Grain Alley falls into a strange situation where you would expect to find rice bowls in the café, but it sells anything but that.
When I asked my friends to meet up at this new place at Orchard Central, one went, ”I don’t feel like having grains today…” while another mixed this up with Grain Traders.
Surprise, surprise. No rice to be found.
The menu features an all-day brunch with items such as Chorizo Shakshuka ($21), Duck Tagine with Truffle Mash ($25), Bratwurst Brunch Platter ($29), Great Greek Salad ($19), Smoked Salmon Croissant ($9, and Vegan Avocado Toast ($11).
There are also light bites available from 12pm to 10:30pm, offering Black Truffle Fries with Mediterranean Dips ($15), Chicken Shawarma Wrap ($15), and Manuka Braised Beef Gyros.
Overall, it looks like a brunchy place with Mediterranean twists.
Grain Alley actually opened sometime late last year, but delayed its official opening due to further revamping works and menu changes. You would still find reminiscence of 2019’s Christmas, with a pine tree near the back of the café.
Looking at the interior alone, this would likely fit into many instagrammers’ and café hoppers dreams, with its contemporary décor, white marble tables, green plants and natural daylight. (They can work on the music though.)
The type that food websites would go “hidden spot at Orchard Road” to “brunch place for a date”. But we have seen none of that in the past 3 months, perhaps due to a lack of visibility, marketing and clear direction.
The food is overall promising, but with need some tweaks to make it more impressionable in this challenging climate.
The Chorizo Shakshuka ($21) for example lacked that rich tomato flavours and heartiness one would expect and egg yolks was slightly too runny (or slimy). But you know it has the potential.
I also ordered a Duck Tagine with Truffle Mash ($25) which featured tender whole duck leg sous-vide for 36 hours, though I wished the outer skin could be a tad crispier.
In terms of presentation, the duck sitting on a big empty white plate, did look lonely.
There were items I did enjoy though, such as the Chicken Shawarma Wrap ($15) with slow-cooked shredded spicy chicken that scored in terms of its robust flavours.
Some of the cakes such as the Sea Salt Caramel Cake ($9) is worth a mention for is smooth texture, though one may hesitate to order due to its price.
Location is central, interior is welcoming, staff members are friendly, perhaps the food still needs to find a clear direction. But it’s promising.
Orchard Central #01-10, 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896
Opening Hours: 10am – 12am (Mon – Sun)