Café Garb

After its four outlets in Tokyo and Osaka, the curiously named Café Garb recently opened here at Robertson Walk. When we dropped by for dinner, the restaurant was enjoying a healthy sprinkling of Japanese diners (always a good sign). Much of the décor here is French‑influenced—from the Eiffel Tower light piece on the wall to the quirkily mismatched furniture. Likewise, the food here is a zany Japanese‑style fusion of French and Spanish cuisines, and thankfully, tastes better than it sounds. The chef recommended the seafood salad starter ($13), and it was scrumptious—think generous slices of octopus and prawns on a bed of fresh leaves topped with a refreshing French‑Japanese dressing. The strangely‑named baffarow chicken (read: buffalo chicken, $8) was an interesting twist to the pub staple—instead of being drenched in gooey sauce, this version came deep‑fried in a light spice mix batter. The wings were even split into bite‑sized morsels for easy consumption (trust the Japanese to think of everything). Next up was the veal sweetbread with red wine reduction ($27) and omelette rice ($14). The first was a perfectly grilled veal cheek, which was buttery soft; with the red wine sauce accentuating the flavors well. After having tried mostly lackluster omelette rice at other places, we were quite skeptical about the dish; but we were proven wrong: the omelette was done to puffy perfection (not overcooked), and the buttery fried rice came packed with loads of chicken bits. Our dessert comprised the angel food cake vanilla caramel ($10), which tasted more like a sponge cake. But it was lusciously light, and a pleasant finish to an otherwise perfect meal with OK service. If you want to have a taste of Japan with hints of très chic thrown in, give Café Garb a go.