Have you ever wondered, when you are out during the weekends catching a movie or just plain shopping in Orchard, what you should have as a bite or two? For today’s Munchy Monday, we will be featuring Soi 55, the famed Thai milk tea stall which started out at Golden Shoe Food Centre and has since opened a new kiosk at The Cathay, as well as Cafe Mondo, known for their quirky serving of up to 12 different flavours of ice cream neatly scooped into the muffin tin slots!
Located on the 5th floor near the box office of Cathay cinemas, Soi 55 occupies the kiosk space opposite a crepe kiosk after a slight renovation on that floor. Essentially serving their famed Thai iced milk teas, the second outlet is probably the first and only Thai milk tea stall that has tied up with a cinema which allows their drinks into their movie halls.
Soi 55 prides themselves in bringing the Thai experience to our shores and hence, they try to use ingredients specially brought in from Thailand, such as the bananas used and the top-grade tea leaves. As such, what you get are a rich and enjoyable experience with their products, each with their own distinct tastes.
Tweaked to match the Singaporean’s palate, both the teas here are not as sweet nor heavy on the taste of milk as the ones you get sold along the streets of Thailand. The Thai iced milk tea with pearls had a good mix of milkiness to it, and the combination along with the pearls gave the tea an added dimension as they were of a decent texture. The amount of pearls given too is also just right, such that they don’t fill you up way too quickly, and in between the mouthfuls of tea and pearls, you get to enjoy the more tea amidst the chewiness of the pearls.
The combination of green milk tea and sago had the same fragrance as the plain green tea with honey, with the exception of the added smoothness from the evaporated and condensed milk added. It is an interesting combination, as the sago lends a nice texture to the drink and being small enough, sans chewing, although they weren’t quite as soft as jelly or konjac. Nonetheless, it is a great option for those who would like something to keep their mouth active but are too lazy to move their jaw muscles.
Thai kaya differs from the local Singapore kaya in various aspects, ranging from the taste and colour, right down to the consistency of it. Unlike our local kaya which tend to be a lumpy sweet egg custard that is usually of a hue of green-grey without any added colouring, the Thai version is a salty and sweet smooth curd that comes naturally in the shade of bright green, the colouring coming from the pandan used. (We aren’t sure how, since both the Thai kaya and the Singapore kaya uses pandan in their recipes, albeit to different results) In all honesty, we feel that the Thai kaya is a natural beauty as compared to the Singapore version, and taste-wise, it’s really a delight!
Contrary to the sweet kaya that we are pretty much accustomed to, the Thai kaya is a thick and salty curd that is heavy on the egg and coconut taste, thereby complimenting the traditional soft steamed white bread that comes with it. Unlike toasted bread, steamed bread is slightly more moist and therefore not as difficult to swallow as well. The combination therefore allows you to enjoy the rich flavours, minus the need to chew way too excessively while gasping for liquids to wash them down.
Using the Thai variety of small bananas, the slightly unripe fruits are sliced into bite-sized pieces that are grilled to a slightly chewy texture, with a mouthfeel pretty much similar to dodol or chewy coconut candy when combined with the dipping sauce which is made of coconut cream and palm sugar. Best eaten warm, it does get slightly tougher when it’s cooled, and we definitely recommend this to those who like sweet stuffs!
2 Handy Road
by Hong Ziru
A concoction of strawberry syrup, lemon juice and ginger ale topped with strawberry poppers, the addictive and appetizing beverage has a sourish tang which will invite you to want to have more just right after the first sip. On first sight, the strawberry poppers look no different than tapioca pearls, but upon the slightest bite in your mouth, it has the texture akin to that of roes, and instantaneously fills your mouth with the taste of sweet strawberry, harmonizing perfectly with the beverage’s sourish nature.
The Tropical Sunset on the other hand, is a juicy and citrusy combination of orange, pineapple and lime juice together with grenadine syrup, soda and pineapple poppers. Comprising of a jewel-like three coloured tier of ruby, mandarin orange and lemon yellow, the drink resembles and tastes like a delightful Long Beach, minus the component of alcohol.
The Spiced Thai Milk Tea Float, as Chef Vincent had so candidly put across to us, “is akin to a local Teh Halia” (“Teh Halia”, in local terms, is a traditional Malay milk tea mixed in with ginger, served either hot or cold), but with a twist. Topped with their signature Kapiti ice cream (a New Zealand ice-cream brand carried exclusively by Cafe Mondo) of lemongrass and ginger flavours, the overall combination was a silky mix of fragrant Thai Milk Tea with a distinct burst of lemongrass and ginger, and with pleasant chewy bits in the ice-cream itself. The taste of these doesn’t come across as being too sharp, and therefore makes it to the top of our recommendations for drinks should you be looking for something unique!
With our thirst quenched, we started with with a favourite snack of everyone – sweet potato fries. Topped with icing sugar, Cafe Mondo’s version doesn’t leave you with too oily a feel, and is great with plum or curry sauce dips as well.
The Mondo Platter, which follows next, is definitely great for sharing – especially since it’s budget-friendly for students. Generous and with varied portions that is good for sharing about 2 – 3 people, the platter includes fish bites, Thai crispy chicken (mmm~ juicy and spicy!), Seafood Rings (which were just right with their soft and chewy texture), and….Spam fries! (Chicken Luncheon Meat in this case, with a touch of All-Spice added too)
For the cheese and carbs hungry people, Cafe Mondo serves up a mean Power Mac and Cheese, packed wholesomely with three types of cheesy flavours – 1) mozarella, for the silkiness of the dish, 2) cheddar, for the crisp texture, and 3) parmesan for an extra sprinkle, which seep fully into the hollow aspects of the macaronis. The macaronis here aren’t the type that you get most of the time too – instead, they are larger and are better at absorbing the flavours of the cheeses. Served al-dente, the dish certainly warmed our hearts with a overall homemade taste given to it.
Despite the common perception that lasagne is simply layers upon layers of rolled out pasta sheets that are slathered with sourish tomato paste and meat sauce with not much of a dimension, Chef Vincent hopes to challenge that notion by creating a more satisfying experience with lesser pasta used, and with greater emphasis on the ingredients that goes into the entire lasagne instead. Thus, served with mouth-watering minced beef sauce, cheese and mushrooms, diners can expect a light and satisfying dish, with flavours of each of the ingredients coming across as cleanly and as complementary as they can be without overshadowing each other too.
Raise your hands if you are a burger fan! Cafe Mondo’s “ADBF”, which is the shorten form of “All Day Breakfast” is a filling and sumptuous meal that would fill you up be it breakfast or brunch. In-between slices of toasted sesame buns are grilled snail chicken sausage, fried egg, caramelized onions, turkey bacon, smoked cheddar, lettuce and tomato, it comes with generous sides of coleslaw and fries too, giving you a meaty and tantalizing meal that covers all aspects for the food pyramid.
If meats are not up your alley, there are seafood options available here too, such as the Omega-3 rich Teriyaki Salmon, comprising of sous-vide salmon glazed with teriyaki sauce and served with asparagus spears, turkey bacon and mashed potatoes drenched with pesto cream sauce. If you ask us, this entree is definitely our favourite as with the salmon, slow-cooked in its own juices under a low temperature of 70 degrees via sous-vide which results in a soft and juicy texture and with its skin still crisp, the multitude of texture and flavour of the fish was simply divine. Coupled with the asparagus spears which were easy to bite – sweet, soft but not mushy, and the mashed potatoes which were delightful chunky instead of being just a smooth mash, the combination was simple but diverse. Drenched with the pesto cream sauce, it was simply mama-mia!
The Peanut Butter and Jelly is a waffle generously slathered with smooth peanut butter, and topped with banana slices, along with a huge scoop of blueberry + blackberry ice-cream. Crunchy, creamy and absolutely divine, this dessert totally relived our childhood dream of having a mouth-watering open-faced peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
The Chocolate Indulgence, a signature dessert here at Cafe Mondo, is waffles and brownie cubes topped with 2 scoops of your choice of ice-cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce. For us, we had it served with the default Hokey Pokey and Triple Chocolate ice-creams along with this dessert. The Hokey Pokey was a delightful mix of caramel and vanilla, while the Triple Chocolate was rich chocolate ice-cream studded with gems of dark choco saying “Hello!” from within. Despite being topped with icing sugar, the sweetness of the waffles is decent enough without making one feel too guilty about having it.
Partially open-aired, the cafe is not only prominent, being right next to the escalator, but also easily accessible. This will be the arrangement for now, as the cafe plans to shift to another location next year.
Patrons are given quite a variety of seating options to choose from, ranging from the cushioned long seats to tables equipped with woven black sofa chairs and long wooden tables which are suitable for large groups. The choice of house music and warm lighting gives a comfortable vibe too, which welcomes patrons in. For students, Cafe Mondo too welcomes them to study during the quiet and tranquil lull of the afternoons – although, do take note that evenings are generally busy periods and it’s best that you try not to study during then.
With the portions catered towards sharing, we find their prices to be affordable and easy on the pocket. As such, it makes it a great place for groups to hang out and chill, and especially for students who are looking for a deal when they are in downtown. It is also Halal-certified, making it a great option for Muslim cafe-hoppers to try out as well.
181 Orchard Road, #02-31/32
Orchard Central, Singapore 238896
Opening hours: 11am – 10pm
We are giving away 5 x Mondo Platters, courtesy of Cafe Mondo!
Like our Facebook post and tell us: who would you share the Mondo Platter with?