cake display! With slices ranging from S$6.50 to the odd S$7.60 (looking at you, Opera Cake!)

All in all I’d say this place is definitely worth repeat visits. Service was very attentive and patient, although I have to say we were one of two parties present at the time. The food is hearty, tasty, and served in decent portions. A bonus feature is that you don’t have to order and pay at the counter like at some places in the neighbourhood like The Lab SG and Working Title. It’s full-service so you can bring friends and family for a good time!

Speaking of family; my friend brought her 1-year-old daughter to the restaurant and they provided her with a cute frisbee-like plate made of plastic, along with a plastic spoon, for her to play with so she could feel like one of the adults at the table! It was adorable. So feel free to bring your kids here, guys! It’s a family-friendly establishment!

The Royals Steakhouse
10 Jalan Pisang
Reservations: +65 6291 3326
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 10pm daily

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Average Spend: ~S$30 per pax