The first thing that caught our attention about W39 was the lack of people. The bistro had gained a reputation for being crowded in its 2 years but we entered a quiet café. Perhaps it was the rain or the odd time we arrived (Not many eat at 3pm), but we sat down for a meal and left pretty satisfied.
This writer admits that she almost got lost in the search for W39. Past a prata shop, bike shop and two pet shops, lies the bistro and bakery. Though the interior might have just 6 tables – with one being a large dinner table, the space outside the shop is well-utilized with a row of 2-seater tables lining the corridor. Despite the small shop space, W39 brings big plates (that actually hold big portions!) to the table, ready to impress with brunch and instagrammer’s favorites like eggs benedict, and main dishes like burgers and pastas Of course, not forgetting the array of cakes they have ready for dessert.
The café is furnished with wooden furniture, and well-lit with natural light thanks to the floor-to-ceiling glass wall. A shelf of curio and knick-knacks stands on one side, a wall arrangement of plates on another, right beside a counter covered with jars and baskets of cola jelly sticks and that reminded us of our childhood.
Although the café has been around for a few years now, with plenty of reviews from food bloggers like ladyironchef and on review sites like hungrygowhere, The UrbanWire decided to visit W39 to see how far it’c come. We tried 2 items off W39’s lunch and dinner selection: Pan-fried Salmon with Soy Glaze, and the Prawn and Ham linguine, accompanied by their soup of the day, a carrot and potato soup. The portions were impressive, and managed to fill three hungry bullies, and we hoped that each bite would taste as good as it looked.
If not for the vivid orange appearance, we would’ve thought we were served a potato soup, given the grainy rather than their carrot and potato soup. Despite it having only a hint of carrot flavor, we finished the whole bowl, purely for its creaminess.
The Pan-fried Salmon with Soy Glaze ($23), served on a bed of mashed potatoes and with a side of mesclun greens had us hankering for a bite from the moment we saw it. The salmon fillet was fresh and cooked to perfection with a crisp skin that might even make Gordon Ramsey proud. But while the fillet itself was very well done, we were a little disappointed with the sauce. W39’s homemade soy glaze, tasted much like a teriyaki sauce. With a similar tang and salty flavor, it seemed as if it was simply poured from a bottle. While it was still tasty, we’d hoped for a more unique tang. The bed of mashed potatoes, homemade each day, was bland compared to the salty-sweetness of the soy-glazed salmon, but the balance of flavors worked well. Some whole pieces of potato amidst the mash attest to the homemade spuds, though it had the same grainy texture the soup had. Perhaps it was the wrong kind of potato used and a tad too little seasoning but we feel like the mashed potatoes might need a little improvement.
The mesclun green salad featured some fresh leafy greens, but had barely a hint of the sherry vinaigrette dressing. The few tastes we had of the dressing made us wish for a lot more of the vinaigrette, if only just to properly appreciate it.
A plate of Prawn and Ham linguine ($19) followed the salmon. Highlighted on the menu with a little chili motif, the al-dente pasta had just the right amount of heat from the chili flakes tossed into the dish. Unlike some aglio olio pastas, W39’s linguine didn’t leave a greasy film over our mouths, a much welcome absence. Prawns were firm and fresh, easy to pull out from the tails. And they were generous with the prawns too, we had 7 on the plate. Mixed into the pasta were chunky bits of ham that lends a burst of flavor. While the ham wasn’t too salty, it had a strong pork flavor that wasn’t pleasant.
No meal is complete without dessert, and we just had to sample W39’s cake selection. We opted for a slice of Mister Chocolate cake (). Baked in a bundt pan to form a ring instead of the usual cake wedge, the chocolate cake is beautifully glazed with a layer of ganache and boasts a rich dark chocolate flavor and moist texture that compares to Awfully Chocolate’s signature cake. We can safely say that the cake was the highlight of our meal. The sweetness of the cake is balanced perfectly with rich chocolate, delivering a chocolate cake that didn’t make us feel sickly sweet after a few bites. Not only did we finish the slice we had, we were craving for a lot more of the cake.
We can’t end without mentioning Mi Mi, the resident cat who wanders outside the shop and huddles in corners looking like a fluffy loaf of feline. This cat-loving writer had a great time bothering the cat before leaving the bistro, feeling stuffed and content.
Tell us what you thought of the café or which café you want us to review next!
Address: 39 Jalan Mas Puteh
Contact Details: (+65) 9646 5372
Opening Hours: Tue-Fri 11am – 10pm, Sat, Sun & Public Holidays 9am – 10:30pm. Closed on Mondays, except public holidays.