9² Coffee House & Bar: Affordable Mentaiko Otak Pizza & Squid Ink Mee Tai Mak Near Dhoby Ghaut MRT

Reminiscent of the 1980s to 1990s, 9² Coffee House & Bar is tucked away at Innotel Hotel, just three minutes walk away from Dhoby Ghaut MRT.

Formerly known as WTF (which might be easily confused with the pet cafe of the same name), the restaurant seems better renaming itself to 9², read as nine squared.

The restaurant is rather small and decorated with random pieces of display items and cartons of beer stored under the cabinets at the side.

If you’re planning on having a quieter meal during peak hours, be sure to make a reservation for seats indoor, or you will have to dine outside of the restaurant.

If you prefer it to be a little noisier, getting a seat outside is not that bad because you get to cheer on for your favourite team during the LIVE broadcast of English Premier League matches.

On top of the wide variety of drinks, local Archipelago Brewery’s draft beers were available too.

Choose from the nutty Irish Ale, crisp Bohemian Lager, malty Summer IPA and smooth Belgian Wit ($7.90 each for 330ml, and $14.90 each for 500ml, left to right), which went really well with all of the dishes that I’ve tried.

We tried the Deep Fried Pork Belly Rice Burger ($11.90), a supposedly “deconstructed” rice burger with crisp pork belly doused in honey mustard on a bed of oval-shaped rice.

I felt that the pickles and tomatoes did not mix well with the combination of the dish and the pork tasted a little too greasy for my liking.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the Mentaiko Pizza ($13.90) that was served on a wooden log platter.

A perfect dish to share with friends, the cheesy tortilla pizza came with a spread of otak (spicy fish paste), a wobbly onsen (half-boiled) egg, and lastly, drizzled with mentaiko (spicy pollock roe).

Although the taste of the spicy otak itself was pretty overpowering and I can’t really taste the mentaiko, the egg managed to neutralise the heat and bring out the flavours of the different elements.

Overall, it was a pretty delightful Singaporean-Japanese fusion dish.

Squid Ink “Mee Tai Mak” ($13.90) came in a generous portion and I was pretty surprised that the local “rat noodle” was used in such a hipster squid ink dish.

The toppings included fragrant Yakiniku pork, crunchy Tobiko (flying fish roe), spring onions and fried shallots.

I felt like it tasted a lot like a contemporary hawker dish that was filled with wok hei, which is a flavour distinctive to highly heated wok-fried Chinese dishes.

Also, make sure to check yourself in the mirror before leaving (unless you like wearing your teeth in pitch-black colour).

If you are looking for a place away from the peak hour crowds, this “hidden” place is a pretty good option to unwind over decent bites and drinks.

Since it’s located near Dhoby Ghaut MRT, I would say that the food is quite affordably priced and I would see myself returning for the tortilla pizza & squid ink mee tai mak.

Expected Damage: $15 – $25 per pax

9² Coffee House & Bar: 11 Penang Lane, 238485 Singapore | Opening Hours (Daily) 7am – 12am | Tel: 6545 4818 | Facebook

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