Cafe de Amigo at Funan Centre

RIMG0012It was a bright Saturday afternoon where I was out hunting for a Nokia E61 USB charger for 143. I am converting everything to USB chargers as it is at least 80% lighter than lugging the full-sized chargers and a notebook.

Been wanting to check out Tommy’s Cafe de Amigo since it moved from Specialist Centre about a month ago. So decided to have a late lunch there.

For those who are unfamiliar, Cafe de Amigo is a bistro serving simple hearty meals. It is an OSE-themed (Oyster, Salmon and Escargot) restaurant. The 3-course set lunches and dinners are reasonably priced. And you may customize the set menus with other options such as French Onion soup or a Sirloin steak.

The biggest attraction for me, other than the French Onion soup, Lobster Bisque, Sirloin Steak and Oysters, is the BYO policy. There is no corkage if you dine at Cafe de Amigo. It is also the biggest draw for this place.

The new place, on the second floor of Funan Centre, about 3000 sqf excluding the balcony where it will be converted for al fresco dining and barbeques. There’s a new bar and a bandstand which, according to Tommy, will feature Jazz musicians on a regular schedule.

The wine cellar holds some amazing wines which can be had at a reasonable price. And Tommy, the proprietor, loves a challenge. Tell him your budget, the meal you want to pair the wine with and watch him work. Fun!

And there are two private dining rooms which feature a nice view of the street. I like them as it really is a quiet corner for a small party or a lazy Sunday brunch.

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For lunch, I ordered the standard set lunch but changed the soup to French Onion Soup (+$4) and the dessert to Apple Pie (+$4) and an additional Oyster appetizer called Angel on Horseback (~$14, can’t remember as it was a lazy afternoon).

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I ordered the Angel on Horseback because I felt that Escargot for lunch was decidedly decadent and elitist and I tend to be a Hedonist in very small doses.

Besides, I love oysters. However, I tend to be cautious of cooked oysters as many people don’t get it right. The Angel on Horseback is one cooked oyster dish that I really like.

Why?

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Simply because it has bacon. Glorious bacon and cheese wrapped around an oyster, battered and deep fried. What’s not to like?

The French Onion Soup at Cafe de Amigo is my favourite French onion soup around town, although someone has told me that the one at Le Bistro is also excellent. I shall have to investigate.

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The French Onion soup looks ordinary and mild. But beware it is a trap.

Upon tasting it, an explosion of flavour and texture will occur in your mouth. Chunky, sweet with a slight tangy afternote from the red wine. The onions have a slightly burnt caramelized flavour that gives a long finish with the crouton with cheese providing a great counterpoint to balance the sweetness.

Someone has fedback to me that the crouton with cheese is sometimes missing from the soup, so be sure to ask for it. It is essential to the overall taste.

Anyway, before I ordered, there was a tremendous struggle going on inside me. The cause of such turmoil was that the table beside me had ordered three beautifully charred medium-rare steaks. And there was much obvious enjoyment from the diners. Bah!

I had for the past year seriously cut-down my intake of beef steaks, especially rare and medium rare steaks. Of course, I am not a monk and hence do not deny myself when it is time for steak.

Alas, the pragmatic health conscience in me won out. This time.

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The pork chop came in a sweet wine sauce that is suspiciously similar to the French Onion soup I just had. No matter as it was good.

(Did I tell you that I gave up steak for this?)

The shoestring fries were done well: crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. The French beans were a little too soggy and salty and the carrots were overdone.

(Those steaks behind me look really good. I wonder if the little girl would mind sharing?)

Just as I was contemplating a steak-napping with a cunning plan that included stealth helicopters, armed men in black rappeling off the roof and a piece of french fry, the Apple Pie decended on me, thus foiled my heroic attempt at liberating the lovely steak from the clutches of the little girl.

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It was huge. The Apple Pie was definitely made for sharing. I ordered their often under-rated Honey Lemon tea to help me finish this monster. By then, the nefarious little girl and her family had done in the steaks and escaped.

This time the Apple Pie differed from my previous experiences by being too dry and hard for me. The Vanilla ice-cream could not save the it. Perhaps a little more honey on it? Alas.

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While I have heard of strident complaints of erratic or even rude experiences, service for me was ok. I guess it was because I was there at an off-peak hour.

The main attraction of Cafe de Amigo for me are the oysters and Escargots. The wines are very reasonably priced and what’s more it is the only place in town that does not charge corkage at all. That reason alone is worth a visit.


Posted on 29th Oct 2006 in Bistro/Trattoria, Food and Drink, Western

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There Are 15 Comments

 

umami commented on October 30, 2006 at 10:39 am


What a coincidence. We were at Funan on Sat afternoon too, but had lunch at Aroy-Thai.


 

ivn commented on October 30, 2006 at 11:15 am


Was it good?


 

papermoon commented on February 14, 2007 at 10:49 am


I printed out ur recommendation and went ahead to try pork chop and french onion soup on val’s day eve but the food is not value for money ley. service is not good enough either. waiters were not attentive, have to asked a couple of times before iced water and wine was served. The seafood platter tasted good but serving is too pathetic. Pork chop, yes it’s good too but like what u mentioned, overcooked carrots. Overall, the lady boss who served us the bill wasn’t warm either. Worst of all is the homemade tiramisu, terrible terrible.


 

Ivan commented on February 14, 2007 at 11:46 am


@papermoon: Did you order as the lunch set or a la carte? There is a difference in price. As for dessert, well, I tend to inquire how it’s being made before ordering as I am very particular about such things. Anyway, I lunched during their off-peak period so the service for me was good. Tommy even had time to sit down and chat about his renovation plans and Marlena, the “lady boss” was very pleasant to me. It is most unfortunate that your experience was quite different from mine. Perhaps it was a busy period for them.


 

Ms Yap commented on March 24, 2007 at 10:40 am


Hi,

Good Day!

I received an email from NTUC offered me a birthday treats in cafe de amigo @ One – for – One Set Dinner @ SGD42.00+++. May i know wat ‘s the set dinner menu like? What is the net price if i plan to go on my birthday date on 24 April? What does it means “One -for-One?

Your reply is highly appreciate. 🙂

Thank you.

Regards,
Kym ( NTUC card holder )


 

Ivan commented on March 24, 2007 at 3:56 pm


Hi Kym! Do give the restaurant a call to confirm the NTUC email as – I am guessing here – it may be valid for certain times and days. It is always better to make reservations and confirm the deal to avoid disappointments.

Their standard set dinner consists of a choice of starter, choice of a main course and a choice of dessert. Some choices may require a “top-up” in terms of price.

As for “one-for-one”, you should enquire with NTUC as they may have arranged a special deal for you.


 

Robert Anderson commented on March 25, 2008 at 4:27 am


When in Singapore (which is ususally 4 to 6 times each year), Cafe de Amigo is a “MUST STOP” destination dining experience. When dining I always request owners Tommy and Marlena Lam (if available, which is most always one of them)) suggest to me their recommendations for the day. They are very “hands-on” owners and quite particular about their food quality and beverage quality. I dine eating multiple courses savoring their thoughtful and tasty recommendations and never seem to need the menu. Tommy Lam has an encyclopedic knowledge of wines and a pallet rivaling Robert Parker. Be sure to take advantage of his international expertise. Try Cafe de Amigo next time you are in Singapore. They are excellent at accomodating special requests, and I have hosted many successful business and banquet dinners here with much satisfaction and enjoyment for my guests and me.


 

Ivan commented on March 27, 2008 at 11:33 pm


@Robert Anderson: I am glad that you found Tommy and Cafe de Amigo a great experience; personally, his BYO policy is reason enough to go back.


 

Mag commented on August 26, 2008 at 9:42 am


Hi

Pls enlighten me on your corporate charges for wine tasting inclusive of set dinner for a total of about 300 pax .

Thank you. Rgds…Mag


 

ivan commented on August 28, 2008 at 5:52 am


@Mag: I’m afraid you’ll have to inquire with the restaurant itself. Might I suggest that you provide more information in your request, like diet restrictions, budget etc.


 

Matt Le Tissier commented on September 3, 2008 at 6:22 pm


Cafe de Amigo is a conman’s place!

Beware! Meat cleaver waiting for you!!!

When they were in Specialist Center, my friend was his next door neighbor. When business was poor, they would ask him to patronise.

Didnt give discount, food was stale! Especially the seafood dishs!

I wouldnt go there! No way Jose!!!


 

Ivan commented on September 4, 2008 at 12:18 am


@Matt Le Tissier: Wow, but your comment is based on hearsay that is about 2 years old, why wait till now to give feedback? I would have complained about the bad food then.

Not much you can do now after so long.


 

Donovan commented on June 2, 2009 at 11:57 pm


The food isn’t always bad
only bad when there isn’t enough customers
i used to work there, for a short few months only though
tommy is nice, but definitely not as a boss, haha.

my advice is order the sets which most people takes, you should be safe


 

Dissatisfied commented on July 13, 2009 at 4:34 am


Very unhappy with the service and the very very pushy attitude of the pony tail old man. Is he the boss? He appears really desperate!


 

ivan commented on July 13, 2009 at 6:29 pm


Well, did you tell him so?


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