29.5.14

Review: The Art of Cupping at Sunray Cafe

Author's Note: So between the two of us, we love exploring new places but we are serious creatures of comfort too. Due to our respective busy work schedules, our cafe trips have cut down considerably much but we do still try to make time to meet up with our common bunches of friends for meals and coffee (always). Other than our common cafe hunting spots (lists up soon, we promise!), we often opt for areas closer to home. So when we learnt about Sun Ray Cafe a while back, we hopped onto the chance to visit! We have been back multiple times and even arranged for a beauty/lifestyle bloggers session at the spot.

Now before we start on the food, we want to share a little about cupping. For the uninitiated and very very simply put, coffee cupping refers to an in-depth tasting of notes in brewed coffee. M and I are not experts in this field but we have been very lucky to get to know people who have very kindly shared information with us, as with Dave from Sun Ray Cafe.


To start the session, Dave introduced us to "Le Nez Du Cafe". This is an encyclopaedia of all the notes you can find in your coffee. By encyclopaedia, we really mean a bag of magic because it comes with vials of all the aromas too!


We proceeded to learning a little about how good coffee beans look like. Pre-roasted coffee beans are green before turning on the gorgeous brown as we often see our beans. Good coffee houses are very particular with their selection of farms from which beans are produced and some places are purveyors of single origin coffee using beans from specific farms. Every region of the world produces beans which are differing in notes and body due to the nature of the different environments but even so, the beans may surprise you sometimes!

So the next time you start getting your coffee, start remembering the different tastes of the regions where the beans are from - it will help you make a much better decision on which coffee to get rather than asking the waiter "what's good here?".


They prepared some V60 brews (V for the shape and 60 for the angle) for us. The brewing method involves pouring a well-controlled stream of boiled water through ground beans through a filter. This is one of my favourite method of preparation as it gives a very balanced cup (that's why a controlled stream of water is important) that works for people who might be new to trying brewed coffee. V60 brews should always be prepared with freshly ground coffee which gives a nice dome, called a "bloom", when the first batch of the water is poured into the filter. The barista then continues pouring a suitable amount of water which then filters though and when ready, the filtered ground coffee sinks into a nice even cone. (Watch your barista in action!)


Now on to the main part, the tasting itself. Instead of the regular drinking from the cup, you take a spoon of the brew and slurp it very quickly so the aroma and mouthfeel spreads to the back of the tongue. (We usually just sip through teaspoons in our regular cafe trips instead.) Wash your tongue with clean water in between cups. Take time to feel the nuanced notes! Some key points people look out for:

  • acidity: the tanginess which may be similar to lemons, oranges or grapefruits.
  • body: different beans and different brewing methods creates different mouthfeel. Syphon brewing often gives a lighter touch which is closer to tea. French press tends to give a heavier body. African beans are usually light while Indonesian ones are heavier. (We say usually but you can get a lot more technical or specific which we will not get into here!)
  • flavours: you can really taste amazing notes in your coffee. notes like chocolate and caramel are very common for most cafes in SG but there are also interesting ones like fresh grass, cinnamon and tobacco even!
Everything we shared above are really, really basic stuff that we have learnt about. We are constantly learning how to better appreciate coffee still. Many people may ask what makes a good cup of coffee but I believe it is more about finding a place that does it to your preference - which means you need to understand what exactly makes up for your preferred cup of coffee! 

Now back to the cafe experience. Sun Ray Cafe is a dog-friendly cafe with a no-pets section. The place is well-lit with many different seating options for you to choose from. The menu offers an impressive number of mains which makes for good hearty lunch and dinner options.


Mushroom soup had an infusion of cream and drizzle of truffle oil that makes for a creamy body to the soup with a lingering aroma of the truffle. Quite nicely pulled-off.


If it is not obvious that we are fans of truffle oil, let's make it clear that we are fans and Sunray cafe's truffle fries done with skinny fries are really yummy.


M is a huge fan of breakfast plates and she gave thumbs up to the full plate she got here.


Pastas are well-executed here and we enjoyed the Aglio Olio. We had other pasta in our other trips and they all are pretty much good - notable since they have a proper full-time chef working on the menu.


Of course, how can we not do a meal here without some of their coffee? Different baristas differ slightly in skills but we can vouch for Dave's work at the machine.

We came by a few other times and found a hidden gem in their smoothies. The cafe has also amped up on a huge selection of cakes on their dessert offerings. This just means we need to be back soon!

Sun Ray Cafe
79 Brighton Crescent
Serangoon Gardens
Singapore 559218
Tel: +65 6283 8700
Facebook
Sun Ray holds coffee brewing classes, just e-mail coffee@sunray.sg to enquire!
We were invited by Dave and his team for the cupping session. All other food and drinks are not sponsored.

(Photoset by green tea fields & words by PlentyOfPretty.)


27.5.14

#Cafeweekends: Cafe-hopping in Singapore - Everton Park

Situated within the cozy neighbourhood a little off the city, a little off Chinatown, the estate is a charming space that is spotted with quite a number of surprise finds. Make a turn and you may find a pet nursery, a Korea rice cake supplier, one Teochew kueh store and then a cafe - quite the quirky mix we love. Most of the places are still very privately owned with the bosses running the show themselves. We are crossing our fingers that things stay as they are!

Here are some cafes you can find in the Everton Park area:


Just Want Coffee 
#01-27 
Singapore 080001 
Tel: +65 6225 8115
Facebook

Audacious Cakery 
Blk 2 Everton Park 
#01-161 
Singapore 080002 
Tel: +65 6223 3047
Facebook


Grin Affair 
3 Everton Park 
#01-77 
Tel: +65 8282 7375

The Provision Shop 
3 Everton Park #01-79 
Singapore 080003 
Tel: +65 6225 9931
Facebook



Nylon Coffee Roasters 
4 Everton Park 
#01-40 
Singapore 080004 
Tel: +65 6220 2330
Facebook

Batterworks
4 Everton Park 
#01-42
Singapore 080004 
Tel: +65 6438 2208
Facebook

Happy 3 Bites Cafe
4 Everton Park 
#01-50 
Singapore 080004 
Tel: +65 9383 0485
Facebook

Cozy Corner Coffee
6 Everton Park 
#01-18 
Singapore 080006
Tel: +65 9834 8776
Facebook

If you have places to recommend or will like to share shots of your cafe trips with us, hit us up on Instagram @coffeetablepeople (instagram.com/coffeetablepeople) with the hashtag #cafeweekends!

27.3.14

Throwback Thursday: Finding My Inner South American Foodie Dreams at Table 24

Author's Note: We are always sad at the news of a cafe closing down (SG's cafe scene is still so young,  we are not ready for farewells yet!) but more than happy to welcome our favourite creatives back into the scene. We bid goodbye to Crazy World Cafe a while back and now say a happy hello to the same team, back stronger, through Table 24.

If you, like me, loved pouring through pages after pages of articles and recipes by food people. (My personal food heroes are The Amateur Gourmet and Jamie Oliver.) You will understand the cravings I always had for food I have never found where I live. Strangely though, they sometimes seem so familiar you can almost taste it in your mouth.

Imagine my complete excitement when I found out what Table 24 was serving - contemporary American cuisine or Southern American cuisine. This means all the grits, grilled meats, crab cakes and all the awesome wholesome goodness South American food is all about. (Yes, we are talking about the land where Fried Chicken and Biscuits came from.)


Like the aesthetics of the creative team behind CWC and now Table 24, the place in decor in a homely, vintage style with a lot of woods finishing off with orange lights to add a romantic mood to the dining experience.


Vintage radios line one side of the space.


Steel bowls and salad bowls line the other walls. (Conceptualisation of the walls were done by Genome Architects and Design Consultancy, hit them up!)

More posters and reads are displayed around the space, we love the little shelves that allow for a changing "landscape" anytime the owners like to. Very creative and clean cut.

Food-wise, we have to admit, M and I were also largely lured by the promise of fresh oysters available at Table 24.


These were probably the Canadian oysters (creamy and rich) and French Fine De Claire oysters (amazingly briny with a cleaner finish). We also had some Miyagi oysters on another trip down, those were fantastic too.


Tomato Bisque made from Romas and local tomatoes topped with cream, port and basil. Natural tanginess you get only from soup made from scratch with fresh tomatoes.


Butternut squash soup flavoured with maple syrup, crème fraîche, toasted pecans and chives. This is an autumn special and was originally used as a sauce in a main. The blend of butternut and maple syrup gave a new dimension to the taste palette making it taste somewhat like gula melaka, delectably sweet and then you get a bit of tanginess from the crème fraîche.

The menu at Table 24 evolves from time to time, some starters are recreated into mains, some new dishes introduced, even the sides paired with the mains changes too. (We missed out on some truffle popcorn!)


Shrimp and Grits is one of our favourites to order. Grilled prawns served on a bed of creamy polenta is both familiar and comforting. The best part is finding bits of home-cured bacon within the pile of goodness!


Richard, the executive chef of Table 24, is fantastic at his work with seafood - especially the fishes. Slow Roasted Salmon was a huge hearty slab which M loves to go for. I also personally recommend the Sable Fish if you are a fan of oilier fishes.


Pan-seared sesame crusted swordfish is nicely cured for a bit of tenderness within the crunchy bits.


Maryland Crab Cakes are a huge hit with almost everyone we brought to Table 24. It has the intense sweetness you get only from using real crabs. (You won't get it unless you have tried it! Trust us on this one.) Table 24 now serves it topped with a poached egg which makes the experience more amazing.


Coffee Crusted Pork Chops paired with fantastic mac 'n' cheese, country greens and picked carrots. The pork fillet had a good bite. Having a ground coffee beans crust really up the flavour antennae and makes this a must try. M's personal favourite too.

For desserts, we went for Pot de Crème,


...which got us a little confused when it was served. But it turns out that it is coffee pudding with milk foam and biscotti on the side. A sweet and aromatic note to the meal.

Table 24 is at once familiar yet new, the comfortable setting makes you feel like you are stepping into a friend's home and it soaks you in a cosy atmosphere to enjoy their "unpretentious take on fine dining". Food-wise, we love how contemporary American cuisine is also familiar yet new - wholesome bites (they really don't scrimp on quality) yet with unexpected touches that add graceful nuances to the taste palette that reminds you of the culinary background of the executive chef. The complete experience is well-worth our pennies.

Table 24 has also just launched a lunch menu (takeaways available too!) that comprises of some of the popular mains and sandwiches (grilled cheese sandwich!).

Table 24 
24 Temple Street
 Singapore 058569
Tel: +65 6225 9925
www.facebook.com/table24sg

Mon - Thu: 1130am to 230pm
6pm to 11pm

Fri - Sat: 1130am to 230pm
6pm to 12am (Photoset by green tea fields & words by PlentyOfPretty.)