Another under-the-radar bistro café has opened at the Keong Saik area.
.elia is located at 10 Jiak Chuan Road, previously occupied by Oriole Coffee Roasters.
The 30-seater is a bistro by day and restaurant by night, it offers a mixed menu from freshly made pasta and sandwiches for lunch, and heavier dishes such as Octopus and Wagyu Beef Shortrib at night.
I have come here twice, liked what was presented, and its quiet (may not be good for businesses) homely feel. The décor was kept simple in shades of grey, mainly wooden furnishing and a marbled counter.
My sense is that it lacked a stronger identity. Who is “.elia”? Why that awkward dot in front?
It was never quite clear. I wished that had come out more strongly, whether in their menu, décor, or marketing materials.
I was told that the .elia team is not culinary trained formally in a school, but run “based on their passion for food”.
Coffee beans are self-sourced, and roasted in-house. You get a selection of Flat White, Latte, Cappucino, Mocha and Filter ($4.00 – $6.00, additional 50cents for iced versions).
Lunch includes a selection of sandwiches from Crispy Pesto Chicken ($15.50), Jamon Iberico Grilled Cheese ($16.50), Truffle Eggs ($15.50), Avocado Toast ($12.50), and Pulled Pork ($17.50) with Russian dressing and purple cabbage slaw. Bread is made in-house.
There is also a small selection of light bites such as Pommes Frites ($15.50), Garlic Wings ($17.50), Chicken Bites ($16.50) and Meatballs ($15.50).
I was drawn to Truffle Eggs Sandwich ($15.50) and perhaps had certain expectations and imagery in mind. What was presented turned out to be quite different, but I still enjoyed this version.
The thing that left me the impression was the use of balsamic vinegar beneath the sautéed mushroom, so you get that sweet-tarty twang at the end. The truffle aroma came in lightly as I took bites of the egg, and I was glad they didn’t overkill in that aspect.
Instead of scrambled eggs, you get mashed up hard-boiled eggs. I wondered if the former would work better.
There are 5 pasta dishes offered – Panchetta ($15.50), Tagliatelle Genovese ($15.50), Meatballs ($17.50), Scampi ($18.50) and Tagliatelle alla Norma ($13.50).
For its price, I must say getting freshly-made pasta at this location is quite the steal, especially if you get a set with an additional coffee for a dollar.
Cooked in brown butter and egg yolk, the broad flat pappardelle style ribbons had an agreeably soft bite, just right in terms of doneness (though I could imagine some diners would prefer it harder).
Complete with robust, tangy tomato sauce with chunky servings of hand rolled meatballs.
At the end of the day, I liked the food and vibes, but felt that .elia would need a stronger story and stand-out dishes to differentiate from the many new openings every month.
.elia can afford to be more adventurous.
10 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089264 (Outram Park MRT)
Tel: +65 9642 2361
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm, 6.30pm – 11pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun