Reading and eating provide the same basic human needs: they keep you alive. One keeps you alive, the other keeps you alive inside. Is it any wonder that people who read on MRT seem to have a secret inner life and happier than those who stare at their smartphones? What have books got to do with this entry?
On the fourth floor of Ion Orchard, there is a bookshop named Prologue. Deep within the recess of Prologue, there is a wittily named cafe, Epilogue, managed by a server, a barista and a chef. Many ingredients are prepared freshly daily while some–such as the bread and desserts–are outsourced due to the space and restrictions of the induction-stoved kitchen. Although this is not halal-certified, there is no pork on the menu.
We didn’t try the coffee–the server, Crystal recommends Piccolo Latte ($5)–and opted for iced chocolate ($6.50) and virgin mojito with fresh mint ($6). While the iced chocolate was more like Milo and wasn’t thick and chocolatey enough, the virgin mojito was refreshing.
The food took too long to come but the wait was worth it. By itself, the focaccia, dotted with herbs, of the sandwiches was already extremely fragrant. It was then buttered and toasted to perfection so that the focaccia soaked up the butter. A pity the chicken rendang sandwich ($10.50) wasn’t available and we tried the beef pastrami sandwich ($10.50) and the portobello mushroom sandwich ($10). While we thought the prices were steep–could be cheaper by at least 20%–the sandwiches were delicious. The mushrooms were lightly dressed with mayo, which masked the musky scent slightly. As for the beef pastrami, Mr NGFL didn’t quite like the condiments but I loved it. The melted cheddar was a nice touch but what makes the sandwich work is the entire combination: tangy ketchup and mustard that go well with beef that goes well with cheese.
We tried two pastas, beef meatballs pasta ($13) and carbonara (with a choice of beef bacon or turkey ham, $12.50). Both were equally excellent: the beef meatballs didn’t have the powdery aftertaste that many meatballs have–I hate that powdery texture, yucks–while the carbonara wasn’t overly salty, but was creamy and rich. The pasta was done al dente so that there was a pleasant bite.
Not a big fan of caffeine, we skipped the signature dessert, affogato ($6), and went for brownie with ice cream ($6.50), which was rather disappointing, with no depth.
Overall, we like this quiet cafe with a view, away from the madding crowd, that overlooks the foliage of Orchard Road. The food is, to quote the fussy eater, Mr NGFL, “pretty decent.” It’s a good place to read and while away the afternoon. Oh by the way, if you spend more than $16 at the cafe, you can get a free book.
1181 Orchard Road
#04-16 Ion Orchard
Rating: 3.258/5 stars
ps: Thank you, Maye, Silin and Epilogue, for the invite and thank you, Crystal and the chef–sorry, didn’t get your name–for recommending dishes and talking to us.