The proliferation of social media has seen the rise and fall of much F&B establishments - at least newer ones targeted at the hippie café hopping youths. Newbies like Honey Creme and FATCAT Ice Cream have garnered so much social media attention pre-launch, with pictures flooding Instagram, that business have been flying off the charts.
Paddy Hills seem to be the newest of such cafés. Opened almost exactly a month ago, mouthwatering pictures have been circulating with a vengeance. Great cause it's awesome publicity; but it also sets really high expectations which, if not met, does more trouble than good.
After just one visit, I can't say for sure just which it is.
Taste Like Purple (S$7) - cold pressed grapes, sweet basil & dehydrated lemon slice
Starting the meal with one of their "Quenchers" proved a right choice. Paddy Hills offers a range of 4 Quenchers, essentially flavoured sweet drinks, which are the perfect sip on a typically hot Singapore afternoon. The Taste Like Purple was very refreshing and delicious. Definitely worth the buck.
Caffeine lovers would find it interesting that Paddy Hills gets their coffee blends exclusively from Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee: 99-1 that has chocolate and caramel notes; and Spark that is more fruity. We tried the former in a Long Black (S$4). Flat, diluted, and just one-dimensional, the coffee was disappointing. After a wonderful cuppa at Revolution Coffee this fell way below expectations.
Truffle Fries (S$15) - shaved smoked cheddar, sage & garlic aioli
On to the savouries, Paddy Hills feature a fairly lengthy list of innovative dishes with a distinct fusion spin. Expect unique items like Toasted Spicy Rice Cakes, Golden Man Tou Sliders, and even Lu Rou Fan.
We decided to keep it safe with the café-basic Truffle Fries. Crisp, well-seasoned, and packing that nice starchy bite, these were amazing fries - just bad truffle fries. There was barely any hint of truffle. Simply as fries though these were stunning. The sage and smoked cheddar added to that amazing earthy savoury goodness. While it could do with a little more garlic, the aioli was thick, creamy, and pleasantly tangy. We're not usually fans of aioli or dips, but this was pretty good.
Quesadillas (S$18) - homemade BBQ sauce, pulled pork, charred corn, roasted peppers, pickled shallot & cherries
Pictures don't always tell the full story, but here it does. Having a hearty meaty bite presented this way simply doesn't bode well. A meager 4 thin wedges, disappointing would be an understatement. The pulled pork was sweet, one dimensional, and so little. The best thing on the plates would be the little bit of charred corn and pickled condiments on the side, none of which is worth $18.
Squid Ink Tagliatelle (S$23) - puffed rice, seared scallops, mentaiko, ikura & tobiko
Smokey and a little tangy, this pasta was done pretty well. We loved how the different types of roe complimented the smokey and earthy squid ink sauce, while adding that touch of freshness. The scallops were seasoned and cooked beautifully. Our only gripe was with the noodles, which were too curly, abruptly cut short in bits, and tasted homemade. Not that it was bad, but a little more consistency with the noodles would have been better. Smoothen out that creamy sauce, add a touch of seasoning, and it would be perfect.
Berry Ricotta Hotcake (S$19) - blueberry sugar, berries, pine nuts, mascarpone & maple syrup
3 pictures, cause that's just how beautiful and stunning this was. Possibly - no definitely - the most instagrammed dish from Paddy Hills, this hotcake did not disappoint. Colourful and fresh summer berries, atop a crispy, cakey, huge pancake. Its decadence at its finest. It's much like that sinfully childish joy one gets when eating simply a muffin top: that nicely caramelised and browned crisp surface, as well as that moist fluffy cake - all in a bite. A crispy muffin would be the best way to put it. Specked with bits of blueberries, this hotcake is making the ranks of the best pancakes in Singapore.
As with most hyped-up eateries, Paddy Hills has its hits and misses. Points to Paddy Hills for having a pretty smooth-running service albeit being only a month old. Even more experienced eateries don't always have such speedy service and consistent plating, so kudos to Paddy Hills. While I can't sing praises of all their dishes, it is most fortunate that the highly-raved about hotcakes did not disappoint, cause for that I'll always return.
38 South Buona Vista Road
Opens daily from 9.30am-10pm