Monday, May 4, 2020

Restaurant review: Carrotsticks and Cravings, Dempsey Hill, Singapore


One of the last restaurants we visited before the debilitating impact of the coronavirus hit Singapore happened to be Carrotsticks and Cravings, a charming Australian cafe located in Dempsey during early March. The occasion was my husband’s birthday and I was keen to treat the family to a sumptuous meal. Characteristically, I was on the lookout for kid-friendly places and this cafe popped up in my search. I checked out the menu of the cafe and found that it was right up my alley so I convinced my husband that he would like it too 😜 Birthday venue and meal timing finalized, I promptly made a reservation for Saturday brunch.

Carrotsticks and Cravings is the brainchild of Terri-Anne, a Melbourne-born food photographer, food stylist and author of three cookbooks. The cafe aims to bring the Australian-inspired healthy cafe experience to Singapore. It isn't surprising that the cafe is known to have a predominantly white clientele.

Carrotsticks and Cravings boasts a lovely location on Dempsey Hill, sitting quietly in a secluded nook shrouded by century old trees. We almost drove right past it! There is a small car park out at the front from where the cafe remains partially hidden. Once we walked past the gate, we were stuck by the cafe's casual and homely vibe.



First thing we noticed when we entered the premises was a tidy little outdoor play area. There were also some small cars for toddlers to ride in. My five-year olds took off like rockets to the play area and were soon lost in their own world.



This is a very kid-friendly cafe indeed. There is a coloring station with art supplies as well. I had read that there is a trampoline but I couldn't see it anywhere. If I hadn't been aware of this information beforehand, it wouldn't have occured to me to check out the back of the cafe! Once my kids were done at the play area, I took them to the trampoline and they spend a good chunk of time jumping up and down and building up an appetite!


The seating area is actually quite limited and the tables are small. Seating is primarily outdoor so keep in mind that it can get quite warm especially during sweltering summer months. We chose a table from which we had a good view of the play area.

The decor can be described as a mix of minimalist chic and rustic country with primary shades of white and lots of natural elements used as decorative accents.



I really liked the menu options because there is something for everybody. The restaurant delivers healthy superfood cuisine made with fresh and quality ingredients. You will find the generous use of fresh veggies, greens, sprouts, fruit, wholegrains, beans, seeds and nuts in most of the dishes.

They have crowd-pleasers like avocado toast, baked eggs, sandwiches, pancakes, burrito, green bowl, parfait, salads, smoothie bowls, baked goodies, fruit juices, coffee, tea and smoothies. The kids menu has a select few dishes that are fun yet nutritious at the same time (not the typical fries, nuggets, mac n cheese that you get everywhere else!). You can expect an impressive range of vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free delights. Those with dietary restrictions will find that this cafe caters to every need. I suggest you go to the counter and take a good look at their desserts and breads or check out the boards for daily specials before placing your order.

Table service is not offered so ordering and payment has to be done at the counter inside the cafe. We were sitting at the table for quite some time before we realised this! You would also need to get your own cutlery, napkins, seasonings and sugar (it can be a bit of a bother if you have to keep going to get more).


Here is a round up of our order,

PB Chocolate Smoothie ($8)
A concoction of peanut butter, cacao, banana, honey and milk. Nice flavour and texture but I didn’t like it much because it wasn’t sweet enough for me. My husband liked it though so the verdict is mixed.


Latte ($6.5)
The latte was nice enough but nothing special. I was given coconut sugar to sweeten it which required a lot!


Croissant with butter and jam
My husband ordered this. The croissant wasn't fresh out of the oven. Surprisingly, it wasn't even warmed. It was served in a pedestrian manner with a knob of butter and some jam. All I have to say is meh 😒


Smashed Avo on Sourdough with Poached Eggs ($24)
The smashed avocado is served on herb sourdough, feta and dukkah. You could get yours with one or more of the following - pomegranate, smoked salmon, leg ham and poached eggs. I typically went for the poached eggs.

The smashed avo on sourdough with poached eggs looked fresh, appetizing and healthy. I loved the texture of the bread, the creaminess of the avocado and perfectly done eggs, the freshness of the herbs and the crunch of the nuts and seeds. The dish had a lovely lemony zing to it as well. A simple dish that was executed well. This was without a doubt, one of the best dishes of the day. And it was insta-worthy too (Apparently, they have a props table to help you get that perfect instagram shot! If I had known about it then I would have used it for sure).

Recommended!


Acai Berry Bowl ($14)
The acai berry bowl looked gorgeous and tasted great too. It was chilled, thick, had just the right amount of sweetness and freshness, vibrancy from the fresh berries and wonderful flavour and texture from the peanut butter granola. Our kids loved it and kept badgering me for more "chocolate ice-cream" (in their words!).

Recommended!


Pancakes the Kid's Way ($14)
The pancakes were organic gluten free and refined sugar free blueberry oat pancakes with berries, greek yogurt and organic canadian maple syrup on the side.

My kids didn't find the pancakes visually appealing because they were so brown. The greek yoghurt was too tart and they did not like it at all as an accompaniment to the pancakes. They finished the pancakes with the maple syrup and berries. This dish was a slight disappointment to me since it was recommended for kids and I didn't think it catered to their taste buds.


Shakshouka ($18)
This shakshouka arrived in the form of a Mediterranean tomato-based sauce baked with eggs, evoo, fresh herbs and served with herb sourdough. You have the option to add spinach, feta and/or goat's cheese. I requested to add feta cheese.

The presentation was good and the portion was decent. But the shakshouka was predominantly tasting of tomatoes (tart) and very little else. There was not much flavour going on. The dish was marked as "spicy" on the menu but trust me when I say it was hardly spicy. My husband declared that the shakshouka I make at home which has red onions, garlic, dried and fresh herbs, bell peppers, feta cheese, cayenne pepper and black pepper (all rounded off with a little bit of honey) has much better flavour in comparison.

This was just about average. 


The service at Carrotsticks and Cravings was friendly but a little slow because it seemed as if the staff couldn't keep up with the  steady stream of customers. But since we weren't in any hurry, the kids were occupied and we were enjoying the surroundings and the food, it didn't matter much to us.

We enjoyed our lazy Sunday brunch and spent a good two hours at the cafe before heading back home. My kids were reluctant to leave and that is a pretty good indication that they did indeed enjoy the outing and would be happy to be back.

Summary of our visit
Carrotsticks and Cravings is a charming little cafe with a laid-back ambience situated within lush natural surroundings that serves as an ideal spot for a mid-week health hit or weekend brunch. The location on Dempsey Hill is not readily accessible by public transport; driving or taking a taxi are more convenient options. If you have young children, there is plenty to keep them occupied while you get to enjoy a relaxed meal. The cafe can get pretty crowded especially on weekends so I recommend that you make a reservation in advance. The service is bright and cheery but can be sluggish during busy weekends. The menu is very impressive and credit to the management for coming up with innovative fresh and seasonal dishes. I recommend that you go to the counter and check out their breads and desserts before ordering. The dishes are presented well and the portions are just about right but I felt that the flavour is a bit lacklustre (savoury dishes needs more seasoning, some of the sweet dishes are too mild). If you are really into healthy eating, love superfoods and tend to stay away from refined sugar and limit your salt intake, then this will indeed be a food haven for you. I would definitely go back for the delicious smashed avo on sourdough with poached eggs and the acai berry bowl. And come to think of it, I wouldn't mind trying the green falafel bowl and Melbourne coffee. Prices are mid-range and the expected damage done to your pocket would be approx $30-40 per head. I found Carrotsticks and Cravings to have wider and more inclusive menu options and to be more reasonably priced than Open Farm Community located in the same area. 


I recommend this cafe for couples, families and small groups of friends.


My rating for this restaurant is

Carrotsticks & Cravings Cafe (Dempsey)


Address: 75E Loewen Rd 248845
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 8am to 3pm
                          Saturday & Sunday: 8am to 4pm
Tel: ‎+65 8128 9926
Email: info@carrotsticksandcravings.com


Cheers,
Megha




This is not an invited or sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

2 comments:

  1. I like the ambiance of this place. Hope you all are holding on fine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes we are thank you. Hope you are doing good too!

      Delete

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