Opened in 2015, this colourful Muslim-owned café in Little India serves Malay-fusion plates that 32-year-old owner Hafiz Alkhatib (below) dreamed up. Dishes like Roti Kirai Beef Ribs (soft lace pancakes aka roti jala served with tender beef ribs smothered in a rendang-like gravy) are born out of Alkhatib’s desire to marry western-style “gourmet food” with Malay makan.
His range of desserts are designed around the same theme: ang moh-style cakes in local flavours like ondeh-ondeh and (a very sweet) putu piring. The two-story space is livened up with lots of colour and a rustic-chic kampong look.
Teh Tarik Sticky Date Pudding, $13 (8 DAYS PICK!)
Some years ago, Alkhatib worked at PS. Café “in operations” and was involved in the opening of Chop Suey and PS. Café at Martin Road. Evidently, aside from the work experience, he also picked up the secrets of a good sticky date pudding there. The version here is lovely — the warm cake with the distinct flavour of dates is sticky yet light and set atop a lush pool of creamy earl grey sauce. It is topped with a scoop of teh tarik ice cream that gives it another dimension of flavour, reminiscent of Thai iced tea.
Classic Ondeh Ondeh Cake, $8.50
Think a denser version of pandan chiffon cake layered with cream and a carpet of crushed gula melaka. It also wears a coat of finely desiccated coconut. The textures of this creation are lovely — the cake itself is soft and fluffy with a mild pandan flavour, and the cream has a gentle butteriness — but the heavy hand with the gritty crushed gula melaka lining the layers renders it painfully sweet.
Durian Pengat Cake, $11.50
A durian lover’s dream. This vanilla cake is generously layered with Mao Shan Wang puree and cream, then crowned with durian pengat (durian flesh cooked with coconut milk and gula melaka). It all makes for a wonderfully indulgent treat — full-bodied, fresh and not too sweet.
Bottom line: Hip and creative cakes with robust Malay flavours — even if the sugar levels in some of them are toothache-inducing. $-$$
22 Dunlop St. S209350. Tel: 9002-4414. Open daily 11.30am-11pm. Last orders at 10pm. www.facebook.com/themalayacouncil