Weets Eats: Curious Palette's new menu will pique your interest
While Curious Palette has been a reliable place for coffee, now it has great food too.
Chef Desmond Shen worked with the kitchen and Curious Palette's co-founder and decorated barista champion Ryan Kieran Tan (the reason for the coffee) to come up with an eclectic menu that appears simple but is really loaded.
The plating of the dishes was inconsistent though. Some of it was artful, others rustic.
Perhaps the move is in tandem with the cafe's menu and casual vibe, and while I was confused, it did not distract from my overall enjoyment.
From the updated menu, one of my favourites is the Prawn, Mentaiko Belacan Pasta ($18.90).
The belacan part was not as aggressive as it could have been. Instead of heat, the paste perfumed the dish alluringly.
The pasta was soaked in a sauce made with prawn and shallot oil, butter and belacan.
Let it sit for a while to really get the flavours all in, although it may turn a tad greasy.
Another dish I liked was the Slow-Cooked Short Rib, Burnt Soy ($29.90).
The short ribs have a nice fat to meat ratio, which means you get an even distribution of textures.
The sauce comes across as sweet, but not overly so.
You can wrap it in lettuce to eat it. It was messy, but it is always fun to eat with your bare hands.
A vegetarian option is the Sugarloaf Cabbage, Seaweed Butter ($12.90), which was satisfying and a meal in itself.
The sprinkling of toasted nuts, seeds and buckwheat gave it crunch, with umami from a creamy emulsion of butter and seaweed, and you break the poached egg to tie it up.
Don't think a vegetarian dish won't fill you up because this does.
While I am mostly impressed by the new menu, the Skate Katsu Sando ($17.90) was the rare fail.
It is meant as a take on the classical Japanese sandwich, with skate that is brined in dashi. It is paired with a green sambal and served with a salad with yuzukosho dressing.
The reality was not pretty though.
The sauce soaked through the bread, so it turned into a soggy, dripping nightmare, while the fish was chewy and flavourless.
After so many polished dishes, that felt out of place. It will probably need a dense bread and a touch more seasoning to match the others.
Fortunately, the meal ended well thanks to the dessert Kaya, Coffee Butter ($9.50).
Who doesn't love kaya toast? Especially when paired with a soft-boiled egg.
And since Curious Palette is famous for its coffee, it is a clever idea to incorporate it into this. I was impressed by the espresso shoyu used in the egg and the slice of coffee butter.
The gula melaka kaya is good, but I've had better.
64 Prinsep Street
Opens Wednesdays to Mondays, 9am to 10pm