Plentyfull: Of misleading names
What if you ordered a Big Mac, and got this:
Or or, what if you ordered bak chor mee and got this:
I don’t know about you man, but I think I’d wreak havoc on whoever served me that. Not that it'd necessarily taste bad (in fact those look pretty good too) but it ain't what I ordered. Whether the food turns out good or bad, one of my biggest peeves dining out is inaccurately naming a dish. Cause I get so enamoured with the idea of getting my dish, imagining the the crunch of my tacos or the medley of juices seeping from my burger, that when the dish arrives and isn’t what it promises it to be — I lose it completely. So with that, imagine my annoyance when we were faced with just that situation when dining at Plentyfull.
No of course, the entire experience wasn’t that dire, and I didn’t hate it as I may have suggested. In fact, I genuinely loved the space, the service, and the food we had. The space itself saw a mix of calm pastels and woods, with deeper blues and yellows (quite reminiscent of Grain Traders really), as well as oriental porcelain tiles speckled throughout. A really spacious café-restaurant that'd be perfect for whiling and afternoon away! Though no afternoon with a book in hand's complete without grub to go along with eh?
Hearty Green Shakshuka Bean Stew (S$16++) — with slow-cooked organic eggs served with toasties
Wilson’s entirely right when he said this looks more like ful medames. Essentially a bowl full of stewed beans and lentils, this wasn’t what I had in mind when I ordered a “shakshouka”. Pita Pan does a decent rendition of a green shakshouka with spinach and feta; but this? Ain’t no shakshouka for sure. Plentyfull’s rendition of beans, lentils, and chard was definitely more a bean stew — a tasty one at that — than the Middle Eastern dish we’ve all come to love. And while they may kinda have disclaimed this by throwing "Bean Stew" into the description, it's definitely not what I'd expect when ordering a green shakshouka.
Berries & Whipped Ricotta French Toast (S$16++) — house-made granola with seasonal fruits, buttermilk yogurt & acacia honey
Thing is this theme of mismatch seem to perpetuate throughout. Take this French toast for example. The brioche was lovely: moist, buttery, and really really fluffy. The berries compote was a nice balance of tart and sweet, and the creamy yogurt was that glue that brought everything together.
Zoom right in and you'll see what I mean. The brioche's airy and buttery for sure, but entirely dry.
Yet delicious as this was, the toast itself wasn’t eggy/pudding-y or showed any sign of being soaked in any custard. The quality of the brioche more than compensated for that, still when I read “French toast” I’m kinda expecting that comforting moist, eggy, custardy bread.
Classic Carbonara with Parpadelle (S$22++) — Traditional carbonara with house-made parpadelle & house-smoked bacon
Don’t even get me started on the ‘classic' carbonara. Fabulous homemade parpardelle that was perfectly cooked, sautéed mushrooms that are oh-so earthy and fragrant — but why oh why does that coagulated sauce taste like a mushroom cream sauce than a carbonara sauce? God knows I’m a huge fan of authentic carbonaras (to hell with the cream-ridden American renditions!), but at least I’d still recognise the latter as — albeit a commercial — carbonara! If I had a blind taste test or just one look at Plentyfull’s dish and had to hazard a guess, I’d call it a mushroom cream pasta for sure.
Flat Bread (S$10++) — with nori butter, elderflower caramel & extra virgin olive oil
All that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy brunch at Plentyfull. Their simplest dish of flatbread was phenomenal in every way: charred grill marks and it's accompanying smokiness, thin and flat as you'd expect unleavened bread to be with a crisp crust, yet still pliable and soft. Pretty much a flawless starter with generous smears of their umami nori butter.
And that's why it's hard to make up one's mind about Plentyfull. You may not get what you ordered, or expected, but what you do get are well-executed dishes with flavours that are very much on point. So if you aren't a stickler for accuracy and meeting expectations, Plentyfull will leave you satisfied for sure.
But if, like me, you can’t, then best take their menu descriptions with a pinch of salt. And perhaps just let yourself be surprised.
#01-79/80 Millenia Walk
9 Raffles Blvd
Opens daily from 11.30am-10.30pm