Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between 2 English counties and their cuisines? Munchy Monday today will feature Richmond Station, a cafe situated at Bali Lane that serves up British comfort food, as well as Dojo, a fusion burger bar situated at Circular Road.
Opened since June 2015 and conveniently tucked behind the bus stop along Ophir Road, Richmond Station is so named as that was the station where owner, Phyllis, stayed at during her time in London where she trained as a barista under an Australian and a New Zealander. A British-inspired cafe that is not only reflected through their decor with icons of Great Britain itself, the menu too predominantly stays true to British food. Motivated to change the perception that cafes are simply for just cakes and coffees during tea-breaks, the menu is carefully planned out to offer substantial meals. A glance of the menu one will spot the exception of a few offerings that showcases the marriage of British grub to the Singaporean taste, as well as familiar pasta options catering to what some Singaporeans expect as Western food fare. Nonetheless, Richmond Station serves up fresh bakes daily, and these include a variety of breads, cakes and cookies that are all baked in-house.
Sprinkled generously with parmesan cheese and bits of mushrooms, these thick cut fries were soft and fluffy in the centre, and crispy on the outside, unlike some that are oil-filled and soggy, or dry and hollow instead. The mushrooms for the truffle oil are roasted in-house beforehand, and this gives the fries an added dimension in terms of taste, as well as a mealy texture amidst the fluffiness of the potatoes. Despite the fact that these are generally best enjoyed when hot, we found that it was just as good when they are cold too!
While the British brunch favourite of Eggs Benedict can be found almost anywhere these days, you probably will not find anywhere else in Singapore that offers the choice of English muffins or crumpets to accompany the poached eggs with. Here are Richmond Station, not only can you get to choose between the two, both options are also baked fresh daily and are not store-bought! Another interesting option here at Richmond too, is that if you are not up for having turkey bacon to go with your eggs and English muffins/crumpets, there is the choice of crab meat too, which in this case, was what we had.
In order for us to have a better understanding of the difference between the crumpet pairing and the English muffin’s, Phyllis had kindly allowed us to have one of each. Here, the crumpet, which is probably the lesser known of the 2, is a soft, spongy and moderately chewy pancake that is tangy in taste like a sourdough bread. Hence, given the nature of the crumpet, it soaks up the runny egg yolk really well and what you get is a complementary combination of flavours all mixed together, which also evens out the briny taste of the crabmeat as such.
In comparison, the English muffin is a denser alternative than the spongy crumpet, and is also lighter in terms of taste. Resembling towards the taste of plain bread, this pairing allows the flavours of the eggs, hollandaise sauce, and the crabmeat to come across as individual layers – none covering the other, nor mixing together. Simply put, what you get is the taste of bread first, followed by the runny egg yolk and the hollandaise sauce, and finally the peppery and salty taste of the sea from the crabmeat.
Topped with chives, the lavish amount of crabmeat given ensures that you get the taste of briny and peppery crabmeat in every bite. However, if you find the taste of sea and the richness of the sinful egg yolks being a little too much for your palate, be at ease as the Crab Benedict is served with a delightful salad dressed with an in-house made zesty lemon dressing. The right amount of tartness in the dressing compliments and cuts back on the richness of the eggs and hollandaise sauce, and truly serves as a balancer to the rich and savoury experience to the taste sensory.
It isn’t often that you walk into a F&B establishment and find fish pie being offered on the menu – nor will you generally find red meat fish being used as well. To cater to the taste and likes of Singaporeans as well as keeping it affordable, just salmon is used here instead of half salmon and half haddock which are commonly used in the UK. Thus, embedded below a smooth and finely mashed potatoes blanketed by a layer of grilled cheddar, what greets you as you sink your cutlery in, is a filling of lightly creamed juicy chunks of salmon and spinach with a nice buttery taste that simply melts in your mouth.
To give the otherwise soft dish more depth, onions and celery are also used, and these give an added crunch and sweetness to the pie. Surprisingly too, they are so well cooked that the usual strong taste of either vegetables is not detected, which is a delight to have for those who are afraid of them.
Quite frankly, one would be an idiot to come to a cafe helmed by a barista and not have any coffee to go or end off your meal with. After all, after a heavy meal, there is no greater delight than to have a good cuppa to wash everything down. We couldn’t quite decide on what to have, and hence had Phyllis decide for us. With skilful techniques and well-executed moves, we had the following drinks below – Flat White and Hot Chocolate.
Starting with the Flat White, the coffee was slightly acidic with sweet notes that linger on in your mouth after every sip and as you build up on more sips of the coffee, the roasted aroma of the coffee beans builds up as well, giving you the delight of revelling in the lusciousness of it all. To get this effect, Phyllis deliberately drew shorter shots, hence allowing for the sweeter notes to be left, instead of the bitterness of the coffee bean. Should you require a pick-me-up during the mid-afternoons, this would definitely be a drink to have as it’s not too harsh on your stomach either.
However, if you are in the not in the mood for coffee and would like something something cheery, the hot chocolate offered here is a great alternative to have too. Soothing too, for those looking for a comfort drink.
Despite the fact that we were stuffed from the meal we had, it seems like the saying “there’s always room for desserts” hold very true in reality. Standing nearly as tall as a regular dining spoon, the Butterscotch cake is a dense and moist cake – compact, but not rock solid. Filled with chewy layers of butterscotch cream cheese, these were cleverly done to mimic chewy toffee candies, minus the stick-jaws. Great with black coffee or even the flat white, the sweet and caramelised flavour of the butterscotch can truly be enjoyed to it’s fullest as such.
With iconic British motifs adorning the walls in the forms of murals, and sleek marble-top finishes for the tables with rattan chairs or red leathered seats, the interiors are reminiscent of the cafes that you get along the streets of London. Outside, wooden tables and chairs line the storefront as well, making it a relaxing affair to enjoy traffic watching (sans the haze of course!)
In Singapore, most British food concepts are those that are readily available and would either be frozen and preservatives laden, or snacks that are easy for takeaway. Restaurants that specialise in serving up British cuisine are not exactly cheap either, which means to enjoy the taste of Britain, you would have to have a deep pocket just to do so. Thankfully, here at Richmond Station, not only do you get true-blue British food, the prices are kept affordable for their generous servings too. With various berries jam and devonshire cream made in-house, the price you pay for the experience would definitely be much cheaper than flying to Britain just for a taste of it. The cafe is also getting their halal cert this month, hence, making this place a must-go for Muslim cafe-hoppers!
Opening Hours: Daily, 9am – 9pm
By Chong Zhi Hao
Do you fancy taking on a Sumo wrestler or a Ninja for lunch or dinner? Well, those fantasies can become a reality right here at Dojo because you can do so… by ordering one of their uniquely named pork burgers on their menu!
Located a short walk away from Raffles Place MRT (via Exit G) on Circular Road, Dojo is a specialty shop that offers a variety of traditional Western classics such as burgers, sandwiches and snacks with a Japanese twist – all of which are freshly made to order!
The Sumo Burger, consisting of a hand-made minced pork patty as well as a generous serving of pork belly bacon placed in between the buns and the patty, is a sinful but filling set. On first bite, one can expect to feel and appreciate the softness of the minced pork patty and bun, and these are further complemented by the crispy taste of the bacon.
Each burger set comes with a side order of fries, and this can be upgraded to Chilli Cheese fries for $3. For those afraid of spicy food, fret not, as Dojo has managed to strike a careful balance with the spiciness of the chilli so you can enjoy the meaty fillings that’s included in the spice without requiring a glass of water to douse any flames.
Up next was the Yin Yang platter, which includes a mixed platter of pork ‘grillets’ (or grilled pork meat essentially) and pork nuggets that can be either shared between 2 people as a side dish or eaten as an afternoon snack for one. The platter is also served with sweet & savoury dip and honey mustard dip, both of which are hand-made and are an excellent way to add flavour to the crispy pork nuggets and the chewy grilled pork. While both are just as flavourful, the honey mustard dip goes well with the ‘grillets’ and the sweet and savoury dip is an excellent pairing with the nuggets.
Dojo’s interior is kept simple, with just a single painting and a Japanese-themed mural adorning the walls, and the other images of their burgers. Similar to the food, the décor is also inspired by the Japanese culture, with the walls and counters decorated to look like those from a Japanese restaurant.
While indoor and outdoor seating are both available, do note that despite the table settings and atmosphere making it ideal for spending quality time with a couple of your friends or that special someone, you may need to keep an eye out on your numbers if you’re planning to have a gathering for a large group at Dojo’s as space is limited.
Most items on Dojo’s menu go for $10-$15, although do bear in mind that the costs quoted on the menu for burgers and sandwiches also includes a side order of fries as well as a drink (you can choose between a canned drink or water) of your choice. Alternatively, you can order the burgers ala-carte at $2 cheaper than the menu price.
72 Circular Road, Singapore 049426
Phone: 6438 4410
Mon-Sat: 11:00 am-3:00 pm, 5:00 pm-10:00 pm
We are giving away 5 x sets of 1 slice of loaf cake + 1 cup of coffee from Richmond today!