Harry Grover of 40 Hands combines forces with Australia’s 5 Senses Coffee to present this strange cafe. Strange because we don’t quite understand the decor, a kind of 1920s dramatic doors with naked lightbulbs and a cock as a centerpiece. Cafes have to show the personalty of the owner, but we don’t get an inkling here.
But the food and drinks were rather good. The coffee beans are roasted daily here. My mocha ($6) was as beautiful as it was perfect. It wasn’t fullbodied but was subtle, silky, and smooth. No bitterness from the coffee at all. In most places, the chocolate acts as a sweetener but here, the coffee was full of the chocolate aroma but the chocolate was just an undertone, a supplement and not a main player. A spiced aftertaste made the cuppa irresistible and addictive. Easily the best mocha in Singapore.
The Common Man Menu was pretty good too, with all day breakfast and lunch (12noon-6pm) menus. The eggs are organic from free-range chicken.
ALL DAY BREAKFAST MENU
Organic Eggs Benedict
Every item in bold font on its menu sounded delectable: Common Man veggie breakfast ($23) for ovo-lacto-vegetarians; we saw someone eating a gorgeous Turkish Common Man Breakfast ($25) that had a soft-boiled organic egg in a nest of phyllo (filaments of pastry) and we were envious.
The Organic Eggs Benedict ($24) was wonderful. The poached eggs were covered in a blush of white and at the slightest prick, they burst into liquid sunlight. Let the sourdough soak up the lava of yolk. Between the eggs and toast was a layer of tenderest braised ox cheeks, creating textures and giving the dish a lovely earthliness.
The 300gm ribeye steak ($34), topped with sauteed mushrooms, crispy shallots and horseradish, was chunky, value-for-money but unfortunately overcooked. The pungent horseradish might come across too sharp after a few bites.
The three desserts—churros, mango panna cotta and creme caramel–all priced at $12 each, sounded boring so we ordered another main from the lunch menu, Common Man Burger ($28). The fries were nonsense, but the burger was pretty decent, juicy 100% ground ribeye patty partying with sweet caramelized onions and a rumor of a mild cheese, provolone.
If you’re the faithful lover who can wait 10 years for someone, this is the place for you: be prepared to wait for the service. To be fair, there were some great service staff like the bespectacled Malay waiter. But the rest were untrained. We asked for water twice before it came. We asked for the bill once then twice. After we got the bill, we waited some time for them to return to us with my credit card. Eventually, since I’m not the long suffering lover type, I walked to the cashier and our bill was sitting neglected by the side of the machine. We paid $117 for two or about $60 for one. At this price, I want perfect service.
Rating: 3.385/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.