Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters, Singapore

the newest kid on the upper thomson cafe block is pacamara boutique coffee roasters – a joint which recently relocated from somewhere in the vicinity and renamed and revamped itself along with its location change. i never visited them previously but from what i’ve read online, it used to be oz speciality coffee at thomson v two.

pacamara¬†occupies a spacious corner unit at the row of shops right after the now-defunct longhouse food centre ( ūüė¶ oh how i miss my prawn mee, duck rice and goreng pisang ūüė¶ #jcmemories) along upper thomson road. it has huge glass windows that let in plenty of natural light, giving the cafe a very uplifting vibe (but also as my mother would say, potentially resulting in pigmentation if you plan to sit there the entire afternoon lol) and providing the perfect set-up for the perfect instagram picture (not to mention the adorable little pots of succulents on the tables that serve as good props to fill awkward gaps – hello good photos!). clean lines, a largely white colour palette and simple wooden furniture make for a simple and fuss-free but stylish minimalist space.
20141231_104122
as you can see from the picture, tables are communal so this might not be the best spot for a cosy and romantic first date or an intense pour-your-heart-out conversation with the bffl, but it is great for all other purposes, especially those of the chill hangout sort. this picture was taken at 1030am when we first arrived Рthe cafe was rather empty and we were clearly spoilt for choice as to where to sit; by the time noon came around however, it was full and buzzing with a healthy lunch crowd.

they do all-day dining, and offer a decent selection from morning right through till evening:
20141231_103555
we were there for brunch and i was rather pleased with the good mix of sweet and savoury offerings they had despite there not being that many things on the menu. eventually decided to order a truffle benedict and french toast to share between the 2 of us. orders are placed and payment is made at the counter, followed by the food being served to you when ready.

20141231_105225
truffle benedict – brioche, smoked ham, wilted spinach, free range poached eggs served with truffle hollandaise sauce ($18)
our noses were excited by the tantalising whiff of truffles as the dish was served to our table. i’ve read other reviews where people complained that there was barely any hint of truffle in this dish and although i agree that¬†it wasn’t particularly strong, it was definitely there (perhaps there is some inconsistency in the amount added? or they’ve improved since the reviews i read were written?) and we definitely smelt it!

because no eggs benny review is complete without a picture of the eggs and their yolk post eruption, here is one for you:20141231_105944
needless to say, the eggs were poached perfectly, all oozy and runny and pregnant with liquid gold. the ham was of good quality, smoked well and sliced relatively thickly. as for the spinach, it was lightly-seasoned and cooked to just the right point Рsoft but not overdone such that it became mushy or overly wet. the hollandaise sauce brought everything together wonderfully and the truffle complemented it very well, adding that extra oomph to it that allowed it to remain light despite its creaminess. as for the brioche, it was buttery, fluffy and soft but crusty at its edges from a light toasting. i thought this was a very good rendition of the brunch essential eggs benny.

thankfully our sweet item of choice was as satisfying as our savoury dish.20141231_105249salted caramel banana french toast – brioche french toast, caramelised bananas drizzled with salted caramel sauce and topped with whipped cream ($16)
the french toast looked great and luckily we were not disappointed with how it tasted at all! i look forward to having this again just looking at the picture above and recalling¬†how it tastes – i remember the thick salted caramel sauce that reminded me of hot fudge on a sundae, the generously-added and lovely slices of lightly caramelised bananas and the perfectly soft/eggy/fluffy/warm slices of thick brioche toast. it was surprisingly not too sweet, and the granola bits were a nice touch – they added additional texture and a nice crunch to the dish. as for the whipped cream, i don’t think we touched it at all because the toast by itself was so enjoyable!

needless to say, we left belly happy and very happy; it was a suitably satisfying last brunch of the year 2014 (food-wise and company-wise) ūüôā indeed, not only is pacamara’s food good, the environment is nice, parking is free (if you’re lucky enough to get a space in the parallel parking lots that line the row of shopfronts), coffee is great (apparently, will definitely try next time!), and prices are nett.¬†i’d certainly recommend this as somewhere to add to your cafe-hopping list!

20141231_104139

Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters
185 Upper Thomson Road
Singapore 574333

Advertisements

Symmetry, Singapore

spent my last sunday morning of summer in singapore having brunch at symmetry with the dear sister! we had been planning on going for ages, but just never managed to find a good time to go till that day. am happy we finally got to check it out though, because it was a nice morning spent at a very nice cafe.

many people have been raving about symmetry since it opened, dubbing it one of the best brunch places in singapore, and news has certainly spread fast – when i called the day before we planned on going, they told me the only reservation time available was at 2pm and we’d have to queue as walk-in customers if we wanted to go any earlier. this did not deter the sisters tan who were determined to seize our last chance to try out this place before i headed back to school, so we decided to go early on sunday morning in a bid to get a table!

i knew i would love this place once i saw this outside the shop:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
“people who love to eat are always the best people.” hear, hear!!!

and this too:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we arrived 15 minutes after opening time (it opens at 10am) and were very surprised to see the cafe already almost full! its popularity and the lengths singaporeans go to for good food (ie waking up early to get to a cafe once it opens) are insane. we were very nearly relegated to the outdoor seating section (that has no shade!!! :O), but thankfully they managed to find a table for us.

we loved the decor of the cafe – it is extremely tastefully designed, and is one of those places where a hodge-podge mix of items appears cool and funky instead of random and messy; the kind of place where a random biscuit tin or old dusty light bulb picked up from the trash (that would look gross and dirty in your bedroom) would appear super alternative and interesting.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

in celebration of their one year anniversary, symmetry has a menu that brings to customers all their best and most popular dishes. it opens up like a marauder’s map, so ordering food was a rather exciting affair hahaha (its the little things!).
20130922_102145

my sister had heard great things about the eggs benny so she decided to go for that, while i went for their baked eggs. we wanted to try a starter as well but after consulting the super friendly and helpful server, decided that it would very unfortunately probably be too much to stomach ūüė¶

i didn’t have too much of the eggs benny (my baked eggs were way more than enough to fill me up and keep me happy) but from the few bites i had, it was definitely one of the better eggs bennys around in singapore. the hollandaise sauce was light but still packed a satisfying punch, while the eggs were perfectly poached, the bacon was tastily done (yummy charred edges), and the muffin was well toasted – crispy on the outside and fluffy within. the eggs came with a side salad, which was refreshing when taken with the creaminess of the eggs in sauce which could sometimes be a bit much for some people. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
anniversary benedict : 2 poached eggs, hollandaise, aged cheddar, onion, bacon – $23

as for the baked eggs, it came bubbling away in a huge pan and tasted as hearty as it looked! two perfectly poached eggs sat atop a huge pan of chorizo, spinach and cheddar in a super yummy tomato-based sauce. i am a huge chorizo fan and the chorizo here was really delicious and added in just the right amount so that the dish wasn’t too salty! i also loved the addition of cheddar, but was a little let down by the pork sausage though; i felt it tasted a bit processed and would have preferred something with a more bratwurst-like bite. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
symmetry eggs sur le plat: 2 poached eggs, pork sausage, chorizo, garlic confit, creamed spinach, cheddar – $26

piling spoonfuls of the generous amounts of chorizo/sausage/tomatoes/carrots onto the toast that accompanied it was a seriously delicious combination:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the serving was rather big but that did nothing to deter me from finishing it all. needless to say, i was pretty extremely stuffed but very satisfied by the time i was done with it:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the great service, food and ambience make for a great experience in this quaint cafe tucked away along a little lane, and i will definitely be back for more. i would love to return to try out the rest of their offerings (they are a cafe by day and a restaurant-bar by night), especially the non-breakfast ones which i hear are just as good, and their waffles too! the only qualm i have is that its a little pricey, especially when compared to maison ikkoku (see review here) which is just a short distance away, and which i enjoyed just as much!

be sure to make a reservation if you’re planning on heading down though. they have an electronic queue number system in place outside their shop, which is proof of just how popular they are and how essential it is to make a booking at least a few days in advance if you don’t want to be disappointed!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
electronic queue system – insane stuff for a little cafe

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Symmetry Cafe
9 Jalan Kubor #01-01
Singapore 199206

Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro Bar, Singapore

tucked away from the hustle and bustle along main orchard road but still conveniently located at the post office building opposite tanglin mall, nassim hill bakery is a great spot to chill and unwind over good food either before or after (or both!) battling the crowds in town.

i visited on a saturday morning and was able to get a table quite easily although there was a constant stream of customers and almost all the tables were occupied at any one time.¬†we didn’t manage to get one of the individual tables though, and ended up at the big communal table in the centre of the cafe. but it wasn’t bad at all – the table is big and¬†chairs are well-spaced such that everyone can sit comfortably in groups without feeling like you’re too close to your tablemates.¬†its a nice, bright and open space that gives off the vibe of a casual neighbourhood joint; the kind of place where people sip coffee and read books while their dogs sit by their feet wagging their tails.¬†OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

they serve a range of breads, cakes, sandwiches, soups, salads etc but it was the brunch food that we were drawn to. after extensive deliberation and lots of indecision (food choices are always life-changing decisions), we settled for an eggs benny (but with salmon not ham), a scrambled eggs with prosciutto and a hot reuben sandwich (manly food for the lone man at the table).

i’d been eyeing the scrambled eggs from the moment i stepped in and a waiter walked past me carrying a huge plate of it. it looked amazing and was calling out to me even though i’m usually more of an eggs benny kind of person (runny yolks ftw), so it was this hearty dish that i ultimately settled on:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhearty scrambled eggs with swiss cheese & prosciutto – $20

the scrambled eggs did not disappoint and were the highlight of the dish. i thought they certainly tasted as good as they looked! they were light, fluffy, soft, buttery, creamy, smooth, and moist but far from being too wet. (feel free to add in any other adjectives you would use to describe really good scrambled eggs; am pretty sure these will fit the bill.) not sure if you can see it clearly in this picture, but i also liked the fact that they weren’t scrambled to the point of them becoming a mass of single-coloured light yellow eggs. instead, they were of varying shades along the spectrum of white to yellow. they also went perfectly with the saltiness of the prosciutto, the swiss cheese and the accompanying bread in the bread basket.

all eggs breakfast sets come with a basket of bread accompanied by butter & jam:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe breads were really good as well! the basket contained a mix – fruit & nut, their signature beer bread, ciabatta etc, all of which were yummy. and the jam that accompanied it was even better – i loved the homemade fig jam so much that i would definitely have bought a jar home if not for the fact that my family hardly eats bread with jam for breakfast. (my dad is a total chinaman when it comes to eating habits – he must have noodle soup/porridge every single morning without fail, while my sister and i have taken to just having a huge bowl of cereal in the morning after getting into that habit while we’re away from home at school) the orange jam was good too, with bits of orange peel in it, but i would have preferred it to be a little more tangy and a little less sweet.IMG-20130817-WA0005happy customer ūüôā

the eggs benny, often dubbed one of the best in singapore, was pretty good too! my friend changed the ham to salmon but for those of you who want to stick to the standard order of ham, i observed from people dining around us that the ham they use is what i like to call proper ham – not at all like the lousy ultra thin slices of pre-packed picnic ham you get at supermarkets. the slices are thick and looked very tasty!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

eggs benedict Р$20 

the hollandaise sauce was one of the better ones i’ve tasted, and the eggs were perfectly poached. i also liked how the muffin used was white ciabatta which was really fluffy and yummy. everything tasted really good together!

the last thing we ordered was the hot reuben sandwich. the serving was huge! perfect for a hungry boy but definitely too much for an average girl. it probably doesn’t look that big in the picture below, but check out the following pics with people as scale and you’ll see how generous a serving it is.¬†OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
hot reuben: sliced corned beef with melted emmental, saurkraut, onions and Russian dressing on signature Grimbergen Ambrée beer bread Р$18

the hot reuben is full of beef slices, cheese, onions, and other amazing things that come together wonderfully and present themselves in the form of a massive uber hearty sandwich. check out the cheese (and also how half the sandwich is the size of 3/4 of my dear friend’s face hahaha omg):OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

a close-up of the supersandwich:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAit actually reminded me of the salt beef sandwich they have at selfridges back in london, minus the pickle and mustard. i only had a little of it since i had a big pile of scrambled eggs to tackle, but that bite was enough to make me want to order it if i have a sandwich the next time i’m there! they were generous with the sandwich filling – definitely not the kind of sandwich where you have some plain bread left with nothing to eat it with, and the signature beer bread had a delicious hint of maltiness that complemented the ingredients really well. being one of nassim hill’s signature dishes, it certainly did not disappoint! my friend who had it was super satisfied and thought it was really reasonably priced. in his words, “i can’t believe its cheaper than the egg dishes when there’s so much beef!” i’ve always thought its not easy to please a typical boy because they’re generally more interested in quantity rather than quality and are happiest when food is cheap, so that stamp of approval must definitely be a sign of great things ūüėČ

what i also really like about this place is that there’s no additional service charge or gst so what you see on the menu is what you pay. there’s free parking right outside as well, though the number of lots is quite limited. getting a space on a weekday will probably be no problem though.

the verdict: definitely worth checking out!

20130817_125945

Nassim Hill Bakery Bistro Bar

56 Tanglin Road
Tanglin Post Office #01-03
Singapore 247964
20130817_143041special friends