Edit: The Western Co stall at Foch Road coffeeshop has closed but they moved to 35 Tyrwhitt Road (T: +65 9655 4445) and changed into a cafe.
Just 10 minutes’ walk from Farrer Park MRT or Lavender MRT, with the addition of The Western Co, Foch Road Kopitiam has become my favorite kopitiam in Singapore.
The month-old stall is started by a young 23 year-old hawkerpreneur, Larissa Yang. She studied hospitality in Switzerland for two and a half years, and worked in France for a while. Her true passion, however, lies in food.
I asked her, “Is your family in the F&B business?”
She said, “No, my mother is a teacher!”
Armed with only her passion and no experience in F&B, when she returned to Singapore, she opened a café, which was unfortunately killed by high rental fees. Still, she did not give up.
Like that Star Wars girl, the force is strong with Larissa. She returned to basics, asked herself what she liked, and came up with recipes for The Western Co by herself. At the stall, Shatec graduates help her maintain high standards of cooking.
The Western Co has only a few ingredients but they are combined in interesting ways. While the menu is small, the quality is high. Frankly, I prefer a tight but excellent menu, to an extensive but bad menu.
The crazy Hawaiian Raclette chicken burger ($13.90) is a recipe drawn from her own experience. There are other countries that produce cheaper Raclette cheese, which is originated from Switzerland. But The Western Co insists on importing the cheese from Switzerland, and one full wheel costs a whopping $280-$320 and serves only 45-50 servings. It’s a light, nutty cheese so it doesn’t feel heavy.
The brioche bun is also excellent, with a medium density that goes well with the ingredients. The brioche bun, I was later told, is catered from an artisanal bakery. No wonder it’s so good.
A last thing to note about the burger is the chicken. It’s marinated for 6 hours, and doused in tomato sauce, enhanced by rosemary and other herbs with chunky pineapple. On the whole, there is a nice balance of flavors here, partly sweet, partly savory, partly acidic, and partly tangy. It’s visually stunning as it is delicious.
Although the burger is my favorite dish, the best seller is the signature ying yang combo ($13.90). To say it’s gold and black fish and chips is reductive, because it’s more than that.
They give TWO whole fillets of dory fish with thin, crispy light batter, and tender, moist flesh. The fillets are marinated for 12 hours, and the batter is made from 4 types of flour.
The “gold” fish is the classic type, while the “black” is covered with Taiwanese bamboo activated charcoal, the same ingredient found in charcoal pills, good for detoxing, cleansing blood, and clearing toxins from the stomach.
The gold goes with chilli crab sauce, which is spicier than normal, and more savory than sweet. I like the “chaotah” one, which pairs with salted egg yolk sauce, which is made fresh daily. It has a robust buttery sensation, very shiok. Heck care about heart attack, right?
The raclette burger is for people who like balance; the ying yang combo is for people who like rich food, this third recommendation, cereal lemon butter grilled fish ($7.90, below), is for young people because it’s a sweet main course. The lemon butter is homemade, made fresh daily, combining several herbs. It is first slathered on the tender grilled fish, and then topped with sweet cereal, curry leaves, and chili padi.
Besides the mains, the sides are good too. The garlic fries have real bits of garlic (not garlic powder), and it is damn potent. Long after I ate it, the aroma lingered in my mouth. (You can ask to make it milder, but I like my breath smelly in case I meet Edward Cullen.) They make their own mayo for the coleslaw, which is sourer than other places, so that the sourness can cut through the richness of the food. Every main comes with 2 sides of your choice, such as warm mac and cheese, home made potato salad , home made coleslaw, aglio olio etc.
I’m very impressed by the high standards of The Western Co. This is a superb meal, and I’m definitely bringing my friends back here.
The Western Co
30 Foch Road Singapore 209276
M-F 11.30am-9.30pm, Sat 11.30am-10pm, closed Sun
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.