*I've been experimenting with Instagram as an editing tool, thus photos in this post don't look like the usual ones I take. Forgive me.
A cafe restaurant that pays homage to quirky Anglo-Chinese food, Chopsuey Café aims to recreate that quintessential experience reminiscient of every Chinese student in a Western country. Simply speaking, it's anglicised Chinese food.
Unfortunately I'm not one of those students. Annual trips to Western countries always see me avoiding their 'Chinese' food cause I have no care for their processed sweet sauces that taste nothing like the steaming hot fragrant Chinese food I can get back home. Thus it is no surprise that Chopsuey's concept did not appeal as much.
Chopsuey's super spicy chili sauce and a sweeter one as compliments to your dishes
Still I decided to give it a shot, since the usual brunch fare of eggs and breads (as delicious as they are) were getting a little stale. It's on me that I felt a tad disappointed at the end of the meal - I misunderstood their concept to be more towards fusion food. Given my utter dislike of 'Chinese' food, I would never have otherwise visited Chopsuey.
Bland coffee that lacked any aroma or creaminess from the dairy; this wasn't a good start to the meal. Wasn't expecting superb coffee, but this fell way below standards.
Pumpkin & cod dumplings ($9++)
Thick overly moist wrappers (to the point of being sticky), coyingly sweet pumpkin puree, and barely any hint of cod, these dumplings were a huge disappointment. The flavour combination would have worked wonders if executed well. They may be a Western take on Chinese food, but I don't know and I don't think that includes making horribly soggy dumpling wrappers that stick to the roof of your mouth, teeth and tongue?
Crispy Duck Pow! Pockets ($17++) - shredded duck confit & pulled roasted duck filled soft white buns served with a warmed sweet bean sauce
Chunks of raw vegetables were the dominant taste profile of this dish. The various duck components might have been interesting if we could actually taste them. Expecting a savoury dish like our local favourite kong bak pau, these duck pockets turned out sweet instead, with an even sweeter sauce on the side just in case you like yours sweeter. It tasted so much like American Chinese food; genuinely just not my thing.
Tingling Chilli Jam Prawns ($26++) - chargrilled king prawns tossed in homemade chilli jam, numbing szechuan peppercorns, minced pork and crispy shallots
Succulent and juicy prawns topped with minced pork and really crisp shallots, this to me epitomised what Anglo-Chinese food with Singapore culinary standards should be. A great combination of flavours that has distinct Asian roots, the Western flare was discernible without having that horrible inauthenticity (think copius amounts of sweet sauce). The only dish that day I felt was worth any bit of my buck.
Bully Beef & Crackling Egg Pie ($24++) - seared corned beef, chilli, roasted red peppers, shallots, potato & herbs in short crust butter pastry topped with crispy crackling eggs & bacon, served with oriental leaf salad
More a quiche than a pie, the presentation revealed a clear mismatch between the description and what was really dished out. There were barely any of that delicious-sounding savouries in the 'pie', instead tasting like a simply run of the mill quiche lorraine - and a bad one at that. The oriental leaf salad was, really, just another mesclun salad. The crispy fried eggs and bacon, without any moist pie fillings, made the dish overly dry and rather unpleasant.
I guess it's just not my cuppa tea. If I wanted Chinese food that did not taste like real Chinese food, I'd just wait for my annual trips that are studded with Chinese dinners. Hearing Anglo-Chinese cuisine in Singapore, I expected a fusion of Chinese flavours and heritage, with a Western spin in either preparation, flavours, or ingredients; yet still maintaining the culinary standards that defines Singapore. Unfortunately Chopsuey tasted more like horrible American Chinese that in no way warrants its price tag.
That aside, the ambience and service of the cafe was impeccable. Marble tables, Victorian notches and high ceilings give Chopsuey its wonderfully colonial English ambience; no doubt adding on to the fabulous dining experience. The staff were as - if not more - impressive, patiently explaining the café's philosophy and signature dishes.
Now if only the food matched up.
Lunch -- Mondays to Fridays: 11.30am-6.30pm / Last food order 5pm
Dinner -- Mondays to Thursdays & Sundays: 6.30pm-12.30am / Last food order 10.30pm,
last bar order 11pm
Fridays, Saturdays & Eve of PH: 6.30pm-2am / Last food order 10.30 pm, last bar
Brunch & Tea -- Saturdays, Sundays & PH: 10.30am-5 pm / Last food order 4pm, last tea