[POP-UP] MINIONS CAFE @ THE Guest cafe&diner Singapore

Bello everyone!

After two runs of the immensely popular Pokémon Café at EwF Bugis Junction in 2015 and 2016, PARCO (Singapore) returns with another pop-up café concept and this time, it revolves around the adorably small, yellow, cylindrical critters of the Despicable Me series – the Minions!

For a limited time, the first pop-up MINIONS CAFÉ outside Japan will operate from 23rd November 2017 to 31st January 2018 on the third floor of Orchard Central. Rebranded from “The Despicable Me 3 Cafe” in Japan at five THE GUEST cafe&diner outlets located in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo and Fukuoka during July and September this year, the Singapore edition brings in 14 original food and beverage items on the menu – all of which are specially conceptualised and developed by THE GUEST cafe&diner for the MINIONS CAFÉ.

MINIONS CAFÉ

MINIONS CAFÉ

Waitstaff are donned in Minion-inspired attire so it's very easy to identify them!

Waitstaff are donned in Minion-inspired attire so it’s very easy to identify them!

More Minions posters hanging from the ceiling. Sadly, these are not for sale at the merch corner

More Minions posters hanging from the ceiling. Sadly, these are not for sale at the merch corner

Or in the language of the minions, "Po ka?!"

Or in the language of the minions, “Po ka?!”

One part of the dining area

One part of the dining area

Apart from that, exclusive MINIONS CAFE Original Goods – currently not available anywhere else in the world – can also be purchased alongside other official “Despicable Me 3” merchandise with either cash or NETS (we didn’t see the option to pay by credit card). Considering how well-received the Minions are, long queue is expected at the MINIONS CAFÉ so why not take this chance to browse the merchandise booth while waiting to be seated or served?

A small corner for the merchandise

A small corner for the merchandise

Minion-inspired toys, snacks and stationery found here!

Minion-inspired toys, snacks and stationery found here!

Below is a low-down of all the dishes offered at the MINIONS CAFÉ with the exception of the Banana Smoothie (S$12.30+) which was missing from the media preview. Dishes that we managed to taste at the event would also be accompanied with our (honest) review as well as our verdict of the presentation, taste and value for you to make better informed decision on whether it is worth the trip.

The menu

The menu

As with most themed pop-up cafés, do bear in mind that licensing fees (the killer) and importation charges among other overhead expenses are factored into the costs so the prices will unsurprisingly be on the high side. All prices stated are not inclusive of 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes. Payment, we believe, can be made with cash, NETS or credit card. We will update should there be any factual error.

Unfortunately for my Muslim readers, MINIONS CAFÉ is not Halal-certified.

Minion’s Great Escape Cream Stew (S$20.90++)

In the latest Despicable Me film, Minions are caught and imprisoned! Oh no! This time, they are really in the cream stew!

In the latest Despicable Me film, Minions are caught and imprisoned! Oh no! This time, they are really in the cream stew!

Presentation-wise, the Minion’s Great Escape Cream Stew gets all the credit it deserves. The visual presentation of the displeased Minion is very well done to the point that it was a struggle deciding whether to keep the edible facial features of the Minion or to dissect and eat it. Of course, we went for the latter choice. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have known it was actually made of tasteless thin rice wafer instead of some cardboard material we initially suspected was solely for decorative purposes.

The saffron rice that forms the bulk of this dish is slightly buttery with a subtle sweetness. The cream base – which reminded me of cream of mushroom soup – was a little too cloying on its own for my liking but when paired with the rice, the fragrance from the carb complemented the sweetness of the sauce very well. That said, the amount of ingredients in this dish is too little. Visibly, the number of broccoli florets, carrot and potato chunks on the plate is minimal to say the least and there is far too little protein in the form of chicken meat for it to qualify as a main course. If not for the scanty portion of meat, we would have seriously thought this was a vegan dish. Nevertheless, the abundance of greens, coupled with the fact that this comes with a mini salad bowl, makes this an extremely healthy dish.   

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌🍌
Taste: 🍌🍌
VALUE: 🍌🍌
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌

Minions Vacation Plate (S$23.90++)

Aloha! Take a trip to Hawaii with Minions and indulge in the Hawaiian Iuau inspired plate of beef hamburg and garlic shrimp, accompanied by tropical pineapple and luxurious avocado. Margo, Edith and Agnes certainly thought this dish was a great idea for a honeymoon's set up for Gru and Lucy! It comes with a green soup of Gummi Bears and meat, courtesy of our darling Agnes.

Aloha! Take a trip to Hawaii with Minions and indulge in the Hawaiian Iuau inspired plate of beef hamburg and garlic shrimp, accompanied by tropical pineapple and luxurious avocado. Margo, Edith and Agnes certainly thought this dish was a great idea for a honeymoon’s set up for Gru and Lucy! It comes with a green soup of Gummi Bears and meat, courtesy of our darling Agnes.

Looks like a glorified version of Nasi Lemak!

Looks like a glorified version of Nasi Lemak!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 🍌🍌
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌

Minion Riceball Party (S$21.90++)

Straight from Japan, Minions transform into adorable rice balls, flanked by fried prawns, sweet corn, fried chicken and French fries with original Minions Balloon.

Straight from Japan, Minions transform into adorable rice balls, flanked by fried prawns, sweet corn, fried chicken and French fries with original Minions Balloon.

Tulaliloo ti amo~

Tulaliloo ti amo~

An original Minion’s balloon will be provided with each order of Minion Riceball Party. The image on the balloon may differ and the colour (I saw pink, blue and maybe yellow) is chosen by the staff at random. The balloons are not helium-pumped and will be tied to a stick.

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 🍌🍌
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌

Pizza Box (S$13.90++)

Mel and Minions are hungry! They want pizza! Unexpectedly, a live singing competition awaits them... Hawaiian pizza topped with chicken ham and pineapple, with corn and French fries on the side.

Mel and Minions are hungry! They want pizza! Unexpectedly, a live singing competition awaits them… Hawaiian pizza topped with chicken ham and pineapple, with corn and French fries on the side.

This dish comes with a Movie Scene Card which we didn’t see at the event. The inside of the cover has a maze game stuck on it to keep your children entertained as you devour the pizza in peace!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived Value: 🍌🍌🍌🍌
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌🍌

Minion Pudding (S$24.90++)

This Minion is too cute to be eaten! Mango pudding with fruits and vanilla ice cream within.

This Minion is too cute to be eaten! Mango pudding with fruits and vanilla ice cream within.

Luk at tu!

Luk at tu! *jiggle*

This dish comes with a free character cup. A brand new cup will be provided upon order. But better act fast because limited quantities are available (while stocks last).

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌🍌
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived Value: 🍌🍌
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌

S’more and Minion’s Ice Cream (S$16.90++)

Perfectly browned marshmallows surround a lone Minion (made of mango ice); sandwich molten marshmallow with biscuits for a campfire s'more effect!

Perfectly browned marshmallows surround a lone Minion (made of mango ice); sandwich molten marshmallow with biscuits for a campfire s’more effect!

Gelato!

Gelato!

If you’ve been eating marshmallows straight from the bag, you’ve been doing it wrong. Or rather, you probably haven’t tried s’mores yet! This traditional nighttime campfire treat popular in the United States involves roasting marshmallows before placing them between two biscuits (or atop just one piece since the biscuits provided are odd-numbered). Then, you proceed to chomp them down like a sandwich. Yummy!

The brown crust and soft gooey middle of the still-warm toasted marshmallows (which sweetness is further enhanced by the chocolate syrup beneath them) represent an epitome of a simple pleasure. In between bites, take generous spoonfuls of mango ice-cream in the shape of a lone Minion for maximum enjoyment. Needless to say, it took us no more than one bite for us to realise that we were in the presence of an absolutely heavenly combination of comfort food!

Granted, this may not exactly be the most innovative dish on the menu but is certainly one of, if not the best. However, I would advise you to share this dessert with your friends as it may be a sugar overload and calorie overkill.

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌🍌
Taste: 🍌🍌🍌🍌
Value: 🍌🍌🍌🍌
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌🍌

Caramelized Banana (S$16.90++)

Minion's favourite food... Banana! Torched lightly to create a smoky caramelized taste. No wonder the Minions want some too!

Minion’s favourite food… Banana! Torched lightly to create a smoky caramelized taste. No wonder the Minions want some too!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 🍌🍌🍌🍌
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌🍌

Rescue Mel Affogato (S$13.90++)

Save Mel by unlocking his cell! Break open the chocolate with your spade and pour espresso into vanilla ice-cream; watch Mel float to freedom!

Save Mel by unlocking his cell! Break open the chocolate with your spade and pour espresso into vanilla ice-cream; watch Mel float to freedom!

We didn’t get to taste this, unfortunately, but just by the looks of it alone, the fun factor of this beverage warrants a high score for creativity!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌🍌
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 🍌🍌🍌
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌

Upside-down Minion Jelly Soda Drink (S$12.90++)

Enjoy the jiggly mango jelly soda drink from bottom up!

Enjoy the jiggly mango jelly soda drink from bottom up!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 🍌🍌
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌

Be Bad Café Latte (Hot S$8.90++, Cold S$9.50++)

Minion commands you to Be Bad!

Minion commands you to Be Bad!

Hot and iced

Hot and iced

A closer look at the latte art on the hot latte

A closer look at the latte art on the hot latte

The Be Bad! Café Latte comes in hot (what we were offered) and cold and topped with two versions of latte art on thin, flavourless gelatin strips which are served randomly. Made from boiled fresh milk and espresso, the bitterness of the latte complements, or rather, balances out the sweetness of the s’mores dessert earlier. On top of that, it also refreshes the palate and provides a caffeine jolt to go with your sugar rush from the all the other dishes.

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌🍌 (both)
Taste: 🍌🍌🍌🍌 (hot) / NOT RATED (Cold)
Value: 🍌🍌🍌🍌 (both)
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌🍌 (both)

Free limited edition original coaster with any order from the drink menu (but you're unable to choose the design)

Free limited edition original coaster with any order from the drink menu (but you’re unable to choose the design)


GRU&LUCY “GRUCY” Soda (S$8.90++)

Perfect combination of Gru and Lucy. Frozen fruits in stunning blue soda drink.

Perfect combination of Gru and Lucy. Frozen fruits in stunning blue soda drink.

We are not sure if this drink is meant to be stirred but we did in attempt to evenly distribute the flavour and fizziness. But surely it wouldn’t have caused the soda drink to instantly lose its carbonated sting? The absence of the tingling sensation intensifies the sweetness of this drink so we ended up not enjoying it as much as we hoped to. But if you are not a caffeine person in any way, this would be the most affordable (i.e. cheapest) non-caffeine beverage option on the menu.

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌
Taste: 🍌🍌
Value: 🍌🍌🍌
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌

BALTHAZAR’s Bubble Gum?! Milk Tea (S$10.90++)

Fashioned after Balthazar's giant pink bubble that ravaged the city, dance battle it out with Robot Clive in this eclectic milk tea drink!

Fashioned after Balthazar’s giant pink bubble that ravaged the city, dance battle it out with Robot Clive in this eclectic milk tea drink!

Kampai!

Kampai!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 🍌🍌🍌
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 🍌🍌
Overall: 🍌🍌🍌

Free limited edition original placemat (paper) with any order at the MINIONS CAFÉ

Free limited edition original placemat (paper) with any order at the MINIONS CAFÉ

Gru and Minions make a special appearance at the media preview!

Gru and Minions make a special appearance at the media preview!

Find out when Gru and Minions will make another appearance on The Guest Cafe Singapore Facebook page!

Find out when Gru and Minions will make another appearance on The Guest Cafe Singapore Facebook page!

You would, however, have to either make a purchase on the merchandise or dine in to get a chance to take photo with Gru and Minions. (Psst.. the easiest way to meet the mascots is to get something affordable from the merchandise corner!)

That’s all from us. We hope this little review has helped in one way or another!

Pank yu for reading and poopaye! 🖐

MINIONS CAFÉ – a concept by PARCO

Orchard Central
181 Orchard Road, #03-23/24/25, Singapore 238896
(take the escalator next to Desigual for easier access)
Opening hours: 11.00 am – 9.00 pm (last order)
Nearest MRT station: Somerset
*MINIONS CAFÉ is not Halal-certified*
PARCO SG Website | The Guest Cafe Singapore Facebook

The post is co-written with Alphonsus, my fellow glutton.

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Pokémon Cafe Singapore @ EwF Bugis Junction

Hello everyone!

Anybody growing up in the ’90s was bound to have a favourite cartoon that they would religiously follow on TV.  For me, I was an ardent Pokémaniac. Much as I hated waking up early, I made the effort to drag myself out of bed before 10am every Saturday just so that I could watch a 30-minute episode of Pokémon on Kids Central (now okto). That was before the internet became a household commodity so unless I blew my meagre pocket money on VCDs, there was no way I could catch up on episodes I missed. Even as an adult now, I still go into a frenzy at the thought and sight of Pokémon (I have a Nintendo 3DS purely for playing Pokémon). Hence, receiving the news about the opening of Pokémon pop-up cafe in Singapore has got to be the best thing that has ever happened to a Pokémon aficionado like me.

In collaboration with Everything with Fries (EwF), the pop-up cafe at Bugis Junction happening between 27 May and 31 July 2016 is the first in South-East Asia following its roaring success at Shibuya PARCO in Japan. The concept of the food and drinks in the cafe’s original menu are inspired by Pokémon stories and characters with Pikachu as the main protagonist.

The queue on a Thursday afternoon

The queue on a Thursday afternoon

As I had expected, the queue had already started to form before the opening of the cafe. Then, as if the 5-hour waiting time wasn’t intense enough, everything was sold out about 2 hours ahead of closing time on the first day. HA! Beat that, Hello Kitty!

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Pokémon merchandise is also sold exclusively at the cafe alongside other official Pokémon products which you may find at, no doubt, a way cheaper rate at the Pokémon centre in Japan. When I was there, however, popular items like the Pikachu T-shirt for adults were already out of stock, leaving only the plainly-designed one for kids. The key holders (cheaply made with plastic that scratches easily) and can badges each encased in silver plastic packaging to prevent customers from choosing the design. The only thing that is honestly worth buying is the Pokémon XY Omnibus Kalos Region at S$22.90. The merchandise corner is open to walk-ins so you don’t need to dine in order to get anything there.

Pokemon cafe - bar and kitchen area

Pokemon cafe – bar and kitchen area

Occupying the entire EwF space, the Pokémon cafe is adorned with yellow balloons, blown-up Pikachu figures and decals of other favourite characters from the Kalos region. It is apparent that considerable thought had been put into the look and feel of the cafe. Apart from the familiar tunes of the Pokémon game playing rather softly in the background, all the waitstaff sport Pikachu ears headband and have Pikachu tail dangling from their backside. Perhaps it would seem more coordinated if they have worn a yellow shirt instead of their white EwF (I suppose) uniform.

But that’s beside the point. I would rather more effort be put into the execution of the dishes because many of them turned out to be a huge letdown and embarrassment. If you haven’t been there yet, maybe this review would save you the hassle of making a trip to the cafe and waiting at least 1 hour in line (the dwindling crowd speaks for itself) only to spend close to S$100 on substandard food. In this entry, you will be treated to some behind-the-scenes happenings relayed to me by a staff as well.

Pikachu Smiling Rice Omelette with Magma Sauce (S$25++)

Pikachu Smiling Rice Omelette with Magma Sauce

Pikachu Smiling Rice Omelette with Magma Sauce

I wouldn’t have bought this Pikachu Smiling Rice Omelette with Magma Sauce if not for the complimentary Pokéball mug that comes with this dish. For the price of S$25++ for a big insipid mound of Saffron rice as Pikachu’s face and two miserably dry, malnourished and thin omelette rolled up into the shape of the ears, surely that is daylight robbery. Seaweed was used to recreate the darker areas of the face and ears. I was appalled by the ridiculous use of ketchup for the cheeks and mouth. I mean, they could have gone with red-dyed crackers or something since this rice omelette was starting to remind me of Nasi Briyani. And at the side was some salad to inject some greens in the dish. Basically, I felt like I was having a vegetarian meal because of the apparent absence of meat on the plate.

The profit margin from the sale of this dish alone must have already been enough to cover the overhead costs of the business because it’s so overpriced and bland, to say the least. How cunning of the owners, I thought, to have used the mug as a bait to diehard Pokémon fans.

Carb-loaded meal - that's how much rice was on my plate. The portion is as big as my face

Carb-loaded meal – that’s how much rice was on my plate. The portion is as big as my face

Colour of magma sauce

Colour of magma sauce

The highlight of this dish was the Primal Groudon’s magma sauce which tasted like curry, except that it was reddish-pink and not spicy at all. The overall lack of flavour of the rice was momentarily salvaged by the semi-sweet and earthy taste of the sauce which filled only half the small Pokéball cup. Goodness me! Can they get any stingier than that?

Special Move “Fire Blast”! Primal Groudon’s Bolognese (S$20++)

Special Move “Fire Blast”! Primal Groudon’s Bolognese

Special Move “Fire Blast”! Primal Groudon’s Bolognese

Upon learning that the beef patty dish was unavailable, we reluctantly switched our next order to this Special Move “Fire Blast”! Primal Groudon’s Bolognese.

Worse. Decision. Ever.

It was a typical chicken bolognese paired with egg white patty in the middle and two sides of a toasted bun with a faded Pikachu imprint and that’s it. No pasta, rice whatsoever. You’re expected to fill your stomach with just bread as your main carbohydrate food from this supposedly main course *slow clap* Perhaps the overwhelming amount of Saffron rice from the Pikachu Smiling Rice Omelette is meant to be shared with whichever poor soul has ordered this dish. Taste-wise, it was unsurprisingly mediocre. The chicken bolognese from Pastamania certainly tasted heaps better with a more generous serving of meat. So, steer clear if you’re hungry.

The “Pokéball” – looking nothing like the fondant-textured one on the menu – is made of egg white and had ketchup once again (what’s with the excessive use of ketchup, though) smeared on the upper half, thereby adding even more acidity to the already-acidic flavour of the chunky bolognese sauce. Despite the fact that all the recipes and artistic direction of the dishes were provided by the licensor (which I doubt were conscientiously conformed here because it’s quite unlike the Japanese to produce such unacceptable standard of food), the whole dish seemed to be put together by amateurs and there is clearly no attempt in flavour balancing at all.

Wanna Get Tingling!? “Volt Tackle” Soda (S$10++)

“Volt Tackle” Soda

“Volt Tackle” Soda

Mango sherbet

Mango sherbet

Just when I thought things would get better once we had our beverages, we were subjected to yet another disappointment. As per usual cafe/restaurant protocol, we expected our drinks to be served first before our mains. But alas, they only came just before our dessert. Even though we were thirsty from eating too much Saffron rice and ketchup, we were still rather cool with the wait.

About 30 minutes into our dining experience, our beverages finally came. Everything was pretty much identical to what we saw on the menu except for the mango sherbet in the “Volt Tackle” Soda. From my knowledge, sherbet is a sweetened frozen dessert made with fruits and dairy product such as milk or cream. But the barely-recognisable Pikachu sherbet in my drink looks more like coloured ice. And to top it off, there is not a single mango flavour. Nevertheless, the passionfruit soda was refreshing but no way it is worth S$10++. Not even with that less-than-one-teaspoon amount of popping candy for the added tingling effect.

(Seriously man, want to give so little popping candy then might as well don’t give la)

Stick-on Pikachu tail on all cutlery

Stick-on Pikachu tail on all cutlery

Iced Pikachu Latte (S$9++)

Iced Pikachu Latte

Iced Pikachu Latte

Finally, a perfectly executed art direction. Give this barista a pay raise!

Finally, a perfectly executed art direction in this cafe. Give this barista a pay raise!

The best item on the menu is surprisingly a beverage – the Iced Pikachu Latte – partly due to the perfectly execution of the latte art as well as its overall visual appeal.. which is sadly almost nonexistent in this cafe. The sweetness of the cream lent a refreshing contrast to the mild bitterness of the espresso which was pulled in the morning (yes, that’s right, the staff are asked to prepare the espresso early in the morning daily). But they somehow don’t blend easily so we had to keep licking the straw to taste the sweetness. One cup of iced latte takes approximately 10 minutes to make due to the pasting of Pikachu’s face and adding of the cream.

The cheeks you see here are colour melts but now the cafe has changed to using red whipped cream (man, the inconsistency..). The ears are formed with monaka (the same thin and airy wafer used in Japanese ice-cream sandwich) dipped in dark chocolate sauce forms the ears. Monaka has an light, airy and elastic texture, somewhat like our biscuit piring wafer, but is more resistant to liquid.

Complimentary Pokemon coasters with every drink purchase

Complimentary Pokemon coasters with every drink purchase

Pikachu’s Sweeeeet Pancake (S$20++)

Pikachu’s Sweeeeet Pancake

Pikachu’s Sweeeeet Pancake

Although we were told at the entrance that we weren’t allowed to request for desserts to be served later, we still ended up having to wait more than half an hour (from the time we settled down) for our Pikachu’s Sweeeeet Pancake to arrive and only after we incessantly chased for it because we were in a hurry. An insider divulged that food service can be slow at times as the cafe staff go in order of highest demand, hence the preparation of the less popular food items may be delayed. To cope with high volume of orders, the pancakes – which were the most sought-after – were made in batches of 20, kept aside and reheated in microwave oven when they need to be served. Even so, reheating takes time, thus greatly affecting the speed of service. Sometimes you may find thyme and mint leaves (for decorative purposes anyway) missing on your plate as well because the cafe has run out of them. Apart from these two ingredients, the cafe also constantly faces shortage in milk. I find this sloppy considering that the ingredients were all gotten from local suppliers.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

Puffs and crepes are perpetually served a lot slower as they require much longer preparation time.

So I guess the above explains why the queue hardly moves? It all stems from the poor management of the cafe and shortage of manpower which contributed to the long waiting time for food to be served.

Going back to our expensive dessert which also comes with a free Pokéball mug, the first thing we noted was the disproportionate appearance of Pikachu’s face compared with the ears. The edges of the uppermost pancake were ripped off as if it was scooped out of the pan in a haste with no hoots given to quality control (do they even use the mold?). Despite being supposedly reheated, the pancakes we had were still cold but that’s honestly fine with me because the sweetness of the refillable maple syrup would have taken the attention away from it.

Pikachu’s facial features on the pancake are neatly constructed with cocoa powder and topped with monaka ears. The star of this dish is undoubtedly the tail. Made using a slab of Japanese-style butter cookie, it provides a soft crunch and a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. I personally prefer this to plain-tasting monaka.

Now, I believe many of you have read this review by Vivian Tian on the “bleeding” Pikachu served with the Pokéball Cream Puff. Here’s the other side of the story, provided by the preparer herself:

The blogger (Vivian) is my friend and whatever desserts and drinks you’ve seen here is done by me. And I will take this time to explain the reason behind it.

Originally the moose you’ve seen here is meant to have film used (the same EDIBLE FILM used on our iced lattes). And I have a minimum standard of professionalism when making food, and when we found out we had no film left, we had to make red whipped cream. And, obviously, those who baked before will know that too much red food colouring will make it more liquidy. And alas, I tried my best handling something new, and it bled. 

NEVERMIND, WANT TO REMAKE. But the bloody server decided to serve my pikachu from hell to them WITHOUT ASKING. Pissed, but nevermind. Knowing they will reject, I remade it. Cause I know them well, they will know what I go through. 

And she forewarned me how strict she will be, I said okay.

In conclusion, my experience was tainted by the unnecessarily long waiting time and expensive dishes prepared using cheap ingredients which I can readily find in my home refrigerator. But then again, I don’t blame the cafe staff because their morale has probably hit rock bottom after getting pushed around by their bosses. As much as I’m a huge Pokémon lover, I don’t condone the owners’ blatant profiteering and their poor staff management. So no, I don’t recommend dining at this cafe.

Thanks for reading!

Pokémon cafe @ EwF – a concept by PARCO
Bugis Junction, 4th Floor
200 Victoria St, 188021
From 27th May (Fri) to 31st July 2016 (Sun)
Operating hours: 11:00am (last order at 9:30pm )
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d’Good Cafe @ Holland Village

Hey everyone!

Being a location that is highly frequented by (presumably) well-to-do expatriates and very cultured locals (remember the Samantha incident?) has certainly shaped Holland Village into the very happening and classy place it is today. Therefore, for people like me who live in the west and don’t like to venture too far out, Holland Village immediately comes to mind when we think of hipster food like Eggs Benedict because of the abundance of brunch cafes there.

As mentioned in my PARK review, I will be taking you through some of the cafes I lunched at with my colleagues within the Holland Village area during my 6-month internship stint (which ended in June). You probably have read numerous reviews about them since they are not exactly new set-ups but how accurate are they, considering that some of them might be written as far back as three years ago when the cafes first established?

d'Good Cafe

d’Good Cafe

Blown away by the largely positive feedback on blogs and review websites, my colleagues and I decided to pay d’Good Cafe a visit for lunch one day. It was a calm and peaceful afternoon at the three-storey cafe with only a handful of diners in sight on the third level. Majority of them were students buried in books (yes, it’s a study-friendly place) and a hungry few would occasionally take a short study break to order finger food at the cashier downstairs.

Cute lil figurines along the stairway

Cute lil figurines along the stairway

D'Good Cafe dining area

D’Good Cafe dining area

Photo-worthy ornaments at the alfresco dining area

Photo-worthy ornaments at the alfresco dining area

Everything there was self-service, even the delivering of food to the table. My poor colleagues who had kindly volunteered to do the ordering (while the rest dealt with other tasks) had to travel back and forth between the third and the first floor – the first round to order and make payment and the subsequent rounds to collect the food (all appetisers, mains and desserts for the 9 of us). It took them at least three rounds before all the orders were completed because of the varying preparation times for different dishes. It’s such a silly system, don’t you think?

I mean, I am fully aware of the growing labour crunch that the food and beverage industry is facing but I couldn’t fathom why, in this day and age, a relatively popular cafe like d’Good would be unable to invest in the latest technology, like purchasing wireless handheld devices so that customers can send their orders to the cashier without having to leave their seats (and save a trip)? Or at least come up with a simple order chit to facilitate the ordering process, especially when it involves multiple orders? Despite its fascinating and modern decor, the cafe is so unbelievably backward.

And that’s not all.

Iced water is complimentary at the cafe but one has to take the stairs (lift was not in operation that day like seriously) to the ground floor to get them. There were no jugs and only average-sized plastic cups were available! Imagine having to go back down and up two storeys again if you need to refill your cup?! That’s intense workout man! I wouldn’t recommend people with mobility difficulties to dine at this cafe.

Ground level

Ground level

Having gone through all the unnecessary inconvenience, our lunch obviously didn’t start on a good note. We thought maybe the food would be marvelous enough to override all our dissatisfaction and we would eventually leave this place with a happy tummy. After all, that’s what most reviews we had read seemed to suggest.

But no.

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Eggs Benedict (S$13.50+) – “Two poached eggs are nestled on brioche & bacon and drizzled with homemade Hollandaise sauce. The salad on the side completes the eggs-trodinary morning boost”

My Eggs Benedict came looking like someone had stolen a huge portion of my Hollandaise sauce. In the most unappetising yellow, it looked miserable and diluted, a far cry from what I had at PARK and other cafes (of similar price range) prior to this. I also couldn’t believe that a piece of cheap-looking toasted white bread (what brioche??) was served in place of the English muffins, not forgetting the ridiculously small portion too. Although my mood was already partly dampened because of the presentation, I thought, okay, maybe it wouldn’t taste that bad. I picked up my cutlery and gleefully readied myself for the little yolk explosion that was to come.

MY OOZING YOLK LEH???

MY OOZING YOLK LEH???

But lo and behold! Huge disappointment overcame me when nothing oozed out as the tip of my knife sliced through the middle. I went into a frenzy of rage when I saw the overcooked poached egg and the entirely hard and dry yolk. Without the runny yolk to combine with the (awful) Hollandaise sauce, my meal was ruined. The bacon tasted slightly cold and raw too. Argh, needless to say, I didn’t enjoy my food at all. The money is better spent on 4 sets of Kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs from a nearby Kopitiam which would most probably taste a million times better than this overpriced nonsense 😡

Lava Chocolate Cake (S$5.00++ or S$3.00++ as add-on)

Lava Chocolate Cake (S$5.00++ a la carte or S$3.00++ as an add-on)

Sans Lava Chocolate Cake

Sans Lava Chocolate Cake

The dessert I ordered was also a letdown. Contrary to its name, the chocolate within the Lava Chocolate Cake was nowhere near molten and gooey. It was overcooked once again hence the dense and bumpy texture. Its only saving grace was the decadently rich taste.

Still, can somebody enlighten me? Why the vast disparity between the reviews (which praised their food to the high heavens) and reality? Am I missing out on something?

Bangers and Mash

Colleague’s order: Bangers and Mash (S$12+) – “Plump and juicy Cumberland and smoked chicken sausages are grilled and served on a bed of soft mash potato with crunchy potato bits and finished off with caramelised onion”

I didn’t get to try the sausages but according to my cooking enthusiast colleague, it was alright. I wouldn’t blow 12 bucks on 2 pieces of sausages (not like they were really gigantic) which wouldn’t keep me satiated through the next few hours in the office though.

Bacon Carbonara

Colleagues’ order: Bacon Carbonara (S$15+) – “Linguine served with pork bacon in mixed herb tomato sauce”

If you’re looking to satisfy your Italian appetite, d’Good does serve pretty decent Carbonara. I tried a spoonful of my colleague’s Bacon Carbonara and really loved the creaminess but the taste gradually became heavier with more mouthfuls and you end up feeling sick of it. My colleague didn’t finish her Carbonara in the end.

Another colleague ordered Chicken Tikka Masala (Indian-spiced chicken stew with Japanese rice) as well but I didn’t manage to snap a picture of it because she was seated at the far end of the table. Before I could react she had already dug her fork into the chicken meat 😛 I vaguely remember it looked delicious and the portion was quite generous.

All in all, I think d’Good is an overrated (sorry!) cafe serving subpar food at inflated prices. It’s probably only popular because of its lovely and beautifully whimsical decor and latte art which are both very Instagram-worthy (hence words spread fast like wildfire). But now that I’ve tasted the food, I kinda doubt the credibility of any positive reviews (like, y’know, the 4-star rating on Facebook) about this cafe. Therefore I don’t see myself returning to try other stuff on the menu unless I see visible improvements (will be keeping a lookout for food pictures on Instagram). Honestly, my Eggs Benedict was so bad, it was a shame! :\

That’s all for my review! Share with me your thoughts in the comments below if you’ve been to d’Good Cafe 🙂

+ All prices are not inclusive of 7% GST

d’Good Cafe
273 Holland Ave
#02-01/02
Singapoe 278992
Tel: 62199807
Website | Facebook

PARK @ Holland Village

Hey guys!

My internship officially ended and apart from the fulfilling and rewarding experience I’ve gained from this opportunity (will talk more about my experience in my upcoming University post), I was also exposed to many great eats at Holland Village which is just an MRT stop away from where I worked. Holland Village is known for its eclectic mix of restaurants and cafés, making it a favourite haunt for foodies as well as working adults from nearby places like Buona Vista. Therefore, it is usually bustled with people (including students from schools around the area) especially during lunch hour.

Despite living in the Western side of Singapore all my life, I hardly travel to Holland Village so most of the food establishments there were new to me. But thanks to my wonderful colleagues who seemed to be a lot more well-versed in food trends than me, I now know where to head to when I crave for affordable Eggs Benedict or any American breakfast dish in general. Seriously, there’s a lot of cafés and restaurants selling such hipster food at Holland Village so naturally prices are kept to a reasonable level to keep up with the competition (all clustered at the same area). *secretly happy*

So, my young colleague friends (actually also interns like I was) brought me to this rather popular café that is apparently owned by local television and film actor Adam Chen. If you’re familiar with the place, you should know which establishment I am referring to because there’s only one celebrity-owned café there lah.

Yup, it’s PARK. Unlike its direct competitors D’Good Cafe (will review soon) and Hatched, it’s very conspicuously located beside the traffic intersection at the open junction of Holland Avenue and Holland Road. I remember seeing it a few years back when I was at Holland Village but it was closed (was on a Monday) so I never got the chance to visit it. After a long wait, my chance is finally here!

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PARK @ Holland Village

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PARK @ Holland Village

Indoor seating can be quite limited and it fills up fast especially during peak hours. Outdoor seating is available but I’m not fond of those tall chairs placed outside as I don’t like the idea of having my legs hanging free (and not forgetting they make getting down a whole lot more troublesome).

I think it’s also worth mentioning (to the boys) that the ladies who served us were friendly and… exceptionally pretty. Ah, eye candies to ogle on top of the good food offered at PARK. You’re guaranteed to have a smashing good time there! 😀

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(Friend’s order) Steamed Milk with some really old school biscuits

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Steamed Milk

If you’re yearning for a drink that is sweet and comforting yet healthier than the usual hot coffee or chocolate, perhaps Steamed Milk would make a great choice! It’s something I seldom see on the beverage menu as a standalone item too because it’s usually a dessert, like Steamed Milk custard, right?

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(Friend’s order) Eclair – maybe a new addition because it’s not found on the menu online

This is strictly for huge eclair lovers only because it’s nothing special really, just a blown-up refrigerated eclair.

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Truffle Fries (S$11++)

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Truffle Fries – “Our perennial favorite of fries tossed with white truffle oil and paste, sprinkled with a layer of parmesan cheese.

My colleagues and I had been to PARK together twice and both times we ordered the truffle fries because we really loved it! Depending on personal preferences, I love it for the added generous amount of truffle oil and of course, the grated cheese that melded beautifully with it. The fries were perfectly crispy as well and remained that way towards the end. However I do feel that it’s slightly overpriced because I could get equally good (or even better) and a way bigger portion elsewhere for the same price (or top up $4 for Truffle Shoestring Fries, that’s impossible to finish, at P.S. Cafe). Nonetheless, it’s probably the best truffle fries at Holland Village if you don’t wish to travel so far to satisfy your craving.

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Park Wings (S$9.50++)

We ordered the wings on our first visit and didn’t like them as they really tasted meh – overly dry, bland and lacked the distinctive flavours of the “variety of spices” (really interested to know what kind of spices were used though because I generally love anything with spices) stated on the menu. You wouldn’t want to reach for the second piece after the first and it didn’t help that we kinda overordered and were satiated by the time we finished out mains. But determined not to waste any food, a few of us forced ourselves to finish the wings. It was a torment. 😐

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(Friend’s order) Baked Eggs with Chorizo Sausage in Cocotte (S$15.50++)

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Baked Eggs with Chorizo Sausage in Cocotte – “Baked free range eggs, chorizo sausage, tomato sauce, and vegetables in casserole. Served with rosti, mushrooms, mixed greens, bacon and grilled tomato.”

This is undoubtedly one of the more popular dishes at PARK but I didn’t get to try it because I was too engrossed in my own food. Still, my friend only had good things to say about it and just looking at the pictures (and the ingredients – gosh, that’s a lot of stuff in there) can already make you salivate. I mean, you can never go wrong with runny baked eggs 😉

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Egg Royale (S$16.50++)

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Egg Royale – “Poached egg sit on toast, snow pea and smoked salmon, mixed greens, rosti potato, and sautéed mushrooms, served with home-made hollandaise” One thing not mentioned in the description is the unlimited supply of streaky bacon that came with the dish.

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Egg Royale

Perfectly runny eggs, thick and satiny Hollandaise sauce coupled with a heaping serving of healthy sides which I could never finish (oh là là the grilled cherry tomatoes that burst with juiciness in your mouth). The streaky bacon was way too much and slightly overdone. But on the overall, the dish was good and worth the money. And to prove my unwavering love for the Egg Royale, I actually ordered the same thing on both visits.

Apart from Egg Royale, there are also the standard Eggs Benedict and Egg Florentine (don’t know why only the “eggs” in Eggs Benedict is in plural form oops sorry for the grammar nazism) which really impressed me because finally we have a cafe that knows the different variations of Eggs Benedict. Click here to read more on the different types of Eggs Benny and be enlightened. You’re welcome.

Right after our hearty and satisfying lunch, we figured that we had some time and energy for camwhoring (we kinda devoted most of our Friday afternoons to intensive camwhoring sessions, especially after I bought a new selfie camera). Please bear with me while I share with you three of my favourite wefie shots outside PARK!

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Too much free time after lunch

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Everyone loves to camwhore using my camera hahaha

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❤ Miss this group of people so much!

And that’s about it!

Thanks for reading 🙂

PARK
281 Holland Ave
#01-01
Singapore 208996
For reservations, SMS no. of pax, time
and date of booking to +65 9721 3815 or
email info@parkgroup.com.sg
Operating hours: Tuesdays to Thursdays, Sundays – 11:00am – 12:00am,
Fridays and Saturdays – 11:00am – 2:00 am,
(kitchen may close a few hours prior to official closing)
Closed on Mondays
Website | Menu | Facebook