Munchy Monday: Soi 55 and Cafe Mondo

Screen-Shot-2015-09-30-at-5.35.34-pm.png

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!

Soi 55

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.

Food

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.

left: Honey Green Tea ($4.90) right: Honey Black Tea ($4.90)
left: Honey Green Tea ($3.60) right: Honey Black Tea ($3.60)
*Firstly, the drinks in the photos are not the actual size served at The Cathay. They were thoughtful that we were going to sample several drinks and hence had given us smaller cups.
The honey green tea here had a hint of floral taste to it – jasmine, as we picked out, but the scent wasn’t too overpowering to the point that it was offensive. The aftertaste of honey lingers around in your mouth, and balances out the mild delightful bitterness from the green tea. The black tea on the other hand, had a rounder taste to it – sweeter than the green tea but more fragrant due to the ceylon leaves, what hits you first is the fragrance of the tea before the taste of honey as a second note. The black tea here is slightly more bitter as compared to the green tea, but is still well-balanced enough that it doesn’t come across as too sharp a texture.
left: Thai Iced Milk Tea with Pearls ($4.90), right: Thai Iced Green Milk Tea with Sago ($4.90)
left: Thai Iced Milk Tea with Pearls ($4.20), right: Thai Iced Green Milk Tea with Sago ($4.40)

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.

In addition to these drinks above, there are others options on the menu which include rose milk tea and milk coffee. Likewise, customers who which to have toppings such as the pearls and sago can choose accordingly too, or take a pick from the other toppings available such as grass jelly, red ruby or even pomelo. (Looks like the pomelo’s quite a versatile fruit, since it’s not only found in salads, these days it can even be found in drinks too!). The other highlight for toppings which is as peculiar as it is uncommon to be found as a drink topping would be hashima (after all, who knew teas can be topped with these too to be a perfect match?)
Exclusive to The Cathay
Slushies
Yes, you read it right – Do you tend to finish your favourite drinks way too quickly, judging by the amount of ice cubes that you have left in the cup? Fret not, because now you can slurp up all that cold milky goodness as a slushie! Any milk teas that you love from Soi55 can be turned into slushie, and also on the menu here, is the coconut slushie, that has just been recently released!
In its glorious white, the slushie is blended to a very fine ice texture along with coconut water and coconut cream. Slices of coconut flesh are also added atop of the drink, offering a refreshing bite to it too. With the craze for Thai coconut ice cream sweeping across the nation, this is something that is similar but at the same time different, which makes it a worthy and not too sinful item to have if you truly love coconuts.
left: Thai kaya with steamed white bun, right: Grilled bananas
left: Thai kaya with steamed white bun, right: Grilled bananas with coconut cream

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!
Ambience:
A no-frills simple kiosk, dining seats are simply just sofas around the floor, which is why it’s a good thing that the drinks and food from Soi 55 are easy for takeaways and fuss-free. Truly adhering to the street snack concept of Thailand, and in this case, a Thai-rrific experience for movie goers as well.
Price:
At $3.60 per cup for the honey teas and $3.90 per cup for the milk teas, the serving size of the cups are much larger than what you get from bubble tea stores, hence making it a value of money in that aspect even with added toppings which will set you back by no more than $1. With a thick and rich consistency on their teas and ingredients staying as true to Thailand as possible, this is probably the closest that one can get to Thai milk tea as they can get in Singapore – without the need to fly to Bangkok that is!
+++++++++
Soi 55
The Cathay
Level 5
2 Handy Road
Singapore 229233

Cafe Mondo
by Hong Ziru

Nestled away from all the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road, and in the hippy Orchard Central, Cafe Mondo exudes an elegant quietude – with it’s cushy seats, warm and welcoming ambience, it is a contrast from the surrounding and a fresh burst of youthful and raw energy. Helmed by the friendly and talented Chef Vincent who seeks to marry both European and Asian cuisines together into sparks of surprises, we started our meal off with three of Cafe Mondo’s signature “Ice Coolers” – Strawberry Sweetheart, Tropical Sunset and Spiced Thai Milk Tea Float.
strawberrysweetheart_tropicalsunset
left: Strawberry Sweetheart($6.90), right: Tropical Sunset($6.90)

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.

spiced_thai_milk_tea_float
Spiced Thai Milk Tea Float ($7.90)

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!

sweet_potato_fries
Sweet Potato Fries ($7.90)

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.

mondo_platter

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)

power_mac_and_cheese
Power Mac and Cheese ($8.90)

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.

traditional_lasagne
Traditional Lasagne ($12.90)

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.

all_day_breakfast_burger
All Day Breakfast Burger ($13.90)

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.

teriyaki_salmon
Teriyaki Salmon ($16.90)

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!

peanut_and_jelly
Peanut Butter and Jelly ($15.90)

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.

chocolate_indulgence
Chocolate Indulgence ($15.90)

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.

Ambience

cafe_mondo_interior01

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.

Pricing

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.

+++++++++

cafe_mondo_interior02

Cafe Mondo

181 Orchard Road, #02-31/32
Orchard Central, Singapore 238896
Phone:6238 1051
Opening hours: 11am – 10pm


Giveaway

We are giving away 5 x Mondo Platters, courtesy of Cafe Mondo!

To win:
Like our Facebook post and tell us: who would you share the Mondo Platter with?

SHARE