New cafe with a social heart
31 Ah Hood Road
Hometeam NS Clubhouse
9.30am to 10.30pm daily
FIX may bear all the hipster cafe tell-tale signs, but do not dismiss it as just another trend-latcher - there is much more to the space.
The week-old 50-seater is the latest outlet by chef Mervyn Phan and his group of friends, who run cooking studio Cookyn with Mervyn and Grub bistro in Bishan Park. It is also their first entirely corporate social responsibility-driven project.
Fix was created entirely around the aim of giving at-risk youth a second chance in life, says co-owner Dexter Junior Tai.
It has two qualified social workers on board full-time to provide counselling and training for at-risk youth employees during and after operation hours.
The counsellors double as pastry chef and coffee barista at the cafe, where they oversee a team of five at-risk youth hired through the recommendation of youth centres in the neighbourhood.
It is not all feel-good marketing spiel, for the cafe serves up pretty outstanding grub in a breezy, poolside setting within the Hometeam NS Clubhouse too.
The menu reads like typical cafe fare, but the delight is all in the details. The fish and chips ($12) is made from sustainably fished hake, and the chicken tikka naanwich ($10) comes with flavour-packed chunks of antibiotic-free chicken and achar plated atop a fluffy round naan, like a pizza of sorts.
For dessert, there is a range of home-baked cakes, or go for the salted egg yolk doughnuts - pillowy round dough balls that you dip in a golden yellow salted egg yolk sauce. Prices range from $6 to $14.
Everything is handmade as far as possible, from the food to the furniture.
As part of their 12-month training programme, the employees will also be sent for cooking or barista certification courses that will make them more employable, says Mr Tai, who hopes to groom a few to undertake supervisory and management roles within the F&B group eventually.
THE BUSINESS TIMES