We were off to an optimistic start at first.

Café NIDO which is located within the boutique Hotel YAN at Jalan Besar, had a welcoming industrial chic décor of high ceilings and subtle aroma. It almost reminded us of Bangkok, and looked extremely promising. ”So chio!!”

“Nido” refers to nest in Italian, a name to go complementary with Hotel “Yan” which meant “swallow” in Mandarin. The café was also designed in hope that it would be a comforting nesting place.

Indeed, it was modern and spacious.

Our anticipation was heightened because we were informed that the chef was previously from Wild Rocket – which is one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

I digress a little: I do encourage café owners to organize a series of taste-tests before opening, not just with friends and families (who may be more receptive), and be open to feedback and quick to correct if something goes wrong.

The food (in Singapore’s context at least) is still key to get customers to keep coming back.

The menu board looked well-designed, which made us order quite a number of items.

That included Roasted Charcoal Brioche with Kaya & Sous Vide Egg ($16.90), Raspberry Pancake with Honey Pistachio ($9.90), Homemade Laksa with Charred Crayfish ($12.90), Salted Egg King Prawn Aglio Olio ($16.90), and Tom Yum Wings ($10.90).

To be really honest, the safest bet was the Tom Yum Wings ($10.90) – evenly marinated, had good spicy-lime flavours and were tender.

A dish is made up a variety of components, if one or two ingredients do not meet the mark, then it would mar the entire taste.

The seafood – both the crayfish and prawn, were mushy, and that affected the noodle dishes. The laksa by the way had a flat-tasting gravy, ironically for laksa especially which is made up of so many spices and ingredients.

The local breakfast inspired Kaya & Sous Vide Egg was actually not too bad, but blemished by an overly-salty “mom’s sesame noodle”.

I suspect it is also because the menu is so extensive, faced with a limiting kitchen. Café NIDO can make it, but they probably need to work through every single dish again.

Incidentally, I checked with owner of Wild Rocket, then with owner of Café NIDO (again) just to be really sure. Turned out that the current Café NIDO Chef was a junior cook from the defunct Burger, Bench and Bar under the Wild Rocket group.

Defunct or not, junior or not, I believe that everyone can always learn from experiences and make the best out of it. But being forthcoming, should be the way to do establish good café-customer relationship in the long run.

Additional note: I think CAFÉ Nido can work its way around, it has so so so so so much potential. A personal promise to the owner is I will pay a return visit back once you are more ready.

No 162 Tyrwhitt Road Singapore 207581 (Within Hotel YAN)
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 4:30pm (Mon, Wed, Thurs), 7:30am – 9:30pm (Fri, Sat, Sun), Closed Tues

Other Related Entries
Shiberty Bakes (Owen Road)
VXX Cooperative (Foch Road)
The Betterfield (High Street)
South Union Park (Kembangan)
Noshery (Rochester)

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