Ronin. By the same people of The Plain, which I adore wholeheartedly and should definitely put up a review for, and The Bravery. These guys love to show off the well-done industrial chic thing. And I appreciate their efforts. I really do.
I heard a little too much of this place, situated right on Hong Kong Street. I had no idea this place even existed. Is there Hong Kong in Singapore? Will I find it here? That was probably expecting a little too much. In my previous review of The Bravery Café, I was intrigued by the staunch industrial chic feel, and this feeling was brought to a maximum at Ronin. Once I stepped inside, I knew I had found something quite special. No, it’s not the sort of place where you can take well-lit photos and upload them all shamelessly. It’s dim, warmly lit, and on that particularly rainy day whereby my socks were soaked through and through (ugh), it was hard to see past the first half of the café. To be frank, all the photos I saw of the place on Instagram almost put me off visiting– I thought it all too surreptitious, dim and perhaps a tad too pretentious. But knowing me… I’d do anything to find a good cup of coffee.
The Genovese blends they use will always have me coming back for more. And now I only wished I also ordered their special ‘Wicked Mocha’, which apparently comes with fudge on the bottom and a lively sprig of mint. I’m determined to return just to try it. My cappuccino was thick and frothy; a tad better than the one I had at the Bravery. One cannot expect consistency all the time, but this really impressed me and my coffee buds were set alight.
The french toast, the french toast. I asked for the maple syrup on the side, because I hate having my french toast drowned at first go. However, the server conveniently forgot and the toast was soaking in a too-generous pool of the stuff. Secondly, on behalf of both Liz’s and my later pleasure, I requested for an add-on of portobello, because I absolutely love a hulking mass of beefy, juicy portobello, and once again she forgot. Ah, one, two marks off. They were simple enough requests. This wasn’t off to a very good start. What I found slightly odd was how when my dish came, each slice seemed to have a ridge right along the edges, so that each could be split into half on the horizontal plane once again. My my, it was massive. The hazelnut-flavoured butter was a nice touch, though I feel they might as well have served it with real hazelnut butter, or almond butter, because now that I think of it, that would have paired quite wonderfully with the soaked brioche. The toast itself was lovely and squidgy on the inside, but didn’t undergo as much saturation of eggy batter as I would have liked. It was all a little too dense and just slightly above mediocre-good. I found myself reminiscing the time when I was sitting alone, having french toast at Stateland Café, which I thought had the most fluffy and bombastic interior. This was good french toast, but it failed to deliver the same outrageously fluffy and light consistency on the inside. The fat-marbled candied bacon and cooked apple were marvellous though, but somehow the maple syrup felt a little thick on the palate. More like a Grade A, I should hazard a guess.
The most impressive item, I must, must say, was the scrambled eggs. Because honest to God, I wasn’t expecting such a creamy, beautifully curdled, pale yellow mass such as this one. Each bite was wonderfully well-seasoned, and paired with the nicely toasted sourdough and rye, yielded a heavenly combination of hearty flavour. The portobello mushroom (which, yes, came later) was beautifully roasted and as juicy as a ripe tomato, bursting with beefy flavour on the inside. Best dish that morning.
I shall return for more, that is, if they actually remember specific orders next time round. This place is excellent if you’re looking to while away your time in a cosy and dimly-lit place, with a book in hand and creamy broth in the other. Come here for the heartiest of brunches, for sharing, for escape.
17 Hongkong Street
Tuesday – Sunday 8am-8pm