Fifteen Nine Cafe at Jalan Riang, Serangoon takes over the space of Rokeby, and it is a horrible addition to what is an enclave of good food. It lacks clear direction in food and decor; it doesn’t know what it wants to be.
Take the decor for instance. Laminated tabletops with pictures of Eiffel Tower are paired with metallic chairs? The French use bistro chairs. Unable to decide whether they want whitewashed or bricked walls, they attempt to do both. But it’s a polite, not a raw, exposing of bricks under the white paint. #colorwithinthelines #sosingaporean
Like the decor, the menu is a mess. “Pitza” takes up a substantial part of the menu. The menu doesn’t explain what pitza is, but I guess it’s a pita bread with toppings, looking like a pizza. It’s like bread you can buy at Breadtalk. To be fair, if the toppings are interesting, it may be redeemable, but unfortunately, it’s a copy of other restaurants’ interesting pizzas, such as the smoked duck with hoisin sauce ($8). The ingredients repeat themselves such as the shredded chicken in two pitzas, shredded chicken ($8) and sweet tooth ($8).
Mee So Chicky Burger ($17) sounds good on paper and tastes like paper. The minced chicken patty is coated and deep-fried with mee goreng, and it’s topped with sriracha sauce. BFF complained, “These are frozen fries, right? And the chicken… it’s frozen too, not fresh?”
I honestly didn’t know and we didn’t want to ask. But the moist-free burger is also taste-free, a terrible waste of calories. Although I advocate a zero-food-waste policy, I did not finish it because I could not finish it.
The escargot mac & cheese ($14) consists a blend of mozzarella and gouda cheese. On first bite, it’s not bad, there is a tangy aftertaste and the texture of macaroni is nicely bouncy. The escargot is devoid of an earthy flavor. But BFF had to ruin it for me. He said, “Do you know what cheese they use? It tastes cheap to me.”
Haha. So difficult to eat with rich people. They want expensive ingredients in every thing. But after he said it, the cheese tasted sour to me. The tongue is suggestible.
But BFF pinpointed the major fault of this cafe, other than the cafe isn’t well conceptualized: They sell their food cheaply because they use cheap ingredients. Anyone who has some experience in cooking knows that the most important thing in cooking is the quality of the ingredients. And because the ingredients here are inferior, the food turns out badly. If you get cheap ingredients, you can still make tasty food when you put your heart into it, but unfortunately, from the menu, it doesn’t look like much heart is put into the food design.
Fifteen Nine needs to improve in many areas: their direction, their menu, their look, their food. But their service is pretty good.
“Do you want coffee?” BFF asked.
“Why don’t we drink coffee and have desserts here?”
“No, I really don’t like it here,” he said resolutely. “Let’s go to Wimbly Lu.” I did not disagree.
When we were at Fifteen Nine, we were the only patrons. I gave the excuse that it was a weekday afternoon. But two doors down, at Wimbly Lu, it was full house. We paid $36 for two persons.
Fifteen Nine Cafe
15-9 Jalan Riang Singapore 358987
tel: +65 9106 0437
11.30am-10.30pm, closed M
You may be interested in…
–La Pizzaiola, Jalan Riang: Slumming to Investigate How Rich People Eat Good Pizzas
–Siam Society, Serangoon
–At the Myo, Everton Park: Outstanding Cafe Serving Rice and Pastas With Local Flavors
–Carol Mel Cafe, Tai Seng: When a Cafe Defies Predictions of Doom
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.