Red Dot for Pink Dot: Epiphyte, Garden Cafe at Neil Road

Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney wrote about The Northern Ireland Conflicts where 3500 people were killed in his book Station Island. Two strangers knocked on the door of his cousin’s shop at midnight. The cousin’s wife was frightened and told the cousin not to open the door. But the strangers shouted through the door that they had a sick child and needed to buy medication. When the cousin opened the door, the strangers, who were policemen incognito, shot him. In the poem, the apolitical Heaney meets the ghost of his cousin and apologises,

Forgive the way I have lived indifferent-
forgive my timid circumspect involvement.

Heaney regrets his non-involvement in the Conflicts. The message is pretty clear: Do not be afraid to do what is right, be brave. Every effort counts and sometimes it can be as easy as visiting a cafe for brunch to show support or boycotting certain places.

This year, the Singapore government has decreed that foreign companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Barclays, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, BP, Bloomberg, GE, Apple, Microsoft, and Visa cannot fund Pink Dot. It’s funny how these companies, with numerous Singaporean employees, have invested in Singapore but cannot fund events.

In any case, it may be the best thing to happen to Pink Dot because local companies step up and begin to fund the event in an initiative called Red Dot for Pink Dot. Many F&B companies donate and we should support these generous, open-hearted companies.

Although Epiphyte has donated to the good cause, this review is, like others, unbiased and fair.

Epiphyte, a pretty cafe with a garden theme, doesn’t have a clear-cut direction in the menu and I don’t understand the difference between the sections that list “appetizers” and “bar snacks” and “Epiphyte snacks.”

The pork belly ($13) is very shiok and fat without being greasy. Tender with a nice bite. It’s covered with orange 5 spice and comes with a spicy coriander sauce.

But we don’t understand the sea habitat ($27). It’s a stack of soft shell crab, unagi, and purple rosti. The rosti comes in the form of a patty, which makes it hard to connect to the other ingredients. The combination doesn’t work. Furthermore, the portion is too little to justify the pricetag. Here’s a suggestion: they could give a hearty amount of purple rosti all spread out, so that it looks prettier and could fill up the stomach.

We got two of their popular desserts. The fir-like leaves of the terrarium ($13) are made from pistachio sponge and they solve the problem of dryness by including a pourover peach liquer sauce. There is also a crunchy texture from balls of croustillant. Overall, a well-balanced dessert.

The twilight ($10) is what people know as the galaxy cake. It’s delicate and nice; chocolate mousse, chocolate sponge, Cointreau orange curd. But there is no texture here. If they can include a crunch as a base, it’ll be better.

Including coffee, we paid $88. The prices here are quite expensive and portions are small. Perhaps it is because the menu is confusing, we didn’t know what to order.Everyone seems to be ordering the pink risotto ($22, beetroot risotto with scallops).  Maybe next time, we’ll just order from the mains.


47 Neil Road Singapore 088827
tel: +65 9138 3315
t-th 4pm-12am, f 4pm-1am, sat 11am-1am, sun 11am-4pm

Ambience: 7/10
Service: 6/10
Price: 5/10
Food: 6/10
Overall: 3/5

You may be interested in…
Wheeler’s Estate, Seletar Aerospace Park
Carol Mel Cafe, Tai Seng
Gudetama Cafe, Suntec
Fuel Plus+ Cafe, Morse Road

Written by A. Nathanael Ho.

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