There are a number of themed cafes in Singapore, but not every place stay consistent with that concept ALL THE WAY.
When I heard about the Afro café Kafe Utu at Jiak Chuan Road (next to Keong Saik Road), I initially wasn’t sure what to expect, half-wondering if it would be another gimmicky place.
Then I did a mini-tour of the space, and realised they mean serious business.
The attention to details… from the menu design, sofa, cushions, decorations, paintings, doors to even the panels, you know a lot of thought has been put into the collection and planning of the space.
Check out the specially hand-carved doors and water glasses hand-blown from Kenya, ceramic coffee cups and saucers, leather menus and bill folders, to the 8M long African Mahogany banquet table.
When you want to know if a café is obsessive about their theme, go to their toilet to see if the design extends all the way.
Kafe Utu serves up brunch items, East and West African food, as well as specialty coffee. Owner Kurt Wagner grew up in Kenya and wanted to bring a piece of home to Singapore.
Food items on the menu include Swahili Fish Curry ($29) with red snapper, tamarind, coconut milk, house curry paste, habenero and coconut rice; Liberian Peanut Chicken Stew ($28); West African Spicy Greens ($28) with chicken thigh and smoked fish; and Caribbean Goat Curry ($28).
If you would prefer something safer and more familiar, go for the more ‘brunchy’ items such as Curried Avocado with Raw Garlic and Toast ($16) and Ricotta Hotcakes ($23).
As I was there for brunch, I went for the Pulled Pork Breakfast ($24) of fresh pork shoulder, curried avocado, corn salsa, poached egg and potato hash.
For those who want more excitement from the usual Eggs Benedict, this should present some diversity with the saucy and tender pulled pork, along with a very-delicious spiced avocado mash.
However, I did wish that portions could be slightly more substantial. For example, there could be two poached eggs rather than just one?
I also had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($15), accompanied with home-made sauces of Congo Bongo, Fresh Mango Chilli Marmalade and House Chilli.
Special mention goes to the coffee, using a house blend called “Ubuntu” consisting of Uganda, Mexico and Brazil beans, added with Hokkaido Milk for their lattes which giving it a fuller-body mouthful.
I did enjoy the coffee, with a rich buttery texture and a strong dark chocolate finish.
While it is too early for me to give a conclusive verdict on the food, it was so-far-so-good.
Well, I do think some diners may be uncomfortable about the price for the portion.
There is a lot of heart that went into the design of the menu and space, and the 3-storey space is something out of the ordinary from we have experienced in Singapore.
12 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089265 (Outram/Chinatown MRT)
Tel: +65 6996 3937
Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Utu Lounge: 6pm – 11pm (Tues – Thurs), 6pm – 1am (Fri – Sat), 11:30am – 5pm (Sun)