Sunday, February 17, 2019

[Food Tasting] Kafe Utu @ 12 Jiak Chuan Road

Was privileged to be invited for a tasting at Kafe Utu, thanks to Kris (@msginginly). It was a discovery trip as am a noob pertaining to African cuisine. Located at the hip Jiak Chuan Road, Kafe Utu is easy to spot.

Kafe Utu exterior

The interior is charming, with a cosy vibe while its staff are friendly and welcoming. Feel free to wander around and notice the larger than life photographs of native African women at the cafe area or venture upstairs to the lounge area to chill-out with furniture that were specially flown-in from Africa. Intricate wood carvings, a mirror and treasure chest that has more than 100 years of history are all part of the charm.

photographs of African natives
secret hideout
exquisite decor
intricate carvings

Kafe Utu is an afro cafe cum lounge serving brunch, offering delectable East and West African food as well as specialty coffee served with only fresh Hokkaido milk.

coffee counter
high-end espresso coffee machine
steaming it up
bean here, done that

Let's take a look at the wonderful coffee that Kafe Utu makes, from the good hands of Barista Mark Chan. The Bidi Bado was a rather interesting cup of mocha rimmed with natural peanut butter, pink peppercorns and toasted almonds which I enjoyed. Tasted nutty, buttery and intense.

Bidi Bado Abracadabra (UTU Style Mocha) @$7

Matcha @$6
Malindi Latte @$6
Utu Ink @$6

The Owner, Mr Kurt Wagner, grew up in Kenya and wanted to bring a piece of home to Singapore. There are many items in the Kafe Utu that are handmade and housemade.  From the doors that are hand carved specially for Kafe Utu and flown-in from Kenya, the uniquely shaped water glasses that are hand blowed, to the ceramic coffee cups and saucers, and many more.

Wondering about East and West African cuisine? Come satisfy your curiosity (as I had) at Kafe Utu.

West African Spicy Greens @$28
Liberian Peanut Chicken Stew @$28

My goodness. I have found my favourite rice dish and that would be the West African Spicy Greens where one gets cassava leaves, chicken thigh, smoked fish & habenero, served with coconut rice. Simply delicious!

Swahili Fish Curry @$29

Did I mention that Kafe Utu serves amazing salads? Well, it does! Both the pumpkin kale and the mama's fresh garden salad were so good that I almost polished everything off. So tasty! Oh, how can I not mention the beetroot burratini. Beetroot had never tasted this good before! Picked beetroot, white truffle oil, burratini & fresh basil leaf forms the winning combination.

Pumpkin Kale @$18
Mama’s fresh garden salad @$25
Beetroot Burratini @$18

If you are more of a soup person, do try the refreshing tomato soup, served cold. Good till the last drop and whets the appetite for more!

Marinated Roma Tomatoes @$16
The brunch items in the menu were rather extensive.  The Pulled Pork Breakfast was rather satisfying with the generous portion of shoulder pulled pork in house hickory smoked BBQ sauce, spice mix, curried avocado and served with corn salsa, potato hash and topped with a wobbly poached egg.

Pulled Pork Breakfast @$24
Utu Bowl @$20
For a non-meat option, the Utu Bowl is moreish as it has quinoa, orange zest pickled carrots, apple cider pickled cabbage, fresh kale, marinated goat’s cheese, sous vide egg, roasted pumpkin, fresh avocado & spiced pumpkin seeds.

Or for something lighter, opt for the Quinoa Chia Seed Pudding.

Quinoa Chia Seed Pudding @$18

For brunch, if you are not into coffee, why not try the Fresh Berries Smoothies. Comes in a tall glass with paper straw.

Fresh Berries Smoothies @$9

Let's have a look at the dessert. The Mandazi is a Swahili coast classic of fried bread with coconut flakes and cardamon. Its texture is much denser than a doughnut. The Nakupenda is a variation of this dessert topped with ice-cream. Loved the ice-cream/soft-serve at Kafe Utu. So smooth and creamy.

Mandazi @$8
Nakupenda @$8
I have much love for the tiramisu here as well. Maybe it was because the house espresso was so good.

Tiramisu @$8
Canele @$5
The best dessert for sharing had to be the Ricotta Hotcakes. Beautiful looking, delicious tasting and so instagram-able.

Ricotta Hotcakes @$23

In the evenings, Utu Lounge comes alive! Enjoy cocktails, delicious tapas and just chill. Cassava chips, potato wedges, padron peppers and buttermilk fried chicken. The dips for the wedges are the Congo Bongo, mango chili marmalade & House Chili ranging from mild to hot respectively.

Fresh Cassava Chips @$12
Potato Wedges @$14
Buttermilk Fried Chicken @$15
Padron Peppers @$14

The cocktail bar is actually upstairs. The bar uses fresh products and homemade syrups, nothing artificial and premium spirits. Just so you know, there won't be any Hendricks, Bombay or any of the likes. Find Chris and let him know your drinks preference.

Chris with The Calamansi & Cucumber Mojito @$18
Gin & Tonic redefined
Malaika @$16
Eden @$16
Mganga @$18

My drink was the Eden which is made of organic gin, pineapple juice and lemon juice. There was egg white beaten into that concoction as well in its early stages.

The most interesting drink was the Malaika with its "so pretty in pink colour" plus the wicked chili padi, delicious fresh watermelon, fresh lemon juice, vodka and soda water. Spicy and sweet all at once!

Had a wonderful experience at Kafe Utu, thanks to the cheerful and friendly staff that took care of us that day. Thank you Kris for the invite, Mr Kurt Wagner for your hospitality, team Utu comprising of  Kynna, Mark, Chris and many more (but I do not know all your names, my apologies).

Looking forward to the next dining experience. Stay happy!

Kafe Utu

Address: 12 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089265
Contact: +65 6996 3937

Business Hours:   

Kafe Utu
Closed Monday
Tuesday – Sunday: 8am – 5pm

Utu Lounge
Closed Monday
Tuesday – Thursday: 6pm-11pm
Friday & Saturday: 6pm-1am
Sunday: 1130am - 5pm


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