Cheng's Gourmet Food Bar: Don't get your hopes up too high

Before you jump on the car and race on over to the nearest and newest Westie joint in high hopes for an immaculate waffle affair. Hold your horses and read on.

Cheng's Gourmet Food bar located along the infamous stretch of 'sure tio summon' shop houses along Clementi Road. A blessing for NUS students looking to curb their late night munchies since the vicinity houses popular joints such as Fong Seng Nasi Lemak  and Niqqi's The Cheese Prata Shop. For a healthier option with more solid bites, you can now turn to Cheng's Gourmet Food Bar as an alternative. And if it's beer you're after, Cheng's touts quite an extensive list.

Sam, a buff young fella who recently graduated from NUS seemingly holds the reigns at the casual joint, and is quick to point out the lack of healthy dining options for students around the area. Hence inspired choices such as the Bircher Museli and the Vegan Burger.

Not feeling particularly in the mood for greens, I opted for the Croque Madame ($16.90) instead whilst the partner leapt for the Fettucccine ala Bolognese con polpette ($17.90). 

Service is brisk and not before long, our minmalistic IKEA inspired table-tops were draped in a myriad of dishes. 

Nothing excites me more than a simple sunny side up egg flecked with sea salt, and that was exactly the emotions evoked when the Croque Madame pranced over from the kitchen. A shimmering crown jewel atop a ham and cheese sandwich, this was easily the most straightforward sort of comfort meal one could hope for. Still, I would claim the name Croque Madame to be a tad misleading as the better of us would expect to find a well seasoned creamy bechamel sauce tucked in between slices with additional cheddar cheese on crusty surfaces after a quick sear to justify its name. However, that was not true.

The pasta continued in the same vein. Of mediocrity, that is. The only saving grace, the meatballs which were perfectly seasoned albeit a little bit suspicious from its overtly industrialised shaped. If the cafe wasn't so stingy on the braised bologanise sauce, then perhaps that would have abetted the situation.

The catastrophe  reached its pinnacle with the Mentaiko Scallops. Just a sad excuse to incorporate the largely popular cooking style on to the menu. Large, albeit frozen and quickly thawed scallops result in some sort of murky liquids pooled on the bottom of Ariel's boob tube. That being said, the mentaiko cream, slightly charred does have its merits.

We concluded the meal with The Tower of Belgium ($13), praying for redemption and enlivened by hope stemming from the praises that departed a neighbouring patron's lips. Describing itself as a crispy stack of Belgium waffles, it's deliverance is one that whiffs of disappointment with super dense, less than porous waffle with a bread-like chewy texture sans the fragrance of poofed yeast nor vanilla. Thank goodness for the delicious topping of coconut ice cream with clusters of dessicated coconut which came to the rescue of this dire treat.

Would I be heading back to the joint? I don't think so. But still, Cheng's Gourmet food bar is a pretty cosy addition to the brunch scene along Clementi Road. Check out its newly introduced brunch menu this long weekend, chock full of goodies such as Tortilla de patas and Gula Melaka Pancakes.

Cheng's Gourmet Food Bar
28 Clementi Road

Operating Hours:
Tues - Sun: 12pm - 11pm

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