Friday, 28 August 2015

SINGAPORE: Fika and 320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe


Jia here~ As with most of our posts this is one that is looooong overdue, and I thought I'd pick up the slack a little since the mid-semester break has started. This post is from way back in January-ish when we were in Singapore. 320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe is a icecream place that makes their icecream with liquid nitrogen. It is located in several locations(Geylang, Paya Lebar, and in Tampines) and claims to be the only Nitro Cream cafe in Singapore. The one we decided to go to was located all the way in Paya Lebar's OneKM mall and we wanted to go with our friends so it took a while to organise. Eventually we decided on a good time and met up at the Paya Lebar MRT(mass rapid transport) station, then walked to OneKM mall.

Our lovely companions Amanda and Louise
Of course, by the time we got there we were pretty hungry since it was lunchtime, and we walked around the mall trying to think of a good place to eat. Eventually, Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro caught our eye and we went in.

Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro

It was a bit odd, like a little piece of suburban neighborhood just plonked in the middle of the mall, complete with hanging pot plants, lampposts, a white picket fence, fake grass and other homely decor.

As I said, the decor was really suburban neighborhood, which was cute I reckon. This is probably rather novel because Singapore is a very urban city and majority of the housing is in flats and those with houses have a rather different sort of neighborhood; beautiful houses all crammed together with usually very little garden space if any, and high security imposing gates and such, nothing like the typical American Dream white picket fence house type. It was also very.. white, which made for good photos when the food came. 

 "Jia Wen, go behind that fence and look through it""Like some creepy stalker?""Yeah"

We didn't want to be too stuffed when it came to dessert time, so we only got 3 dishes between the 4 of us. This turned out to be quite enough, as we struggled to finish it all. 

The first dish was the Smoked Salmon Salad. I don't know why but this year I've really been getting into the whole smoked salmon and cream cheese and salad kind of thing, I just find it absolutely delicious. I wasn't too keen on the random hard rye crispbread as I was more focussed on the salmon. It was pleasantly tangy, with the mixture of feta cheese, cucumbers, lemon, cherry tomatos and mixed greens. I'm not too sure what dill mayo is but it tasted like normal mayonnaise to me. 

The second dish was the Meatball Melt, and oh my gosh  they were good. I'm writing this review like 8 months later and I still remember it. On the other hand I was really hungry at the time and let's be honest, any combination of meatball and cheese is a winner. And that is exactly what this was. The only gripe I'd have about this dish is that ciabatta bread at the bottom, it was a bit of a pain to cut up. I'll admit when the dish first came I looked at Songie and like "Really? this is what you ordered?" but I definitely enjoyed it.

The third dish was the Pasta Bake which was apparently a family recipe. This consisted of melted cheddar cheese, creamy sauce and pasta, minced beef and those little cherry tomatoes on top. It's a lot smaller than it looks in the picture but still pretty filling, and I liked it but probably not as much as the meatballs? The pasta was a bit too creamy and cheesy and I honestly had no stomach for it in the end.

It's pretty hard to dress up pasta, salad and meatballs so there's not much to judge here.. it didn't look awful, I can say that at least haha.

Service was fine, food was fairly prompt and the staff were friendly enough. We didn't have much interaction with them beyond ordering, really.

The salad was $19.90, the meatballs also $19.90, and the pasta bake was $17.50. It is quite pricey but that is generally the price range of Singapore cafes when you're out of the hawker centres. Average pricing, in general I guess.

Pricing aside, I found this place to be quite nice. Due to it's location and the abundance of cute cafes around Singapore, however, I probably would not find myself travelling out to eat there again.

OK back to the main point of our expedition, we located 320 Below near the entrance where we walked in, and quickly made our way down.

320 Below

I discovered this place because my friend raved about the coconut ice-cream and chocolate lava cake(shout out to Kerry!) It was really awesome because you got to watch the ice-cream being made right in front of you, and the cooling sensation of the nitrogen was a  nice contrast to the hot weather(albeit in the mall you don't feel the heat). 

There are tubs available for takeaway, which I will probably try to get next time, but this time I just had a scoop, being too full from the lunch. I tried the Earl Grey flavour, Songie tried theapple cinnamon icecream and the chocolate lava cake, and A and L got apple cinnamon and coconut.

They had their menu on these screens

 The Earl Grey one was nice, having the faint taste of the tea without being bitter. I actually really enjoyed the texture of the icecream, it was rather like frozen yoghurt but a little more brittle than that, if cream can be brittle... then it just melted away in your mouth with a refreshing feeling, perhaps similar to shaved ice? We all sampled each other's and I must say I wish I'd gotten the Thai coconut one too because that was really nice, capturing the essence of a sweet coconut without being overpowering.

Songie's Lava cake looked reeaaally good I have to say, and it had a rich, dark chocolate tinge to it, which was enhanced with the ice-cream. I liked the fact that the apple cinnamon had apple bits in it too, rather than just the flavouring.

Now I don't remember the price but I do know it was definitely under $10, which is pretty normal for icecream. Songie didn't find it too amazing but I would probably head back to 320 Below to try all the flavours and maybe take a tub or two home if it could last the train ride home in the blistering heat of Singapore. 

Cheers for reading this long post!!
Just the one Lamb

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