Sunday, April 06, 2014

Café-hopping: Selfish Gene Café, Grin Affair, Strangers' Reunion, Tsujiri

Today I went café-hopping with Clare! We have been planning this for ages, waaay before the O-Levels and finally got to realise our plans today. We decided to stay around the Tanjong Pagar/Outram area and just walk around to each café on our list. For your reference,
We found Department of Caffeine after walking past it once but sadly, they were closed on Wednesdays. :-( Unfazed, we marched on to Selfish Gene Café, which has a somewhat odd name.
Stepping into the café, the air-con hit us with a breath of cool air, and it felt so good. Especially after a (not so) long walk in the scorching sun. There were only two other tables occupied when we entered so we pretty much had the flexibility of sitting anywhere we wanted. The café had a really indie vibe and everything felt retro (to me). Bordering on pretentious, but not exactly there yet.
After doing a quick search on HGW, we decided on the Valerie ($12) as well as a slice of Banana cake ($6). Both of us had yet to have breakfast so whatever we would eat was brunch.
The Valerie (Scrambled eggs, Berry compote and Cream Cheese on a thick slice of brioché) and the Banana cake, with peanut butter drizzled across it.
The Valerie was amazing. The toast was delightfully thick and soft, while still being crisp on the outsides. I felt the berry compote and cream cheese kind of marred the taste of the bread. The scrambled eggs were good too - delightfully runny.
The Banana cake was so moist and dense, I can see why it's highly raved about. It tastes the same as other banana cakes, but yet is different from the rest. Obviously I am not very good in putting senses into words. :-(
Afterwards, we walked on over to Everton Park, where Grin Affair was located. Just like Creamier, it was a small little shop at the void deck of a HDB flat. Extremely unpretentious and literally in a "cosy corner". The decor in Grin Affair screams vintage, as seem from the little cutesy banners and woody furniture.
"Quaint little café nestled in the heart of a quiet neighbourhood" would be most apt to describe Grin Affair.
We ordered the Strawberry cake and Durian cake ($11.50 for both). The cakes could only be eaten after "thawing" at room temperature for around five minutes. After what seemed like five minutes, we dug the spoon into the jar and it was rock-hard. After lots of chit-chat and well, time, the cake softened and became spongey and creamy.
The cake is not outstanding but the idea is a novel one. The presentation is also extremely appealing so I guess that's the formula for their success. We loved this little shop so much! We were the only customers there and had the whole cosy teahouse to ourselves. It was really enjoyable, to sit there and just talk, with cake on our side and pretty furniture all around.
We got to bring home the jars, and topped up $0.40 for a pretty metal cover for the jar.
After a considerable amount of time, we headed to Strangers' Reunion for their famous buttermilk waffles.
What a pity that Strangers' Reunion was extremely crowded. It was around 1pm, so it would be lunchtime for the working people around the CBD. Like Mr Alvin would have said, it was packed like sardines in there. The tables adjacent to us were barely five inches away! It goes without saying that the café was terribly noisy and it was hard to make comfortable conversation. Nonetheless, we were there for the food.
Buttermilk waffle with Berry compote and Greek yoghurt ($14.90) was really good! The waffle smelt heavenly and was so crisp that when I cut through it, it felt like cutting through ice. (Strange metaphor but, well,)
 The berry compote was better than Selfish Gene's (IMO) as the berries were big and juicy. The compote complemented the Greek yoghurt very well, but I would have preferred having the delightful waffle on its own, au natural.
After finishing our waffle, we left hastily, eager to leave this over-crowded little café. The lady seated at the table next to us upset her latte and it spilt all over the sofa, floor, table and possibly herself. It was really messy and awkward for us because on one hand, we should help, but on the other, we had no means of helping! Our serviettes were dirtied already so we couldn't do anything but look away and feign ignorance...I felt quite bad about it but c'est la vie. :-(
Thereafter, we walked to Outram MRT station and took a train down to Somerset, where we ended our food hunt with green tea (or matcha, if you prefer) ice-cream from the legan-wait for it-dary Tsujiri Tea House.
Suffice to say it did not disappoint.
We happily ate our ice-creams and walked around 313@Somerset, Orchard Central and Centrepoint shopping for cute useless stuff as well as Christmas cards.
Ooh, we went to Scape Underground as well to "look look see see" and found this shop which sold really cute badges! As they were on promotion, we bought a handful of them as gifts or for ourselves.
I especially like the donut badge! It would complement my new school bag (heh heh).
Going home, it started to rain, no, POUR very heavily and I got completely drenched. It was terrible. My umbrella got inverted by the gusty winds and I literally had to use both hands to grasp the handle of the umbrella or it would have flown right out of my hands.
What a day.
So, this concludes my first ever café-hop (? sounds strange when not used as a verb)! I really enjoyed myself though felt slightly bad because I haven't exercised for a week already...oh well.

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