Marie’s Lapis Cafe: Hidden gem serving mee siam, buah keluak spaghetti & lapis waffles by Peranakan family

Marie’s Lapis Cafe is a place one of our readers wrote in to recommend and I’m so glad that I decided to give it a try. Situated in the tranquil neighbourhood of Bedok North Street 3, this hidden gem originally began as a home-based business in 2018, specialising in their renowned kueh lapis.

marie's lapis cafe - entrance

The name ‘Marie’ belongs to the 80-year-old owner, who, along with her son Chris, established this cafe on 11 Nov 2020.

marie's lapis cafe - interior

From time to time, her image lights up the TV screen within the eatery, adorned in a Nyonya kebaya and exuding the most radiant smile I’ve ever seen.

Chris shared with me that his mum peels onions at night while watching TV. She prepares the ngoh hiang, makes all the rempah (spice pastes) for the dishes and even bakes the traditional kueh lapis for the cafe. It’s no wonder Chris affectionately refers to her as 80 years young!

marie's lapis cafe - interior decor

Before the food arrived, I felt exceptionally welcomed and at ease, thanks to the outstanding service provided by Chris and his cousin, Corinne.

Do you know what’s the funny part? There’s no GST or service charge here, and yet the level of service surpasses that of other establishments that impose such fees, making it all the more impressive. The kitchen also doesn’t use pork or lard in their food.

What I tried at Marie’s Lapis Cafe

marie's lapis cafe - buah keluak mee tai mak

For those familiar with my cooking style or viewers of my series ‘The Office Chef,’ you’ll notice my penchant for fusion cuisine. So naturally, I was drawn to the Buah Keluak Spaghetti (S$18). I asked Chris if I could substitute the spaghetti with mee tai mak, and he graciously accepted my request.

Accompanying the strands of ‘rat tails‘ were a couple of scallops and 3 plump prawns.

marie's lapis cafe - mee tai mak closeup

For those who have yet to discover buah keluak, I must say it’s an acquired taste. I vividly recall disliking it during my initial encounter with the ingredient, but with each subsequent try, I found myself developing an appreciation for it.

The mee tai mak was generously enveloped in the rich, dark sauce. The flavour? Exquisitely balanced, with the distinctive taste of the Nyonya nut stealing the limelight.

marie's lapis cafe - seafod closeup

If there was an award for impeccably-cooked seafood, I would gladly present it to the chef in the kitchen. The prawns and scallops were firm and succulent, making them the ideal companions in the dish which complemented the slightly chewy mee tai mak.

I was impressed by the first plate; I had to see if the others would shine too.

marie's lapis cafe - nasi campur

The Homemade Nasi Campur (S$18) arrived with a vibrant medley of colours: blue pea rice resembling the sky, fiery-red sambal prawns, a yellow omelette, and a mix of brown, black, and yellow hues from the chap chye and ngoh hiang.

marie's lapis cafe - nasi campur rice closeup

First impressions, the individual rice grains showcased an aesthetically-pleasing blend of white, blue, and dark blue tones. My tastebuds were met with a wave of aromatic fragrance as I took my first mouthful.

marie's lapis cafe - nasi campur prawn closeup

The sambal prawns were drenched in a viscous sambal. It turned out to be less intimidating than it looked, delivering a punch of spice gradually. The prawns were bouncy and possessed a perfect texture, similar to the ones we had in the previous dish.

Pangi Nut: Peranakan-inspired Western dishes by ex-chef with buah keluak chicken chop & rendang pasta

marie's lapis cafe - chap chye closeup

The chap chye was a lovely mix of cabbage, mushrooms, black fungus, dried bean curd strips and the knotted lily buds. I had just 1 word to describe it; flawless. It was a carbon copy of my Peranakan grandmother’s cooking, instantly evoking childhood memories.

marie's lapis cafe - ngoh hiang

The 2 pieces of ngoh hiang had a paper-thin crisp skin that encompassed a delightful meat filling within. With each bite, I unearthed hidden treasures of water chestnut chunks, bestowing a satisfying crunch to the overall texture— good work, aunty Marie!

marie's lapis cafe - achar

Don’t miss out on asking for the achar and sambal belacan— they  make for the perfect condiments to go with your food. The achar was well-balanced and provided a shiok acidity to my plate of Homemade Nasi Campur.

marie's lapis cafe - mee siam

Last but not least, we were served the Tok Kong Mee Siam (S$14). It consisted of bee hoon soaked in gravy and crowned with luscious peeled prawns, halved hard-boiled egg, and tau pok cubes, then garnished with chives and a calamansi.

marie's lapis cafe - mee siam spritzing

I drizzled the golden drops from the calamansi onto the plate of mee siam and mixed all the components together.

marie's lapis cafe - mee siam closeup

The delicate strands of bee hoon had absorbed the rich gravy, resulting in a harmonious collaboration that infused the dish with a medley of sweet, sour, spicy, and umami notes; exquisitely balanced in flavour.

marie's lapis cafe - mee siam prawn

The dried shrimp in the gravy provided a pleasing textural contrast, while the subtle spiciness from the chives mellowed down the richness. Of course, the peeled prawns continued to be a standout, and the boiled egg and tau pok formed a flawless partnership with the noodles.

marie's lapis cafe - ice cream waffles

After having all the delectable savoury dishes, our cravings for something sweet led us to order the Lapis Waffle Set (S$12). This delightful ensemble included 2 scoops of gelato and sauce. We settled on the Orh Nee and Ondeh Ondeh from a selection of 9 flavours, complemented by a side of Gula Melaka sauce.

marie's lapis cafe - closeup of waffles

The waffle had an intriguing taste of kueh lapis which tasted a little different from the usual buttermilk ones that I’m accustomed to. While I appreciated its unique taste, I couldn’t help but find the texture a little too dense. If the waffle had been fluffier, it would have been just perfect!

marie's lapis cafe - closeup of ice cream

The Orh Nee gelato presented pleasant yam undertones while the Ondeh Ondeh  exuded a fragrant pandan essence, enhanced by the delightful surprise of brown sugar jelly bits.

Both gelatos boasted a sticky, mochi-like texture that added to their appeal. The decision to use  Gula Melaka syrup was spot-on, as it harmonised so well with both flavours, elevating the overall experience— a great end to the meal.

Final thoughts

marie's lapis cafe - overview

Chris conveys that his mother’s aspiration for Marie’s Lapis Cafe is to make every visitor feel as though they are being welcomed into their own home for a meal— a goal they have undeniably achieved with great success.

The cafe also offers various Nyonya kueh on the weekends and they’ll be opening a second outlet at Raffles Place real soon. Do keep an eye on their socials for updates.

Expected damage: S$14 – S$20 per pax

Order Delivery: foodpanda Deliveroo

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Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

Marie's Lapis Cafe

537 Bedok North Street 3, #01-575, Singapore 460537

Price
Our Rating 4.5/5

Marie's Lapis Cafe

537 Bedok North Street 3, #01-575, Singapore 460537

Telephone: +65 6970 8556
Operating Hours: 10am - 10pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
Telephone: +65 6970 8556

Operating Hours: 10am - 10pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
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