Benjamin Barker has made me part with my money for some of their dapper, fitted jackets. Looks like their café will be so too when I need a coffee break at Orchard Road.
It is probably the most stylish new café in town.
That also means that Benjamin Barker is occupying 3 levels of that section of the Orchard Cineleisure building, and will likely convert the whole section to a lifestyle concept store and cafe.
Some may not know that the fashion label is a home-grown brand, with the name inspired by the expression “Benjamin Generation” – a prophetic name which implies astounding blessings.
One thing distinct about their stores is the thought put into the interior, as though you are walking into someone’s house, designed like a living room.
The Cineleisure Orchard clothing store is decorated with keepsakes the founder collected during his travels, and the vintage typewriter from London was the same one used when he proposed to his wife.
What appealed to me were the neon words of “It is swell with my soul.” – a clever play of words on a famous hymn.
The café’s menu is quite extensive, offering a selection of salads, soups, mains, pastas, burgers and pizza.
One half of the café’s founders has spent time in his youth as a barista and manager in a Melbourne café, while the other had a coveted apprenticeship under one of Italy’s greatest pizza masters in Naples.
It comes as no surprise that the cafe’s signatures are also pizzas and coffee.
Recommended dishes include Laksa Pizza ($22) – a twist on the local Singaporean delight added with squids, clams, quail eggs, fish cake; Grilled Beef Steak ($24) – 200g Sirloin with house mash, arugula, cherry tomatoes; and Truffle Carbonara ($18) of linguine cooked with mushrooms, bacon, truffle [paste, parmesan topped with 62°C Egg.
Those of you who missed B Burger which was previously at this venue, can grab hold of Mr BB ($19) – angus patty with caramelised onion and portobello mushroom.
I had the comforting Southern Fried Chicken ($18) of crusty battered coating contrasted with relatively juicy meat.
It was a decent rendition that I won’t mind returning for.
Both pasta dishes tried – the Umami Prawn Linguine ($19) and Chilli Lime Seafood Aglio Olio ($17) scored in terms of the fresh seafood and al dente pasta.
There was somewhat ‘playing on the safe side’ – which I reckoned was to be more mass-oriented, though I thought there could be a stronger kick of the chilli and lime, and umami flavours to make them stay more true to their names.
Despite Orchard Road being supposedly the shopper’s paradise, I did find a lack of hipster café joints in the area. I think Benjamin Barker Café fills up the gap with a contemporary, stylish space.
I consider the brand a front-runner in terms of men’s fashion in Singapore, and I think the menu while extensive could afford to be more adventurous, and perhaps unexpected in its food offerings.
Benjamin Barker Café
8 Grange Road, #01-01, Cineleisure, Singapore 239695 (Somerset MRT)
Tel: +65 6732 2123
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Sun – Thurs), 10am – 12mn (Fri – Sat)
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