Eng Kong Park
21 Eng Kong Terrace
I was all in a tizzy when I heard of Necessary Provisions, a cafe very very close to where I live. I’ve been there quite a few times now, and am finally getting around to doing a review! Better late than never!
The vibe is casual, with a hipster buzz. On weekday afternoons, there are lots of students sitting around studying (I wonder if the cafe owners get a bit annoyed they take up seats for ages, when the place is almost always full). And during the evenings, it’s filled with couples and young folk chatting with their friends over a meal.
They are famous for their coffee (the cafe is owned by the same people that opened Smitten and Henry Congressional). I fully agree. The coffee is terrific. You have the choice of 3 sizes (all contain the same amount of coffee, but varying amounts of milk), and I often go for the largest because I am just the kind of person that upsizes everything OK? No judgement please.
The latte is brewed beautifully and does not have any hint of bitterness. It’s an absolute must-order for me.
As for food? I’ll be blunt. The menu is teeny tiny (WHY??), the mains are mostly way too stock standard/plain/no effort to talk about. However, the desserts are good.
Let’s start with the Daytime Menu. It’s very small, and consists mostly of sandwiches. This is PAINFUL for me, a girl who hates sandwiches. I selected the Beef pastrami, brie, and whole grain mustard, which sounded the most enticing to me. It came on plain ‘ol wholemeal sliced bread *yawn*, with 2 slivers of brief that made me unsure of whether to laugh at the hilarity of it all, or hurt the person that tried to make me go on a cheese-diet (BAD! BAD!!!!). The pastrami, however, came in 3 slices which was sufficient, and it was delicious. Saving grace!
My girl friends opted for the Rosemary Chicken with Watercress and Parmigiano which was also ranked a 0 on the presentation scale, and was also very stock-standard and nothing to shout about. The chicken was tender and the whole thing went together well – but nothing more than what I’d put together at home.
I was delighted, however, by their Dark Cloud Chocolate Cookie. It’s a little pricey for the small size, and looks disturbingly hard and brittle. However, it was actually baked to perfection. Inside, it was soft and almost like a fudge brownie. Delicious!!!
Their Pandan Chiffon Cake was light and fluffy, with just the right amount of moistness. However, at $4, it was a sky high price to pay… when Bengawan Solo sells the same size (and almost identical tasting) thing for about 1/4 the price.
The cafe is not baby friendly. There are never any kids when I’m there, and I can see why. Lots of little stools around, no high chairs (I saw none, we were offered none), and lots of little drawers for small hands to yank open and shut (eek!).
That said, the staff were polite and patient and pretty charmed with our babies. As were all the other diners. No dirty looks and no long-suffering sighs from anyone around. Bonus!
And evenings at Necessary Provisions? A cute little chill out place, albeit still with a teeny tiny menu. It’s still packed with diners, though!
I was utterly impressed with the complimentary savory scones that they serve with every order. What a lovely touch! They are super tiny, but just a fun little bite to munch on.
The Spicy Edamame was flat out AWESOME. It looked pretty scary-spicy when it arrived (I can’t really eat spicy food), but turns out it wasn’t thaaaat spicy, and the chilli actually added more of a flavour and saltiness than spice. It was so good I powered through the whole bowl at record speed! I’d order it again for sure.
Here’s where things got a little weird…..
My Buta Don was a small bowl filled with plain white rice, and a scattering of bits of pork, bean sprouts, onion and about 2 peas. It’s so small I can’t fathom how this can pass off as a legitimate dish for dinner. The pork was also really salty. And I mean REALLY. I think almost my daily quota of sodium was met in this small dish alone. It was tasty with the white rice though, so in a way, the dish was fine. But overall, it was just too strangely tiny for a dinner dish and too salty.
Chris’ Tagliatelle Al Ragu sounded good on the menu but was HORRIFIC in real life. As in, absolutely inedible. The tagliatelle was handmade, I suspect, which was the good part – it had a lovely texture and flavour.
However, the Ragu itself was an absolute FAIL. Ragu, to me, is chunks of soft beef, sometimes served shredded. This one was just plain ol mince beef?? Doesn’t this mean it’s a Bolognese and not a Ragu?
The part that really failed was the salt. It. Was. So. Salty. I’m pretty sure the chef wigged out and did a double (or triple) serving of salt in this dish. It was actually 100% inedible. My tongue and throat are actually feeling all furry and dry again, just thinking about this dish.
It was all saved by their Cinnamon Slice. It was a small finger of a cake (needs to be double the size) but had a lovely texture – almost like a cross between cake and shortbread. It was a simple butter slice, with cinnamon sugar on top, but it did the trick.
Plus, we kinda needed the sugar after their salt-overdose.
Overall, I loved their coffee and nibblies (ie. desserts) and would go back in a heartbeat during the day for that. It’s so close to where I live, so I fully intend to suggest it to friends that live near(ish) me any time they ask to hang out ;)
However, I’m pretty scared off their dinner menu. Though I still keep wanting to go back to try it again, because I feel that surely there was some weird mistake make with our food?!