Kafe Utu, Travel to Africa in Singapore
It's been a while I last left Singapore. No thanks to the Coronarvirus (Covid-19) worldwide outbreak that left many countries isolated and in lockdown. Even though the world is slightly getting back on track, I don't think I will be stepping out of Singapore anytime soon...
While many Singaporeans are dying to go on a holiday and are looking for a Staycation experience and holidaying in Singapore, I had the chance to come across a few places within Singapore that made me feel like I'm in another country!
Kafe Utu, African-themed Cafe in Singapore
Kafe Utu, an African-themed cafe located at Jiak Chuan Road, the hippie foodie hangout spot (where yes, the new Shake Shack outlet can be found nearby), was introduced to me by my sister and we decided to head over to feel like we visited Africa.
When we tried to make a reservation at the cafe, for fear of being asked to leave due to the reduced capacity because of Covid, they told us that they don't take reservations. Fortunately, we managed to snag seats on the highly coveted third floor attic of Kafe Utu! :)
This cosy and superbly themed cafe-by-day and bar-at-night had a total of three floors, and when we went there on a weekday night, it was packed! The first floor featured bar table seatings, great for a casual date, the second floor had high ceilings with comfortable sofas and long tables where you could dine with a huge group (but please keep it to five for now!).
Since it was an African-themed restaurant that had a bar-like atmosphere, the lighting was kept minimal with melodious and jazzy African music and that really brought us back to that time when we stayed at Hotel Matamba when we visited Phantasialand in Germany just last year! (Our last trip before Covid happened! :()
So yes, I think they did get the whole African theme and vibes right!
The Food at Kafe Utu
While I heard lots of good things about their Kenya-styled coffee and their yummy brunch menu, this time we were there to try their African-style curries and light bites.
We also arrived in time for their Happy Hour where we decided to get a bottle of rose, and a second bottle of white wine later on. They also served us iced water in unique glasses and it was a great conversation starter! X)
We started off with their Sunset Cauliflower, Padron Peppers, Fried Plantains and Samosas (each from $14). We honestly came here for the atmosphere and didn't expect the food to be THAT good.
Everything was so delicious! Everyone praised the cauliflower and we were so close to ordering another portion as it was wiped out very quickly! The peppers too, which were grilled and lightly salty, had just a mild spice which was extremely palatable and acted almost like a palate cleanser. The plantain, was nicely battered and fried golden-brown with added dry spices which was honestly quite spicy. To tone down the spice, you can dip it in the sweet mango sauce that was served together with it.
Moving on to the mains, we had the Swahili Fish Curry, Liberian Peanut Chicken Stew, and the Goat Curry (each from $28). Each of the curries came with a portion of rice. The rice was either basmati white rice or coconut rice, depending on the curry you ordered.
We initially thought that the serving was quite small when it was first served to our table. To our surprise, the rich curries along with all the other starters we've ordered filled all 5 of our tummies.
Because we wanted to finish our wine, and yes the second bottle too, we ordered two more sides as we went into the night. We tried their Malindi Croquettes and Beef Tripe. Oh my, the beef tripe was so good. They drizzled a fiery, spicy sauce over the fried tripe which had a very good kick! Great to pair them with post-dinner drinks!
We also tried some of their desserts, which I, for some reason, do not have photographs of! I guess the wine got the upper hand on me or that we were so intrigued in our games and chats.
This was their matcha soft serve which is the kind of matcha ice cream you get from those matcha-specialty stores! The green tea flavour was rich and not overly-cloying or sweet.
Overall, Kafe Utu was a great dining experience and I believe is a good alternative to the fly-to-nowhere or cruise-to-nowhere experiences as the decor, food, and ambience really makes you feel like you're out of the country and into a new world (even for just that hour or some over your meal!)
Have you tried Kafe Utu? Share with us your experiences!
2 Jiak Chuan Rd, Singapore 089265