Strangers’ Reunion is a name most cafe-goers would be familiar with. Since 2012, the place has served many a diner with brunch bites, coffee brews, and ice cream waffles.
It’s a relaxed little nook in the Spottiswoode Park area, just a few streets away from the eateries at Everton Park, and makes for a chill weekend hangout or cozy lunch date with its comfy lounge chairs and hues of greys, whites, and warm woods.
But now that brunch has totally gone mainstream, the café is switching it up, straying away from standards like eggs benny and French toast to whittle down the menu into a more refined one. The comfort factor still remains – but now, the ingredients are more well thought out, and techniques get a tad experimental.
Aiming for fresh and quality ingredients, with elements that are made in-house from scratch, the chefs at Strangers’ Reunion whip up a mean roasted cauliflower salad ($14.50). Before you scoff at the seemingly overused carb replacement (yes, we all know cauliflower pizza is not real pizza), this veggie dish is anything but bland.
Charred florets mingle with ones that get the pickled treatment in rice wine vinegar that’s infused with black pepper and bay leaves, resulting in a mishmash of flavors that are elevated with the addition of pine nut labneh, grapes pickled in red wine vinegar, pomegranate bits, toasted pine nuts, mint leaves, and honey mustard.
If you prefer to start with something tangy and refreshing, try the snapper ceviche ($13.90) that combines snapper cured in lime juice with avocado, cilantro, red onions, and shaved fennel for a zesty burst of flavor.
Otherwise, there’s the pan-roasted chicken breast ($21.90), which will put all your concerns about the tough cut to rest. Sous vide first before it’s tossed into the pan, the bird is tender and juicy, and the dish is completed with house-made jerk sauce and a succotash of sweet corn, red peppers, and baked sweet potatoes.
In line with the global movement towards environmentally-conscious ways, the cafe also preps with “upcycled ingredients,” using not-so-popular items such as salmon skin, broccoli stems, and spent coffee grounds.
Instead of throwing ‘em out, they’re reimagined in dishes like salmon skin chips ($11.90). Here, salmon offcuts and trimmings from the coffee smoked salmon recipe are molded into deep-fried slivers with dabs of sesame aioli, avocado coulis, and coffee smoked salmon purée.
The stems of cauliflower’s greener sister also get rescued from the trash pile in the plate of pork and broccoli ($21.90) — a surprisingly scrumptious creation, even for those who abhor the oft-discarded bits. First steamed then slow roasted, the dreaded green stems are soft and exude natural sweetness, pairing nicely with the under-used pork collar ends that are sous vide and roasted. To add flavor, dip your coffee shoyu-glazed meat into one of the two sauces – broccoli purée or burnt onion jus.
Finally, the aforementioned coffee smoked salmon makes an appearance in its own dish ($18.90). Cold-smoked with spent coffee grounds and hickory wood, the item comes with a crisp sourdough slice that’s spread with fragrant espresso-infused crème fraiche.
If you’re already a fan of the café’s popular buttermilk waffles, give the new flavor ($14.50) a shot. This one comes with hazelnut praline in the batter, plus vanilla ice cream and drizzles of hazelnut sauce, almond crumble, and chocolate shavings.
To sit and laze with a drink for a bit, have a cup of the cafe’s in-house roasted coffee prepared with brewing methods such as Aeropress, Syphon, Wave Dripper, and Iced Brew.
Strangers’ Reunion is at 33/35 Kampong Bahru Rd.
6222-4869. Daily 9am-6pm.
MRT: Outram Park