New flavours at Kampong Glam
KAMPONG Glam's grungy reputation is starting to fade as hair salons, fashion boutiques and cafes replace shisha joints to attract a new crowd.
778 North Bridge Road
If you're tired of having the usual eggs benedict and french toast for breakfast, how about shaking things up a little and trying a Mexican breakfast burrito instead? Served at a new modern Mexican cafe in North Bridge Road named Afterwit, this breakfast wrap contains scrambled eggs, mushrooms, guacamole, tomatoes and Mexican rice.
The dish first appeared as a special on the cafe's pre-launch menu, but was so popular that the owners decided to keep it permanently, says co-owner Calvin Seah, who also runs (working title), a two-year-old cafe in Arab Street, with his business partner.
"Personally, we like Mexican food but the Mexican places in Singapore tend to be quite pricey, and you don't get to chill out in a cafe setting. So we wanted to create a place where you can still have your nice coffee and desserts, but with Mexican food," explains Mr Seah, 31.
Afterwit opened just over a month ago. It is a collaboration between Mr Seah, his business partner and an advertising agency called The Methodology Works (TMW Asia).
Bestsellers include Pato Jarabe de Arce burrito - which contains smoked duck, scrambled eggs and maple syrup at $15 - and Quesadillas con Pato (quesadillas with duck) at $14. It also serves its own version of eggs benedict, except with Chipotle Hollandaise sauce, fresh salsa and chicken chipolata (fresh sausage) at $15.
Mr Seah intends to experiment with some new items with local influences, such as a nasi lemak burrito with rice and otah. "With the cafe craze now, there's quite a lot of places serving the usual bunch, so we want to introduce something more unique - a bit of fusion with a local twist," he says.
28 Bali Lane
Tue to Thu, Sun: 11.30am-10pm; Fri to Sat: 11.30am-11pm
Seventeen years after local chef Sufiyan Safee started his career in the food-and-beverage industry, he is finally the boss of his own establishment - a two-storey cafe in the Kampong Glam area named Krave.
He started out with a job at KFC at the age of 15, and went on to study at Shatec before working at other restaurants over the years.
"The food (at Krave) basically comes from my years of experience at different places," says the 32-year-old, whose resume includes stints at Supply and Demand, Jimmy Monkey Cafe, Amara Sanctuary Resort, TWG Tea Salon and even a cooking show on TV channel Suria.
That's why the menu at Krave heavily features Western dishes, inspired by his training in Western kitchens, but contain some local Malay flavours as a tribute to his personal heritage as well.
Aside from the regular truffle fries ($12) and calamari rings ($10) as appetisers, he put his spin on cereal prawns (Shrimp 'O' Nauts, $10) and battered deep-fried otah otah ('O' tahtah, $10).
As for the mains, diners can choose a more traditional dish like Kraving ayam bakar ($16) or a cafe favourite such as steak and chips ($20). Otherwise, they can be more adventurous with chef Sufiyan's creations such as Kurry Kremoso - curry chicken with pasta ($14) - or his best-selling Sambal Marinara seafood pasta ($16).
17 Bali Lane
When Phyllis Lau returned to Singapore late last year, after spending three years working and living at Richmond in London, she decided to bring a little piece of it with her in the form of her month-old London-inspired cafe, Richmond Station.
"London was my home, so I wanted to bring a little bit of the concept back (to Singapore) - a little bit of London with an Asian twist," says the 27-year-old, who had worked in logistics before quitting her job to pursue her passion for coffee. She was a barista for a year in London.
Located in Bali Lane, Ms Lau's cosy 50-seat cafe serves traditional English cakes and pastries such as scones, crumpets and English muffins, all made in-house from scratch.
It also offers dishes with Asian influences, such as Crab Benedict made with shredded crab meat and poached eggs ($16.90) and Zesty Crab Angel Hair Pasta with lime rind, crab meat and garlic ($18.90).
"I wanted a place that is authentically local, a little bit more vibrant yet relaxed at the same time," says Ms Lau, who describes her clientele as people of all ages who just want a simple, quiet place to relax.
She adds: "I wanted a cosy place, so this one fits me perfectly. Moving forward, we might take the unit upstairs, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Right now, I just want to focus on getting everything right here."
THE BUSINESS TIMES