Carol Mel Cafe at Tai Seng - Review [Media Invite]

Tai Seng is one of the cafe enclaves one can look to go, away from the hustle of the city. The stretch is just a convenient 3 minutes walk from Tai Seng MRT station. Carol Mel Cafe is easily (or not so depending on how you see it) spotted as among the first floor storefronts, it is the only one with dark tinted glass and one of the last few situated at the end (if you come from the train station) of the stretch.

The menu offers the usual cafe grub, but there are a few twists.

Chicken Wings with Maple Syrup ($9)

Seeing this on the menu, I had a good feeling about this, as the last time I had a similar-style of fried wings from a cafe turned out superb. 

Golden, crispy exterior with a moist enough interior. This has my mind made up - fried chicken and maple syrup is a magical combination.

No. of Tiaras: 4.5/5

Salted Egg Luncheon Fries ($12)

Not for those watching their waistline, but if you aren't, then go by all means. Unlike other places where the luncheon meat is so thin that it becomes crisps, the thickness of the spam is just right, such that you are actually biting into the luncheon meat. The batter remained crispy the whole time we were taking pictures. 

It would be better if the salted egg sauce packed in more salted egg flavour and aroma of the curry leaf, Nevertheless, this was addictive. 

No. of Tiaras: 4/5

Rakuzen Cold Pasta ($18)

This refreshing take on cold pasta was very interesting as an east-west fusion dish which worked well. The al-dente pasta with tiger prawns, mussels, crab leg, ikura and smoked salmon was generous in amount of ingredients. There are two choices of sauces: wasabi yuzu soy or soy sesame. 

No. of Tiaras: 4/5

French Confit Du Canard ($18)
Do not expect the French version of duck confit, as this is much less salty. It is not bad a choice for a main, but don't expect French standards.

No. of Tiaras: 3.5/5

Buttermilk Waffle Curry Chicken Katsu with Melted Cheese ($17)

Of the mains tried, this is my pick to go with. Fried chicken that is moist within with crispy waffles. No surprises and good execution. The curry suffices on its own as a separate element. 

No. of Tiaras: 4/5

Signature Italian Braised Lamb Shank ($26)

Didn't try this as I am lamb-averse. The meat gave way easily to the fork and the rest wiped out the dish. This was said to be pretty good by all who had it. 

Signature Whimsical Waffle ($16)

I have tried it on my first visit a year and a half back, and this version is slightly more sweet than before. Nevertheless. it remains one of my favourite sweet-savoury waffles.

It is crisp on the outside, fluffy within and full of buttermilk fragrance. The caramel gelato, maple syrup, melted sharp cheddar cheese, with the toppings of grilled marshmallows and summer berries all came together in a delightful complex of contrasted textures and flavours. 

No. of Tiaras: 4.5/5

Dessert - Pandan Lychee Cake ($8.50) and Creme Brulee ($5 for dine-in/$6.50 for take out)

Dessert wasn't a let down. The creme brulee was slightly on the too-sweet side. Still, it had that satisfying first chink when we cracked into it and a smooth texture. 

The Pandan Lychee cake did look ordinary as with old-school cakes, but like they said, don't judge by the cover. This was every bit of pandan-aromatic with a taste of lychee sweetness. The crumb was moist and the layer of cream contained bits of lychee. We couldn't stop.  
Cutest latte art

No. of Tiaras: 4.5/5 for Pandan Lychee Cake, 3.5/5 for creme brulee

There were no misses here on the food we have tried, similar to my first visit. Prices are nett and on the lower-average end for a cafe which makes it good value. Though the Tai Seng stretch is slightly offshoot, the crowd can be pretty unpredictable on weekends as we heard from the owner. They do accept reservations, so be sure to reserve to pre-empt waiting. 

Carol Mel Cafe
The Commerze @ Irving, #01-30, 1 Irving Pl, Singapore 369546
Open Mon-Thurs, 11am - 8pm; Fri 11am - 8pm; Sat 11am - 9pm; Sun 9am-4pm
Nearest MRT: Tai Seng and 3 minutes walk from exit A