Whenever I receive news of a new cafe opening in the neighbourhood, I feel a sense of comfort. Afterall, homebodies like myself will sometimes need a freshly brewed midday pick-me-up amid work from home; a cuppa that instant 3-in-1 can never satisfy.
To our readers living or working around Potong Pasir, this one is for you. Meet Kizuna, a relatively new establishment that opened its doors just shortly after Phase 2. Owners of this cafe might not be seasoned veterans but they are no greenhorn either.
Continuing their family legacy, the third-generation owners decided to reform their old family bakery—Shangri-La Confectionary and Delicatessen—into a cosy area in the neighbourhood with the aim of bringing people together, just like its name Kizuna, which means ‘Bond (between people)’ in Japanese.
Walk along the street leading to Potong Pasir Community Centre and you will easily spot Kizuna. The cafe’s exterior stood out like a sore thumb in between the old shophouses. Decked in used timber, the shopfront features white-framed windows, a takeaway counter and an extended ledge—an area specially designed for our furry friends and their owners.
Stepping into the eatery, I was immediately transported back to the comforts of home. The concrete washed wall and brick tile flooring exuded a sense of warmth alongside the cushioned bench and rattan stools. With rays of natural light spilling into the room, the entire cafe, if described in one word, is simply, homey.
Kizuna’s menu is slim, with its focus on sweets and coffee. The cafe occasionally brings in traditional treats sold that the old bakery and also offers lunch bowls on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays.
Thankfully my partner and I went on a Tuesday; that means we get to savour their lunch bowl which was the Japanese Pork Belly & Daikon Stew With Ajitsuke Eggs (S$11.90). I like the fact that Kizuna’s style of operation is casual and random. With no fixed menu for their lunch bowls, you will be introduced to a variety of new dishes every time you visit.
Complementing the vibe of the cafe, the Japanese Pork Belly & Daikon Stew with Ajitsuke Eggs was a congenial affair. There was nothing fancy just slices of simmered pork belly and cubes of beautifully stewed daikon resting on a bed of fluffy Japanese rice.
The bowl as a whole was packed with sweet-savoury notes attributed to the long hours of stewing. My favourite element was hands down the daikon. The dashi broth penetrated right into the core of the white and crunchy radishes, transforming them into soft parcels that were bursting with flavour.
As much as I enjoyed the feel of the fats from the pork belly melting into the roof of my mouth, the lean parts were slightly dry. After a while, I found myself craving for more of the dashi broth to soak the meat into.
Frankly speaking, I can easily wipe off the entire bowl with just the daikon and ajitsuke egg—that alone is enough to put a smile on my face.
The Mini Croissant Sandwich Set (S$7.80) is the only savoury staple on the Kizuna’s fixed menu. Made with the crispiest of caramelised pastry, the croissants I got were filled with Egg Mayo and Ham & Cheese respectively.
Both croissants were a delicious play of contrast between the moist fillings and the crisp vessel they are housed in. The fillings might not be those that will blow you away but they are certainly not bad either. Amongst the two, the Egg Mayo stood out with its rich and creamy texture. The tobiko (flying fish roe) topping added a layer of crunch resulting in little balls of surprises in between each bite.
Since I was told that Kizuna’s Banana Bread (S$4.80) is a crowd favourite, I decided to give it a try. Having baked a fair share of banana bread (simply because I love baking and the sweet scent of baked goods wafting down my hallway), I’ve come to know exactly what I look for in this one simple slice.
Just as I expected, Kizuna’s Banana Bread did not disappoint. It was moist, browned perfectly at its edges (always my favourite part!) and chock full of pure banana fragrance. It was good, but in my opinion, missed the mark of being great as it lacked the textural difference which I like; yes, I’m talking about those bigger clumps of banana hiding in between.
To me, the unexpected winner and must-try at Kizuna were their Tau Sar Piah (S$1.60 per piece). Foodies familiar with traditional pastries will know that these mung bean biscuits come in two varieties—-sweet and salty—and those sold at Kizuna are the sweet version.
Brought down from their now-defunct family bakery, the Tau Sar Piah was an item highly requested by regulars of Shangri-La Confectionary and Delicatessen. Handmade and served fresh daily, this particular treat was flaky on the outside, yet firm and hefty inside.
Just one slice into the centre and the biscuit broke to reveal its generous filling. Its buttery and subtly sweet taste juxtaposed to its light texture, a contradiction that I will embrace with open arms when it comes to pastries—traditional or not.
If you are in the area and looking for a nice, cosy place to hang out over a cup of coffee, Kizuna is where you should be. In fact, my dining partner made a return trip the next day with her dad for a meal of croissants and coffee!
Our Rating: 3 / 5
148 Potong Pasir Ave 1, Singapore 350148
148 Potong Pasir Ave 1, Singapore 350148