It’s the last Sunday of the year, and how beautiful it has been. Well, that’s not quite the whole truth. In fact, it started with an upset stomach, but I wouldn’t want to miss an end-of-year lunch with my colleagues. I took a tablet of ultra-carbon, braved the great outdoors, and headed down to Spathe, a diner along Mohamed Sultan Road, just off Clarke Quay.
I’ve heard about Spathe a few months back, and the concept of communal dining seemed novel. Gone are the days looking for decent places for large-group gatherings. They serve “Mammoth Signatures” to share between a big family. Confit pork puffs, one-metre-long hotdogs, and a huge paellera worth of… you guessed it, paella. However, with some slight over-sight, the much-awaited sharing dishes were not available for weekend brunch, and we almost had to make do with the standard fare of brunch items. Eggs Benedict, Croque Madames, and omelettes, of course these are decent food too, but we didn’t went there for that. Fortunately, our disappointment was assuaged when the service staff offered to serve a selection of the gigantic mains. While waiting for everyone to arrive (including myself), we started nibbling on the addictive garlic fries, and I got myself a double-shot of espresso because… it’s Sunday and I was probably still half-asleep. Not long after, with (almost) the whole crew on board, the “immensely large” dishes were rolled out.
We had the sous-vide Spanish Octopus Salad, the meter-long dog, and the paella, along with an array of brunch items and more garlic fries. Everything was decent, except the off-the-mark paella,. I would probably return for the bratwurst and, if I had a bigger wallet, I wouldn’t mind the lovely ambience, the intricate hummingbird painted on the walls, and that casual sense of communal dining. Nonetheless, it turned out to be a great lunch, on a once-more-beautiful Sunday (with my stomach tamed). The food was decent, the company better. We were recounting the most ridiculous buffooneries that happened during service. We had some great laughs, but such stories are better left unpublished hahaha…
Feeling all satiated, and just a little poorer, a number of us took to our plans and decided to visit a pop-up café, in the heart of Little India. The space, “Temporium”, houses the café named Compliments of. It’s a collaboration between Papa Palheta, Wild Rocket, and Weekend Worker, a ceramics collective. For that wholesome lunch, a bit of walking was due, and we paid it in full. Anyway, it has been a while since I’ve visited this bustling part of town, but the elements that remind you that “this is little india” will never change. The sights, scents and sounds brought me back to my trip to Kerala. Oh how I miss travelling like that! Wandering into foreign streets and alleys, never knowing what you might chance upon. And at last, we arrived at the café. First impression, it was entirely out of place, but that just adds to its charm.
How dainty, and gorgeous! The ceramics serve-ware lent a bespoke aura to the space, along with the concrete pipes and building blocks. For a temporary place, the thought and effort invested were more than sufficient to create a charming experience. Good coffee (yet another espresso for a relatively dairy-free day), and an unforgettable scoop of peanut butter ice-cream (so much being dairy-free…) I like to be prudent in dispensing superlatives, but here’s an excerpt of my exclamation to a pen-pal: “I don’t really like peanut-butter in general because it sticks in the mouth, but that scoop had bursts of the butter’s rich flavour, well-balanced with cream for a smooth finish, and some crunchy nuts in it for the extra texture.”
Some friends tell me that Singapore is too small, and too boring. Considering all the shopping malls filled with generic chain restaurants and retail brands, I wouldn’t disagree. That said, if there were more of such places (perhaps I haven’t been searching hard enough), there isn’t much to complain about. I would brave the risk of getting caught in a riot to visit Compliments of again, before it closes for good, and to explore the gallery/retail part of Temporium when it’s opened after the new year holidays.
Spathe Public House
8 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-01
T: 6735 1035