115 King George's Avenue #01-02 Singapore 028561
Tel: 6293 1204
The Refinery Singapore is a cafe / restaurant by day and bar by night, situated in an industrial area at the front of Jalan Besar / Lavender area, an unlikely spot for a lovely dining spot to be expected, but here it is - prettily monochromatic in its neat, clean-cut design complete with high ceilings and organised rows of seating arrangement.
While getting a glass of ice water, we noticed that the rack was filled with lots of interesting items - mainly Japanese tableware and beer bottles etc. Yes, this restaurant / bar / cafe features heavily on a modern Western-Japanese fusion in its cuisine and decor.
The menu was simple and featured items such as the typical Big Breakfast or Japanese rice / noodles items and grilled items as well as waffles and beverages. One had to place their orders at the counter and then wait for the food and drinks to be served.
I thought this was interesting because I've always pegged this place to be a drinking spot - I pass by it at night and see it crowded with executive and hipster types chilling out indoors and outdoors. Now I knew they also serve brunch and open in the daytime.
Best of all, it double as a "workspace" in which one could rent a workspace for white-collared professionals to co-work together. How neat is that.... a co-working space mooonlighting as a cafe/ bar / restaurant.
To start, *Celine had a Mocha (SGD$5.50) which she described as being "very good" and redolent with chocolate taste amongst the coffee aroma. The tiny "gem-topped biscuits" added a touch of cuteness, reminding us of our childhood's favorite.
I decided to go for the Iced Chocolate (SGD$5.50) with was served in pretty combination of fire-enging red mug against black saucer - my favorite colors. I was a little disappointed that my iced chocolate tasted more like iced-milo though it was richly concocted.
For food, we shared an appetiser of Salted Egg Onion Rings (SGD$12.00) - the idea was interesting and refreshing, since everyone is wild about salted-egg items these days. The battered onion rings were crispy and one could easily spot the generous strips of onion within the rings; however the salted egg flavour was light to non-existent. Maybe it wasn't dipped with the salted egg before being deep-fried, since the Salted Egg Custard was served on a separate side saucer? We doused it over the onion rings and could thereafter taste the creamy salted egg coating.
For mains, *Celine chose to have the Teriyaki Chicken Don (SGD$10.00) - consisting of 48-hour marinated chicken thigh, seasoned Japanese rice, creamy corn salad, signature 72 degree onsen tamago (egg) and roasted sesame. Barring the absence of the creamy corn salad, *Celine was happy with her meal, complimenting the chicken for its tender deliciousness and infusion of flavour; the onsen egg was mixed in and moistened the overall rice bowl to give it a velvety texture.
I chose the Spicy Mee (SGD$12.00) with pulled pork, pork balls, homemade sambal chilli, sesame seeds, pork lard and signature 72 degree onsen tamago egg. The menu description reminded me of Kin Kin Dry Chilli Pan Mee (review here), and to be frank, it did not differe much in appearance and taste - as déclassé as this may sound. Don't get me wrong, I love the Kin Kin Pan Mee a great lot, so this was utterly delicious to me - the curly noodles were springy in texture (aka "QQ"), the chilli was substantial so flavours exploded deliciously in the mouth; the pulled pork strips were tender and saccharine in flavour. The onsen egg was tossed evenly into the noodle adding a velvet touch as well as sweetness to the dish - even for a carbo-avoider like me, I kid you not when I tell you I finished every single bite of this dish.
Overall, the dining experience at this classy cafe / bar joint was excellent and I could foresee myself coming back for more - maybe eating this noodle dish again, as well as trying their Poutine (SGD$12.00), to see if it tastes like the one we had in Vancouver.