Café Hacienda

Average: 3 (1 vote)

Café Hacienda is cute, with its mauve-ish interior and shelves crammed with all sorts of books, curios and knick-knacks, but while it has some gems on its menu (like the Chocolate Crunch milkshake), the mains are mostly middling stuff.

Café Hacienda (located next to Hacienda) is like a homecoming of sorts for F&B and entertainment industry stalwart Michel Lu and his partner Yuan Oeij, who were behind the defunct Brown Sugar. Understandably, we were kind of psyched about this café and so on a rather mundane weekday, trooped off to check out Lu’s latest baby for dinner. Despite reports that many tenants had moved out in a huff over rising rentals, we still pretty much dug the indie vibe of Dempsey Hill, which is still housing quirky antique shops and art galleries. The café’s interior was nothing short of charming. White on the outside, and mauve‑ish inside, with a long row of shelves crammed with interesting books, cute curios and knick‑knacks, a sweet little dessert counter, and simple furniture, the scene seemed set for casual‑perfect tuck‑ins. Or maybe not. While we absolutely loved the Chocolate Crunch, a rich, dream‑like chocolate milkshake littered with mini chocolate balls, the mains were sadly only middling. The fish and chips, while certainly not the dish for gastronomic inventiveness, was disappointingly average and served with an over‑tart malt vinegar that did nothing for it. The pizza marinara, while delightfully crispy just the way we liked it, and strewn profusely with mussels, anchovies and squid, smelled uncomfortably fishy. There was also some herb garnish which left a bitter aftertaste. The Mexican burger (which was huge, packed with a 200gm Wagyu patty, cheese and salsa) also failed to impress. The Wagyu patty looked dry, and although it still retained some juiciness when we bit into it, was not supported adequately with enough cheese, sauces and ingredients to make it truly kick‑ass. Still, the staff, who were quite personable and friendly, gave out fresh napkins periodically—a nice touch. We hoped the sticky date pudding would somewhat elevate our experience, but alas, it was over‑drenched with toffee sauce, making it soggy. The pudding also felt too fibrous. Still, this is a lovely place for a long chat and a cuppa, but for real grub, we think Café Hacienda may need more than its hipness to push it to greater heights.

Venue Details
Address: Café Hacienda, 13A Dempsey Rd., Singapore, Singapore
Phone: 6476-2922
Area: Dempsey
Cuisine: Western
Price Range: $$
Open since: August, 2009
Opening hours: daily 9am-11pm
Alfresco, Reservation recommended, Parking available: outside restaurant, Takeaway available, Late night
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