I hope this joint can break the bad business karma that seems to plague all the rest of the establishments that have come and gone from this seemingly cursed unit at Cluny Court. Located at the end of the row, right before the tyre shop and Serene Centre, this unit has played host to many failed businesses, most recently China Moon then La Cuisine.
The newest kid on the block is this quaint little café that serves up an interesting combination of old school English food with an Indian twist. Judging from the items on the menu, as well as the owners/waitstaff, I think it’s opened/run by well-heeled, well-educated North Indians who, if not born and bred in England, were certainly educated there. They even have Eton Mess as a dessert offering, a cream, jam and meringue pudding that’s traditionally served at Eton College’s annual prize-giving celebration picnic.
We found ourselves here for Sunday lunch because as usual we were on our way to Comics Mart, and we’re taking a break from La Petite Cuisine for the moment. On weekends they have a full breakfast set, with the usual eggs, sausages and toast, but we felt like trying their mains today to give us a better indication of the food here (since bacon/sausage and eggs are generally fool-proof). A ordered the Salmon with Tarragon because they were out of their Pork Vindaloo, and I ordered the Sausage Sampler.
I actually enjoyed this more than A did, even though it was a salmon fillet. The fish was cooked very well (though the centre could’ve been a teeny bit more rare, but that would be nitpicking), and the skin was perfectly crispy. It was served atop buttered rice, which wasn’t very well seasoned but had more than a hint of saffron. It probably wasn’t over seasoned in order for the flavour of the saffron to come through. It came with asparagus, Brussels sprouts and very flavourful roasted cherry tomatoes.
I had an old-school bangers and mash (more poshly named the Sausage Sampler on the menu) – 3 different types of sausages with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and an apple and sage sauce. The sausages were good, but after a while it started to get a bit boring. A ended up liking mine more than his, so we ended up swapping halfway.
They certainly like using saffron here, because I ordered a Masala Chai Latte, and it came garnished with 2 strands of saffron. It added an amazing fragrance to the tea, but at the same time it gave it a hint of savouriness, and it had a strange aftertaste that was akin to a lobster bisque. Surprisingly, for a tea shop the coffees and teas are on the weak side here. My Masala tea was full of authentic spices, but the tea itself wasn’t very strong, and A said his latte was pretty weak and instant coffee-tasting.
Still, I’m hoping this place survives and breaks the curse, just cos it almost seems like it’s in a world of its own. They also run a curio shop a few units down, next to Cold Storage, selling all sorts of knickknacks. I’m hoping that the owners are as well-off as they seem, because then they may be able to withstand a few quiet months, before (hopefully) the buzz picks up and they get a regular stream of customers. We were here at noon and the place was about half full, so at least they’re not deserted. I think Indian housewives and expatriates could really go for this place, so maybe they can carve a niche for themselves by targeting that clientele.
It’s okay but very cramped. The wait staff are friendly and getting adjusted to the new restaurant. Although they didn’t have the pork vindaloo I had wanted to try, the salmon was pretty good with nice crispy skin. The rice was a very bland, but I’m not a big fan of saffron rice anyway. Side veggies were the best bit with an awesome cherry tomato.
My biggest complaint – my coffee was super weak. Like the kind I make for myself when I can’t be arsed.
Personally, I find this place alright for a change or if La Petite Cuisine is too crowded.
Karma Kettle & Rhapsody
#01-01A & #01-05B Cluny Court
501 Bukit Timah Road
Mon to Fri: 11 am – 10 pmSat & Sun: 10 am – 9 pm
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