Havelock Road may have seen the recent opening of Yellow Cup Coffee along the stretch nearer to Chinatown lately, but the area nearer to Beo Crescent Food Centre had been rather left out from the recent uprising of cafes around town, even though it is not situated too far away from Clarke Quay.
The Tastemaker Store is a two-week-old cafe (at the point of visit) situated just a short distance away from the Beo Crescent Food Centre. Unlike other cafes of the late, they ditched the grungy, industrial and dark decor with a simple, bright and minimalist interior that many found to be rather Muji-inspired (think clean, clutter-free furnishings). It is also rather unique for its concept as a cafe, serving both brunch-style meals such as Pizza and Sandwiches with some injection of local flavours by offering the well-loved Yam Cake and Glutinous Rice without any influence from western dishes. They also sell a selection of bakes, all of which supplied from Maple & Market from Cassia Crescent.
(Lemon Curd Toast with Clotted Cream Toast Set)
I decided to get something fit for breakfast, but did not want to have the Kaya Toast Set as I had a similar breakfast before heading there, which made the Lemon Curd Toast with Clotted Cream a clear choice for me. Technically, it was not really a toast as it came with English Muffins which we really light, soft and fluffy. The Lemon Curd spread atop was thick and generous; providing a real tart flavour that was of the right level of sourness but mildly sweet as well, with the clotted cream taking away some of that sourness away. The combination was pretty simple, but delightful. As a toast set, this also came with two soft-boiled eggs and coffee (which I eventually topped up for Latte). The soft-boiled eggs were runny and smooth; pretty faultless despite the lack of soy sauce and pepper for that local touch.
Since the Lemon Curd Toast was pretty western, my dining partner decided to try out their Glutinous Rice. Coming in a tin, these were initially stored in the display fridge together with the cakes and pizza and warmed up before serving with a blob of sambal at the side. My dining partner was initially skeptical how this would come out to be, but the glutinous rice was seemingly light as it was missing of that heavy and moist texture, though still maintaining some sort of stickiness throughout. The generous amount of shallots, dried shrimps and dried mushrooms and pepper also helped put in that savoury factor into the Glutinous Rice. It was not particularly flavourful in a manner of those from hawker centres would be like, but it has a gentle touch of all flavours that made it felt pretty premium and upscale. The blob of smabal chili was rather surprising for cafe standard; bold with its saltiness and spiciness, it gives a kick to the Glutinous Rice to turn up the notch.
When I asked the staff about their coffee, I was not expecting too much for my cuppa as it was from Boncafe; a choice that cafe owners these days would not really consider using. Nonetheless, the Latte was decent; probably even better than some cafes out there. The foam was just smooth; not being too bubbly nor stiff that it affects the overall texture of the coffee. It’s rather medium-bodied, and definitely just right in the extraction without being overly acidic nor tasted too watered down. Quite impressive I would say.
I have to say that The Tastemaker Store is a great cafe concept; the cafes these days have too much got to do with exaggerated decor and overly-creative food items that sometimes do not even work well together. It’s great to see someone trying to head the way of simplicity; keeping everything to the bare minimum. The environment is warm, cosy and inviting, and the food though simple, is delightful. We loved the idea how they served local fare alongside cafe food to up the variety; a great move that would make cafes more appealing to all ages, but I hope it goes the right way by achieving that balance down the road as there’s only a certain degree of how local it can be before lines start getting blurred and a identity-crisis forms up. No matter how it goes, this space has plenty of potential, and it would be good to see them build up a character unique to themselves in the long run!
The Tastemaker Store
Blk 22 Havelock Road