A relatively new addition to the eateries along Bukit Timah Road is KARA Café & Dessert Bar, which is a reinterpretation of one of Singapore’s beloved soft-serve yogurt brands, Sogurt. This re-branded cafe now caters to a wider audience with a menu offering healthy meals – think grain bowls and salads – and interesting desserts that feature its signature soft-serve. KARA is also a labour of love for owner Lee Li Ping, who started Sogurt at a tender age of 21.
The new casual “all-day dining” menu serves comfort food like hearty soups, grilled cheese toasties, bite-sized snacks, and desserts including artisanal soft-serves. There are also healthy eating options like savoury grain bowls and salads.
Coco Cashew Pomelo Grain Bowl ($13)
Grain bowls are the rage these days for healthy eaters – KARA’s giant grain bowls come in your choice of fragrant garlic Japanese rice or fluffy quinoa salad. While many grain bowls you find in Singapore have some form of meat or tofu version, KARA’s interesting vegetarian option of Coco Cashew Pomelo consists of house blended coconut curry, black tofu, kale chips, and pomelo pieces for an unusual flavour and texture.
The coconut curry dressing on the quinoa is not without a kick, but you can still taste the fragrant coconut in it. Black tofu and crispy kale chips (which were tasty and generously sized) give the bowl a soft-and-crunchy texture. Interestingly this dish is topped with a poached egg. KARA also has non-veggie bowls, like its best-seller, the Pork Belly Miso which stars fork tender kakuni braised pork belly and soft egg.
Okonomiyaki Truffle Tots ($12)
If you’re here for just a snack – with a craft beer or two – you can definitely opt for their Okonomiyaki Truffle Tots. It’s a pretty simple dish: Tater Tots (bite-sized hashbrowns) that are coated with Kewpie mayonnaise, unagi sauce, and truffle dressing. The result is something very ‘homey’, and the balance of mayo and unagi sauce really makes the hashbrowns taste like okonomiyaki. The furikake sprinkles add to the texture. It’s a sweet-salty dish that is easily shared as well.
Homemade Mochi Waffles: Charcoal Sesame ($12.50)
Perhaps KARA’s strength is in its desserts – its signature mochi waffles are actually chewy on the inside (and crispy on the outside). The Charcoal Sesame waffle is basically a black waffle that’s drizzled in speculoos sauce for that rich flavour, and garnished with crumbly sesame brittle, sesame sticks, and fresh strawberries to add to its texture.
It’s a good balance of sweet and slightly savoury, which goes very well with a soft serve of slightly tangy yogurt on the side. No wonder it’s their best-seller. All their mochi waffles come with a serving of softie swirl flavour of your choice – in addition to Original and Dark Chocolate, the flavours at this cafe are more on the ‘botanical’ side, with ingredients like thyme, rose, mint, and lavender.
Sparkling Citrus ($5)
If you’re in the mood for a refreshing drink, then the Sparkling Citrus is it. Not too tangy or sweet, it’s loaded with vitamin C and free from artificial flavourings. What’s more, it’s also got a side serving of nata de coco cubes – which is served in a cute cup on the side – which you can add to your drink for added texture.
Peanut Butter Brekkie ($7)
If you’re in the mood to eat your drink, then you can try their in-house smoothies which are made with their soft-serve yogurt (all made without added sugar). The Peanut Butter Brekkie is a thick concoction that’s got only a hint of peanut butter. The drink has a stronger banana flavour: a not-so-ripe banana is used to ensure that the yogurt base doesn’t make the drink too sweet.
Inspired by her personal experiences of the vibrant food and culture in Los Angeles while attending college there, Li Ping’s new dining concept has a preppy feel to it. With artwork on the walls specially-commissioned, the botanical feel of the place is evident in its food and yogurt flavours. The place seems to cater to a wider audience than just cafe-hoppers: large tables with stools offer big groups a space for gathering, while 2-top tables and 4-seater booths offer a more intimate space. The open kitchen in the middle gives this space a communal feel.
In keeping with the Sogurt brand, KARA also features a chic-looking self-serve froyo bar at the back of the cafe.
There is a weekday set lunch special at $15++ that includes a homemade soup, main and drink.
KARA Cafe and Dessert Bar
617 Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 269718
Tel: 6468 8940
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11am – 10.30pm ; Fri 11am – 11pm ; Sat 10.30am – 11pm ; Sun 10.30am – 10.30pm