Like Chye Seng Huat Cafe, so uncool it’s cool, Brooklyn Art Gallery Cafe is located at the so-uncool-it’s-cool Kampong Kembangan Community Centre (2 minutes’ walk from Kembangan MRT station). This cafe is as quirky as your third grandaunt’s sister’s cousin’s hoarder apartment.
It is named after a New York city; sells eclectic art from Africa, Asia and Europe; conducts cooking classes; offers catering services; and serves Peranakan, Western, and cze-char food. Confuse yet? Though eccentric and a tad disorientating, the decor shows the kaleidoscopic personalities of the owners–and it can safely be said that they are not hipsters. This place has character.
The food was cooked using traditional recipes without MSG. Like any homecooked meal, the portions were huge and there were some hits and misses. The food, not very spicy, is suited for children and families.
Definitely order the beef rendang ($15, pictured above) and ayam buah keluak ($13). The portions were monstrous and both were extremely tender, meat that fell off the bone and they went very well with rice. I thought the sauce for the ayam buah keluak could be stronger but I was being picky.
The other two Peranakan dishes didn’t fare as well. The Botak’s otak tak ($5, above) tasted sweet, instead of the usual spiciness–and since we are creatures of habit, we couldn’t quite appreciate it. The sotong goreng assam ($12, below) was appetizing and assam-sourish but indecisive, lacking depth and spice.
Strangely, Chiobu’s favorite dish of the day was the cze-char dish, tomato with egg ($8, below). I thought it was strange because the sauce was more ketchup-y than tomato-y, but Chiobu, like a little child, relished its comforting, childish flavor.
While this eatery tries to be many things at once, it offers a value-for-money meal for families living in the east, who want to eat Peranakan food.
5 Lengkong Tiga, Kampong Kembangan Community Centre, Singapore 417408
Tel: 6446 6656
Rating: 2.932/5 stars
ps: Thanks, Jonathan, for the invite.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.