Thursday, September 27, 2007

Review: Cafe de Amigo

Some weeks ago, we had a rejoinder to the flogger dinner, when Ivan kindly invited Colin and I to dinner at Cafe de Amigo. The main event was supposed to be their Argentinian beef but when seated, we realized that that had been banned to Singapore, or something like that.

Cafe de Amigo has a pretty long history and I was amused to see it's now at Funan the IT mall, which is not particularly intuitive for a restaurant. It used to be at Specialist Center and their forte was some Hainanese specials, like their chicken chop, their rough baby blue tableclothes and their affordable, family-friendly prices. It's sort of the equivalent of a Singaporean diner.

The proprietor of Cafe de Amigo is also the most amusing man. Tommy's very Shanghainese and prances round greeting people in his red suspenders and funky glasses. He's made himself into an expert on wine, culling comrades from the higher society of Singapore and hosting their culinary and wine events at his restaurant's private room.

He's the sort of person who will effusively greet you and ask your name, then later on have little recollection of what it is, except if you follow it up with a big dinner order. A smart businessman and Cafe de Amigo is a smart business. For that and other reasons, I have never really been enamoured of this place but was glad of the suggestion that we come here as I hadn't been for a long time.

We started the meal with cheese sticks and Colin had a bisque. He also had the oxtail, which looked good and I had a small piece of Wagyu. Ivan generously allowed them to cook all the Wagyu together and then for a quarter piece to be sliced off for my plate as that would keep it moist yet firm. The larger piece of Wagyu pictured at the beginning was for his plate and cost close to $200 so it wasn't exactly a steal though the rest of the meal was not expensive.

The cooking is really honest, simple and unpretentious. The place also has a lovely wine cellar stocked with very good vintages and the restaurant is absolutely BYOB. There are some rough edges to the place, like the food is often served way too fast or else really slowly and there have been reports of bad experiences and increased prices but I think it's pluses outweight its peculiarities.

Cafe De Amigo
Level 2 Funan Digitalife Mall.
109 North Bridge Road, #02-15,
Funan Digitalife Mall, Singapore 179097.
Tel : 65 - 6835 0238 Fax : 65 - 6835 0819

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