(The original post dated June 10 2013 has been edited and republished on 1 November 2013)
After reading about Necessary Provisions on Espressonites, I decided to head down for a visit. Necessary Provisions is a cafe that had recently opened in Eng Kong Terrace, an area bounded by a private housing estate, being just a week old and is affiliated with Homebodies (which recently closed down), Smitten Coffee & Tea Bar and the now defunct Henry Congressional. Seemingly upscale and slightly insensitive to its under-maintained neighbours, the dark interiors somehow exudes a sense of mystique yet soothing appearance. While the main focus here is about the coffee, they do serve up cafe food such as sandwiches, cakes and cookies (all of which available through the day), pastas, rice bowls and burgers (only available from 6pm)
(White – 6oz)
After having warned that the 4oz White was going to be strong, I settled for the 6oz option instead. There is also another choice of 8oz here, all available at a flat price. The blends used here are from Smitten, which carries the signature strong aftertaste and my preferred depth of flavour. The 6oz strikes the perfect balance, leaving an aftertaste which was neither underwhelming nor overpowering. This would be the suitable size for those who might be interested to try out a new blend.
(White – 8oz)
If you are one who prefers a weaker flavour, the 8oz White would be the size that you should get which has a little aftertaste for those who dislikes the aftertaste that lingers around after a sip.
The Cold Drip is similar to Drip Coffee, where water is being poured over the beans and left to filter on its own. The only difference between both methods is that ice is left to melt instead, which preserves the intensive flavour of the coffee. While it is highly recommended that one should only order this to check out the blends they use, those who do not like strong coffee can wait for the ice to melt a little before having it so the taste is slightly more dilute.
The Savoury Scones are baked to order, so it takes around 10 to 15 minutes for it to arrive. Do not expect your regular English scones here; these come in fours, bite-sized for a serving. Unlike, English scones, there is no butter or jam to go with it. Traces of cheese and vegetables can be found in these scones, which makes them so savoury and addictive that you just want more.
(Pandan Chiffon Cake)
Likely to be one of the more under-appreciated cake around the display table, this is also the very same item that most of the regulars swear by. While we all agreed that $4.00 for a slice of Pandan Chiffon Cake is indeed sky-rocketing high, we also have to agree that it really is not the one that you would get from your neighbourhood bakeries. Looks are really deceiving, but the fluffiness and airiness of the cake is what the regulars just cannot get enough of.
(Gooey Cinnamon Cake)
This might look like an average piece of cake to most but it is called the Gooey Cinnamon Cake. The Gooey part at the top middle felt pretty mushy (in a good way) and filled with the scent of cinnamon. The top of the cake was sweet and crusty; much of the texture coming from the sugar and the taste from the cinnamon, which complimented with the flavour of the cake underneath. Though it was not really out of this world, it was more than what I expected for it to taste.
Do not be fooled by it’s name; the cake has nothing to do with coffee at all except to be paired with a cup of coffee. This cake has caramalised apple slices in it over the cake layer, while being topped off with some crubmly bits on the top. The cake layer was pretty plain but held up pretty well, with the caramalised apple slices giving a sweet tint on the cake. The crumbs on top were a great addition for the texture, though one should not repeat my mistake by putting the cake sideways for the ease of eating because they would just fall off. Amazingly it was also the crumbs that taste surprisingly good with the taste of coffee.
(Cowboy’s Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip)
After deciding to spend a little bit more time in the cafe, I decided to have a go at one of the cookies. This is the Cowboy’s Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chip. It is a soft cookie, and the cranberries and chocolate in it fitted the texture perfectly; everything in the cookie has the same chewy texture and hence it did not feel uneven as there is no hard bits within it. The taste of each ingredient also does not overpower each other, which makes it a perfect compliment to have with a cup of coffee. Again not an out of this world experience, but definitely surpassed my expectations from how it looks.
(MIL Pineapple Tarts)
The MIL Pineapple Tarts not the cheapest items here; in fact they are pretty much the priciest when compared in size. Sold in threes at $4 per serving, these would not be value for most, but its pretty much worth trying. They do not taste like your average out-of-the-container Pineapple Tarts bought from supermarkets during festive occasions. While the basis and aesthetics may be similar, the pastry is undoubtedly firm in it’s structure, yet crumbles down nicely when popped in the mouth without clumping in the throat. There were also fine fibres in the pineapple paste, something I really appreciate. Best of all? It goes well with my coffee, especially when it comes to a guy who loves pineapple biscuits with a cup of Kopi.
(Banana Nutella Panini)
The Banana Nutella Panini is something that can be created at home with sliced bananas, bread and a jar of Nutella with less money involved. The combination of hazelnut and chocolate spread and bananas makes up for a delightful breakfast. The Panini was crispy, but not consistent throughout with some tough bits here and there. For a meal that can be simply replicated at home, we wondered if it was really money well spent.
(Rosemary Chicken Sandwich)
The Rosemary Chicken Sandwich is just one of the many sandwiches offered here. Unlike most other cafes that may add sauces so as to intensify the flavours of the dish, Necessary Provisions decided to go all plain with the sandwich. The chicken is just grilled and toasted with the bread with a light seasoning to taste, with the addition of Watercress as the choice of green for the sandwich. The end result was a taste that had a really bland start, but stays clean and becomes more appealing towards the end as you finish the sandwich. A salad is also included with the sandwich as a side, and while it looked like a bunch of random vegetables scattered at a corner of the plate, we enjoyed how fresh the Cherry Tomatoes were and the addition of grapes made it have a fruity kick as well. This item will definitely not appeal to those who likes strong flavours in their food, but definitely is suitable for those who prefers healthier meals without any optional condiments.
(Pork Burger with Apple Sauce)
Having previously read some reviews that said the food from Necessary Provisions are not very impressive, I was pretty mind blown by the Pork Burger with Apple Sauce. The Pork Burger was grilled so that it’s cooked through, but not too hard (something like how you like your beef patty to be done) and pretty tender. It also had this impressive flame-grilled taste that burgers these days seemed to lack. The Apple Sauce was somewhat like the fillings of Apple Pie and goes with the plain bread nicely, though I would say that it could actually make do without it if the buns are grilled as well. There are plenty of greens in this burger, which makes it feel a tad healthier to down the insanely tasty burger. The Chips are less impressive but still pretty decent; crispy and well salted.
Ever since I have made my first visit to Necessary Provisions, I had simply fell in love with it. It is one of the cafes that I had constantly revisited over and over again ever since it opened; something that I rarely would do these days. It had since become a place where I rejuvenate, do work in peace, enjoy some quiet and spend my lazy afternoons at. While some may argue that there are more accessible cafes out there, it is one of the cafes that are situated nearer to me where I really liked the coffee, and after so many visits I am able to navigate around the area rather easily, which is the same reason why I prefer going there more.
29 Eng Kong Terrace
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/necessaryprovisions