Five and Dime at River Valley has changed name and concept to Fat Lulu’s, focusing on grilled food over charcoal and a dessert bar.
On a business level, the owners were looking at moving away from the over-saturated café scene. Understandable.
On my personal take, I actually prefer its previous incarnation and reckon that this Fat Lulu may need some work on shaping her identity.
I digress: Those who grow up with a staple of local dramas, with find the name “Lulu” unfortunately tied to a certain occupation in the red light district. Not surprising that one of local host Michelle Chong’s most famous alter ego who is a KTV hostess from Mainland China, is also named “Lulu”.
We asked the server and gathered that “Fat Lulu” is a confident Asian woman in NYC who is free-spirited and bold. However, we didn’t get a clear idea who she was from the décor and menu.
Small plates were offered, such as Tomatoes & Burrata ($15), Tuna Tartare ($15), Burnt Corn ($9), Nori Crusted Salmon ($17), Pan Seared Beef Tongue ($16), Burnt Squid ($12), Fried Cauliflower ($12), and Roasted Potatoes and Mushrooms ($12).
On the mains were Ikan Bakar ($18), Herb Crusted Lamb Rack ($26), Open Beef Ravioli ($22), Duh Meat Board ($28).
There were some bright sparks. The Ikan Bakar ($18) – parrot fish with garlic chilli butter and cumber achar, was flaky and moist, with a likeable spicy element.
Some of the other items bordered on being ordinary, if we would to compare with similar establishments.
Based on the menu alone, the food selection may garner to a very specific type of crowd, lacking mass appeal or a level of uniqueness.
The other component which could attract diners would be the desserts with a 3-course dessert menu priced at $35.
Certainly marks high in terms of affordability, and possible gimmickry.
The Black Forest ($16) with chocolate mud, kirsch cherries and complete with the nitrogen frozen Chantilly chocolate ice cream was possibly razzle-dazzle in terms of presentation.
But yet, it wasn’t something we never tried before.
Perhaps it is because Five and Dime has been a relatively known café name in Singapore, and thus we would come expecting more.
To get more people curious about their food, Fat Lulu’s would need to pull more culinary tricks out of her bag.
297 River Valley Road, Singapore 238338
Tel: +65 9236 5002
Opening Hours: 6pm – 11pm (Tues – Thurs, Sun), 6pm – 12pm (Fri – Sat)