Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Arkadas Café, Fusionopolis

Firstly, let me wish everyone a Happy 2016.

I have not being updating this space for quite some time due to some personal commitments over the pass months. Since this is a New Year, what better time than to reactivate this space.

People say that a new year often brings new experience. This could had been more true when my sister arranged a meet up with our god sister yesterday at one-north on Sunday. I have passed by Fusionopolis many a times when travelling along the AYE but have never been there. Being a weekend, that place were basically deserted. There were many eateries there but only a few were opened. Amongst those were the mainstream fares like Ya Kun and Pastamania which did not pique our interest. My sister did some googling and decided on Arkadas Café, a Turkish joint ran by a real Turkish man. Not the easiest to find though. When we got off the MRT, the directory states that it is situated at Level 3. Took the escalator up, could not find it. Went to the information counter and was told that they have relocated to the building opposite. It took another enquiry at the security guard counter of the building to locate the restaurant. It is actually tucked away at the opposite end of the building.

The first thing you would notice about this quaint restaurant is that there is a very down to earth feel to it. No pretentious decorations. Just some Turkey tourism posters adorning the walls. We were greeted by the very friendly owner who speaks a sputtering of English. Since it was a weekend and I would had imagined that the bulk of the business would be the office lunch crowd, there were only 2 other tables that were occupied. One by a family and another table by 2 friends. Both tables were of course, Turkish or of Mediterranean decent. I guess not many people would travel to this part of the island for authentic Turkish fare.

The friendly owner (sorry, didn't got your name) went to great lengths to explain the menu to us. We decided to start our lunch off with the appetiser platter. It comes with a combination of Baba Ganoush, Hummus, stuffed brinjal, a piece of feta cheese and stuffed grape leaf. The most interesting item in this platter is the stuffed grape leaf. Basically it is the grape leaf is stuffed with rice and rolled into a tube. It taste a bit like lotus leaf rice but we can eat the leaf. The goat cheese was good too as it was not over powering. The Baba Ganoush served here is a bit different from what we use to get. Instead of a creamy consistency like hummus, you can still see the caramelised chunks of brinjals in this. It's a bit like chutney if you or savoury preserve if you may.

The appetiser platter is served with a serving of freshly made turkish bread, perfect for dipping into the humus and baba ganoush.

The first main course that we ordered was the Izgara Kofte or Meatball Kofte. The kofte is served with a side salad, some onions, a grilled green chilli and butter rice. The ratio of spices and meat in the meatballs were just perfect with one complementing the other. They were grilled to perfection, succulent and juicy.

Next 2 main courses were quite similar. The first was a dish of minced lamb in tomato sauce and yoghurt. The second was sliced doner kebab in tomato and yoghurt sauce. According to the menu, these 2, especially the lamb dish, are very traditional turkish dish that one would find in any Turkish home. We were new to these dishes and we actually quite like it. The slight sourness of the tomato sauce and yoghurt balanced out the meat perfectly making this a surprisingly refreshing dish. The 2 dishes can actually be eaten on its own like a stew but top some of it on the butter rice or dip some bread into it, makes it a perfect meal.

Minced lamb in tomato sauce and yoghurt

Sliced doner kebab in tomato sauce and yoghurt

For the dessert, we were recommended something called the kunefe. This is actually a pastry dish made from something called shredded phyllo dough which resembles bee hoon. The shredded dough is mixed with cheese to make a round shaped pastry. The finished product looks like a cake of bee hoon. Well, it actually does taste like a sweet pastry made of bee hoon and topped with cheese.

As a summary, we did enjoy the lunch experience there. For one it is quite difficult to find authentic Turkish cuisine in Singapore. There are a few in Arab Street area though those are authentic, they can be quite pretentious and pricey. From the photos, you can tell that the food here is actually quite down to earth. No fancy platting and stuff. Heck, look at the appetiser platter it seems like the kitchen just plonked the stuff onto a plate without much thought (I am not saying it is a bad thing). Price wise I would say it is of the moderate range. A meal for 5 adults and 2 children came up to approximately S$140. There are a few other dishes that I did not review as I did not try it (mainly the standard sis kebab, baked rice and doner kebab pita wrap). The question is will I purposely travel all the way to one north again to visit Arkadas Café? Well, I definitely would if I have a very strong craving for Turkish fare. After all, it's not too inaccessible with the MRT.

Address : 1, Fusionopolis View, #01-02, Sandcrawler, Singapore

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