Yet another “cafe”/brunch option joins the already cluttered Tanjong Pagar Road. This time, instead of Korean BBQ or a family friendly Korean eatery, Da Bang emerges with a twist from its counterparts, existing as a cafe by day and a bar by night – Don’t tell Mama.
In the day, the cafe bar exists as Da Bang, serving up Australian inspired brunches with a Korean twist; at night, it exists as Don’t Tell Mama, a Mexican fusion bar. We were of course, really excited to try out Da Bang when we first heard of its opening as fusion dishes are always our weakness.
Since they are opened by the same people behind Chicken Up, they are located just beside the Chicken Up outlet on Tanjong Pagar Road.
The cafe bar is clad in black, and you shouldn’t miss it along the stretch as it is ironically striking. It reads Da Bang on the left and Don’t tell Mama on its right.
The interior of the cafe bar has a rather unique touch to it in the day.
It feels like a bar when you first enter – dimly lit with the long bar counter occupying the pathway leading into the space..
And then slowly bursting into light with the glass ceiling covering a part of the seating area, exposing the industrial design within.
They have crates as their furniture to match the industrial theme, but it was pretty uncomfortable, honestly.
We felt that the menu was a little of a letdown because the items offered were rather common and we couldn’t decide because everything seemed so.. Normal. There was nothing particularly interesting for us to try. A slight disappointment especially since we expected more from a supposedly fusion cafe.
We ended up choosing the Nacho Cheese Omelette and Bulgogi Panini for our mains, and a Blueberry Cheese Bingsu.
The Roasted Hazelnut Latte was average at best. A tad too sweet from the usual ones that we had but it was pretty acceptable.
While the idea of a Matcha Iced Cubes tea sounded like heaven in a cup, we were sorely, sorely disappointed. The milk was served BOILING hot. We could not even do a pour shot because it was almost impossible to hold on to the bottle for more than a 3 seconds.
After pouring the milk into the matcha ice cubes.. It was, for a lack of better word, disgusting. It tasted NOTHING like a matcha latte nor matcha milk. It was ugh. I had one sip of it and left the rest untouched. Probably the worst experience I ever had with a drink.
2. Nacho Cheese Omelette ($16)
A potato based omelette with melted cheese, and an array of ingredients like capsicums, nachos and tomatoes. It was okay, but definitely not worth the $16 price tag for such a simple dish. It was just eggs and a hell lot of veggies and cheese.
3. Bulgogi Panini ($12)
This sounded amazing – marinated beef slices, mushrooms, onion, rocket salad and bulgogi sauce. It tasted great as well, but we thought this was actually a salad in disguise because we only had one mouthful of beef… And that was really it. The rest were just greens, mushrooms and sauce.
4. Blueberry Cheese Bingsu ($18)
This looked amazing, and the ice were pretty finely shaved to our surprise. However, the blueberry sauce was overly sweet, and maybe, they could add on some condensed milk into the ice as we felt like we were just having ice as we were halfway through the bingsu. The frozen blueberries did not really help because it was tasteless, and it was just a prelude to some sensitive teeth issues.
We obviously did not have an enjoyable time at Da Bang, with the disappointment probably compounded by our excitement with regards to what we expected from fusion dishes. Where was the Korean element in most of their dishes?
Even though we had vouchers to dine at Da Bang, the price tag of the items on the menu and what was actually being served had a huge disparity, and it just deterred us from visiting them again. Besides, the service sucked, which probably made my impression of the place worse. The lady serving us was sulking the entire time we were there as if we owed her a living.
There are also many other similar poor reviews on their food on Instagram, I guess we ain’t the only ones disappointed by the offerings at Da Bang. I hope they have managed to improve on the quality of their offerings, otherwise it’d be pretty hard to survive when there are so many other alternatives in the area.
How to get there?
52 Tanjong Pagar Road
7:30am – 5:00pm (Dabang)
5pm – 12am (Don’t Tell Mama )