by Elizabeth Kao, Group Comms
Serving up hearty Thai-Western fusion fare, Cafe4you is a gem in the midst of Bukit Merah Central’s food centres and fast food restaurants. We visit the cafe to check it out for ourselves!
With humble beginnings as a little café serving just beverages and desserts on the Nanyang Technological University campus, Cafe4you has recently opened a second outlet right here in Bukit Merah Central, boasting a reasonably extensive menu.
We had heard through the grapevine that the café was worth a visit, so we trooped down on a gloomy Friday afternoon, hoping to fill our bellies with some satisfying Thai-Western fare.
The café is small, but done up tastefully. White walls adorn the café – one was almost completely covered in greenery, others were filled with scrawls from customers who had enjoyed the food and service. The menu display is colourful and comprehensive. Overall, we thought the place gave off a hipster aesthetic, perfect for those Instagram photos!
Ranging from the usual Thai cuisine suspects like tom yum soup and pad thai, to Western classics like aglio olio and carbonara, we were pretty spoilt for choice for a small café. Customers are also given the option to choose the spice levels of their spicy dishes – mild, hot or very hot. The prices across the menu are also wallet-friendly, staying well within a decent $2 to $11 range.
How was the food, you ask?
Green Curry Chicken – 3.5/5 stars
While the portion was generous, we found the green curry slightly too rich and creamy. The default "mild" spice level was also truly too mild for us – we'd recommend choosing between the "hot" or "very hot" spice levels if you're looking for a stronger kick to your green curry.
Basil Chicken – 3.5/5 stars
“Too salty”, was our collective first thought upon tasting this one – the white rice and runny egg served alongside the chicken were welcome accompaniments in toning this down, though. We picked the “very hot” spice level for this one, but it still lacked enough of a spicy kick for some of us. Ask for less salt if you order this dish, just to be safe!
Thai Honey Chicken – 4.5/5 stars
We quite enjoyed this one! The chicken was fried and beautifully crisp, covered in a sticky honey glaze and topped with sesame seeds and fried minced garlic. The perfect runny egg made its reappearance on this dish, and the portion size was just right. We deducted half a star from its score because the fried chicken was more flour than chicken, but overall, we didn't mind it too much.
Tom Yum Pasta – 4.5/5 stars
When this dish was first served to our table, we had our doubts. The portion looked tiny, its orange hue looked suspect.
Boy, were we wrong.
Creamy, comes with a generous serving of fresh shrimp (we counted 11!), the perfect portion size because of how rich it is – there was really not much to dislike about this dish. We have just one piece of advice when it comes to ordering it: don't order this with their Thai milk tea – too much creaminess!
Aglio Olio – 3.5/5 stars
We just had to try this classic out! Although we felt that they could have been more generous with the portion size and number of fresh shrimp in this dish, the taste was just right and not overly oily. A very straightforward, solid dish.
Truffle Fries – 3.5/5 stars
We couldn’t help ourselves, who doesn’t love a good plate of “smelly” truffle fries?
While there was a hint of the classic scent of truffle, some of us felt that the fries lacked crunch, but of course, those of us who prefer non-crunchy fries found them to be the perfect texture. They also didn’t seem to be too oily. We truly did not have much to complain about, especially when they cost just $3.50!
Thai Milk Tea (left) – 4/5 stars
You couldn’t have possibly thought we’d visit a café serving Thai fare without trying out the classic Thai milk tea, could you?
Creamy, cold, delicious. We thought it tasted pretty authentic and not overly sweet. Some of us who had visited the café before thought the tea tasted slightly different each time they visited though, so expect slight inconsistencies when you visit.
Homemade Iced Lemon Tea (right) – 4/5 stars
We found this classic ice lemon tea to be satisfying and not overly sweet either. Remember to stir your drink up before you take a sip though – the sugar syrup rests at the bottom of the cup!
Overall, the drinks were simple and delicious. We were impressed by the café’s use of reusable straws!
We rate Cafe4you 3.85/5 stars!
We enjoyed the good food at wallet-friendly prices, as well as the friendly service. While a couple of the dishes we ordered were lacking in some aspects, we’re eager to come back to try more of the menu. We also didn’t get a chance to try out their waffles, gelato and cakes – we’ll definitely be back for them!
The café’s located at:
Blk 165 #01-3685, Bukit Merah Central
Open from 8.00am to 11.00pm everyday
We’d recommend going before peak lunch hour!