Last Updated: December 24, 2015
As its name suggests, Chillax Cafe, situated right in the heart of Serangoon Gardens, is an unpretentious and down-to-earth cafe. It seems like a spiced up version of a kopitiam (traditional coffee shop), which felt really close to heart and familiar. The friendly ambiance of the cafe makes it incredibly easy for customers to simply walk in and immediately feel at ease and welcomed by the staff.
Also, since the towkay (boss) of the cafe is Darren Wee, an ex-radio DJ over at 98.7FM, there is bound to be endless excellent music playing in the background. There were countless times where I had to stop myself from singing along to the likes of Adele and Rihanna while sinking my teeth into the cafe’s hearty food.
Yes, I was that comfortable.
The cafe’s open-concept with no walls to partition sections of the eatery enables patrons to talk across the tables, perfect for large groups of friends who plan to hang out after having consumed their food. Inspired by the idea of chandeliers, the cafe opted for a humble version of the interior decor by simply stringing light-bulbs on cables and then hanging them on the ceiling. This perfectly captured the essence of the eatery – modest, affordable and without airs.
We started off with their Root Beer Chicken Wings ($14) which were marinated in A&W Root Beer for two whole days to achieve the perfect level of sweetness before being fried. Beside thoroughly infusing the meat with the classic flavor, the Root Beer also did a great job at tenderizing the mid-joints.
Even though I would have liked the wings to be slightly crispier, I’m sure Root Beer lovers will still be highly enthusiastic about this dish.
We then moved on to Salted Egg Mushrooms ($9). These were button mushrooms which were breaded, deep-fried and then finished off with salted egg sauce. The crunch I felt on my very first bite into the mushrooms deeply satisfied me and I was pleasantly surprised by how moist and succulent the mushrooms had remained.
The salted egg sauce was not in liquid form; it actually contained bits of salted egg which lent an interesting texture to the dish. I was left clamoring for more of the delicious sauce at the end of the dish.
The dish we had next is one of Chillax Cafe’s favorites, the Shabu Beef Poutine ($13) where crispy fries and beef slices were served with a generous amount of gravy made with pan jus from the beef slices and truffle oil.
The cafe also put their own twist on the French-Canadian dish by simply pouring the gravy over the fries instead of stir-frying them together. The gravy therefore seeps through the fries slowly, allowing customers to have a leisurely chat while enjoying the dish.
The beef slices, being of thin shabu-shabu quality, were fatty and really tender. They went well with the fries and the whole dish was unbelievably umami.
The Marmite Pork Burger ($17) is one of those burgers where it’s best greedily grabbed with both hands and then dug right in. On its own, the marmite-marinated minced pork patty is a tad on the salty side but it gets balanced with the sweetness of caramelized bananas and crunchy purple slaw.
The Marmite Pork Burger is available on the brunch menu, which is accessible exclusively on weekends and public holidays from 11am to 3pm.
Taking inspiration from the local kopitiam drinks store where Milo Dinosaur is popular, Chillax Cafe has decided to inject an element of adulthood into their Adult Milo Godzilla ($15). The mixture of milo with vodka on ice, topped with a mountain of milo powder is definitely not suitable for the young.
Even though this drink looks kid-friendly, it does pack a punch and is quite potent on its own. Vodka lovers should definitely give this a shot. The Adult Milo Godzilla is only available on their Brunch Menu.
And of course, what’s a brunch without eggs benedict? Chillax Cafe’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s ($16) features parma ham, yuzu hollandaise and eggs that are to die for. If you enjoy watching the yolk flow out of the egg and slowly trickle down the sides just like I do, you’ll be exceedingly pleased with what you’ll see right after poking your cutlery into the perfectly poached eggs. Mmm.
The hollandaise has been flavored with premium yuzu directly imported from Japan and its tanginess paired well with the saltiness of the parma ham. I would have loved for the toast to be slightly crispier as it was a little soggy. Then again, we probably left the eggs benedict sitting for too long because we were beyond stuffed at this point.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s definitely did not disappoint and it is available on their new brunch menu.
Overall, the Chillax Cafe is the perfect place to hang out with friends and relax over great food. With booster seats available, the cafe is also children-friendly; a great plus point for families with kids. The cafe prides itself on having solid bar bites and their food goes down really well alongside a couple of alcoholic drinks.
If you ever find yourself in the area and hungry at midnight, the cafe will be the place to go. They’re open till late everyday. Once again, their brunch menu is only available on weekends and public holidays from 11am to 3pm. Darren also has another restaurant called Babette that is worth a visit too.
Related Guide: Babette Restaurant Review
Expected Damage: $10 – $25/pax