Image: The Straits Times
1. Rise & grind Coffee Co
Too many of the cafes in Singapore are mediocre and overpriced. In fact, there are few that I go to a second time. But one that I am willing to visit again is Rise & Grind Coffee Co. It is very reasonably priced and the dishes are simple and well executed. For brunch on weekends, there is a BYOB (Build Your Own Breakfast) option. A choice of two eggs scrambled, poached or fried sunnyside-up costs $3, as does bread, from a choice of pain de mie, pita or sourdough.
Sauteed mushrooms and a zingy avocado dip also cost $3 each and smoked salmon is $4. A croissant with scrambled eggs and mesclun salad costs $8. Breakfast plates include the Hangover Cure ($18) which includes a grilled sausage and bacon; and Ocean's Thirteen ($17), which comprises smoked salmon, salmon roe, poached eggs on toast, asparagus, arugula, beetroot yogurt and apple cider Hollandaise. The cafe also serves burgers ($16 to $18), pastas ($12 to $17) and desserts such as waffles ($10).
Rise & Grind Coffee Co is located at Bukit Timah Plaza, 1 Jalan Anak Bukit, L1-CA1.
2. Carousel, Royal Plaza On Scotts
For break fast during Ramadan, Royal Plaza On Scott's buffet restaurant Carousel is offering a spread of cuisine from various regions of Turkey. Dishes range from eggplant dip babaganoush to moreish couscous dumplings stuffed with minced lamb, to home-style cabbage rolls with minced beef stuffing in a sprightly tomato gravy.
I like the mussaka, a Turkish take on Greek moussaka, both of which have their roots in the Ottoman Empire. Unlike the Greek version, often made with layers of aubergine, tomato sauce and bechamel sauce, the Turkish one is not layered and is similar to a saucy casserole. It is a combination of chunks of minced meat, sauteed aubergine and peppers with a hint of Middle-Eastern spice.
Carousel, Royal Plaza On Scotts is located at 25 Scotts Road.
Image: Plank Sourdough Pizza
3. Plank Sourdough Pizza
Nestled in a sleepy housing estate in Siglap is a bustling new pizza parlour and bakery- cafe. Plank Sourdough Pizza and its adjoining cafe Baker And Cook were so crowded at lunchtime on a weekday that my colleagues and I barely managed to get a table. Start with a Trio of B&C dips ($13.50), which comes with lemon hummus, a rich and delicious smoky red pepper and eggplant dip and fresh garlic tzatziki, to be scooped up with crostini.
The pizzas ($19 to $22, above) are hearty and the crust is very flavourful. Options include Pizza No. 5 with toppings such as caramelised garlic creme fraiche, zucchini, sage, tomato and mushroom; and Pizza No. 6, with tomato, mozzarella, Parma ham, rocket and extra virgin olive oil. Pop over to the bakery for dessert and coffee after.
Plank Sourdough Pizza is located at 1 Swan Lake Avenue, Opera Estate.
Image: Operation Dagger
4. Operation Dagger
Tucked away from the main junction of Club Street, Ann Siang Hill and Ann Siang Road is a basement bar called Operation Dagger. There is no obvious signboard, just a logo on the door at the base of a dark and narrow staircase. It is run by the same group behind bar- restaurant Oxwell & Co., which is located around the corner. Operation Dagger has a list of new drinks ($22 to $25 nett each, including an amuse bouche) that took head bartender Luke Whearty about six months to finalise.
I love the Re-fashioned Bee Pollen cocktail - bourbon and rye whiskies that have been macerated with spices and bee pollen harvested from Sentosa Cove, spiked with bitters and served with a sprig of thyme coated in dark chocolate and sprinkled with lemon charcoal and bee pollen. The drink is well-balanced and has good depth of flavour with a hint of wholesomeness from the bee pollen.
Chocmint, another new addition, made with a base mezcal cold-brewed with raw cacao nibs, is smooth and refreshing. Be sure to try the Tepache if you like pineapple. This fruity and full-bodied version is Whearty's take on the fermented Mexican and Latin American drink, which is made with the peel and rind of pineapple.
Operation Dagger is located at 7 Ann Siang Hill, B1-07.
This story was first published in The Straits Times on Jul 3, 2015. For similar stories, go to www.sph.straitstimes.com/lifestyle.