Saturday, August 23, 2014

FIX at HomeTeamNS-JOM Clubhouse - A Poolside Cafe Bistro with Naanwiches and Salted Egg Doughnuts

Trying to stand out from the deluge of new cafes in Singapore can be quite daunting, and the best way to do so is to churn out quality food. In a lot of ways, this is easier said then done.

FIX is coming into the scene with an intention to impress with its selection of savories and pastries that transcends the usual all day breakfasts and outsourced cakes convention that is quite common among new cafes.

FIX is actually situated within the clubhouse of HomeTeamNS, and it is an alfresco cafe by the club pool.

The decor is modern and somewhat funky, with painted over paint cans doubling up as stool seats. Instead of the obligatory bicycle adorning a cafe wall, they have elected to decorate the side of the cafe with a scooter instead.

As for the menu, it is a mix of familiar bistro fare and some clever new twists. They make their own pastries and cakes in-house, and that for me is always a positive.
3-Cheese Penne Gratin

Although the visual aspect of this 3-Cheese Penne Gratin might not look all that appealing, the dish was actually quite good. The use of a trio of cheese worked well together and despite my initial apprehension that it might be too heavy, the ratio of pasta, ingredients and cheese was just right.

The gratin itself was nicely baked and though I would have liked a more crusty top, I enjoyed the balance of flavors of the dish itself. The mushrooms also provided a nice earthy crunch to break the monotony of the creamy textures. 

Chicken Tikka Naanwich

Instead of the classic sandwich, FIX has come up with a new idea of using naans to replace bread and has coined the term, naanwiches. Using the Indian flatbread as a starch is a clever departure from the norm, but there needs to be a better consistency in the frying of the flatbread.

The presentation itself was quite pretty, and the chicken tikka paired with some homemade achar (spicy, pickled salad) was just marvelous. The chicken was beautifully marinated and cooked to a tender satisfaction, and the sweetness and acidity of the pickled vegetables provided a balanced counterpart to the protein.

As for the naanwich concept, I am still not totally sold on the idea but I applaud the kitchen for thinking out of the box. I actually think the chicken tikka is so tasty that it would have paired better with some rice instead. It is also served with a soft boiled egg on top to provide an extra layer of creaminess.

Doughnuts with Salted Egg and Lemon Curd

These mini doughnuts will make the perfect tea time snack. You can choose to have it with either a salted egg yolk or lemon curd dip. Personally, I felt the lemon curd was a better accompaniment as the sharp, tangy citrus flavors was more refreshing and a better way to cut through the sugared coated texture of the doughnuts.

Passion Fruit, Mango and Coconut Chiffon Cake

Despite a mouthful of a name, this was really a delicious cake that had a wonderful balance of sweetness and acidity. I especially liked the layer of coconut gelatin that grounded the citrus flavors with a soothing and comforting tone, and the chunks of fruits within the cake provided nice textural notes as well.

The sponge of the chiffon was also well judged and light enough to make this cake a success in every way. Served in an elongated manner, this dessert looked and tasted like a winner from start to finish.

Butterscotch Arabica Choux

I adored this well made choux pastry as well, with its inner filling of butterscotch caramel that had a scent of savory and sweet. The caramel was beautifully made and had tinges of perfectly burnt sugar that was taken right to the edge.

The choux pastry was also well crusted on the outside and with the fragrant, bitter notes of Arabica flowing through the pastry, this is both an elegant and delicious pastry. A class act all the way.

Espresso with Halal Beans

The coffee here makes use of Halal beans which I have not sampled before. But I can tell you the espresso I had was rich and full of coffee roasted aroma and had a nice balance of flavors. Not too sharp, and just enough body to elicit a pleasant smoothness on my drinking palate.

It is still early days at this newly minted cafe, but the signs are there that it can strike a chord with the current generation of cafe hoppers in Singapore. The pastries and sweets are the real winners here and they should more than satisfy most cafe going folks.

The naanwiches are quite novel but more effort should be made to refine it even further as a good idea needs an even better execution to make it perfect. Still, I am sure it makes for an excellent respite from the usual cafe fare.

Another thing to note is that the cafe owners here also have a strong social responsibility when it comes to their manpower. Some of the senior staff working behind the counter are former social workers and they engage and work with troubled youths in order to provide a better working platform for these young kids

I personally enjoyed my time at FIX and though the alfresco element might mean you might not spend as long as a time in standard air conditioned cafes, it is still a fine way to spend an afternoon here over food and coffee.

As of this writing, the cafe is also undergoing Halal certification and once that has gone through, it should be a popular destination for our Muslim friends too.

HomeTeamNS-JOM Clubhouse
31 Ah Hood Road

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