Yet another café-restaurant in the Bukit Pasoh district, young The Lokal puts itself right smack in the middle of strong competition. A huge risk - but one that paid off. Aussie-inspired The Lokal prides itself on using quality fresh ingredients, and has been garnering a loyal following to its affordable, consistently delicious hearty Western fare.
An all-star team couldn't have hurt. Co-owned by the folks behind popular sandwich joint Sarnies; modelled after Melbourne's successful eatery Pope Joan; and helmed by German head chef Darren Farr hailing from Tetsuya in Sydney, The Lokal is - or rather comes from - a recipe of success.
Lokal is German for a neighbourhood joint for eating and drinking: a philosophy that's very much represented by its space. Blue peranakan-style tiled walls contrasting against dark timber floors, stark white ceilings, and rusted steel racks storing jars of daily condiments - it's hard not to feel welcomed and right at home in the hipstersque space.
Hand Brew coffee (S$6+) -V6
The Lokal uses Sarnies' beans for their coffee, prepared with a custom built Slayer espresso machine. Their V6 hand brew, essentially a pour over drip coffee, was a pleasant surprise. It was rich and caramelized, yet light and clean. A wonderful palate cleanser and great start to the meal.
Toasted banana bread, home made vanilla yogurt, toasted macadamias and caramelised bananas (S$12+)
Foodwise The Lokal offers a short and concise brunch menu consisting of sandwiches, salads, and sweet bites (till 3pm on weekdays); as well as a separate dinner menu.
Over Sunday brunch, we tried the much raved about toasted banana bread that looks a little hard and crusty, but is in fact warm and very moist. A forkful of that yummy cake drizzled in brown sugar syrup, a slice of soft warm banana and some crunchy nuts, all dabbed in cold tangy yogurt - this makes a stunning dessert.
Sunday Roast - Roast beef (S$30+; price varies according to available meat)
Each Sunday The Lokal features a special roast item for brunch. We struck gold with the perfectly executed roast beef. Served with a side of roasted vegetables and mash, the thick slab of meat was tender, succulent, and bursting with flavours. It would be flawless if the accompanying sides and gravy were heated up.
Pimp my breakfast - Scrambled eggs (S$5+), smoked salmon (S$6+), grilled sausage (S$6+), wilted spinach (S$4+)
While it is interesting to try the different breakfast concoctions of each café, the perfect plate is sometimes the one with your favourite items. The Lokal allows for this with their Pimp my breakfast 'dish', with 17 ingredients to choose from and put together. From the usual eggs and beans to smoked mackerel, roasted chicken/beef, and handmade ricotta, the variety of quality premium ingredients endless delicious breakfast creations.
I especially loved that The Lokal smoked their own salmon and served it a slab of the fish instead of the usual meagre slices. It tasted wonderful, and searing helped prevent it from getting too heavy on the tastebuds. 20 bucks for all that quality dishes? Definitely worth every cent.
Sticky Date Pudding (S$10+) - served with vanilla ice cream
For a sweet finish, try the sticky date pudding that's already gained a loyal following. I would go as far as to call it one of the best sticky date puddings in Singapore, vying for the top spot with Marmalade Pantry. Shockingly hot, dense and moist, the velvety pudding is beautifully caramelised on the outside and doused in a sticky toffee sauce. The earthy dates were very pronounced here, each forkul revealing clumps of the stringy fruit. Paired with cold vanilla bean ice cream, this makes for the perfect ending to any meal.
Among the many cafés we've visited in the past months, The Lokal is the only one we're truly impressed with. Every dish is executed well and tastes marvelous. It won't ever be like Aussie's brunch institutions where innovative dishes are constantly introduced; but for the simple yet amazing fare The Lokal is offering, it's definitely staying at the top of my favourites.
136 Neil Road
Tuesdays to Fridays: 8am-10.30pm