Fine Palate Cafe

You’ll be hard pressed to find a true blue café anywhere in Singapore, least of all town. And no, Starbucks and Coffee Bean don’t count. All too often, places tack it on to the end of their name without considering whether it fits their concept. To be honest, we’re not sure Fine Palate fits the bill either; it’s a little fancier than we’d expect. Prices here are also on the steep side of things (for a café). An extension of the Fine Palate enterprise, which has built its name on catering and events planning, it’s an intimate space that seats about 24 (although there’s also an alfresco area with a smattering of tables). Food-wise, you’re looking at a range of wraps, salads, pizzas and pastas. We settled on lemongrass-infused chicken triangles ($8) to kick things off. Served with sweet chili sauce, the deep-fried pastries weren’t lacking in flavor but should have been crisp. After all, if you’re going to ingest obscene amounts of oil, it had better be worth the calories. Fortunately, our Moroccan lamb salad ($18) fared much better. We have a penchant for salads created with carnivores in mind, and the mountainous heap of fresh greens accompanied by slices of saffron potato, avocado and cherry tomatoes, topped with a generous serving of char grilled shredded lamb tenderloin was a triumph. Plus, the tzatziki was a nice touch with the lamb. The chilled capellini ($20), tossed with sesame shoyu, was pretty standard as cold pastas go. Sure, it was a visually striking plate (almost food porn material); imagine pink-centered slices of yellow fin tuna dotted with black and white sesame seeds and surrounded by green spinach leaves. But our fine palate told us that it needed just a little more time and care in the kitchen for added oomph. A chocolate marquise with coconut crème anglaise and sea salt brittle ($10) was a good way to end a decent meal. It’s a quaint spot if you’re wandering around town looking for a quick and dependable lunch (service is passable), but not worth a special trip. If they’d bring their restaurant-like prices down a notch, or improve their food, we might reconsider.

When the weather is good, eating outside can be a truly enjoyable dining experience. These joints with charming open air areas are just the place to dine on breezy evenings.