Kafe Utu bills itself as Singapore’s original African café. But it is not merely a café, no sirree! The restaurant occupies three floors of a Jiak Chuan road shophouse, with the lounge on the second floor and a private dining space on the third.
Walking in, I’m immediately drawn to the dramatically beautiful black and white portraits that adorn the entire span of a wall. I also appreciate that they kept the décor modern, nothing too forced or kitschy.
The waiters are very friendly, despite the fact that they were busy when we went for brunch on a Saturday. Note to the wise, they do not take reservations for brunch on weekends, so best to turn up before 11am to try and secure a seat.
We were lucky to get a table for four when we walked in at 10.45am.
My friends who had arrived earlier were rather intrigued by the many Indian flavours that they were seeing on the menu.
Not surprising because of the cross-mingling of cuisines thanks to the large Indian population in Africa. That said, the menu itself is a melange of many cultures, definitely not super traditional. Still, I think that was on purpose to fit what diners in Singapore would appreciate most.
Brunch at Kafe Utu.
Of course, we had to start with the Lamb Samosas ($20). Moist, delicious, spicy minced lamb encased in a light pastry. Loved the mint and coriander chutney.
Eggs Benedict ($24) – are we over eggs benny yet? Not when it’s done as well as this at Kafe Utu. The bacon was proper, it was chunky and crispy and sweet. The eggs, cut into them, and the consistency of the sunshine yolk oozing out was just perfect.
Next, we have to talk about the Utu Breakfast ($28). We were told this was the traditional breakfast so we had to order it. Eggs scrambled perfectly, curried avocado, haloumi, mango salsa and chapati! We were all taken by the spicy Congo Bongo sauce.
My friend ordered the Moroccan Lemon Chicken Tagine ($30) with olives, saffron, house pickled lemon. She said the flavours were great but when she compared with that spicy Congo Bongo sauce in the Utu Breakfast, yes… the envy kicked in!
African food does incorporate its fair share of spice but the waiter told us that the chicken tagine was the one and only savoury dish without spice on the menu. So tough luck for my spice-loving friend!
As for me, I had seen pictures of Kafe Utu’s Ricotta Hotcakes ($28) and it was a no-brainer, I simply had to have it! Fluffy, moist hotcakes with cardamom-infused maple syrup. It’s probably the first time I’ve had ricotta hotcakes where biting into certain parts, I could literally taste ricotta.
Tip – if you’re planning to share a savoury and a sweet with your fellow diner, ask them to bring this later so you can maximise the enjoyment of the cold ice cream before it melts all over the hotcakes!
My Banana Rum Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard…
My friend had the Banana Rum milkshake ($25) – I didn’t try it, but it sure looked indulgent and took her all of two hours to finish it!
Brunch wouldn’t be complete without coffees, and those at Kafe Utu are unique and delicious! Well, the espresso-based ones at least, because I did not try their single origin or cold brews.
Above is the Malindi Spiced coffee. If you love the classic Indian spice mix of cardamom, cinnamon, clove, star anise and nutmeg, you will love this. My friend wasn’t keen on it, but I savoured it.
We also tried the very unique Bidibado “Abracadabra” which is like a souped-up Mocha. They line the rim with peanut butter and pink peppercorns, and half the fun is licking it up while enjoying the chocolate coffee drink.
Too busy enjoying it to have taken a photo, sorry.
By the way, all of Kafe Utu’s milk-based coffees have that luxurious creamy feel because they exclusively use Hokkaido milk.
Considering Kafe Utu’s stellar brunch performance, I’m already thinking of when we can plan for dinner. Why it took me so long to check out this restaurant that has been open since 2019, I don’t know. But truly better late than never in this instance!
Address: 12 Jiak Chuan Road, Singapore
Contact: +65 6996 3937
Tues-Fri: 10am – 4.30pm / 6pm – 11pm
Sat & Sun: 9am – 4.30pm / 6pm – 11pm