Caffe B: Affordable Set lunches in MBS

Caffe B set in lush satin settings, a secretive sort of environment fine-tuned by plenty of luxe design decisions, offers diners an oasis perfect for constructive business meetings. These are complemented by bespoke light details, grand chandeliers overhead and raw metal grills reminiscent of Aztec cultures, that work effectively as partitions, offering enclaves for private discussions. The veteran F&B patron in the mall has recently rolled out an inexpensive $25++ three-course set lunch menu to lure in the office crowds. Ok, so let me deliberate before you go down.

The meal unravels in waves of gustatory pleasure with warm bread and a chilled tapenade consisting of olives and capers. Starters is a tough choice between the Potato and Proscuitto Salad and the Chef's Fresh pot of the day, which rotates between cauliflower soup, tomato soup and clam chowder. My advice would be to stick with the former, the chunky potato wrapped in prosciutto ham topped with bonito flakes bringing to mind the kind of delicate Japanese potato salads that accompany a humble bowl of katsudon. Not to shabby, but nothing to shout about. The Tomato Soup that I had was slightly on the acidic side, the chef going a little overboard on herbs to make up for the thinness of the broth. 

Main Course offers diners a distinct choice of proteins. The Tuna Sake Tataki, pan seared tuna, is served with hash browns, tomato Florentine and red pesto. To be completely honest, the tuna was overcooked, the pleasurable brick red interiors no where in sight; and one could also comment on the slightly underwhelming hash brown that tasted stale and overcompressed. 

Carnivores would dive straight in for the Beef Verde, enticed by the promise of black angus beef drizzled with sauce verde, however, hold your horses. In this case, as many other tasters were, we were let down by the protein on the plate, which lacked seasoning; the sous-vide method of cooking resulting in a strange texture which undermined the experience of eating beef altogether (I might as well have been eating poached chicken *geez*).

The last two choices comprise of a vegetarian pasta and a Chicken Lasagne, both of which I would steer your attention to instead of the formerly mentioned. The Chicken Lasagne Parmegiano presents a hodgepodge of familiar Italian flavors, reinvented by the usage of spinach in the pasta sheets and the scattering of Japanese shitake mushrooms in between. Where the dish lacked finesse in presentation, it made up for in flavors, the pomodoro imparting a dash of mild sweetness. 

Do not, in this case, shun the vegetarian option on the set lunch menu, The Pasta Alla Fungi stealing the limelight with its hefty anchoring of assorted mushrooms lightly sauteed and tossed in cream. Heartier appetites should go for this dish. My only gripe would be the spaghetti which I suspect was pre-cooked hence the unusually starchy texture on the exterior that results after dunking it back into starchy boiling water. Still, the best dish of the lot.

Desserts is an uninspired rift on the classic profiteroles. A dessert I found alarmingly contradictory given its French heritage and the fact that Caffe B was clearly Japanese-Italian fusion. Moving on, the petit mounds of choux pastry are filled with matcha, red bean and chocolate cream to offer diners a bit of variety after the main courses. Frankly, though, the puffs were stodgy, the skins thick and doughy; the chocolate cream too sweet and the mousse overworked and dense, I had to shake my head in dismay. 

After all that has been said, Caffe B still remains a viable option for lunch should you be in the area, the affordable set lunch deal, a draw factor for sure. It is available between 12pm to 3pm everyday from Monday to Sunday.

Caffe B
2 Bayfront Avenue
#B1-15 & #01-83
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

Opening Hours:
Lunch: 12 - 3pm
Afternoon Tea: 3 - 6pm (Bar Menu available)
Dinner: 6 - 10pm
Late Night Snack: 10pm - 1am (Bar Menu available)

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