Strangers’ Reunion, one of the longer standing hipster cafes in Singapore was opened by three-time Singapore National Barista Champion, Ryan Kieran Tan in 2012 and it had since then maintained a strong caliber with its reputable specialty coffee and food. Having heard of this highly raved locale which by no means a stranger to most, I had made a visit there previously which left me a lasting impression and an urge to return again.
The cafe was closed for three weeks due to renovation, and last week with great anticipation, we headed back to check out the newly refurbished place with their revamped menu which now offers newer and more exciting additions. Situated along Kampong Bahru road amidst the stretch of shophouses, it is of a short walkable distance from Outram mrt, albeit not the most convenient location. The new look of the place turned out great, if not much better than before, bearing somewhat similarities to its sister cafe at Princep Street (Curious Palette) – Stepping in, we were greeted with friendly staff, a warm welcoming Melbourne-style interior, wooden furniture, comfy cushions, and grey concrete walls and floorings that injected a chic industrial-like element to the laid-back space. That instagrammable couch corner near the entrance (Picture below) is a further accentuation to the cozy ambience. I, for one, could plunk myself right down on that comfortable plush seat and make it my all-day work space while sipping on coffee.
Along with its extensive revamp, the newly launched menu includes a variety of mouthwatering dishes like their Aburi Mentaiko Spaghetti (which unfortunately lands in the dinner section while we were there for brunch). There is also a selection of healthy ‘superfoods’ desserts like their acai smoothie bowls to appeal to the health-conscious as well.
Famed for their buttermilk waffles, I opted for the matcha azuki waffles this time round instead. It boasts a perfectly crispy exterior and fluffy insides, with a fine bittersweet hint of green tea in between bites. Pair that with a scoop of smooth, fragrant vanilla ice cream, sweet azuki beans and slightly sourish juicy orange slices scattered on top, it was an alluring combination that balances the overall taste of the dish and extremely pleasant to the palate. Although I have yet to taste enough matcha waffles in the world to judge, but I was sold by their version of this wondrous creation. So go on, give this a try if you’re a matcha fan too. I implore you. Another signature is the Salmon & Kale from their brunch menu, which consists of a pan-seared salmon served under a bed of organic kale with japanese red seaweed, togarashi croutons, and poached eggs with hollandaise sauce and ikura. Not a fan of ‘unheated/raw vegetables’ for brunch, the bf was quite skeptical about this dish. However, the kale was surprisingly good with a non bitter taste and an addictive chewy texture, while the salmon was decent with a sweet crispy outer skin. The highlight of the dish would be the pair of poached eggs which burst in an outrageously glorious yellow with a tiny poke, generous creamy yolk soaking up all the other components on the plate that might have seemed a tad uninvolved on their own. To add on – creamy from the hollandaise with a hint of saltiness from the ikura, the eggs were refeshingly light on the taste bud too. It was a combination that works well in harmonious fusion of different textures and tastes, making the overall dish exceedingly palatable. For sides, we had their Spam fries. Essentially a bowl of thick fried sticks of luncheon meat which was neither crunchy, soggy nor oily. Instead, it boasts a satisfying firm bite to it. Taste-wise was decent but nothing to shout about or out of the ordinary apart from the idea of using spam meat cut into strips instead of the normal fries. The lime mayo was served on the side for dipping, which I presumed might help in packing some stronger flavours to the otherwise bland fried meat sticks. But well, it was lime mayo. Sour on top of sour, which resulted in the overall taste of the spam fries to become overwhelmingly sour. I faltered. If only the sourness could be toned down, swap for an aromatic truffle mayo or something like that along the line, that would instantly elevate its place in my heart HAHA. With that said, you could also order additional dips such as the truffled aioli, but at an extra cost of a few dollars.
I’m pretty sure those tempting-looking cakes such as the salted egg matcha and the hazelnut hojicha in the dessert counter were calling out to me. Softly, luring me in a tacit persuasion with spellbind promises of both aesthetics and lip-smacking goodness. Pity for the lack of stomach space, I would definitely order those next time I’m here.
The popularity of Strangers’ Reunion is very much evident with its unceasing surge of following over the years. One hour into opening on a sunday morning, and the place was already completely packed with jovial crowds as more and more people filed in for brunch. Overall, a hipster space that actually delivers rather than being all gimmicky and underwhelming. Now you know where to have your caffeine addiction fixed with a good cup of coffee, or a casual getup with your friends to chat over some delicious Melbourne-style food!
Hello, I am Qianwei.
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