Politics aside from this piece.
I initially did not have intention to write about Orange & Teal Café at Rochester Mall opened by Dr Chee Soon Juan, because it was well-publicised already, and priority has always been on the more hidden cafes.
However, I was asked by a number of readers to review the food, as most articles online are focused on the opening and the man behind the café, without actually trying the food (other than Mothership). Fair enough.
Just a little background: Dr Chee Soon Juan is a well-known Singaporean opposition politician who has been secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), but opening a café is something not quite expected of him.
Rochester Mall is a short walk from Buona Vista MRT Station, located opposite The Star Vista.
“Where the conversation’s even better”, you would find this sentence engraved above the doorway.
Dr Chee wanted to open a place where get-togethers and discussions can take place over a meal and coffee, and has been a long-term dream of his.
I wanted to take an empty café shot, and so arrived before 11am, joined by a short queue of customers outside (but they were behind me haha).
The man himself was at the door, welcoming customers as they walked in (quite a sight really); and he didn’t stop going table to table asking ”How’s the food?” like everyone was a regular or friend.
Note that mains won’t be served till 12pm (If you are there for the mains, you got to wait around for an hour plus.)
Instead, there are the usual standard café bites of Truffles Fries ($8.90), Chicken Nuggets with Pesto Dip ($7.20), Calamari Rings with Pesto Dip ($9.20), Luncheon Sticks ($7.50), and Chowder Soup ($4.50).
There are also light pastries and cakes offered, such as Beef Pie ($5.80), Salmon Quiche ($6.90), Lava Cake & Ice Cream ($6.80), and Ondeh Ondeh Cake ($5.80).
Luncheon Sticks ($7.50) would have been known as Spam Fries in another hipster café, but they turned out to be my favourite about the café bites.
They arrived crisp and piping hot, leaving little grease on the paper below, and were cut in thick slices that were satisfying to bite into. If only they came with a dip, such as spicy garlic sriracha sauce or something.
The Beef Pie ($5.80) while nothing to shout about, had a crusty outer layer and was hot within (rather than just lukewarm compared to some other cafes).
Customers were really there for the mains, and what was offered were the Creole Jambalaya ($13.90), Poulet Roti ($12.90), Creamy Butter Tuscan Salmon ($20.80) and Succotash ($10.80). The raved-about Texas Oven Baked Beef Brisket ($18.80) was not available.
The recommended Creolo Jambalaya ($13.90) was a slight-spicy Louisiana-style dish included with shrimps, chicken sausage, rice on top of succotash.
As for the Creamy Butter Tuscan Salmon ($20.80), it had pan-seared salmon accompanied with some linguine in a creamy butter sauce topped with grated parmesan, accompanied with asparagus and baby spinach.
There was a certain homely taste about it, perhaps because salmon in a more-commercial setting would have the sides having that delectable sear.
All-in-all, the Tuscan salmon was buttery tender and flavourful, and I would think some touch of garlic could give the sauce a more layered taste and aroma.
There were some operational hiccups such as long waiting time and orders missed, which I think can be eased with time, or an experienced operational manager.
With a bookshelf and piano on the side, I found the dining environment cosy, almost like having a meal at a friend’s place. Quite worthy to come actually for the experience.
Orange & Teal Café
35 Rochester Drive, #02-12 Rochester Mall, Singapore 138639
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Tues – Thurs, Sun), 11am – 10pm (Fri – Sat), Closed Mon