On days like this, when the skies are dark and grey, when you've slept in most of the morning, and you've played mahjong till 3am in the dawn, it is a good day to have brunch in a little deli and watch life go by.
The Cellar Door certainly qualifies. Nestled along the row of quaint food shops in Bukit Timah Road, it actually has two outlets only a few doors away from each other: a deli, and a cafe.
Like Corduroy & Finch, the Cellar Door attracts many Caucasians and expats, and as you are eating oversized sandwiches and drinking hot chocolate, you could almost imagine yourself in a cafe in Sydney or London, enjoying a late brunch as you planned what to do with the rest of your day.
I had previously mentioned my quest to find the perfect chocolate milkshake, and the one they serve here, while exorbitant ($6.50), is close to one of the better ones I've had so far (4/5). The chocolate ice-cream was thick and lush, delectably creamy and never shying away from asserting its chocolateness, which probably owed something to their use of solid chocolate in the shake. Unfortunately, the residual bits of chocolate, while adding to the taste of the drink, detract from its otherwise uniformly creamy texture.
The Cellar Door (both deli and cafe) sell very good dips ($4). The ones you see here are the olive tapenade and tomato pesto. While I find the olive tapenade to be a little too strong for my tastes, I quite like the tomato dip as well as the classic pesto that they have. These are available for takeaway and make a good hors d'oeuvre.
I opted for an Apple Glazed Ham Sandwich with Aged Cheddar and Peach Chutney ($13). I actually quite enjoy sandwiches; I subsisted on them every lunch when I was in the UK on a field trip. For some reason though, in Singapore sandwiches never turn out right. Either the humidity makes the bread soggy, or the ham is dry and the lettuce
limp. My hopes for this sandwich were disappointed when it arrived.
Though they gave me a large sandwich, plus salad on the side, it was not very good (2.5/5). The ham was dry and tough, and the peach chutney was so meagre that it looked more like the ham had grown a mole.
The Cellar Door is a very cosy environment to have brunch or tea with friends and relax over a nibble of bread and olive tapenade, and the decor, while somewhat eclectic (note the Warholesque pictures on the wall), is serviceable.
Where the place fails though, is in service. While they were crowded, it did seem unreasonable that we waited for in excess of twenty minutes for sandwiches and eggs.
The Cellar Door (casual)
619 Bukit Timah Road
Tel: 6463 5296
Service: 3/5 (slow service)
Overall: The venue of choice for a lazy Sunday morning