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  • Trendy Singaporean cafe in a Xintiandi mall. What to expect...?

    Expensive? Check, somewhat. (Bill for two for workday lunch was 280 with no drinks or dessert) 

    Popular? Check Check. Had to have workday lunch, because the weekend featured a 90-minute wait (!)

    Great laksa? Perhaps surprisingly, also check

    I don't know why I thought it wouldn't be good. Maybe because the menu is 80% Western food with only a smattering of Asian cuisine? Maybe because it looks like the kind of place where the attention to the instagrammability of the decor would take precendence over the cuisine? Maybe because I'm biased against trendy cafes that wealthy Shanghai twenty-somethings are willing to line up for over an hour to nibble on 60 RMB cake while zoning out on their phones? 

    Well no matter, because the food was good, and the portions were large. We ordered truffle oil fries, pumpkin soup, prawn + crab laksa, and chicken salad. In order: 

    Truffle oil fries: Huge serving, very strong truffle oil flavor, very tasty, but flavors didn't match anything else we ordered (our mistake). Just be aware this dish is huge, and the truffle oil isn't a good partner for everything else. 

    Pumpkin soup:Not very good...pumpkin flavor was weak, not very sweet, and the other flavors in the dish (ginger, coriander) seemed confused and at odds with each other. Fortunately it was inexpensive (38 RMB). Suggest avoiding. 

    Laksa: Standout of the meal. Fairly pricey for a bowl of noodles, at 98 CNY, but with generous portions of crab meat and authentic, rich Singaporean/Malaysia flavor, it's difficult to complain. 

    Samsui Chicken salad: Was fine, could have used more dressing. It seemed like the last few bites were much better than the first few, because the dressing had finally totally coated the lettuce and other salad parts. 78 CNY ind of epensive for what it was.

    Overall, 4/5, because there were some hits but also some misses. I'd definitely return for the laksa - this is the best I've had in Shanghai thus far. 

    The decor is worth a mention - black and white, very trendy. A commenter on Bon App said it looked exactly like the Raffles Hotel in Singapore...maybe that's the aesthetic they were going for? 

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SmartReviews is SmartShanghai’s crack squad of amateur reviewers, eating their way around the city and writing about it. They have been chosen from a large pool of applicants and given a set of strict guidelines to follow to make sure their reviews are honest, informed and fair to both potential customers and the restaurants themselves.