Since my very first visit at the beginning of this year, I’ve been of the opinion that the mentaiko fries at Daizu Cafe cannot be beat. Located along the quieter streets a stone’s throw from Farrer Park MRT, this cafe boasts a neutral colour palette with minimal wood furnishings and cream accents.
As pretty as the cafe is, what’s worth the visit is their crispy shoestring fries topped with creamy streaks of mentaiko torched to perfection. Served with slightly smoky bonito flakes, you’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere that can wow you further. Or at least, the only eatery that outdid Daizu Cafe’s mentaiko fries is themselves.
Joining their new menu additions is the Shichimi Mentaiko Fries (S$13), the upgrade from their original Mentaiko Fries (S$12) that nobody knows they needed, but was happy with anyway. It’s definitely not going to have you running for a cup of milk, but there’s something about the spicy flavour profile and the creaminess of the mentaiko sauce—it’ll make you feel like there are fireworks erupting behind you even as you reach for another fry.
The portion is generous though it gets jelak pretty quick, and you’d surely fare better against this mammoth plate of fries if it’s split with a friend.
Daizu Cafe’s new menu also made way for a classic American favourite, the Philly Cheesesteak Roll (S$18). It’s pretty self-explanatory and what can go wrong with thinly sliced beef shabu drenched underneath golden cheddar cheese sauce? The answer is none, though my only gripe about this dish is that it’s messy. I ended up eating the Philly Cheesesteak Roll with cutlery, which defeated the purpose of eating any rendition of a sandwich: with my hands.
I feel like the next one deserves a whole review on its own because I could wax poetic about Daizu Cafe’s Steak and Scrambled (S$26) for a good five minutes. We’re talking about tender strips of perfectly rare pan-seared striploin, fluffy scrambled eggs, and a potato salad so creamy and flavourful that this would’ve gone on Vera’s Chef’s Kiss Award list pronto.
It’s an affordable way to get a steak that won’t leave you disappointed and trust me, if I could have this for every meal, I would accept with great gusto.
But of course, the winner of my award equivalent, i.e. the one I’ve saved for the last, is the Unagi Kabayaki (S$22). I’ll be honest, I’ve never really been the biggest unagi stan because of one fateful incident involving a piece of unagi that had lost its freshness, resulting in a pungent fishy taste that turned me off forever, but you’re welcome to call me a convert right now. This boasted of a smooth texture and coupled with its melt-in-your-mouth smokiness, was a definite win in my book.
I’ve tried Daizu Cafe’s menu offerings on two counts, but it’s suffice to say that their newer items are worth travelling down for, especially if you’re a seasoned cafe hopper, and even if you’re not.
Expected damage: S$18 – S$26 per pax
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