Boyutei, Ann Siang: A Disappointing Cafe Collab Between Michelin-Starred Whitegrass and Matcha Specialist Hvala

Boyutei singapore

I visited Whitegrass on the first few days when it just opened in 2016 and was impressed by it and so I was excited about Boyutei at Ann Siang Hill, which is a Japanese-French cafe collaboration between Whitegrass and Hvala. Boyutei refers to a pavilion where you can forget your troubles. Whitegrass head chef Takuya Yamashita created the savoury menu that includes salads, soups, Japanese sandwiches called “sando,” rice, noodles and crepes, while Hvala is in charge of desserts and beverages.

wagyu sando
Wagyu sando

The wagyu sando ($24) comprises of beef braised in sukiyaki broth. Together with an onsen egg, the beef sits on top of a thick brioche. It tastes exactly as it is described. If you buy sukiyaki sauce from the supermarket, and dip your beef in it, and put it on top of bread, it is exactly that.

bi katsu sandwich
Ebi katsu sando

The ebi katsu sando ($22) contains a deep fried patty of minced prawns drizzled with a homemade chilli that tastes like sriracha. It tastes slightly better than something you could get at Mos burger at twice the price. Not sure if slightly better cuts it.

cha soba
cha soba

Cha soba ($24) includes generous chunks of unagi, soba, kinshi tamago (essentially shredded egg crepe), lemon, momiji oroshi (Japanese condiment made from daikon and pepper), and wasabi. Like the wagyu sando, this is a dish that could easily be assembled from items in a supermarket.

Niku miso chazuku

Niku miso chazuku ($18) is essentially moromi miso flavoured minced beef served atop Japanese white rice, leek and genmai crispy bits in tea. You know the sweet meat in nonya zhang? It tastes like that. Not terrible.

Seafood mentaiko crepe

The seafood crepe ($22) consists of prawns, squid, bacon, and cabbage, drizzled with mentaiko mayo. It’s a cross between an okonomiyaki and a crepe. No impression of this dish, but it’s a good thing that it is inoffensive.

Black forest tart

The desserts are the best things in the cafe. At a whooping $17, the black forest tart‘s kirsh cherry compote complements the dark chocolate fondant and the rum ice cream well – sweet, tart, and dark. It’s good but at $17? I don’t think I’ll pay for it.

Goma matcha crepe

The matcha crepe ($14) is the best thing I ate at this cafe. The matcha is high quality and bittersweet as my heart, and the softness of the crepe is broken by the crunch of goma (black sesame) crumble. I’d return for this.

To be fair, the savoury food at Boyutei is not terrible; although costly, the food is equivalent to the standard fare at a normal cafe but that standard undermines the credibility of the Michelin-starred Whitegrass. Perhaps I should have adjusted my expectations before I had gone to Boyutei. Someone seated at my table groused, “Since the only good things are the desserts, why does Hvala even bother to collaborate?” I concur.

28 Ann Siang Rd #01-02 Singapore 069708
12pm-10pm daily

Food: 6/10
Price: 5/10
Decor/ambience: 6/10

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Amber Ember, Serangoon / Hougang: Not Your Usual Cafe Fare
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This was a tasting. Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.

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