Cafes have become increasingly popular across the island in the recent years, favoured by millennials due to their Pinterest-worthy aesthetics and brunch menus.
However, the truth is, most cafes have a pretty basic food menu. Call me cynical but pretty latte art and a good brew can only go so far.
But there’s a newcomer in town and they’re gearing up to spoil market.
A Cafe And More
As I stepped out of my Grab, I saw the place – an entirely white shophouse save for their pastel-coloured logo and address.
Stepping in, I feel like I just walked into a Scanteak x MUJI showroom.
Of the 3 levels in the shophouse, level one houses the coffee bar, cashier, kitchen, and some seating space.
Level 2 is where you’ll find the Flex Space, which is a larger area that can accommodate up to 32 people comfortably, and can be booked for corporate or private events.
The Flex Space is divided into 2 sections.
Flex Space 1 is the larger of the 2 and provides additional seating for customers who are simply there to dine.
Flex Space 2 is primarily allocated as a work space. It can also double as a space for conducting workshops.
East Meets West
Now, for the part you’re all waiting for, THE FOOD.
The menu at Grids & Circles doesn’t really centre around a specific cuisine. Though the easiest way to describe it would be “East meets West”.
I managed to try a few dishes specially curated by the Head Chef and Co-Founder, Daryl Lim.
To start things off, I was served a Watercress Potage with Bacon.
I’m a big fan of vegetables and chunky soups and this reminded me of a chunkier cream of broccoli. All I can say is, it didn’t stand a chance against my spoon – gone in 60 seconds.
The next dish was a Tamago Sando ($12).
A fat slab of Japanese tamagoyaki sits between 2 slices of white bread, one slathered in house made konbu mayo, and the other with a thin but useful layer of pear compote.
I’m not going to lie. This sandwich comprises everything I love, so I was a little disappointed with the flavour of the tamagoyaki because it tasted a bit bland.
The konbu mayo was generous but did little to elevate the sandwich and it was quickly becoming jelak, 3 bites in. That was until the pear compote came into play.
The sweet pear compote helped to balance the flavours of the sandwich so maybe a little more pear compote and less konbu mayo would be great.
The next dishes were mains in the form of their Summer Pasta ($16) and Almond Bacon Carbonara ($16).
The Summer Pasta has tagliatelle tossed in a bacon cream sauce with fennel, watercress, Japanese cherry tomatoes, and garnished with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.
The Almond Bacon Carbonara also uses tagliatelle tossed in bacon cream sauce, toasted almonds, an onsen egg, and Parmigiano Reggiano.
If I had to choose one, I’d go for the Summer Pasta. The textures and subtle flavours from every ingredient made it a very enjoyable dish to eat. 10/10 will order again.
For the vegetarians, vegetarian options are available for all pastas.
The next to arrive was an interesting Modanyaki Slider.
Modanyaki is a type of okonomiyaki which also contains yakisoba for a double whammy of carbs. What Head Chef Daryl Lim has done, is that he took the key ingredients of a modanyaki and turned it into a slider.
There’s the beef patty, lettuce, katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), okonomiyaki sauce, konbu mayo, spring onions, and a unique “noodle crisp”.
The noodle crisp is made by blending cooked instant ramen into a paste, smearing it on a baking sheet and toasting. What you get is a thin, pale crisp that looks like uncooked tau kee (beancurd skin). While it’s tasteless, it does add an interesting texture to the slider.
Next, the Salmon Ochazuke ($16).
Now, I’m a huge fan of Ochazuke and it’s really hard to find good ones in Singapore.
The version here comes with seared sous vide salmon, shredded shiso leaf, nori strips, umeboshi (salted plum), brown rice, and bacon dashi green tea.
If you’re looking for something comforting for lunch, this is it. There’s no other way to describe this. You have to try it for yourself.
Ending off the meal were 2 desserts – the Matcha Affogato ($11) and the Strawberry Wonderland ($16).
The Strawberry Wonderland comes with 2 pancakes, strawberry compote, basil and mint sauce, and fresh strawberries sitting on a cloud of chantilly cream.
It’s simple, straightforward and so darn good.
You can also choose from their seasonal homemade cakes and pastries in the display at level 1.
Now, for the drinks, Grids & Circles has a rather extensive drinks menu. Choose from coffees, teas, cold brews, coffee and tea-based lattes, and even craft beers!
I got myself an Iced Hibiscus Tea with Honey and Mandarin Oranges ($7.50) because I’m boujee and I like sweet drinks. Bite me.
It was great for a while, before the ice melted and the drink started tasting a little like Ribena. But I liked it nonetheless. It’s refreshing for sure.
Finally, what makes Grids & Circles so unique, is that they hold tea degustations for the public, conducted by Clement Lim, a coffee and tea connoisseur and certified sommelier. He’s also the younger brother of Head Chef Daryl Lim.
The Fine Teas menu is separated into Classic Teas, Artisanal Teas, and Pinnacle Teas, in ascending order of quality.
Tea degustation ranges from $18 to $58, depending on the set of teas you choose for the session.
I highly recommend the tea degustation if you love your tea.
Despite their rather bustling location, Grids & Circles provides a respite from the hustle of the city. With good food, great coffee and tea, a cosy ambience, and even greater service.
I’m definitely returning for more, and if you haven’t been yet, what are you waiting for?
Grids & Circles
Address: 200 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058749
Opening Hours: Mon – Thu: 9am – 9pm, Fri – Sat: 9am – 11pm, Sun: Closed
Contact no.: 6935 3546
(Header Image Source: DiscoverSG)