Carol Mel Cafe

July 19, 2015 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Carol Mel Cafe
1 Irving Place
#01-30 The Commerze @ Irving


http://www.carolmel.com/


The Best Waffle I've Ever Eaten

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 7
Ambience & Setting: 8
Food & Beverage: 7
Service: 7
Value for Money: 7
Spent about SGD $15 / $37 per person.


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A homely, cozy, tiny cafe in Tai Seng, Carol Mel Cafe opened its doors in October 2014. Named after its founders, Carol and Melissa, as well as being a play on 'Caramel', Carol Mel Cafe is patronised mostly by the lunch crowd around the Tai Seng industrial area. While they offer Malaysian Ipoh style main courses, they're actually more well known for Western style desserts, especially their confectioneries which are made in-house.

Ambience at Carol Mel Cafe is homely, as the small space lends a sense of cozy intimacy. The dark glass doors may look non-descript and unattractive, but inside is a different story! The bright lighting, colourful, quirky decor and posters, red brick wall, and modern furniture all add up to a relaxing atmosphere. Perfect for long, slow afternoons, though the place gets crowded quickly!

Service at Carol Mel Cafe is friendly and down-to-earth. Staff are welcoming, and often work both front, and back of house. As such, they're very knowledgable on the food and menu, able to describe how dishes are made. Orders are also fulfilled quickly, and I note that staff are observant enough to quickly clear empty / dirty tables when people leave.

Food at Carol Mel Cafe is mostly average. There is a small selection of main courses and sandwiches available, but most people visit for their handmade desserts, especially their cakes and waffles! Portions are decently sized for individuals, and prices are comparable to other cafes, budget about SGD $15 per person for a dessert with drinks, and about SGD $37 for a full meal here.


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The lively, quirky posters on the red brick wall lend a vibrancy to this cozy cafe, and the colours of wood and black are warm and relaxing.

Carol Mel Cafe Signage


Carol Mel Cafe Exterior


Carol Mel Cafe Interior


Carol Mel Cafe Operating Hours


Carol Mel Cafe Menu 2015


Carol Mel Cafe Menu 2015


Carol Mel Cafe Menu 2015


Carol Mel Cafe Menu 2015


Seating


Seating


Quirky Sign Create


Quirky Sign Texaco


Quirky Sign Popsicles



The house made Maple Popcorn (SGD $3.50) is sweet, light, and crunchy, not too cloying. Pretty good I think!

Maple Popcorn (SGD $3.50)



The Cafe French Vanilla (SGD $6.90) is decent, with the floral essence of vanilla present, yet isn't too sweet in taste. The coffee has a medium-light body. Pity about the poor latte art though.

Cafe French Vanilla (SGD $6.90)



A friend of a friend made the Whimsical Waffle (SGD $15) for us, even though it's no longer on the menu. The house made secret batter results in a buttermilk waffle that is crisp outside, fluffy inside, moist, and light, just so tasty! Topped with salted caramel gelato, banana slices, gooey cheese, torched marshmallows, strawberries, blueberries, coriander, and maple syrup. This hits all the right taste notes; sweet, salty, savoury, tart, zesty, tangy, and all the right textures; crunchy, crisp, soft, chewy, gooey, stringy, juicy. I daresay this is one of the best waffles I've ever eaten. This is now my gold standard for dessert waffles in Singapore! Highly recommended!

Whimsical Waffle (SGD $15)


Whimsical Waffle


Whimsical Waffle



The pretty and colourful Rainbow Cake (SGD $8.50) is nicely soft, moist, and fluffy, with a decent vanilla taste to the cake. However, what I like about this, is the creamy, smooth, cream cheese frosting, which adds a depth of flavour. Lovely.

Rainbow Cake (SGD $8.50)


Rainbow Cake



The Sambal Seafood Rice (SGD $12.90) features fluffy, soft mix of brown rice and white rice, topped with a nicely executed fried sunny side up egg. I like the sambal seafood itself, which has generous chunks of fresh fish fillets, baby octopus, and prawns! The sauce is slightly spicy, and more sweet than savoury, garnished with juicy cherry tomatoes and onions. Decent main course.

Sambal Seafood Rice (SGD $12.90)


Sambal Seafood Rice


Sambal Seafood Rice



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Update Nov-2016: The Carol Mel Cafe has really surprised me. I had pegged this as one of those gone with the wind places, thinking it would close within a few months of my last visit, owing to its lack of direction and lacklustre quality. I'm glad I was wrong.

It's more than 1 year on, and Carol Mel Cafe is still going strong. In fact, they've improved since my last visit, having expanded their menu. Ambience remains small, intimate, quirky, and cozy, though the smell of cooking now lingers in the air and sticks to your clothing. Service is better, staff are now more friendly and courteous, as knowledgeable as ever on the menu, though the waiting time for order fulfillment has now increased to about 15 minutes. Food remains tasty, the focus is still on dessert waffles, but they now offer a good variety of savoury items as well, spanning American, British, Italian, French, Japanese, and Modern Singaporean cuisine. Portions are still sized for individuals, but I find dishes to be more tasty and delicious now, though prices have largely stayed about the same. Budget about SGD $37 per person for a meal here.

Carol Mel Cafe Menu 2016


Carol Mel Cafe Menu 2016



For each order of the monthly specials, you have the option to top up SGD $5 for a soup or salad, and a drink. I got the Ice Lemon Tea and Mushroom Soup (SGD $5 Set). The Ice Lemon Tea is average, refreshing and sweet with a hint of sour. But the Mushroom Soup was outstanding, rich in taste, laced with French cream and herbs. Thick and creamy smooth in texture, with earthy sweet savoury flavour, the warm soup / broth has fine bits of mixed mushrooms (portobello, button, shimeji, bunapi / brown beech, and oyster). While I personally would have preferred chunkier bits of mushroom, there is no doubt this is delicious. Highly recommended!

Ice Lemon Tea (SGD $5 Set)


Mushroom Soup (SGD $5 Set)


Mushroom Soup



The United's French Onion Soup (SGD $12) is delicious, among the tastier versions around. Slight variation on the classic traditional French soup / broth, while the stewed soft caramelised onions retain a robust sweet savoury flavour, the difference is in the topping. A thickly sliced, crisp artisan white bread, topped with a duo of gooey melted cheese. Slightly porous, the bread soaks up the hearty warm soup / broth, yet is thick enough that it doesn't go soggy. The duo of melted cheese, a sharp cheddar and stringy mozzarella, lend a nice salty savoury layer of flavour. So good. Highly recommended!

United's French Onion Soup (SGD $12)


United's French Onion Soup



The Steak & Fries (SGD $26) is decent enough. The side dishes were outstanding; a bowl of piping hot, medium thick, crisp outside fluffy inside, fries dusted with paprika and herbs. Baby spinach leaves and carrots, while not the freshest as it's slightly old, is topped with a delicious creamy sesame wafu dressing that is so addictive in nutty salty flavour. The beef steak, a 200g New Zealand grass-fed ribeye cut, is slightly tender, requiring some effort to cut through, but with a nice, moist chew. A little over-seasoned for me, I felt it was too salty. Otherwise, this was pretty decent.

Steak & Fries (SGD $26)


Steak & Fries


Steak & Fries


Steak & Fries



The Rakuzen Cold Pasta (SGD $18) is a monthly (November 2016) special dish, recommended to me by Chef Andy. I'm glad I took his recommendation, because this Italian Japanese fusion pasta dish is one of the best tasting, most delicious meals I've ever had, utterly delightful and memorable! Served chilled, this pasta dish, whose name means 'joy of dining', lives up to its promise.

Thin, slippery angel hair pasta noodles, topped with a host of fresh seafood, including plump blue mussels, sweet deshelled tiger prawns, savoury smoked salmon slices, salty briny ikura / salmon roe, shredded carrot, baby spinach leaves, and crab leg surimi / crab stick. Served with a bright tangy sour spicy sauce of wasabi yuzu soy on the side. Chef advises to pour all the sauce over, and sprinkle some lemon juice, before eating.

As an actual paying customer, my verdict is: This is divine. I dream about it. It's so good I want more. Complex in taste, with notes of sweet, salty, sour, savoury, bitter, citrus, vegetal, briny, all at once. One of the best dishes I've eaten, anywhere in the world. Hope it's added to the regular menu. Highly recommended!

Rakuzen Cold Pasta (SGD $18)


Rakuzen Cold Pasta


Rakuzen Cold Pasta



They do a good rendition of the classic French dessert of Crème Brûlée (SGD $5) here. Served chilled, the hard caramel layer is light and delicate, cracking beautifully. The soft, rich, creamy smooth custard beneath, made with heavy French cream, granulated sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla, is absolutely delicious. A solid, above average execution, could only be slightly better if it was served in a shallow dish. Worth ordering!

Crème Brûlée
Crème Brûlée (SGD $5)


Crème Brûlée (SGD $5)


Crème Brûlée



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