My cousin recommended this place and even took us there himself, so of course I had high expectations. In a nutshell: no regrets! The food at Monniker is actually pretty decent. In fact, what I ordered went above my expectations. But before I get into the food, let’s talk a bit about the cafe itself. Launched halfway through 2015, Monniker is only just coming out of its fledgling stage. As an attachment to Aqueen Hotel Balestier, I’m guessing quite a number of the customers are guests to the country, but from what I’ve heard, plenty of locals have got their eyes (and taste buds) set on this place too. For a really good reason.
I can see what they’re doing with the interior design: a very brassy, very distinctive Victorian steampunk theme complete with warm and cosy undertones from dark wood tables and atmospheric, vintage-looking Edison light fixtures. They’re not going for subtlety here – they’ve gone all out with the decor and I must commend them for it. Full length windows allow for plenty of natural daylight to flood the cafe, accentuating the monochromatic walls and industrial fittings.
Their beef ragù linguine ($17) consists of linguine pasta tossed in a chunky sauce of slow-cooked beef and tomatoes, garnished with shaved parmesan and parsley. We found this to be certainly more garlicky than your traditional ragù, but still rather tasty nonetheless. It’s always nice when the flavour of the meat isn’t overpowered by the acidity or sweetness of the tomatoes, but rather nicely complemented by it. Altogether, a really simple and comforting dish with the most classic of flavours. Perhaps a pappardelle or rigatoni, rather than the typical linguine, would have been a better choice of pasta to soak up all of that delicious sauce!
Their chicken waffle stack ($19) made quite an impression. You can’t go far wrong with a thick, juicy slab of crispy fried chicken topped with some flavourful melted cheddar cheese. Sandwich that between two fragrant buttermilk waffles, drizzle with a healthy dose of maple syrup, crown the whole thing with an aesthetically pleasing sunny side up, and you’ve got yourself an artfully stacked, mouthwateringly sweet-and-savoury creation with the power to overwhelm. This one definitely sits within the category of Not Your Average Brunch Fare.
On their All Day Breakfast menu, you’ll find their eggs benedict ($18): two poached eggs, smoked salmon and sautéed spinach on house-made caraway toast, covered in hollandaise and served with a side of mesclun drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It’s nothing overly fancy – unlike the chicken waffle stack, this would be your typical brunch fare – though as an interesting side note, all their breads and sauces are made in-house, so you know you’re getting something a little bit special.
Monniker serves up some very lovely coffee with some impeccable latte art. I also believe their Valrhona iced chocolate ($7) is pretty decent. Additionally, they offer an array of alcoholic drinks including Harry Brompton’s Alcoholic Iced Tea ($10), Wells Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale ($12) and the usual suspects, Asahi and Heineken. For those with a penchant for sweet treats, they have a small-ish selection of desserts. We tried a slice of their flourless orange cake ($9) and it came with a refreshing scoop of vanilla ice cream to create the perfect combination.
387 Balestier Road
Phone: +65 6250 2433
Opening hours: 7:30am – 4:30pm (daily)