Dinner @ Hyde & Co.

February 10, 2017 in European (cafe)

It was a Muslim colleague’s birthday, and we decided to celebrate by having dinner at Hyde & Co. together. Am totally blessed to find friends among my colleagues. =) Reservation was not necessary for weekday evenings, but we still went ahead to make one because we were a big group of 7.

Parking was limited to the parking lots in front of the shop houses. But we managed to find one without much difficulty, probably because it was a weekday evening.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2), we ordered:-

1) Truffle fries, $15 (above) – Premium truffle infusion with parmesan.

2) Flash fried calamari, $12 (above) – Served with homemade kaffir like aioli.

3) Popcorn chicken, $10 (above) – Chipotle maple drizzle with buttered popcorn. We certainly didn’t expect a very literal take on the dish name. Popcorns with chicken? Now, that’s a really weird combination that didn’t work at all.

4) Truffle crawfish mac & cheese, $22 (above) – Chef Nazz’s truffle mac & cheese with Norwegian crawfish and roasted nushrooms.

5) Miso salmon, $23 (above) – Norwegian salmon marinated in miso, hericot vert served with crushed potato.

6) Curried tempura cod fish & chips, $25 (above) – Cod fillet, Belgian fries, wasabi slaw served with homemade tartar. Batter was weird, and texture of fish was too flaky. This didn’t work for us.

7) Half roasted chicken, $21 (above) – Cajun rubbed half chicken with laksa cream sauce, served with homemade truffle silken mash and roasted vegetables.

8) Ondeh ondeh roasties, $10 (above) – Brioche toast, grated pandan coconut, gula melaka drizzle, vanilla ice cream.

9) Gingerbread Christmas waffle, $15 (above) – Caramelised apples, poached raisins, vanilla bean ice cream with salted caramel drizzle on a cinnamon waffle.

10) Butterscotch popcorn waffle, $15 (above) – Homemade butterscotch sauce, popcorn, bananas, vanilla bean ice cream.

11) Latte, $5.50 (above)

12) Mocha, $6 (above)

13) Into the woods, $7.50 (above) – Iced berries hibiscus tea.

Based on the raves of Hyde & Co. when they newly joined the cafe scene, I honestly expected more from them. So it was disappointing that I left the cafe unimpressed. Would I recommend? No. Not even when one is in the area since there are many other cafes in the vicinity. But for our Muslim counterparts where choices could be limited since not many cafes are Halal-certified, one just need to order the right dishes.

785 North Bridge Road, Singapore
6635 5785, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 5
Mon : 12:00 – 18:00
Ambience: 6
Wed – Fri : 12:00 – 22:00
Value: 6
Sat : 11:00 – 22:00
Service: 6
Sun : 11:00 – 18:00
* Closed on Tues

Brunch @ The Populus Cafe

May 14, 2016 in European (cafe)

I would imagine avid café-hoppers would have heard (and may have already checked out) The Populus Café that’s located at Outram Park.

I first learnt about the cafe from a girlfriend who said she’s going over for their buckwheat pancake. Now, did someone say buckwheat? Cause buckwheat is wholegrain flour. That’s healthy, and it totally fits into my ‘eat clean (as much as possible)’ diet! =p And with that, I too made arrangement to head down for their buckwheat pancake. Haha.

And these days, I’m a little lazy in making phone call to make reservation. So I did a quick search on the internet and realised I could do so via Chope. My friends and I wanted to come in the late morning, but Chope only allowed reservation between 9.30am to 11am for the morning session. And because we didn’t want to risk walking in and having to queue, my friends and I made reservation for 3 at 11am, the latest possible slot.

But 11am was still too early for me cause I was rushing over from my morning crossfit class. Haha. Thankfully 1 of us was punctual. As the cafe was really popular and thus crowded, my friend had to place order for the food before we reached as the staff kept urging her to. Which I felt they shouldn’t have unless she had been sitting there for 30 minutes. Imagine if I didn’t manage to reach shortly, all the dishes would have been served and left cold while waiting for the rest to reach. Oh yes, my naive friend ordered everything instead of just a beverage to pacify the staff. I would have done the latter. o_O Well, okie. Maybe a side too. Haha.

However, the ambience and food won me over during my first visit. And I had been back twice since. Once on a weekday by myself, and again on a weekend with the same group of friends. Ha.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2), we ordered:-

1) Spring pancake & fried chicken, $21 (above) – Spring onion & corn pancake, crispy fried chicken thigh fillet, hint of cumin, house special ranch dressing. This was ordered upon the staff’s recommendation, and this was so good! Chicken was fried to perfection where the exterior was cripsy and the meat within was succulent. And the pancake was on point! A little oily but hey, this dish wasn’t created to be healthy. I liked how the addition of corn introduced a refreshing crunch to the dish. A must try!

2) The Populus scramble, $18 (above) – Soft creamy scrambled eggs, fresh herb melange, marinated feta, streaky bacon, toasted croissant. I liked how The Populus Cafe set themselves apart by enhancing the taste with herbs. Most cafes would just served the scrambled eggs naked, with maybe a dash of salt and pepper. Croissant was buttery and flaky. I also thought it was brilliant that the croissant was cut into two, with the scrambled eggs placed between the halves. This actually reduced the surface area of the croissant being in contact with the egg, and thus preventing the croissant from being soggy (too fast).

3) Buckwheat pancake, $19.50 (above) – Buckwheat pancake, berry fruit compote, passionfruit curd, cornflake crumb, thyme infused maple syrup, flowers. This was so good that my friends and I ordered this on our repeated visit. Pancake was springy and fluffy within. A must try.

4) Seafood linguine, $24 (above) – Linguine braised in homemade seafood bisque, crab meat, scallops. This was average. And one could top up $10 for additional butter poached Boston lobster tail.


5) Pulled pork grain bowl, $9 (above) – Slow cooked pulled pork, quinoa, bulgar wheat & pearl barley. Served with furikake baby corn, red cabbage & apple slaw, roasted zucchini, roasted butternut squash, sauteed cherry tomatoes, L&P mixed mushrooms. And one could have extra serving of pulled pork at $5.

6) Sticky date pudding, $13 (above) – Housemade sticky date pudding, butterscotch sauce, vanilla ice cream, cornflake crumb. One shouldn’t have too much of the really sweet butterscotch sauce cause the sticky date cake is sweet on its own (from the dates). My friends didn’t really fancy this, but I loved it. I finished two-thirds of it. o_O

7) Caffe latte, $5.50 (above)

8) Valrhona hot chocolate, $6 (above)

The price of the dishes at The Populus Cafe isn’t cheap. They certainly charge more than the average cafe price. But what I liked is that a good variety of ingredients was used, and that they go big on their presentation. That allowed us customers to part with our money more willingly cause their dishes can’t exactly be pulled off easily at home. It’s the sttention to small details of using thyme infused maple syrup for the pancake when most cafes just use honey, etc.

However, don’t expect much of the service on weekends. As most of the staff were busy serving dishes or clearing plates, one would need to help oneself to the water, etc. That said, it was a different story when I went on a weekday where the staff were less occupied and were able to assist us better.

Will I recommend the Populus Cafe? Yes, I (still) will. And the cafe is pretty accessible, being a 8 to 12 minutes walk from Outram Part MRT station.

146 Neil Road, Singapore
6635 8420, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon, Wed : 09:00 – 19:00
Ambience: 7
Tues : 09:00 – 16:00
Value: 7
Thu – Fri : 09:00 – 22:30
Service: 6
Sat : 09:30 – 22:30
Sat : 09:30 – 19:00

Brunch @ GRUB

February 26, 2016 in European (cafe)

It’s funny how Grub is a mere 10 to 15-minutes walk from home, yet I haven’t checked them out all this while. Oops.

So when my girlfriends wanted to meet, we decided to drop by for brunch since all of us happened to be staying in the North. We value convenience cause we are a big group with children. My girlfriends who have since become Moms prefer not to travel far, you see. o_O

We called to make reservation for Saturday, but were told that they don’t take reservation on weekends.

As such, we arrived at 11.30am in hope that we will beat the crowd. But the café was already packed! And I noticed Grub was patronised by big groups. Ie, families. Not too surprising since families would head over for brunch due to the convenience as Grub is nestled within a park and located in a heartland area.

With that, we waited for almost 30 minutes for a table that’s big enough for us. Which wasn’t too ideal when the weather was hot and we had 3 kids. But it was nice that the staff allowed the little ones to wait inside the air-conditioned café when a table for 2 became available halfway through our long wait.

And from the brunch menu, we ordered:-

1) Fried chicken wings, $9 (above) – With salted egg yolk sauce, curry leaves. This was pretty interesting and good. I was licking the sauce off my fingers. Keke.

2) Mentaiko fries, $9 (above) – Mentaiko aioli, nori seaweed.

3) Mushroom and cheese quesadilla, $8 (above) – Cheddar, mozzarella, mushroom, jalapeno sauce. I seriously loved this! The mushroom within was sautéed nicely, and the whole combination of melted cheeses, mushroom and tortilla was wonderful. A must try.

4) Smoked salmon salad, $8 (above) – Smoked salmon, mandarin orange, spicy yuzu dressing. I was disappointed with this. Ever since I started preparing my own salads (to bring to work), I expect better from cafes. And this was something which I could easily pull off at home. Grub should at least improve on the plating. No? Though I have to say they were pretty generous with the serving of smoked salmon.

5) French toast, $12 (above) – Garlic thyme pork sausage, strawberries, sour cream, mape syrup. I am still not a fan of mixing my sweet with savoury. But this was ordered because we came in a big group, and the great thing about coming in big group is that one get to try almost everything on the menu. Haha. The French toast wasn’t that bad, but I would have preferred it without the sausage and sour cream, and with more fresh strawberries.

6) Grilled chicken burger, $12 (above) – Teriyaki glazed chicken thigh, enoki fritter, mayo.

7) Grub cheeseburger, $12 (above) – 100% freshly minced beef patty, monterey jack cheese.

8) Crispy fish burger, $14 (above) – Crumbed fish fillet, remoulade.

9) Grub breakfast set, $15 (above) – Grilled focaccia, scrambled eggs, mushroom, side salad. With a coffee/tea/homemade or canned drink. There are 2 flavours to choose from for the sausage, and my friend went with chicken cheese instead of garlic thyme pork.

10) Churros, $9 (above) – Dark chocolate, tangy creme anglaise. This was pretty good. Fried to perfection such that churro was crunchy on the outside, yet moist and light on the inside. It was a little over-coated with sugar, but that’s fine cause one can just ‘tap’ the sugar off. Haha. And the dipping sauces were good. A must try.

11) Lemon meringue tart, $5.50 (above)

12) Latte, $4.50 (above)

Will I recommend Grub? Well… Yes. Cause one, Grub is one of the few cafes that offers a nice view with it overlooking the pond. Two, it’s centrally located in Ang Mo Kio. You know… Not tucked in the furthest corner of Singapore.

But cause they are always packed (Oh yes, I noticed the café is even bustling with people in the evening when I go for my jogs at Bishan Park on weekends), do expect staff to be slightly overwhelmed. Getting their attention can be a little tricky. Unless one doesn’t mind heading down on weekday. Which I managed to, once. My friend had their crab pasta from their lunch menu.

To get to Grub, one would need to take the bus or drive. Unless one doesn’t mind a long walk; A 20 to 25 minutes walk from Ang Mo Kio MRT station. But of course, taking the taxi is another option!

510 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, Bishan Park 1, Singapore
6459 5743, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Fri : 11:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Fri : 17:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 6
Sat – Sun : 09:00 – 16:00 (Brunch)
Service: 6
Sat – Sun : 17:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)