The Playground Coffee – Nanyang Community Centre

Taking over the spot of now-defunct Pits & Pans is The Playground Coffee, the newest kid on the block at Nanyang Community Centre.

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Folks familiar with the former shop layout of Pits & Pans would find the space revamped quite a bit; the space now boasts a clean, minimalistic design which involves plenty of white tiles and wooden furnishings and fittings — a design scheme pretty similar to the cafes situated in town of the late. The menu features grub that is typical to cafes of the late, featuring big breakfast, egg dishes, grain bowls and pasta, with side dishes such as a variety of fries and a small selection of desserts apart from the sliced cakes displayed in the display chiller.

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(Mushroom Aglio Olio)

Deciding to have something simple, we went for the Mushroom Aglio Olio; a simple pasta dish featuring linguine tossed in oil, basil pesto, chilli and garlic breadcrumbs with mixed mushrooms. A rather simple and comforting dish, it was satisfying with the slippery linguine done al-dente, a little hint of spiciness from the chilli and the crisp breadcrumbs that carry a suitable degree of garlicky flavour that antes up the entire pasta. The mushrooms were also pretty earthy, being sautéed though overall the pasta might be a wee bit greasy for some. Still, a simple and satisfying dish to order for those who prefer lighter pasta.

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(Pulled Beef Grain Bowl)

We also shared the Pulled Beef Grain Bowl. It comes with barley amidst the grains while also served with other components such as pulled beef (stewed for a day), sous-vide egg, seasoned bean sprouts, cherry tomatoes, slaw salad and balsamic mixed mushrooms. The bowl was generally a decent eat, though the consistency of the beef could definitely be improved — the beef was a little bit on the dry side and also a wee bit gamey; that being said, the dish still fared decently well with the inclusion of barley within the grains giving the grains an interesting chew, soft cherry tomatoes, flowy egg yolk from the sous-vide egg and flavourful, bouncy mixed mushrooms — a wholesome meal for those who are looking to have a little of everything.

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(Sticky Date Pudding)

To end the meal, we shared a Sticky Date Pudding which comes served with a scoop of Vanilla ice-cream. While it somehow was not as fibrous as expected, the dessert still puts a good end to the meal; drenched in a decent amount of sweetness, the Sticky Date Pudding was soft and carried just enough sweetness and is well complimented with the scoop of Vanilla ice-cream served on the side.

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(Flat White)

Using the Obelisk blend sourced from Two Degrees North Coffee Co. (also the same folks behind The Populus Food & Coffee Co.), the Flat White, unfortunately, felt a little under-extracted, thus resulting in a lack of depth in the body though overall seemed rather decently executed apart from that. Probably a one-off issue with the calibration perhaps?

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Being a place run by a group of rather honest and young folks, The Playground Coffee is off a rather promising start. No doubt there are some misses with their food at the moment, but The Playground Coffee does offer the neighbourhood dishes on their menu that is usually found in a cafe nearer to town; it does seem to be a place that would be more refined as time passes with improved recipes and processes. It would probably also help if The Playground Coffee would be able to develop a signature item unique to themselves that would create their identity apart from being a cafe that serves the usual grub. A place with quite a potential given the lack of cafes in Jurong West and especially so near to the grounds of Nanyang Technological University, it would be interesting to see how The Playground Coffee would do in the future while improving on what it currently has to offer.

The Playground Coffee
Nanyang Community Centre
60 Jurong West Street 91
Singapore 649040

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