artichoke café + bar, bugis

really good, but also rather expensive moorish more-ish food near bugis. I’ve wanted to come here since a few years ago, but for reasons I cannot remember now, I arrived with a girlfriend and sat down, only to decide to leave without having tried anything. it’s a quaint, kitschy sort of place, hidden away from what is a pretty old estate – but then that profile suits most hipster joints in singapore these days. I really like this place though, and am really looking forward to the next visit – but the high price point means that it’s in competition with many many places at dinner time, which also means that next visit is probably long-coming.

I don’t know much about moorish food, unfortunately – but from the menu at artichoke I’d classify it as a mix between the mediterranean and middle-eastern cuisine (and we already know what I think about that term). the menu isn’t phenomenally large, but it is very approachable, and very order-able – I wanted many things on the menu, but we settled for the following: hummus with toast, calamari, a grilled half chicken and dessert for the two of us.

complimentary pickles arrived pretty quickly, but these were the only things I didn’t lap up immediately. I don’t much like pickles as it is – and only the japanese or chinese ones really work for me – and so the only ones I helped myself to were the carrots. quite a bright spot of colour to start the meal off with though! our hummus arrived with our order of bread, textured and topped with chickpeas, and went well with the more-impressive slices of toast – which were airy and crusty and very good. I’m not sure about the hummus – I would say it’s pretty good, but pita pan might have a better rendition to my taste.

the mains really shone through though, and were the clear stars. I can’t find the calamari on the menu, and I don’t remember what was on it – but I can tell you that it was well-marinated and very tasty, and had lovely bits of char here and there. it was amazing. juicy and tender and moist and yielding but elastic the way it ought to be, I really loved this dish. our chicken dish of shish taouk, which is a charcoal-grilled half chicken was also very tender and moist, with a well-seasoned skin – nothing more you could want from that, can you?

we were rather full at this stage – but I, of course, needed my sweets – and so we got the sticky date pudding. I had initially wanted their famous baklava but they were sold out – but good god was this a great substitution, possibly a better choice for myself than the baklava (which I generally didn’t like but was hoping they’d convince me otherwise). a dense, heavy cake drenched in toffee and topped with crunchy crumbs and a very tasty jelly, it behooves me to tell you that I can find no words to describe to you how good this was, that I cannot remember the specific components of the dessert for the euphoria I had in finishing it. I suggest you try it yourself.

the bill came – as it always does – and we were a little surprised at how large it was – those dishes aren’t cheap, even if they turn out rather filling. if for nothing else, I’d return just for the sticky date pudding – comforting and melting and so reminiscent of the british desserts I miss so much – but that’s also being unfair since I really enjoyed the mains as well. sticker-heavy, but very good food – that’s my warded recommendation to you.

p.s. I heard from a friend that their brunch is good, and it sounds to me like it’s more approachably-priced at brunch than dinner (which is a common pattern), so if you’re headed to this place you just might want to keep that in mind.

3 thoughts on “artichoke café + bar, bugis

  1. Pingback: pique nique, town | andmorefood

  2. I love artichoke’s food but it is really expensive for the portions at times. I did love their mushroom soup (when they did lunch on weekdays) and their scrambled eggs were really yum! Also, fell hard for the rosewater panna cotta :)

    • it is rather exorbitant- though it’s so unique that I think they rather get away with it. have you ever had the chance to try overdoughs? I heard that’s good too, and cheaper?

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