Kafe Samsa, Tanjong Pagar: “I never knew mushrooms could taste this good.”

In India, they are known as samosas, the Spanish call them empanadas, and locally, many of us recognise these snacks as epok-epokCommonly stuffed with minced meat or vegetables and baked in a traditional clay tandyr (tandoor), samsas are no fancy food.

They are fast and filling hot snacks steeped in deep Uzbekistan history and culture. Right here on our sunny island, sink your teeth into these beautiful golden brown parcels at Kafe Samsa, a hidden gem nestled within The Nomads located in Telok Ayer

Kafe Samsa 1

I kick-started my adventure along the Silk Road’s gastronomic trail on a sunny afternoon in a gorgeous tropical bar. With leaves hanging overhead and an entire wallpaper of pinks and greens, the area is an intimate and cosy space exuding modern tropical vibes. 

Kafe Samsa 2

Whilst The Nomads offers Central Asian cuisine reimagined with ingenious and modern little twists, Kafe Samsa’s menu is honest and simple. Its main focus: a variety of savoury and sweet samsas alongside a range of house-made jars of butter and jams.

What I tried

Kafe Samsa 3

I lost my power of speech from the mere sight of the golden-brown splendour placed in front of me. Warm, sensuous wafts of fragrance filled the air as the freshly baked parcels glimmered under the neon lights. 

Amongst the samsas I had, the Chicken Samsa (S$7) was the most succulent, yet delicate tasting. Wrapped within flaky and buttery puff pastry was a mountain of minced chicken bursting with juicy sweet flavours of caramelised onions.

Here, it was the tinge of spiciness from the use of The Nomad’s adjika spice that gave the samsa its distinct character—a noticeable tickle of heat that’s not enough to break a sweat. Of the five samsas Kafe Samsa has to offer, think of the Chicken Samsa as the fiery little sister, that defiant one who everyone pampers and loves.

Packed with big, bold flavours was the Lamb Samsa (S$8), the odd-ball of the family with a strong character whom you will fall head over heels only when you learn to appreciate its beauty.

Kafe Samsa’s Lamb Samsa pays homage to the traditional spices used in the Central Asia region with its signature house-blend of aromatics. Balancing the natural gaminess of the meat were the strong herbaceous flavours of cumin and pepper—hearty and very authentic.

Compared to the Chicken and Lamb Samsa, the Beef Samsa (S$8) was so moist that the minced Australian wagyu was almost bursting from the thin layer of pastry at the bottom. Thankfully, the outermost surface remained crisp, resulting in a wonderful contrast of crunchiness and juiciness in each bite. 

Easily my favourite, the Beef Samsa is a reliable and never-wrong option here at Kafe Samsa. My only request is for more filling to be added into these gorgeous pockets—pack it with meat, the more the better. 

Mushroom & Lentil Samsa (S$7) is a meat-free option specially curated to cater to those looking for a vegetarian bite. Prepared using king oyster mushroom together with a mix of lentils, this was a umami bomb filled with morsels of earthiness.

Here, the meaty chunks of mushrooms caught me by surprise. Its taste and texture reminded me so much of real meat, I found myself subconsciously questioning the dish I was savouring. I never knew mushrooms could taste so good, especially when they’re seasoned to perfection. 

My love for bread made it difficult to hold back from The Nomad’s Naan With Butter Of The Day (S$16). A secret recipe of The Nomads, this traditional Kazakhstan-style bread is fermented with yoghurt to produce an irresistible intensity which lovers of sourdough will surely appreciate. 

For a savoury treat, choose from their house-made Aged Spiced Wagyu Hunter’s Butter (S$20 per jar) or the Seaweed Gatherer’s Butter (S$20 per jar). Otherwise, the Roasted Dates Jam (S$8 per jar) and the Coriander Spiced Strawberry Jam (S$8 per jar) also makes for delectable sweet options to go with Kafe Samsa’s naan or any other bread or pancakes of your choice.

Final thoughts

As I dive deeper into the world of food and the more I expose myself to the gastronomical foray of different cuisines, it becomes apparent to me that food need not be fanciful to capture a diner’s heart. 

Kafe Samsa is one classic example of an eatery that does not require the use of extravagant ingredients or flamboyant plating skills to impress. After all, it ultimately boils down to the taste and authenticity of their samsas to seal the deal. This alone is enough to warrant my regular visits and undying support. 

Expected Damage: S$7 – S$20 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Kafe Samsa

70 Telok Ayer Street, #01-01, Singapore 048462

Our Rating 4/5

Kafe Samsa

70 Telok Ayer Street, #01-01, Singapore 048462

Telephone: +65 6977 7057
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30m & 6pm - 10.30pm (Tue to Sat), Closed on Sun & Mon
Telephone: +65 6977 7057

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 2.30m & 6pm - 10.30pm (Tue to Sat), Closed on Sun & Mon
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