One of my all-time favorite places for a relaxed yet slightly swanky bite is the café attached to the Project Shop boutique in Paragon shopping centre. Owners Peter and Philip, svelte, elegant gourmands, created an utterly charming and effortlessly trendy café there. From the rows and rows of imported fashion, design and lifestyle magazines to pick from and read, to the super-delicious, freshly-baked cakes on display; from the signature blackboard wall announcing each day’s specials to the constant slew of socialites and celebrities that eat there regularly in between visits to their favorite designer shops; from the beautifully refurbished vintage furniture to the simple yet delicious, Aussie cuisine prepared here lovingly; the Project Shop Café has made a name and reputation for itself for both its amazing food and its great style.
However, not ones to rest on their laurels, the boys behind Blood Brothers have one-upped themselves in a huge way. This past weekend, they opened a bigger, cooler, groovier and (dare I say) even better restaurant. The PS. Café is housed in a rebuilt glass, brick and steel building in one of Singapore’s quietest but most central neighborhoods, known simply by one of its main tributaries–Dempsey Road. PS. Café is located on Harding Road, which is accessible by either Dempsey or Minden Roads, both of which connect to Holland Road.
The building is stunning, in a kind of 50s, Hollywood Hills, Modernist kind of way. It’s a one story house, with one side entirely of glass. In front of the glass wall, there’s an outdoor deck area, perfect for diners who smoke or for pre-dinner (or post) drinks for the rest of us. The view–all green grass and tall trees–is, for a Singaporean restaurant in the city, unique. PS. Café shares many similarities with its smaller, older brother, among them wooden floors, a classic, monochromatic color palette, vintage chairs, a chalkboard wall for specials, and cool hip waiters in funky T-shirts. But chief among them is the great, hearty, simple Aussie and Aussie-Singaporean food. Many of their classic, signature dishes–like the caesar salad, the “Laksa Pesto” and the carrot cake (the best in town in my opinion)–are on the menu. But there is a greater variety on offer at this new, larger café.
S and I and two friends visited tonight–their third official night of operation. We started with drinks on the deck. S and I had mojitos while our friends had a longan martini and a Bloody Mary (one of Peter’s signature cocktails). We started our dinner by sharing two specials, a prawn salad and a medley of mushrooms, mixed with roquefort, wrapped in phyllo. The mushroom-phyllo dish was wonderful and we begged Peter to put it on his regular menu For mains, S and one friend had the moussaka; our other friend had a cottage pie topped with cheesy mash. I had a duck leg rendang, that was braised till fork-tender and served with fresh herbs and rice. Peter and Philip also very kindly sent us a portion of the steak sandwich with frites to try. We washed all of this down with a bottle of a lovely Zinfandel. For dessert, we shared a steamed ginger pudding, a steamed lemon pudding (both served with vanilla ice cream), and a key lime pie.
Everything was delicious. Enhanced by the fantastic atmosphere and great music (a mix of 50s swing and jazz).
Right now, PS. Café is only open for dinner. So book ahead, because I guarantee, judging by the enormous number of fans that Project Shop Café already has, the awesome building this new restaurant is in, the expanded cocktail menu, and the great, affordable food, this café is right now and will be for the next few weeks THE place to eat in Singapore.
28B Harding Road
Tel: 6479 3343