Schmear, Quayside Isle: American Bagels, Between One and Five Stars

Schmear at Quayside Isle, which is also known as the land of astronomically expensive condos, is a cafe opened by New Yorkers (according to their website), and they specialize in the New York “delicacy”—bagels. I lived in New York for four years and I still don’t understand the appeal.

Anyway, they hand-roll their bagels and bake them fresh daily. They recommend their bagel sandwich, the New Yorker ($8 + $3 bacon), with two fried eggs and melted natural cheddar cheese.

Seeing their facebook reviews are mostly 1/5 or 5/5 piqued our curiosity. Spoiler alert: Our experience wasn’t a 1 or 5; it’s somewhere in the middle.

Unfortunately, after we travelled all the way there, they ran out of their bagels. It was disappointing. It was also inconceivable. It’s like you go to a ramen restaurant and they tell you they are left with curry rice. I think proper management and planning are in order.

Let’s get the worst parts over and done with:

(1) the wait. Most of the patrons at the cafe were already served because it was almost 2pm. But we had to wait 40 minutes for the food to come. We asked two, three times about the food, and the answer was always “It’s coming.”

(2) The menu isn’t extensive. There is nothing much to choose from. There are parfait, acai bowl, french toast, pancakes, and then sandwiches.

The food, however, is not bad. Mr Fitness ordered the Philly cheesesteak ($18), hoping to replicate his good experience at Philly Shack. But he was disappointed. There is only a thin layer of beef and the scarce cheese is buried, unable to emerge from the dominant flavor of the sweet caramelized onions. It isn’t irredeemable but it can be better.

They grind steaks into patties for their steak burger ($18), which is topped with homemade BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and caramelized onions. It sounds thin so I added $8 for guacamole, bacon, and fried egg. That’s $26 for a burger.

I ordered medium, but it came medium-well done. But it’s still tender and juicy and the flavors work. It’s not bad.

After visiting the place, I went to their website and they recommend an interesting sandwich, Miss Saigon ($15), which is a New York-Vietnamese hybrid sandwich. It has BBQ pulled pork, Vietnamese pickles, mint, and coriander. Perhaps we should have ordered it, instead of the Philly Cheesesteak.

We didn’t eat much but we paid about $60 for two persons. That is quite expensive for two buns and a mocha. Overall, it’s an ordinary experience. We don’t regret it, but given the proliferation of cafes at accessible places, there is nothing to induce our return. If they aim to serve the nearby residents, then the cafe is adequate. Otherwise, they need to up their game. 


31 Ocean Way, #01-03 Quayside Isle, Singapore 098375
Tel: +65 6334 3832
weekdays 8am-10pm, weekends 8am-2.30pm, closed Tue

Food: 6/10
Price: 5.75/10
Ambience: 6.5/10
Service: 5.5/10

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Written by A. Nathanael Ho.

4 replies »

  1. I love an internet critic with a massive attitude and self righteous style and clearly no idea.
    Good luck blackmailing restauranteurs into giving you a ‘professional’ discount.


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