Yet another cafe opens in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood; this time it is The Lab, which is a cafe that serves muslim-friendly fare.
The Lab is named as such as it is a cafe that is constantly experimenting on its food and drinks to serve a menu that is unique to itself from other cafes. They serve quite a healthy variety of dishes, from side dishes good for sharing as well as sandwiches/burgers/salad and main courses as well. There is a separate counter for desserts, and one of their specialties would be the five different teas on experiment above the cashier everyday available to order, which are pretty unique in their flavours.
Since we were there for dinner, we decided against the sandwiches and went for the mains. I ordered the Russian Roulade; hand-rolled chicken that is braised and grilled with asparagus and carrot inside. It sits atop a leek salad and a purple sweet potato mash. While the Chicken Roulade was juicy with pesto sauce within as well, it could have been a bit more tender. The Baby Carrot within the Roulade seemed a tad too crunchy and too outstanding with its texture as opposed to everything else on the plate. We also wished they could cut a bit of the Sweet Potato Mash; we loved the sweetness on initial tasting but found it a bit too jelak after a while, and it also seemed to be a tad overwhelming as it took away the flavour of the Roulade when put together.
Hungarian Goulash is a Beef Stew within a Bread Bowl. Taste-wise, this dish passed with flying colours; the bread tasted great with the spiced tomato flavours within the stew and the beef was actually not gamey. However, it was pretty bad in terms of texture; hard to chew beef, crunchy carrots that were too raw and bread that was too stiff; it felt like as if we were doing mouth exercises to strengthen our cheek muscles.
(Sea Salt Brownie)
For a dessert, we chose the Sea Salt Brownie which somehow resembled a Molten Lava Chocolate Cake in its shape. While it’s a bit more cakey on the exterior, there were small pockets where chocolate could actually leak out and the chocolate was actually thick enough while the sea-salt was well-balanced for that salted infusion that some places go overboard with. While we went for the Brownie just by itself, there is an option to add a scoop of ice-cream which I thought it would have tasted better with somehow.
(Iced Apple Pie Tea)
Curious on their experiments on tea, I tried the Iced Apple Pie Tea. I was pretty intrigued by its flavour; a soft touch of caramel with that familiar apple-flavoured home-brewed tea, which was pretty comforting. It even came with bits of apple which were chunky and juicy for a crunch!
While The Lab has a pretty innovative menu, the food menu especially needs some improvement. Much of the weaknesses in their food lies within the texture, though they taste pretty decent. We loved that they are pretty creative with their drinks, incorporating new flavours into tea as well as using syringes for some of their drinks to allow for customisation of the depth of the flavours. It would be good to see places such as The Lab which desire to be different from the rest of the cafe scene here to do well, but it has to make some changes to see the concept work well cohesively.
1 Jalan Pisang
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