Restaurant Review: Clan Cafe at Straits Clan on Bukit Pasoh

Clan Cafe at Straits Clan
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Open to the public (despite being in a members’ club), Clan Cafe features eminently Insta-worthy interiors and a menu of mostly wholesome fare

Members’ clubs are popping up left, right and centre in Singapore. The newest kid on the block, Straits Clan, opened in April. But it’s unlike any members’ club. Its facade features floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the street. Open and inviting, it’s a far cry from the hermetic enclosures typical of its kinsfolk.

Inside, the inviting atmosphere continues. Here you’ll find Clan Cafe, an all-day dining venue that’s open to the public. (The rest of Straits Clan is off-limits to non-members). Like any well-thought-out eatery these days, it’s made for Instagram.

The swoonsome tropical vibe is courtesy of Takenouchi Webb, the design duo behind destination dining venues like Tanjong Beach Club, The Black Swan and Whitegrass.

Good looks aside, the menu is a wholesome affair of salads, bowls, and herbal teas. I sampled a variety of bowls at a recent media tasting: the Grilled Angus Ribeye, Kakiage, Miso Salmon and Rempah Chicken.

It’s the sort of fare you’d want to chow down on after an intense session at CruCycle or CrossFit Urban Edge. (Both of those are just around the corner, in case you were wondering).

But Clan Cafe doesn’t just target fitness buffs. There are some indulgent options too, like the odes-to-Singapore Otah Sandwich, Kueh Salat and Chocolate Cake. And, after 6pm, the more substantial eats give way to bar snacks as the cafe switches gears to become a cocktail lounge.

Social media addicts, know that the plating is as Insta-worthy as the interiors.

Hits and Misses

The food itself, however, while fresh, wholesome and meticulously prepared, wasn’t as satisfying on the palate as I had hoped.

Take the Rempah Chicken, for example. Despite being marinated for 48 hours in a house-blended spice paste, the chicken (pan-seared and grilled) came across as slightly underwhelming.

A more generous dollop of rempah might have helped unify the disparate ingredients, which included Romanesco cauliflower, murasaki imo, grapes, pomegranate, arugula and Romaine lettuce. Serving the dish with a grain (say, quinoa) might also help to round out the flavours better.

The Grilled Angus Ribeye came with a mix of grains: red and brown rice, koshihikari and red quinoa. Alongside, there were pickled carrots, a medley of mushrooms, edamame and cherry tomatoes, bound together by an onsen egg.

Unfortunately, the melange of flavours and textures did little to lift the very humdrum chunks of Australian grilled Angus ribeye. The meat was pan-seared and seasoned with salt and pepper. I’m a fan of minimal seasoning, but here I felt the ribeye could have done with a hint more flavouring.

Thankfully, the Miso Salmon was decent enough, the savoury-umami-ness of the fish both complementing and contrasting the other ingredients. I enjoyed the crunch of the sugar snap peas and edamame, the firmness of the lotus root kinpira and purple/orange carrots, and the freshness of the tomatoes and arugula.

My favourite item, however, was the Otah Sandwich, a comfortingly thick slab of mackerel and prawn otah sandwiched between a brioche bun and luxed up with a slice of gooey, melted, 18-month aged Comte cheese.

A colleague baulked at my adoration. “Does an otah really need a brioche and cheese?" went her rhetoric. Not really, but the sandwich nonetheless hit the spot. And it’s the one thing I’d come back for, the one thing I’d be hankering after, post-workout.

Clan Cafe
31 Bukit Pasoh Road
Singapore 089845
Tel: +65 6320 9180

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Published 5th June 2018
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