Cafe Melba

Zara:

Another year is ending, and yet another is beginning. 2013 was tough, given that Elisa and I had major national exams that ended in November and also had to make major decisions regarding college applications and future courses of study. However, we pulled through it and we’re sure 2014 will be as awesome and enriching as this year was!
Now, I’m sure you guys have plans for New Year’s Eve! Be it a cozy gathering with family and friends, a crazy party with a million other people or a simple date with takeout pizza and your tv, we hope that you usher in the New Year with much optimism and joy 🙂 In Singapore, New Year’s Day itself is a public holiday, which gives us time to rest and recuperate from our previous night’s activities. If you’re looking for a great brunch place to satisfy those hunger pangs after waking up late on New Year’s Day, we have a suggestion for you!
The description on Cafe Melba‘s website is such:

“Bringing delicious food and beverages to the Mountbatten, Tanjong Rhu and Katong area, all set in the amazing environment of the recently opened Goodman Art’s Centre.

Great coffee, amazing wood fired thin crust pizza and homemade cafe favourites (better than my Mum used to make!).

Kid and Dog friendly with a big park for them both to run around in…what are you waiting for? Get off the couch and come and check us out!”

You know all the typical requirements for a good brunch place, such as a nice and welcoming atmosphere, mouthwatering food, great service etc etc? Cafe Melba meets nearly every one of those requirements and is now one of my favourite weekend brunch places that I would highly recommend everyone to try, especially those living in the East of Singapore, or anyone else willing to travel for some great food (given that it is slightly out of the way if you don’t drive).
Located in Goodman Arts Centre, it’s quite far away from the more busy streets in the Katong area, such as East Coast Road, and offers a quiet and peaceful environment away from the typically busy Singaporean life. Also, given that I went on a Sunday morning, the Arts Centre was not in use for the usual dance/theatre activities that are held during the day, which gave the place a sort of desolated feel when we drove in. However, the moment we stepped into the cafe, the cheery atmosphere immediately perked us up!
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There is both al fresco and indoor dining at the cafe, and I would highly recommend the al fresco dining as there is an adequate amount of shade and ventilation to ensure that it is not too humid or hot. After all, who wouldn’t want to have greenery to rest your eyes upon as you feast upon scrumptious delights?
There is a field or grassy area right in front of the hotel, which provides space for both dogs and children to play while waiting for their food or after finishing their meals, and allows parents to keep a close watch on their children at the same time.
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When I visited the cafe on a Sunday morning, thankfully the weather was cool and windy, and as a result most of the patrons chose to have their meals at the al fresco dining area.
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The indoor dining area is joined to the food preparation counter, as well as the kitchen and the oven, giving patrons a good view at how their food is being prepared and served. Delicious cakes and treats are also displayed in cute jars and containers on the counter, tempting you to order some dessert or snack after your meal.
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English Earl Grey Tea: traditional full-bodied and aromatic tea. I really liked the fact that actual tea leaves were used, as opposed to other eateries that might use a tea bag. Besides the Earl Grey Tea, they have quite an extensive selection of teas the compromise black teas, white teas, green teas and theine-free teas, which would be a perfect accompaniment to your breakfast/lunch/brunch meal, or for you to sip as you wait for your food to arrive.
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Coke float: Yet another item on their extensive beverage menu, the outstanding thing about this coke float was the vanilla ice-cream that was used in the beverage, which was creamy and very vanilla-ey (if that makes any sense)  
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Lasagne ($18):  beef bolognese, tomatoes, bechamél sauce, parmesan cheese. While the beef was tender and the portion served was extremely generous, the lasagna noodles itself were slightly too thick and doughey and the bechamél sauce tasted overpoweringly of tomatoes. The sauce was also surprisingly sweet, instead of the typical subtle sweetness that we have come to associate with lasagnas. Perhaps the thick layer of cheese on top of the lasagna is meant to counteract the sweetness of the sauce?
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Penne Carbonara ($21): home-cured bacon, parmesan cheese, mushroom and parma ham. This dish more than made up for the failings of the lasagna. The penne was cooked al dente, retaining some of its bite yet being soft enough to soak up the cream sauce; the parma ham and home-cooked bacon added the right amount of saltiness to the dish while the mushrooms were succulent and juicy. If we had to give one suggestion for improvement, it would be that the dish was slightly too salty, although that is to be expected with both ham and bacon in the dish.
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Truffle Fries ($13): Shoestring fries drizzled with truffle oil. I have never eaten truffle fries that I have not liked, and this proved to be no exception as the fries were fried to a crisp and the truffle oil was drizzled adequately without being too overwhelming.
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Free Range Eggs Benedict ($23): poached eggs, toasted english muffins, home-cured bacon (that was replaced by smoked salmon for an addition $3), roasted cherry vine tomatoes, lemon hollandaise sauce. I’m a sucker for a good Eggs Ben, and this did not disappoint as the eggs were poached to perfection (look at how they ooze out after being cut)! While the hollandaise sauce was slightly too thick, the english muffins were toasted nicely and the smoked salmon provided a nice salty tang to the dish. All in all, a great dish, especially when the english muffins were the perfect vehicle to soak up all the egg yolk-ey goodness!
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Melba Beef Rendang ($19): beef in coconut milk, ginger and spices, served with shoe-string fries and pizza bread. While the beef was tender, the dish was rather dry and would have benefited from a tad bit more gravy. However, the pizza flatbread was lovely, whether to use to soak up the gravy or just eaten on its own, as it was doughey without being too dry, buttery without being too oily. Generally a good dish with aromatic spices and a subtle coconut taste in the gravy.
After all the food, we were wayyyy too stuffed to go for dessert, but I will be sure to order it next time as their desserts sound scrumptious, and they also have different Desserts of the day.
Do note that the brunch menu (which I had) is only available on weekends and public holidays, and also that the non-breakfast dishes such as the pasta and the rendang is only available after 11am on weekends and public holidays, while the breakfast dishes are available from opening time. The normal menu is very extensive in itself, although with less breakfast dishes. As such, do plan your meal times accordingly, depending on what you want to eat!
A great brunch place with delicious food and a great atmosphere, although service was slightly lacking as the staff were inattentive and unable to answer out queries at times. However, still a place that I would highly highly recommend for a visit!
Cafe Melba 
90 Goodman Road
Goodman Arts Centre, Block N #01-56
Singapore 439053
Tel: (65) 6440 6068
http://www.cafemelba.com.sg
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