Brunch review: Kafe Utu at 12 Jiak Chuan Rd, Singapore 089265

I loved South Africa when I visited it a few years back (read my South Africa itinerary here). So when I read that an African cafe opened up right in the heart of Singapore, I immediately bookmarked it as a place to check out. And I was glad I did, for it tasted really legitimate in my mind for what African food might *be* like, even if it is not 100% authentic (it can never be once it leaves the shores of the original land, much like Singapore food).

The cafe is split into 2 storeys in a typical shophouse format of that area. We didn't check out the lounge upstairs, which I presume will have more night-time music/drinks as opposed to our intention which was, brunch! They have a coffee machine out, but the rest of the magic happens inside the kitchen behind closed doors.

I love the decor, which felt very on pointe with what they were serving up without being kitschy.

Here's the menu, drinks were typical prices.

The food menu pdf is available from their website, but here it is in case you're too lazy to go. (Click on image to view a bigger version in a new window). Haha.

I had the bottled cold brew, Utu Ink (S$6), which was served with a cleverly frozen coffee ice ball since it was a warm day (when is it not?). My brunch companion had a shot of espresso with some tonic water (its a thing, apparently!).

For my brunch I got the Pulled Pork Breakfast (S$25) which had pork shoulder with bbq sauce, spice mix, some curried ago along with corn salsa, a poached barn (?) egg and some taters. To be honest the ingredients felt kind of disparate from each, much like colleagues who had to attend a work dinner together. They are nice individually, well-spiced such that each raw ingredient was transformed, but they just didn't really do each other any favours. 3/5

My friend had the Liberian Peanut Chicken Stew (S$28) which tasted incredibly like our satay sauce with some chicken. They used sakura chicken thigh, natural pb, smoked fish and habanero, and served it with some basmati white rice. It looked like a innocent dish but the heat it packed was like a mafia in Italy in the 80s. Spicy! However it felt much more pulled together than mine. 4/5

Kafe Utu managed to live up to my low expectations, seeing how this is the first African cafe I've seen in my whole life here and they managed to hit home with the ambiance, dish curation and service. Flavours wise might need more tweaking to ensure cohesiveness but the overall experience was commendable.

Kafe Utu
12 Jiak Chuan Rd, Singapore 089265
Wed-Sundays 10am to 5pm, 6-11pm (1h earlier on Sat/Sun and 2h later on Fridays)
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays

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