Saturday, January 03, 2015

The Lokal

If I must choose, The Lokal must be one of my current favourite cafe of the moment. I mean, I had visited it like five times in the past two months or so. And that must mean something right, given the high density of cafes in our tiny island these days. My friend joked that I should be a VIP member given the number of times I've gone to the Lokal. Ha, I can only wish.

The Lokal

So with multiple visits under my belt, I think I've tried a decent portion of the menu yeps. First up - the coffee. The Lokal seem to change their blends quite frequently, everytime I was there, I had a different cuppa brew. The first visit, I had a flat white while my friend got a cappuccino. I forgot to check what blends there were at the time, but it was pretty good.

The girlfriend and I shared a "pimp your own" breakkie plate of scrambled eggs and mushrooms, and the roast beef sandwich. The waitress (and various Instagrammers) recommended the banana bread, so of course we got that too.

Roast beef sandwich was *sigh* -insert dreamy look-. The roast beef slices and caramelised onions on rye bread were a good fit. I'll talk more about the banana bread later.

Roast beef on rye
Flat white

On my second visit, I managed to enquire about the coffee blends. Most coffee joints have two blends, and as I prefer my coffee to be as least acidic as possible, my usual question to whichever coffee joint I visit would be "So which of the two blends is the lesser acidic blend?" Ha. anyway, two cappuccinos this time round (Columbian blend), and both tasted as good as the latte art looked.

My my. Check out at that mountain of avo and ricotto atop the sourdough slice. *slacked jaw* Even after we finished the bread, we had way too much leftovers of both (not that we are complaining - just that it would good if there was an additional slice of sourdough). We loved how the crunchy almonds provided a textural bite, but didn't quite get the addition of the pomelo bits. The pomelo was simply...tasteless by itself, and we were discussing what possible substitutes for it - our discussion ended with the vote for dried cranberries (sweet and tart and adds a pop of colour to the dish).

Smashed avo with ricotta sourdough
French toast with sauteed apples, raisins, bacon and maple cream

The french toast was not bad, loved the pillowy soft brioche bread, but I wish the apples were softer, tender and caramelised (it's just personal preference) rather than slightly crunchy.

Toasted banana bread with roasted macadamias, vanilla yogurt, caramelised bananas

I took more shots of the banana bread this time round (we were seated at a spot with better lighting compared to our previous visit) because I wanted to do the dish justice. PLEASE ORDER THIS when you visit the place. I know I know. It's banana bread. What's so special about it, you might wonder (so did I when I first saw it on Instagram). It's what they serve with it that matters. The banana bread was moist, yes, but it's all the other add-ons that make the dish pop. Caramelised bananas to amp up the banana factor, toasted macadamias for the crunch (by the way, I love macadamias so I love anything with it), creamy tangy yogurt, and wait for the it, the main star - grated lime zest. The lime zest provided a really nice citrus note to the dish, and prevented it from being too cloyingly sweet. Seriously, that whole combo above? Makes me wanna replicated it at home. So, to entice you further...

Need I explain why this is a must-order dish every single time I visit?

Dinner options were limited, and among the four of us, we had ordered like most of the mains avail. They had just opened up for dinner menu recently, so I hope they expand the dishes. The complimentary bread was nicely charred and the butter had the perfect spreadable consistency. Dinner was...good, but not exceptionally so. The brunch items were much better.

Slipper lobster linguine, Bread and butter, Grilled sausages and mash, Beef goulash with spatzle 

Chunky chips, Cappuchino (Sex Panther blend)

I had a Christmas gift exchange session there with some girlfriends over the Christmas weekend. No matter what blend I'm having, the coffee is consistently good here. One thing I noticed though, they used to serve a small sliver of biscotti cookie with the coffees, but with the recent visits, none were given.

Pork sausage burger with sauerkraut, grilled pineapple and cheese

Among the six of us, we ordered up a feast. Chunky chips, smashed avo with ricotta, "pimp my breakfast", pork sausage burger and drinks (first picture of the post). This is a relatively new addition to the menu, and please, it's a another MUST-ORDER. We demolished the pork burger in record time. The pork sausage was really really juicy and well seasoned. In fact, as one of the girlfriends were late, when she arrived, she was finishing whatever we put aside from her, when another girlfriend asked "So...should we get another pork burger?" Mind you, we were all stuffed by then, but no one objected to it and so, we got another pork burger (though we requested to switch the chips to salad) and we easily polished it off.

"Pimp my breakfast" - scrambled eggs, baked beans, potatoes and mushrooms
Sticky date pudding

Even though we were stuffed, we managed desserts too. I had tried the sticky date pudding during my dinner visit, and my friends and I all thought it was really good. A girlfriend who was on a diet, just couldn't stop nibbling at it. When this arrived at our table this time round, not sure if it was my tastebuds working differently, it was still tasty and moist and all, but it was very very sweet. I guess it was the sauce, but be warned - sweet lovers only.

Triple scoop icecream - hazelnut, cookies and cream and coffee (I think)

I brought the Sis and Bro-in-law (BIL) to the Lokal for breakfast on New Year's Day (because the Sis wanted to have good food to start the year with). The BIL wanted the French toast, so I suggested getting the banana bread and pork burger too (the two must-orders). Alas, it was a weekday, and the pork burger was a weekend brunch menu item, so we got the other burger that was avail instead.

Trio of cappuccinos (Columbian blend)
Black pearl breakfast BLT

To be honest, the BLT burger was forgettable - I mean, that's after tasting the awesome pork burger. And anyway, to those who know me, I'm not a fan of bacon.

First breakfast in 2015

Though I might be a tad slow in terms of "hipness level" in checking out new cafes (the cafe opened in mid 2014, and I visited it only in end 2014), you can be sure that I'll definitely be making repeat visit(s) to The Lokal...again. 

Was discussing with several (different groups of) friends, and we all agree that with the high number of cafes these days, we have all pretty much given up cafehopping to all the new spots and prefer sticking to the tried-and-tested handful of cafes we actually like. I must say this turned out to be one of the longest review I've ever written, but what to do, so many comments on all the dishes, what with my multiple visits. Here's to having an awesome year of feasting! 

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