Review: Cafe Pal

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It has been a hectic start to 2015, with the incessant trainings, and thesis deadlines. I haven’t been able to sit down to just do my reviews like before, and I am really thankful to have just some time to myself this afternoon, right before my game and training afterwards.

Most of the people who know me will know that I am a HUGE fan of thai food, more specifically, Tom Yum Soup. My love for this sour and spicy dish knows no bounds, and this is not an exaggeration. I actually had Tom Yum fish soup for dinner every weekday for an entire year when I was in J1.

So, any Thai eatery in Singapore would immediately capture my attention. I have heard A LOT about Cafe Pal, not for their food though, but for their pretty bottles of milk tea. Hence, this has always been on my to-go list for the longest while, yet I never quite made it there because of its location.

The Sunday that we decided to visit the Singapore’s first Cat Museum was an awesome opportunity for us to finally pop by Cafe Pal for a visit, and that’s what we did.

The Place

On Google Virtual Tours, contact The Red Marker

Click to begin the tour of Cafe Pal! Hehe thanks to the virtual tour, I no longer need to snap pictures of the place! 😀

Situated at Middle Road, Cafe Pal does not stand out from the rest of its counterparts on the particular stretch of shops. When we first walked in, we were being greeted by a rather narrow walkway, with a bar counter on the left, and seats on the right. The aisle would then expand to a relatively large space to fit diners in large groups. They apparently have a second level too, which was used to host a private event on the day of our visit.

I expected the place to be pretty crowded on a Sunday afternoon, but to my surprise, there was only a group of diners beside us in the very quiet eatery, which was kinda nice.

The Food

Cafe Pal’s menu is not what I would call extensive, but it’s substantial I guess. They have value for money set meals, which are available on all day, on weekends as well. Photo 28-12-14 1 48 32 pm Photo 28-12-14 1 48 42 pm Photo 28-12-14 1 48 53 pm Photo 28-12-14 1 49 13 pm Photo 28-12-14 1 49 42 pm Photo 28-12-14 1 50 06 pm
Take-Away only menu:
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One tip for you if you ever intend on coming here for a meal, it’s best for you to order your milk teas to-go, than to have it in the cafe itself, because it costs much lesser to have it in a bottle, without much compromise in the quantity. It is $5.80 for a Thai milk tea with 2 add-ons if you were to have it there, while it will only cost you $4 to take it away in their pretty bottles. By the way, you can’t have your bottled Milk teas in house. They are strictly for take aways only.

Scanning through the menu, we pretty much got the usual Thai dishes. We didn’t go for the set meals because we were intending to get their Milk Tea to-go. Hence, I went for the Tom Yum Noodles and the boy chose Phad Thaiala carte. We also ordered the Thai Style Otah and Mini Toast with Kaya Dip for our appetizers.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Mini Toast and Kaya Dip ($4++): Thai style Kaya dip is used over here, that’s why it looks a little greener than usual. But they taste pretty good as well, not too sweet, and pretty well-balanced I would say. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset  Here’s a close up of the crispy toast, which is basically just slices of toasted bread, sprinkled with some icing sugar. $4 is a little… Overpriced for the kind of ingredients used here, but well.. If you haven’t tried Thai Style Kaya, then maybe you should give this a go. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetNothing really special. It tastes just like the normal kaya but less sweet, which I found it to be surprising because Thai food tends to be a little heavy handed on their flavoring, and SUGAR.
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Thai Style Otah ($8++): The only gripe I had with this dish when it was first served to us was, WHY IS IT PRESENTED SO WEIRDLY. Why only 5, instead of 6? If they intended to serve 5, shouldn’t they be served in a circular platter or something, for presentation sake?
-End of OCD rant.-
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Taste wise, I thought this tasted just like the Mackerel Otah from Muar, the one I love! But towards the end, there was this distinct lemongrass-ish after taste, that resembled that of tom yum. There are also chunks of seafood hidden within the otah too! A pretty good starter dish that I would recommend you to order.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset  Phad Thai ($9++): Honestly this was not bad of a dish at all. BUT, once you’ve tasted the authentic Phad Thai from the road side stalls in Thailand, nothing here ever comes close!
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetA rather generous portion of seafood in the Phad Thai. I thought it lacked a little bit of the sweetness that most Phad Thai have, but overall a pretty good dish!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset  Tom Yum Soup ($9++): I thought this was pretty special because it was served with a side of deep fried wantons. Wantons and tom yum, that’s a first for me. The ingredients used in this dish were fresh and good. Generous servings as well. However, I thought that the soup base was a little too mild. It wasn’t tangy or spicy enough to electrify my tastebuds. A good dish if you can’t take spicy food very well. For me, I’ve had better at Thai Express. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Before we left, we certainly had to get their bottled milk teas. The boy had the Thai milk tea with sago and pearls, while I had the Moo Moo Island with Pearls.
Photo 28-12-14 2 32 57 pmThe thai milk tea was surprisingly not as sweet as I expected it to be, and that was definitely a plus in my books. The toppings were generous as well. This would definitely be something I would come here specially to get the next time I’m in the vicinity, especially so if I’m going for a movie or something!
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Moo Moo Island consisted of green tea, milk, coconut and coconut flesh. I thought this was a rather exotic combination, and the ingredients really went well together. A generous portion of coconut flesh with every sip, and I was pretty impressed by the fact that the taste of green tea did not get drowned out by the coconut. You could actually taste both at the same time. A pretty refreshing drink for the hot weather I would say.

Closing Remarks

Overall, I enjoyed my visit to Cafe Pal. To be frank, I don’t think making a trip down here for your Thai food fix would do any good, because the standards of the food are rather average. The dishes are rather muted in my opinion, which does not exactly go with how the Thais play with the flavors on their food. I would very much recommend the all-time favorite Nakhon Kitchen to fix that craving of yours. However, if you’ve always wanted to try their bottled drinks, I would highly recommend them to you, because they are pretty much refreshing change from the usual drinks you can get out of Thai eateries. Not forgetting the fact that, they are pretty affordable too!

How to get there?

43 Middle Road
Singapore 188952

Opening Hours

Daily, 12:00pm – 9:00pm

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