“Comfy, home setting”
I’ve heard my friends rave about the secret cafe stretch at Jalan Riang, and am ashamed that I’ve been staying in the Serangoon area for 27 years without ever visiting. One fine sunny day, I took a 15 minutes walk to this road from my home, deep within the foliage of terrace houses to find this magical place. Was snooping around the mostly Melbourne-ish inspired cafes and bistro, then finally was drawn into Wimbly Lu. They had a brunch menu with scrambled eggs, so that won me over.
Wimbly Lu looked packed and there was a 7 pax before us. Waited about 8 minutes and got seated inside. The cafe has very pleasing decorum, refurbished from an old shop house with the original wall stripped off it’s wallpaper to reveal the brick foundation. Grand displays of the chocolates and cakes, which they are known for. Inside, there was a huge light-well glass ceiling that let in plenty of natural sunlight and a little courtyard, which is why just stepping inside Wimbly Lu makes you feel like a happy unicorn at home.
They had many young waitresses, and one middle-aged aunty that supervises everyone like a nanny. I liked that homely feel. We waved for a waitress, who came over to take our order. With an iPhone. Till this point, everything seemed very rustic and homey, but whipping out an iPhone to take an order seemed hardly necessary and pretentious; you could walk to the kitchen to place your order chit from anywhere in the cafe within 10 seconds. Small details.
I ordered the Grand Slam ($15), which had chipolata sausages, bacon, grilled tomato, hash brown, scrambled eggs, walnut bread and a small glass of fresh orange juice. I love meals with variety. The scrambled eggs were of a consistency between egg mayo and half-boiled eggs. Cream and butter was mixed it of course, for that fluffy finish. I loved it.
Toasted walnut bread deserves a thumbs up too, but I’m not sure whether they actually made their own bread or bought it from somewhere. No doubt, everything else on the plate like the sausages were ready bought from supplier and not much work had to be done. It’s a simple dish though, and it’s complicated getting everything assembled at the same time and temperature.
My date ordered the Cottage Pie ($12), which she liked. I forgot to take a photo of it before she dived at it like a piranha seeing blood, so excuse the lack of photo. Personally I didn’t like 2 things about the Cottage pie: 1) they used frozen vegetable mix in the meat sauce 2) there was very little meat. Mostly it was potato and vegetable mix (carrot, corn, peas). My guess is that even the potato was instant mash, blended too evenly with lack of chunky starch from real potatoes. Very little effort in making ingredients from scratch.
For dessert, we ordered the Eton Mess ($5) and molten lava cake ($6). The uncommon Eton Mess is a English dessert mix of berries, meringue and cream. This time, unlike the mash, I’m 100% sure the berries were opened from a can. Very sweet and tastes of preservatives. The cream meringue although home-whipped, lacked sufficient fat and milk solids from a poor quality whipping cream. Blech.
The chocolate lava cake, made without flour, was also as exciting as finding out your favourite pet turtle died. The chocolate just tasted really sweet and lacked dark/bitter cocoa flavour, while the cake base just tasted like instant cake mix.
I have to say, I’m very surprised that even though Wimbly Lu is supposedly known for chocolates and cakes, they have not managed to impress me with their desserts. The Waffles with double scoop ice cream ($10.50) had a decent crispy waffle base, but the home made ice cream fell a little flat – not rich or creamy, lacking in density. We tried the rum and raisin as well as the honey and cinnamon which weren’t as flavourful as many other comparable cafes.
There is still good hype going for Wimbly Lu, with a lot of fairly affluent youngsters and yuppies from the surrounding private estates patronizing. They hit the right location, and spent adequate amounts of money on creating a soothing, warm ambience.
This is a prime example where good food is not the utmost criteria to attracting business. With good location/ambience/service, you can still have a viable F&B business. I would however, highly recommend they improve the quality of their menu because hype will eventually run out, and that’s where the fundamentals of a food business will be tested.
Wimbly Lu: 15 Jalan Riang Singapore 358987 | Website