Probably one of the cosiest cafe serving affordable comfort food and coffee with cute latte art! Carol Mel Cafe is the one you shouldn’t miss.
This 30-seater cafe is situated at Commerz@Irving, near Tai Seng MRT. Upon entering, I felt surprisingly at home with the rustic looking shelves filled with toys reminiscence of childhood days, hanging lightbulbs, brick walls and cute owl cushion.
Currently helmed by owners Caroline and Andy, Carol Mel Cafe is a hidden spot for coffee goers or a chillax session with family and friends.
For a cafe, the menu does offered a wide variety of food, ranging from light snacks, pastas to heavier meat dishes and desserts like waffles and cakes.
If you are lucky, you may catch Damien the barista at work behind the coffee machine. I heard that he does really nice latte art and since I was there on two separate occasions, I had
shamelessly coaxed him into drawing my favourite Gudetama and Totoro on my coffee.
With years of experience under his belt, Damien made each cup of coffee delicately and skillfully. His latte art is also one of the better ones I have seen around, with complexity and always changing. Given his versatility, somehow, I secretly believe that he would be able to draw any pictures I want on my latte.
That was the first time I came so up close to a barista and observed how a latte art was done.
I was thrilled to see my Totoro, an exact replica from the picture I showed to him on my phone. And with my NAME below it too!
Satisfied with my coffee, there arrived some light snacks to get us started.
The Zhi-Char Salted Egg Luncheon Fries ($12) is a sinful combination of crispy battered luncheon meat coated in salted egg sauce with herb and spices. The dish was filled with the fragrance of the salted egg when it arrived to our table.
One bite into the fries and I could hear the crunch of the batter, so thin and crispy. The ratio of batter to meat is perfect where you get to taste the luncheon meats without being overpowered by the sauce. It was surprisingly not your usual gimmicky salted egg dish but one that really shone through the meal.
The Crispy Mid Wings ($9) features six crispy battered mild wings in spices with a side of maple syrup. The wings were not that spicy but became sweeter and sticky after adding the maple syrup. The batter was, once again, good and able to remain crisp even after being left in the open for some time.
One of my favourite goes to the Rakuzen Cold Pasta ($18) which consists of chilled angel hair pasta crowned with a medley of seafood such as Tiger prawns, blue mussels, crab meat surimi, smoked salmon, Ikura and shredded carrots.
We had the wasabi yuzu soy sauce to be poured and mixed in. I could taste hints of wasabi between each mouthful of pasta though the yuzu flavour could be stronger. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the generosity in the ingredients and the rather affordable price that no places could possibly rival.
Ever heard of white laksa pasta?
The Neptune’s White Laksa Pasta ($15) is bound to get us hook just by the name itself. Think Ang-moh style laksa. Here you get spaghetti served with laksa sauce with shrimps, fishcakes and sprinkles of crispy tau pok. Certainly something unique to look forward to. It was quite flavourful, especially with the addition of herbs too.
Buttermilk Waffle Cheeze Curry Katsu ($16) sounds mouthful but will surely keep your mouth full. The waffle is another signature item of Carol Mel partly because of the batter they are using. It gives the waffle a light crisp on the outside that the moment I used the knife to poke it, we could all hear the ‘kachiak’ sound.
The fried chicken was tender and moist inside. The batter tend towards the saltier side but was balanced off with the curry sauce. Nonetheless, I still like the fried chicken as it could stand as a dish on its own given its flavourful-ness.
For the hearty eaters, the Signature Italian Braised Lamb Shank ($25) is worth a try too. 500g of slow braised lamb shank in red wine sauce and an array of vegetables that would keep you full and satisfied. The thick gooey sauce soaked through the meat such that every mouthful was filled with the lamb and sauce.
We were so full by then when it came to desserts. But there were always spaces for them.
The Signature Whimsical ($16) is a beautiful mess of garden on a crispy buttermilk waffle. You get melted sharp cheddar cheese on sliced bananas, grilled marshmallows, fresh summer berries and a scoop of smooth and creamy salted caramel ice cream. The berries were refreshingly sourish, the kind I like and especially for after a heavy meal.
It is truly instagrammable and a sight to behold.
Another dessert we had was the Carol Mel’s Signature Creme Brûlée ($6). Made from milk, cream, egg, sugar and Madagascar Vanilla Beans, it achieved a smooth, thick and custard-like texture. The surface was torched and the result was a smokey caramelised sugar top. Unlike the usual overly sweet creme brûlée, this is just nice for one to finish too.
Carol Mel cafe is indeed a pleasant spot to hangout and largely under the radar. I was introduced to this humble cafe by a friend, been there twice and am now thinking of a third visit. Prices are nett and reasonably priced for the good food and coffee too!
Carol Mel Cafe
1 Irving Place, #01-30
The Commerze @ Irving
This is an invited tasting.