Friday, January 29, 2016

Media Invite + review: Ah B Cafe, a pet-friendly, MSG FREE Cafe!

Media Invite
Being a mum to a young child means that I am often on the hunt for healthy food choices. Being a mum now to a "furkid" to a rescue dog means that I now have to look for a pet friendly eatery as I want to socialise J. 

It is no longer a question of “Where do we go if I need to feed the kiddo?” but more of  “OK, where is a pet friendly place that serves good healthy food AND allows me to bring J too?”

So it was very much of a delight that we were invited to Ah B Café. Ah B Café is not a pet cafe but a family-and-pet friendly cafe founded by 2 partners - Celine and Joel. The café does not sell any food for your furkids BUT  they have an exclusive collaboration with Pawlicious Bakery (their next door neighbour) where you can order a meal for your furkid and they will even deliver it to the café. :)

Celine (SCAE Intermediate Barista Skills certified) was a professional groomer while Joel started in the F&B industry with a special interest in pastry. After having pursued her interest as a chef in Japan for a few years, she continued her training in pastries in Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and of course, Paris. 

As both Celine and Joel are animal lovers, they decided on starting a pet-friendly café where humans and pets could co-exist, and dine together. 

Being an anal mum who is worried about nutrition (hence I am into my second year of daily bento for the kid!) I was delighted to know that Ah B Café has a NO MSG policy! Yup, you read it right, no MSG. That means that Joel is committed to making everything from scratch (even the Teriyaki sauce which you can read more about below) so she knows exactly what has gone into all her creations. 

:: The Location

Ah B Café is tucked in a pet friendly section / block right outside The Grandstand or what we know as the former Turf City (full address below). It is part of Sunny Heights which offers a dog pool, pet boarding services and has tenants such as Pawlicious Bakery, Fur N Away besides Ah B Café. 

Ah B Café also has an outdoor area, perfect for the cooler evenings. And as the area outside these 2 units is gated up, that means that dogs are free to roam outside too. (Note: do be vigilant in opening the gate for the safety of all furkids in case they slip through. Kindly ensure that the gate is closed properly too)

:: The set up

Ah B Café has a very simple set up with seating capacity of up to 60 pax (indoor). One immediate thing which I noticed upon entering is how clean the café is and importantly there was no lingering “pet smell”. As Ah B Café does not charge GST and Service Charge, ordering is done over the counter... 

while collection of drinks is then done at an adjoining counter.

Cutlery is collected over a self service counter with a sink neatly tucked in next to it. 

Poop bags are also conveniently hung on the wall with mops and pails readily available for pet owners to quickly clean up in case of any unwanted accidents. :) 

:: The Food

We intentionally ordered 3 main courses from 3 different "sections" of the menu so as to try a wider range of food. 

Salmon Teriyaki Rice

The kiddo ordered a Salmon Teriyaki Rice ($19.80) which featured a homemade Teriyaki sauce, made from scratch. As MSG is a flavor enhancer, without it, I had expected the sauce to be bland and somewhat less flavorful from what we are used to at Japanese restaurants. 

To my pleasant surprise, the sauce was no less tasty and in fact, the kiddo polished up the sauce, leaving me with hardly any to sample! *roll eyes*

Dumpling commented that the salmon skin was also crispy and she ate it up quickly. 

(Close up of the salmon which is still pink and not white, and flakes off nicely) 

Drunken Pork Honey

The hubs’ choice was delivered next and he had ordered the Drunken Pork Honey ( $20.80). The pork chop was served on a bed of home made mash potato, and topped with some alfalfa. 

This main, totally took me by surprise. I am not sure if many of you readers know but I hardly ever take pork. There is something about the gamey smell of the meat that puts me off and it has been the case since young. My childhood was spent with my mum trying ways and means to get me to take more red meat especially since I am anaemic :p

The pork collar had none of that smell. It was soft and moist, revealing layers of flavour with each bite. The secret? I found out that the pork collar has been marinated and steeped into a honeyed beer marinade for 12 hours on the average. 

Topped with a red wine and beer sauce, the pork collar was cooked to perfection with each mouthful, an absolute joy. :)

Smoked duck Pasta

My order arrived next - being more adventurous with food, I had ordered the Smoked Duck Pasta ($17.80).  I am one of those that do not like soggy pasta so I like that the spaghetti was cooked al dente. The generous serving of smoked duck was cut into slivers and tossed well with the pea sprouts and served with a lightly spiced white wine broth. 

I am quite adventurous with my food so this dish worked for me. The pea sprouts added a "crisp and clean" flavour which balances the saltiness of the smoked duck. After a few mouthful, I started tasting some "heat" too and a quick toss of the pasta showed that there were a few slices of bird's eye chili, which married well with the slightly acidic and fruity white wine broth. 

:: The dessert

Belgium Lava Cake 

I know many of you are going to groan when I say that we only ordered and reviewed 1 dessert. :p I don't have a sweet tooth (hubs and kiddo win hands down in this department) and I am easily satisfied with just 2 - 3 spoonful of any dessert. And for that afternoon, that one order was enough to satisfy my "tam-jiakness" and the hubs and kid with their sweet tooth. :) 

The kiddo and the hubs decided on Belgium Lava Cake ($15.8) which is a 2-persons portion. Joel does the baking personally and each cake is baked on the spot hence a 20 minutes wait is required. 

And for you chocolate lovers our there, the cake was worth the wait. The cake was moist and as high quality Belgium chocolate was used, the centre "lava" was rich yet not overtly sweet. What worked well for me was that the cake was paired with sliced caramelised bananas and french vanilla ice cream which cut through the richness of the cake.  

Now, where does the furkid come in, you might ask? J also enjoyed herself tremendously. Check out the cute "bone-shaped" meat loaves J had :)

:: About Ah B Café 

10 Turf Club Road
Singapore 288000
For reservations please call: 
+65 6811 1408

or email to

Opening hours:
Tuesdays to fridays: 1:30 - 9:00pm

Saturday: 12:00pm - 9:00pm
sunday: 12:00pm - 7:00pm

(Only cash payment is accepted at the time of post)

Parking is free and there are many lots next to The Grandstand building (near Swallows and Amazon Preschool)

Disclaimer: We were invited to spend an afternoon at Ah B Café to give our opinions of their dishes. We are not compensated for the post. All opinions expressed are entirely ours (including J’s!) and we are not responsible for any ravenous appetite you may have developed after reading this post. If you spot us at Ah B Café again, feel free to buy us a coffee, or better yet a lunch. :p J will also be grateful for a meatloaf treat too.  

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