When I think of “Indulge”, an immediate thought of excessiveness hits the mind. But when it comes to Cafe Indulge, the definition tweaks a little, and in a moment of epiphany, excessiveness is in name only and that sometimes it is good to keep coming back for more.
In today’s lunch, there are a total of 7 dishes to be presented. 3 of which are going to be featured in the new menu that Cafe Indulge is producing. The cuisine style and focus of Chef Kelvin Chua is along the lines of Italian/European with the Midas touch for local flavours that while refreshingly new is so surprisingly familiar and comforting.
Indulgence? Let it begin.
The Salmon Avocado (tasting portion) was naturally clear and crisp in taste with a subtle creaminess from the avocado. Pairing the sashimi together with the fruit forms a delicate balance in textures with one being meaty and chewy while the other simply melts tenderly along.
The dressing of Wasabi, Sesame Oil and Lemon Juice would have added a light sparkle to the flavours of the dish if it was not masked by the heaviness of the avocado upon each bite. Still, it was a good dressing that brought out the distinct yet refreshing smooth tastes of the salmon.
Next up, Crispy Prawns (4pc-$7.90/8pc-$12.90) was served up to me in a glass. The pieces, coated with a luscious thin batter and deep fried, were glazed with a light textured mayonnaise that hints of wasabi together and topped with a sprinkle of sunflower seeds.
Very meaty, and a familiar dish that would be attractive for many. I must admit that the crispy battered prawns always go well with mayonnaise.
This is a creation of Kelvin that left me impressed. Herb Infused Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar ($10.90). The whiff of acidity from the balsamic vinegar when first served creates an immediate tingling in the appetite that leaves anyone curious to know what this dish would be like.
But the more important part of the dish is the Chicken itself. A skin so crispy and well created, this was like a chicken “roasted pork”. Dip each slice into the balsamic vinegar, and the final taste would be a savoury blend from the juices of the chicken, mixed with a slightly sweet sour base from the sauce and then textured with a well deserved crunch and meaty bite from the chicken.
For the new menu, Kelvin is presenting a new creation. Laksa Pesto Lobster Pasta. I call this LPLP. Very rich in herbs and spices, the hotness level of the pasta sauce well created and the creaminess done just right with a decent amount of thickness, it would perhaps put even laksa itself to shame.
I enjoyed the way in which Italian cuisine forms a beautiful marriage with Peranakan culture in this dish. An excellent dish that after each bite, a spicy and slightly hot aftertaste lingers that simply spells m-o-u-t-h-w-a-t-e-r-i-n-g.
When it comes to cream based pasta, it is only second on my list with the first being clear based. Still, I enjoyed the Roasted Chicken with Char Siew Sauce and Wasabi Pasta that is also part of the new menu.
The blackened chicken on the top gives a distinct smoky slightly bitter aroma that complements well with the sweet char siew sauce that is glazed and marinated on and into the meat. No pork is used in this case.
The wasabi sauce is very mild in hotness and it forms a complex fusion of flavours with the sweet savoury char siew sauce. It coats the pasta just right that comfort food has become redefined. While I have many praises for this dish, I just felt that the chicken might have sat in the marinade for a little too long as the salty flavours started developing which was a tad too much in the overall scheme of tastebuds and flavours.
This is what Kelvin deems as his next upcoming masterpiece to present the 5th element of taste – umami. Beyond, sweet, sour, bitter and salty, this creation of Black Pepper Vongole Pasta simply made me salivate on the first bite.
Maybe I am like a kid when given a lollipop, but this is one dish that was delightfully delectable for me. The smooth sea fresh taste from the clams when simmered in the white wine complements very well with the rough jarring tastes from the pepper creating a medley of spicy savouriness that leaves a rounded sense of sweetness at the end.
The final pasta dish for the day is the Grilled Sirloin Aglio Olio ($12.90). The Aglio Olio at Cafe Indulge comes with a very generous serving of chopped garlic, chilli padi, herbs and dried chilli flakes that form a beautiful blend with the al-dente noodles.
Its serving with the sirloin actually creates a thicker oil base for the noodles and a flavour of pepperish spice is also introduced within. Strictly not what I would determine Aglio Olio, but it was a new way of presenting the traditional dish for me.
Ahh now I am dreaming of my own Aglio Olio with a good serving of extra virgin olive oil all around.
For a foodie hunt, Cafe Indulge is definitely a place to visit. Interesting takes on what would be Italian or European food is recreated here and styled with the essence of our own culture. The prices are also reasonable with a mix of average and moderate values. While the ambience might not be entirely sit-back-and-relax atmosphere, it is still cozy and engaging in the delights from the kitchen is still a charm.
From left. Kelvin Chua(chef/owner), Me, Joyce Chua, Yue Yang (my guest)
Many thanks to Joyce and Stacey for organizing this food tasting session, and Kelvin for hosting this meal with his skills and thoughtful creations.
2 Handy Road, B1-25/26
Tel : 6732 3952Opens :
Sunday – Thursday 12pm-10.30 pm
Friday, Sat, PH & Eve of PH 12pm-11.30pm
Website : http://cafe-indulge.com/
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/cafeindulge