Opening with a PUNCH (sorry, can’t help with the pun), this is also the newest cafe by the same team behind both RONIN and The Plain.
With RONIN just round the corner within the next street, PUNCH offers yet another dining experience that is rather different even within the trio. For a start, PUNCH has two different areas; the main dining area and the brew bar. The brew bar operates in the day offering light bites such as doughnuts and handbrewed coffee, while the dining area opens during lunch hours and dinner hours. Much like how RONIN was when it first opened, there is no physical menu at PUNCH; the staff comes over explaining the menu while taking your order. Only four items were available for lunch on the day of our visit; PUNCH Greens (a salad) Fried Chicken, Grilled Seabass and American Style Porridge. Dinner service includes pasta and grilled meat/seafood. Much like RONIN and The Plain, there are no signages that mark the location where PUNCH is located which adds on to the mysterious vibe.
We went slightly earlier before lunch service commenced, and we managed to try out their doughnuts. Coming in three different flavours (Nutella, Custard and Jam), we opted for the Custard. Round donuts with the fillings hidden in the centre, the donuts were crisp with flowy, smooth custard within which was subtly sweet. Definitely fitting as a light bite on the way to office. We have also coupled the doughnut with a V60 brew, where we got to have a taste of the single-origin beans from Kenya which was fruity and rather clean in flavour. They do serve espresso-based coffee during lunch hours, using the same blends by Genovese like The Plain and RONIN.
Of the four items available for lunch, I went for the Grilled Seabass which came with a Mango Salsa and an option of greens or chips. Grilled Seabass was flaky, with a crisp skin seasoned with salt while the accompanying tomato salsa compliments it by lifting the fish with a sweet, tangy flavour and a subtle touch of numbness from the onions. There were crisp bits of perhaps grilled greens (perhaps Kale?) which made the salad interesting. A pretty light dish for lunch. One thing interesting to note though; the PUNCH Greens is actually a full-size portion of the same greens used in this dish.
American Style Porridge is more breakfast-like, being warm oatmeal with brulee bananas with cold milk served at the side, which helps to bring down the temperature of the oatmeal. Oatmeals were mushy with a soft bite while the crystallised sugar on the banana helps add a sweet touch. Very homely and very comforting.
RONIN and The Plain have always been synonymous with good quality food with a minimalist yet raw vibe. PUNCH follows the same philosophy, being the first all-day dining concept of the three yet. As usual, the service was sincere while the food is pretty decent. A pretty different cafe from what the local cafe scene is filled with from its food to its vibe, this would be one of the spots worth keeping a lookout for in the future, and also to check out before the crowd flocks over. I would definitely be back in the morning for some doughnuts and coffee, and certainly looking forward to trying their Fried Chicken and dinner items as well. Do take note that the access for the brew bar is different from lunch and dinner service, though I am not going to reveal it here; go figure! (not going to spoil the fun! ;] )
32 North Canal Road
Web Page: http://punch.sg/