Kafe Utu Tasting Session - Part 3

April 15, 2019 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Kafe Utu Tasting Session - Part 3
12 Jiak Chuan Road

Opening Hours:
Tue - Sun: 8am - 5pm (All-Day Brunch), 6pm - 11pm (Lounge & Tapas),
Closed Mon



https://kafeutu.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kafeutu/

This was an invited media review. I did not pay for the meal during the free hosted tasting session, but I did pay the standard price during subsequent visits.
Attended with representatives from Chubby Botak Koala, Purple Taste, Little Tiny Sun, Epicurious Caniggia, msginginly, With Rachelle, Her Pen And Fork, and The Arctic Star.



Liberian Charred Aubergine Stew With Beef Cheek (SGD $30)



More Delicious Kenyan & Liberian Dishes

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 9
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 8
Value for Money: 8
Budget about SGD $35 per person.


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Our prior visit to Kafe Utu was memorable - for the beautiful ambience, friendly service, and unique, delicious Kenyan and Liberian food, all at mid-range prices. We decided to return to Kafe Utu on our own this time, to explore their new dinner offerings. Since we were last here (Part 1 and Part 2), they've become really popular, and the place is usually crowded, so advance reservations are a must.

Lounge
Lounge



True to form, the new dishes at Kafe Utu are modern, jazzed-up versions of traditional dishes from Kenyan cuisine and Liberian cuisine. We discovered they regularly experiment with off-menu dishes too, and once these prove popular with customers, they're introduced to the regular menu. Good approach, helps to keep things fresh and interesting for repeat customers!

Menu Evening
Menu Evening


Us
Us



There isn't a name for this Cocktail Bespoke Rum-Based (SGD $21), because I simply requested the bartender to make me anything that was rum based. I understand this features a premium sipping rum, the Mount Gay 1703 Master Select, infused with a hint of chili, served with a handcrafted Kafe Utu ice cube, garnished with a juicy sour sweet black cherry, and a sliced whole red chili. It has a rich amber copper colour, with aromas of vanilla, cloves, oak, and mango. The body is full, rounded, and balanced, with tastes of golden raisins, red chili, toast bread, and banana. Bold fruity sweet spice smoky flavour, with a delicate lingering finish. Only 12,000 bottles were ever produced. Excellent!

Cocktail Bespoke Rum-Based (SGD $21)


Cocktail Bespoke Rum-Based
Cocktail Bespoke Rum-Based


Cocktail Bespoke Rum-Based



The Procera Gin (SGD $18) had just arrived on the day of our return visit. This premium, hand crafted African gin utilises indigenous botanicals, giving it a complex, layered, beautiful flavour. Good enough to drink on its own as a sipping gin, worthy of its own post.

Procera Gin (SGD $18)


Procera Gin
Procera Gin


Procera Gin


Procera Gin



The Malindi Croquettes (SGD $12) are said to be a popular fusion snack in Nairobi, Kenya. It features a blend of fresh cassava leaves, garlic, ginger, habanero peppers, spices, and a house bechamel sauce, all coated in a crisp, golden-brown croquette batter. Crunches lightly when bit, then the hot, creamy filling oozes out, coating the palate with savoury spicy flavour. Has a little bit of fiery heat, not too overwhelming, but just nice enough for a kick.

Malindi Croquettes (SGD $12)


Malindi Croquettes
Malindi Croquettes



Had good memories of the Pumpkin Kale Salad (SGD $18), so we ordered it again. It's just as delicious as before.

Pumpkin Kale Salad
Pumpkin Kale Salad (SGD $18)



The Liberian Charred Aubergine Stew With Beef Cheek (SGD $30) is pure comfort food, a classic recipe handed down from the owner's family. The spice marinated (garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, salt, black pepper) brinjal / eggplant / aubergine are roasted till tender, served with slow-braised tender beef cheek, and soft smoked file fish chunks, alongside fragrant fluffy basmati white rice. A garnish of bouncy green peas, wispy micro-greens, crispy fried plantain slices, and a thick pepper sauce completes this tasty dish. Bold savoury salty sweet spice peppery flavours here.

Liberian Charred Aubergine Stew With Beef Cheek (SGD $30)


Liberian Charred Aubergine Stew With Beef Cheek
Liberian Charred Aubergine Stew With Beef Cheek



The Macanese Chicken With Mango Salsa (SGD $29) features a tender pan-seared marinated chicken thigh fillet, chunky mango salsa, a rather thin oily Macanese African coconut sauce, and large crisp grain patties (made from coconut rice and quinoa). Completed with crunchy pickled cucumber strips and wispy pea shoots with micro-greens. The only component I didn't like was the overly oily sauce. The refreshing sharp sour flavours of the pickled cucumber, the smoky toasted aroma of the earthy savoury grain patties, and the savoury smoky sweet salty flavours of the chicken, were all lovely.

Macanese Chicken With Mango Salsa (SGD $29)


Macanese Chicken With Mango Salsa
Macanese Chicken With Mango Salsa


Macanese Chicken With Mango Salsa



While not cooked in a tagine pot, the Moroccan Lemon Chicken Tagine (SGD $29) still has good flavour. It features tender marinated chicken thigh fillets, grainy quinoa, bouncy black olives and green olives, soft charred white onions, and tender pickled lemon zest strips, completed with wispy micro-greens and saffron. The complementing flavours of smoky savoury sweet to fresh vegetal sweet to briny salty zesty tangy sour, is complex yet balanced. I enjoyed this.

Moroccan Lemon Chicken Tagine (SGD $29)


Moroccan Lemon Chicken Tagine
Moroccan Lemon Chicken Tagine


Moroccan Lemon Chicken Tagine



The Beef Skewers With Chapati (SGD $29) is currently an experimental off-menu dish. It features 2 spiral-cut angus beef skewers, marinated in spices, with bold savoury salty smoky flavour. I understand the spiral cut helps to lock in moisture, keeping the meat tender and juicy, yet still makes it easy to cut. Served with tender pickled cucumber and crunchy red onions, bright refreshing kachumbari, along with crisp chapati pieces for wrapping all the ingredients. The combined smoky savoury salty vegetal sour sweet bready flavours are tasty and appetizing. I understand this will go on the menu soon, although prices and combination of ingredients are subject to change.

Beef Skewers With Chapati (SGD $29)


Beef Skewers With Chapati


Beef Skewers With Chapati
Beef Skewers With Chapati


Beef Skewers With Chapati



The Utu Chocolate Soft Serve Ice Cream (SGD $4) was just as fragile and melty as the coffee version we had last time, but it still packs good flavour. The main difference is the addition of crisp toasted bread slices.

Utu Chocolate Soft Serve Ice Cream (SGD $4)


Utu Chocolate Soft Serve Ice Cream
Utu Chocolate Soft Serve Ice Cream



The halwa is a traditional Indian and Middle Eastern dessert sweet. Traders introduced this when they sailed by the Kenyan coast in the past, and locals soon adopted it. Today, it's a popular dessert in Nairobi, Kenya. The Malindi Halwa (SGD $10) here features bouncy chewy gelatinous cubes, made from tapioca starch, water, sugar, clarified butter (ghee), powdered nutmeg, powdered cardamom, rose water, and fresh dragonfruit juice to give it a lovely reddish hue. Has a fruity sweet floral flavour. It's served with crunchy nutty salty sweet dukkha wafers (an Egyptian condiment), made from crushed hazelnuts, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts, salt, sugar, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, sesame seeds, and filo pastry. Glazed with a creamy earthy sweet coconut yoghurt to complete. Actually very different from any other halwa I've eaten, but I like the taste and texture of this premium version.

Malindi Halwa (SGD $10)


Malindi Halwa
Malindi Halwa


Malindi Halwa



Overall, I greatly enjoyed our return dining experience at Kafe Utu. The ambience remains homely, welcoming, and comfortable; the service is still efficient, friendly, and knowledgeable. The food is consistently delicious, healthy, and value-for-money, with a good novelty factor of Kenyan cuisine and Liberian cuisine, which isn't easily available in Singapore. Very good. Will return to Kafe Utu for even more!


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