Living around the area, I have indeed tried most of the restaurants along Bukit Timah Road; Atlas Coffeehouse, KARA Cafe and Dessert Bar, My Cosy Corner to name a few. One of the places I kept going back to was a Thai restaurant named LeWu Cafe, mostly due to its affordable student menu for diners who came in school uniforms.
As I have since shed my JC uniform, I order from the regular menu. Despite being slightly pricier, LeWu Cafe does not have service charge or GST, which is much appreciated by my wallet.
Getting to LeWu Cafe is pretty convenient, as it’s a mere five minute walk from Botanic Gardens MRT. You’ll recognise it from the numerous plants surrounding the entrance, with a small entryway devoid of plants. It has tables that sit up to seven pax at the alfresco area, while seats upstairs cater to parties of eight or more.
It can get slightly hot, but the numerous fans placed around the cafe help to chase the heat away.
What I tried at LeWu Cafe
We started the meal with Mango Salad (S$8) which was vinegary and sweet. The raw red onions gave a slight spicy kick to the salad, but they were not overly spicy. Personally, it was one of the better mango salads I’ve tried in Singapore. It was topped with chilli padi, which I manoeuvred around to avoid my tongue getting burned.
The cashew nuts gave a nutty flavour to the Mango Salad and cut through the vinegary taste of the salad sauce.
Next, the Seafood Phad Thai (S$13) was slightly sweet, but still not as sweet as those found in Thailand as LeWu’s local version was more on the savoury side. However, as it took some time for me to take the pictures, the noodles ended up clumping together. Thankfully, with a squeeze of the lime, the noodles managed to eventually untangle themselves.
The noodles were chewy and well seasoned. When I used to come to LeWu Cafe frequently as a student, I would almost always get the Seafood Phad Thai as it was my favourite menu item here. Years down the road, I’m happy to state that this dish is still my favourite.
We got the staple Seafood Tom Yum Soup (S$8) which was hearty. It had a strong lemongrass taste, and was rich and creamy. It was also slightly milky which helped to quell the spiciness of the soup. Overall, it was brothy and my companion and I enjoyed it a lot.
The seafood within was also fresh and did not give the soup a fishy aftertaste at all. There were squid, fishballs, prawns and fish slices.
The Chicken Fried Rice (S$10) was a plate of standard fried rice, with a wok hei aftertaste that I was satisfied with. The rice was fried so well that the grains did not clump together, and it was still moist and not dry at all.
While the chicken meat was tender and soft, it was slightly bland and could do with a bit more seasoning.
To accompany Steamed Rice (S$1), we also ordered some assorted dishes.
Cashew Chicken (S$15) is a must-order at LeWu Cafe. Boneless chicken pieces were marinated in a tomato-base savoury sauce that tastes similar to kung pow chicken. They were fried well enough that even while being coated in the sauce, the chicken skin was still crispy and crunchy, and was appetising to eat.
It was not overly oily, and when biting into the bits of chicken skin, they were clean and did not release bursts of oil. It was served alongside an abundance of white onion and cashew nuts, which were delicious when eaten together with the chicken.
Stir Fried Vegetable (S$8) had a good assortment of vegetables, with kai lan, broccoli, carrots, baby corn, cabbage and mushrooms. It was fried with garlic and oyster sauce, and had generous bits of fried garlic to top it off.
The savoury sauce paired well with the slightly sweet vegetables, and was on the saltier side as it was meant to be eaten with rice.
To accompany our meal, we ordered the Iced Butterfly Pea Tea (S$2.50) and Young Coconut (S$4). The Young Coconut was sweet, and while the Iced Butterfly Pea Tea looked pretty, it tasted like sugar water so I would not recommend it.
Indeed, Lewu Cafe serves delicious Thai food that one does not need to travel to Thailand for. The dishes are tailored to suit Singaporeans’ taste buds, so it may not be as authentic as those found in Thailand, but to me, they were still delicious anyways.
Expected damage: S$15 – S$25 per pax
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Our Rating: 4 / 5
551 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 269692
551 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 269692