Rouse, a Muslim-owned cafe, is dark and sexy. Light from naked bulbs is absorbed by the wall with peeling paint and raw brick floor. An old radio stands defiantly against time. Are you aroused yet?
The food is different from usual cafe fare of eggs and ben. The delicious crab cakes ($17.90, above) were tangy, and rather spicy, drizzled in a sweet mango compote. A crispy crust contrasted with packed, shredded, briny, moist crab meat. Less impressive was the quinoa quake ($16.90, below), a quinoa patty topped with poached egg and smoked salmon. The salmon wasn’t salty enough, the quinoa too starchy, making the dish flat.
Beans from Dutch Colony, Rouse has their special blend that is closer to our local kopitiam palate, than westernized blends in other cafes: it was burnt, nutty, robust, pleasantly bitter, and gamy-sour of goats’ milk, even though they used cows’ milk. (don’t ask me why.) I couldn’t stop sipping on my delicious cup of flat white ($5.50). The barista obviously knew what he was doing.
Compared to older, established cafes, Rouse has to play catch-up in terms of food taste. And there were no interesting desserts. But when compared to new cafes and other halal cafes, Rouse is superior. It has good service, and a sexy ambience, and serves decent food AND coffee, something I can’t say for other new cafes. We paid $45 for two, slightly pricier than other cafes.
36 Dunlop Street Singapore 209364
T: 6292 2642
M-Th 11am-9pm; F & Sat 11am-11pm; Sun 10am-7pm
Rating: 3.409/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.