Many of us have been to JEM, but how many of us actually know that there is a level beyond Cookhouse by KouFu that can be accessed through the food court? Certainly not me.
Poppy Pops is a pretty new cafe situated at Level 6 of JEM, which is exactly a level above Cookhouse by Koufu in the Sky Garden which is rarely accessed by most unless you happen to be visiting the BCA/AVA Service Centre situated an aisle across the cafe. Furnished with natural elements and a slight industrial vibe, the interior also infuses playful design elements such as a chalk-drawn wall at the back of the cafe, with wood and faux grass decor adorning the entrance. Quite unknown to most, the cafe actually has quite a good vantage point that looks towards Jurong Town Centre, which fits perfectly with the theme of the cafe. Signature items to order here would be the DIY popsicles which are all made in-house, and looks pretty similar to the “Magnum” sold in supermarkets (more to be explained later). Mains sold here include a small variety of salad, pasta and sandwiches (as well as a Fried Chicken dish) with other light bites for the mid-day snack. They also do have a set lunch menu where a drink comes coupled with a main.
(Chili Crab Pasta)
Going for the Chili Crab Pasta, the Fettuccine is tossed with “Grandma’ Secret Chili Crab Recipe” and topped with a poached egg. At $16, this felt a little pricey for its quality, given that the pasta felt that it could do a little bit more cooking time, and they could perhaps include a little bit more crab meat into the pasta. While the chili crab sauce was aptly spicy without being tossed in any tomato-based sauce that distracts the flavour away, but it felt a little short on the umami flavours of the crustacean, instead tasting a little dull and lacking a contrast that fresh crab meat carries. The poached egg was a nice addition, but there seems to be a missing link in between the egg and the pasta for the flavours do not really seemed to have added up; perhaps the pasta could do better without the egg.
My dining partner decided to go with the lunch set, which comes with a drink of either Earl Grey or Ceylon Tea with an option of it coming either hot or cold (not pictured). The Tuna Meltz came with tuna mayo and melted cheese in between Focaccia bread, potato wedges and garden salad. While this delivers what is pretty much expected, there was not much to shout about either, though coming at $10, might seem to be rather value-for-money for some.
(Princess Premium – Watermelon Soju with White Chocolate Coating & Fruity Pebble topping)
Giving their signature a try, Poppy Pops offers popsicles in a variety of flavours separated in two categories; Classic and Premium, where the premium carries a higher price range. You can either have them plain or go for the Prince/Princess options; Princess allows for 1 Topping + 1 Coating on the popsicle while Prince allows for 3 Toppings and 1 Coating for the popsicle. I had opted for the Watermelon Soju popsicle, half-coated with a layer of white chocolate on the outside while coming with Fruity Pebbles as a topping. Overall, the popsicle felt a little heavy on Soju; I would prefer it to strike a better balance between both watermelon and Soju for it to be a little bit more refreshing. That being said, I guess going with the more conventional flavours should be fine, such as the Vanilla and Chocolate variants. For those who might want to sample more flavours, the Poppy Trio offers a tasting platter of three mini-popsicles to try, though the flavours are limited and any topping or coating would carry additional charges.
The coffee here comes from a full-sized Nespresso machine. While I could understand that there may be no trained/skilled baristas for now, I do hope that they consider serving artisanal coffee using a professional espresso machine when they can in the future.
Given its location, Poppy Pops can be seen as a hidden find, for it is being kept away from most of the crowd in the mall. While service was decent, the execution and presentation of the food do need to be refined in order to attract the hipster crowd. That being said, the most attractive part of Poppy Pops would have to be the DIY popsicles, which bears a little resemblance to the Magnum Pleasure Pop-Up stalls which happened a few years ago where patrons are able to design their own Magnums. Poppy Pops could perhaps work on its niche areas and expand the variety of toppings, as an indie popsicle stall of such genre is a hard find these days, so as to establish a stronger niche to attract crowds. A lovely spot for some quality quiet time and a good view within a mall, but an eatery that needs to work on finding a strong and unique character whilst improving themselves to survive in the long run.
50 Jurong Gateway Road
Phone: +65 6262 0339
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Poppy-Pops-1725073451065363