Cafe Society

A couple of months back, I posted a review on Cafe Society, based on a previous dining experience there. And I just went back there to have dinner with my aunt yesterday. So here’s a more up-to-date review of this ‘chic, contemporary, European-style bistro’:

On first glance, Cafe Society gives you a somewhat haughty impression. The exterior looks good, the name sounds quasi-casual-posh, and it’s situated at a prime area. But after actually dining there, you’d think otherwise.

This classy looking outfit sits opposite Boat Quay, overlooking the Singapore River. Serving both Western and Asian food, they also have an alfresco dining area and a bar on the second floor. It occupies the building otherwise known as The Old Parliament House. This was where court sessions were held and one of the judges’ chambers is now being used for private parties and functions.

I have to admit that the place looks rather splendid and half the time, i was simply appreciating the architecture whilst waiting for my food to come.

Café Society’s Kitchen
The kitchen area

We sat indoors, by the kitchen. It’s a pretty cool concept. I like to see the chefs hard at work, slaving over the stove, preparing my dishes. Not that I don’t appreciate it, of course I do! It’s just highly stimulating to be able to know what’s going on with your food.

Grilled Haloumi Cheese Bruschcetta with grilled marinate vegetables and blueberry reduction ($13)

For starters, we had the grilled haloumi cheese bruschetta. Now, these were such small beauties that I almost couldn’t help cooing over them and calling them cute. The grilled marinate vegetables used were eggplant, yellow bell peppers and sundried tomatoes. I am not sure what marinate they used, but it sure tasted good. Too bad the haloumi cheese was a bit too tiny (just about the size of my pinkie fingernail)but i guess bruschettas are supposed to be small measured. Now, that’s not all. Their blueberry reduction was superb, it was a little sweet and tangy. I thought it was balsamic vinegar at first, well maybe they added a little. But really, eating the bruschettas with the reduction was a good idea and the taste that permeates through is delicious. Too bad there were only 5 portions.

Smoked Duck Risotto
Smoked Duck Risotto with basil and parmesan shavings ($26)

As I have never eaten risotto, I decided that it was high time I actually tried some. So I ordered the smoked duck risotto. From my point of view, it was tasty and very filling. As a cheese lover, I have to say I really dig this risotto. They put the right amount of cheese and cream and wasn’t too thick or thin. I like the consistency. It tasted much like salted porridge actually. But I adored the presentation. As you can see, they put a sprig of thyme in the middle and decorated the risotto with slices of smoked duck. They mixed some chopped duck and carrots in my risotto too. I was rather full when I finished it, but very happy indeed.

Crab Linguine
Crab Linguine sauteed in olive oil, garlic, basil, chilli, topped with parmesan shavings ($25)

My aunt chose the crab linguine (thanks to my persuasion) and she was glad she did. This delicately flavoured pasta isn’t too heavy and yet the taste was full-bodied. They were very generous with their sun-dried tomatoes and it certainly went well with the whole dish. It was almost tangy, savoury and heavenly. A beautiful main course indeed. The basil came through and it was a pleasant dish indeed.

Trio of Desserts
Trio of desserts – (from top) Mango Mousse, Chocolate Trifle, and Summer Berry Cake ($14)

A meal isn’t complete until we have dessert. So we tried the trio. The trio consists of three different slices of cakes as you can see above. My favourite is the summer berry cake, it’s not too heavy and rather refreshing, definitely a berry good cake. The trifle was nice but maybe I was simply too full from the risotto, and that’s why I found the top chocolate layer too dense. Mango mousse was fluffy and light too, yummy. And yes, we cleared all three cakes.

Crème Brulee
Vanilla Creme Brulee ($9)

My only gripe for the evening was the creme brulee. Now, as this is one of my favourite desserts, I’m quite picky about the standard. So I was highly disappointed when I found it a challenge to break the layer of caramelised sugar – it was too thick. And when I actually broke it, guess what???

I found white sugar crystals. Lots of it. Apparently the chef didn’t caramelise the sugars properly. Either that or he doesn’t know how to use a blowtorch. And to think I thought their creme brulee was quite good(based on my previous creme brulee experience when i ate there previously. Secondly, the creme was not up to scratch. It was too soft, like eating melted cream.

I had half the mind to go up to the chef (i was sitting by the open concept kitchen remember?) and enquire about the standard of his creme brulee. I’ll just say one thing, if not for the creme brulee, I would have been very pleased with my experience at Cafe Society last night. But I guess I’ll be fair and pass off this disappointing creme brulee as a one-off incident that hopefully won’t happen again.

On a whole, I think I wouldn’t mind coming back to Cafe Society, but maybe I won’t order the creme brulee again. I really don’t want to be wasting my money. Besides, the service was quite all right, but it could be better.


Cafe Society
1 Parliament Lane,
Old Parliament House
Tel: 6338 7857

3 and 1/4 out of 5 burps


Posted on 22nd Jun 2005 in Uncategorized


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