Cafe-goers love nothing more than a good brunch and coffee. More F&B eateries across Singapore are getting their brunch game on than ever before, which means foodies are now spoilt for choice and it also presents the need to find the most pitch-perfect of them all.
No stranger to the cafe dining scene, Strangers’ Reunion has been around since 2012 and is recognised as one of the pioneers during the time when Third Wave Coffee culture went mainstream. Enduringly popular for its laidback atmosphere, award-winning coffee and comforting brunch plates, Strangers’ Reunion was always one of my top choices when I was active in my cafe-hopping quests and taking a respite from work.
I must admit that I haven’t been back at Strangers’ Reunion for a while, and the main reason for not returning was because I was changing jobs and also moving into a new house further away from the city.
On my recent visit, I discovered that Strangers’ Reunion has upped the ante and is presenting an updated menu of more conscious and refined dishes that cater for today’s discerning customers.
All day brunch fare such as healthy grain bowls, eggs on toast and crisp buttermilk waffles remain the stars of the show, but the newly created dishes are quite thinking outside of the box — now features more inventive cooking and clever use of upcycled ingredients. Think food scraps like salmon skin, broccoli stems and spent coffee grounds being transformed into a completely new palette of ingredients.
The Strangers’ team has also added a bunch of sides to share, wholesome brunch items and a new buttermilk waffle, which of course can be enjoyed as a delicious brunch choice or sweet course to end meals.
Try exciting new flavours from starters like Snapper Ceviche and Roasted Cauliflower Salad to heartier mains such as Pan Roasted Chicken Breast and Pork & Broccoli, are all served with a flair.
Avocado, celery, red onions, shaved fennels, lime juice, cilantro ($13.90)
Low-carb, low-fat and packed full of vitamins, the Snapper Ceviche makes a great cold dish and refreshing starter to a brunch date. The firm, juicy flesh of the snapper cured in lime juice, creamy avocado and aromatic cilantro has a strong flavour, but doesn’t over power the other ingredients and allow the complex flavours of red onions and shaved fennel to shine.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SALAD
Charred florets, shallots, pomegranate, pine nut labneh, pickled grapes, honey mustard ($14.50)
A salad dish on the menu is often overlooked, but try this flavourful Roasted Cauliflower Salad that works well as a vegetarian main or a reliable side to share. A play on textures and flavours, this exemplary salad combines roasted and pickled florets with rice vinegar infused with black pepper and bay leaves, tossed in a deliciously rich homemade pine nut labneh, honey mustard, pickled grapes, pomegranate, mint leaves and toasted pine nuts which impressed me with its incredibly deep nutty flavour.
PAN ROASTED CHICKEN BREAST
Pan-roasted chicken leg, homemade jerk sauce, succotash of sweet corn, red peppers, baked sweet potatoes ($21.90)
The simply-named Pan Roasted Chicken Breast turned out to be a restaurant-quality chicken dish that is so tender and juicy — pairs perfectly with a succotash of sweet corn, red peppers and baked sweet potatoes, jazzed up with house-made jerk sauce. No mistake about this succulent dish, but I wish it came with some spices and heat!
PORK & BROCCOLI
Roasted pork collar, slow roast broccoli stem, burnt onion jus, broccoli puree ($21.90)
This underdog least instagrammable dish in my opinion is the answer to that probable question of what to order from the menu. Look beyond the surface and find a delicious and satisfying plate of Pork and Broccoli which is made of sous vide under-used pork collar ends which are slightly fatty, but very juicy and able to hold its meat juices well; and then paired with broccoli stems that are steamed and pan-charred for a subtle sweetness, further complemented with broccoli puree and burnt onion jus which lends extra sweetness and depth of flavour. Great to see the less-desired broccoli barks being given a dainty new lease of life!
STRANGERS COFFEE SMOKED SALMON ON TOAST
House-cured salmon, coffee creme fraiche, dill capers, seasonal salad, poached egg and sourdough toast ($18.90)
There’s no good reason not to start the day with a breakfast and brunch classic, the Strangers Coffee Smoked Salmon on Toast brings the strangers’ signature coffee on to the plate. House-cured salmon is cold-smoked with spent coffee grounds and hickory wood to render the savoury, and most graceful coffee-smoked salmon, resting on the crusty sourdough toast that is slathered with espresso-infused creme fraiche, and served with a poached egg and seasonal salad — is just the definition of the word nom!
SALMON SKIN CHIPS
Deep-fried salmon skin, sesame aioli, avocado coulis, coffee-smoked salmon puree ($11.90)
Nothing fishy here, but delicious crispy Salmon Skin Chips done in an elegant way. This delightful appetiser make use of salmon offcuts and trimmings from its coffee-smoked salmon dish, deep fried to perfection and studded with sesame aioli, avocado coulis and coffee-smoked salmon puree.
BUTTERMILK WAFFLE WITH HAZELNUT PRALINE & ALMOND CRUMBLE
Buttermilk waffle, hazelnut praline, hazelnut sauce, vanilla ice cream, almond crumble, chocolate shavings ($14.50)
What’s more, there is a tempting menu of Strangers’ signature buttermilk waffles. The latest waffle addition comes with house-made hazelnut praline, almond crumble, vanilla ice cream, hazelnut sauce and chocolate shavings will satisfy every sweet tooth.
Drinks wise, coffee is the way to go here — Strangers’ Reunion know their stuff and is the home of champion baristas with elusive awards include three-time Singapore National Barista Champion, three-time Singapore Latte Art Champion, ASEAN Barista Champion 2013, World Siphon Coffee Champion 2015, World Barista Championship 2018 Semi-Finalist and more.
Sip on to espresso-based drinks like Magic ($5.50) which consists of steamed milk over a double shot of ristretto, or explore the varying tasting notes of coffee using one of four brewing methods — Aeropress, Syphon, Wave Dripper or Ice Brew ($6.90 per brew).
There is also other beverages option for non-coffee drinkers such as tea lattes, speciality teas from A.muse Projects, selected craft beers and wines. If you are looking for something refreshing, fresh juices and smoothies are delicious coffee-free alternatives.
The newly updated menu at Strangers’ Reunion plays out unlike their usual style and takes on a different approach to upmarket dining. It is one that prized seasonal, upcycled ingredients and boundary-nudging preparations in a casual atmosphere.
There is no formality and the Strangers don’t want to be separated from being too indifferent as a cafe, hence prices will remain reasonable (most expensive main on the menu is $21.90).
They want customers to know about the understated ingredients used in their food, and it’s not about throwing in a mashup of ingredients to make it look fancy. One can be adventurous, but we as diners will ultimately want every possible canon of legitimate taste — which can be found in the featured dishes, All so good.
Location: 33/35 Kampong Bahru Road Singapore 169355 (Nearest MRT Outram)
Opening Hours: Daily 9am to 6pm
Tel: +65 6222 4869