Last Updated: July 18, 2018
I’m sure we’re all familiar with the fashion label Benjamin Barker, many of us referring to it as “that atas menswear brand”.
Well, that atas menswear brand has now expanded into grounds that are hopefully more relatable to us all: dining.
Benjamin Barker Cafe has recently opened its doors on the first floor of Cineleisure Orchard, making it quite impossible to miss, considering it has its signboard in neon lights.
There’s an alternative entrance within the mall itself that resembles the storefront of European coffee shops with the little awning and brick walls. Super cute!
Taking a deeper look inside, you’ll find that the brand stays true to their style-centric roots, with a cosy and chic interior.
A clever play on words, this reference to the classic hymn makes for a great photo opportunity while you’re there.
And more photo walls — I’m starting to think this place was made for your Instagram stories about waking up to coffee on a Sunday morning.
But enough chit-chat about the space, let’s get down to what we’re really here for — the fare that’s quite the sight for sore eyes, and I find out of it’s just as yummy as it looks.
We were treated to these Salted Egg Yolk Calamari Rings ($12) that were tossed in salted egg yolk sauce and curry leaves.
You get the standard salted egg yolk business, but nothing too special, plus $12 does seem a little pricey for a couple of squid rings.
I’m a huge sucker for aglio olio dishes, but always wind up disappointed when I find that they lack the spiciness and garlicky goodness that I’m seeking.
The Chilli Lime Seafood Aglio ($17) sounded really promising though, and easily became one of my most anticipated dishes.
Did it live up to the hype I created in my mind? All I have to say is that the lime drizzle gave a weird citrusy kick to the dish, and not in a good way.
Lime works well in a lot of dishes, but pasta probably isn’t one of them — it almost felt like the food had gone bad, what an unfortunate twist.
The staff at Benjamin Barker Cafe introduced the Laksa Pizza ($22) as one of their signatures, and we were amused to find that the dish resembled a typical laksa dish down to the tiny details like quails eggs.
One of my colleagues even playfully commented that the only thing missing was having a few strands of laksa bee hoon topping the pizza.
It was unanimously agreed upon that this was the best dish of the night, with the creamy yet mildly spicy familiar flavours of laksa reinvented into a dough-centric form. The only gripe I had with this dish was that I wished it was bigger!
Another pasta dish that grabbed our attention was the Truffle Carbonara ($18), which consisted of linguine, mushrooms, bacon, truffle paste, sous vide egg and parmesan.
Sadly though, the truffle taste was rather elusive and it tasted more like a regular carbonara pasta dish. The bacon pieces did help to enhance the flavour profile of the dish, but $18 just for this is a little unjustified to me.
We heard that the Bom Chika Wow Wow Tribute ($18) was one of their signature burgers, ported over from the previous venture, B Burgers, so we just had to get a taste!
It came with a huge chunk of fried chicken, pear slaw, vintage cheese, fried egg and truffle paste. Albeit tender and juicy, the chicken-cutlet-to-hamburger-bun ratio was totally off as you can see, but I guess that’s not something to complain about.
We got our fries upgraded to Mentaiko Fries (additional $2.50). The Mentaiko sauce was pretty yummy too, so you might wanna give that top up some serious thought.
Barely able to stuff ourselves any further, we welcomed the concluding dish of the night — the Eggs Zoey ($16), which is available only on their brunch menu.
A feminine twist on the usual ‘Eggs Benedict’ (because equality for women, amirite?), the Eggs Zoey had an extra touch of smoked salmon.
Check out that perfectly poached egg! Well, I love both poached eggs and smoked salmon, but this was just too boring for me and lacked that extra pop to make a good dish, great.
Of course, what good are burgers and pasta if there isn’t beer to go with them?
Here at Benjamin Barker Cafe, they serve up two types of brews from Little Creatures: the Little Creatures Pale Ale ($10 for half pint, $16 for full pint) and the Little Creatures Dog Days ($10 for half pint, $16 for full pint).
As usual, Little Creatures doesn’t disappoint with their crisp and refreshing ales. I’d suggest going for the Dog Days if you want something fruitier, and the Pale Ale if you want that hoppy, malty finish.
The vibes at Benjamin Barker Cafe really put you in a good mood, but the food just appears to be cliche cafe-style food with the exception of the Laksa Pizza. Nonetheless, still, a great meeting point to chill over a pint of beer and Instagrammable eats.
Expected Damage: $16 – $34 per pax