Monday, December 7, 2009

Café Hacienda's Weekday Set Lunch

My interest was sufficiently piqued by Yuan Oeij’s latest email that Café Hacienda was offering weekday set lunches, to drive down to the Dempsey enclave and check it out together with my regular lunch companion Y.

I like how Café Hacienda’s name sounds… it seems to convey a certain air of je nai sais quoi with a laid-back jazzy vibe….the type of place where you half expect beautiful tanned exotic models to saunter in, sunlight to softly shadow comfy couches, and bossa nova to be playing softly in the background....

Alas, back in real life, Café Hacienda’s actual ambience and décor fell short of my (admittedly head-in-the-clouds) imaginings. The plainly done-up eating area was dominated by functional wooden laminate tables in a plain eating area and minimal accessories, with some half-hearted attempts to infuse some homeliness / character seen in a bookshelf along a corner and in a small corner with some couches. Seriously, the Privé group needs to invest more in interior decoration!
However our $22 three-course set lunch was more than decent and very affordable. I admit that I made my booking with quite a bit of trepidation, given Michelle’s bad experience with the food, but phew, things turned out well. For starters, we both ordered the mushroom soup which was tantalizingly laced with truffle oil and thick with pureed mushrooms. This was a kick-ass rendition, with no or very little cream added (hooray!) and heady with that earthy mushroom aroma I love so much, although if I had any bones to pick it would be that the chef was a little bit heavy-handed with the salt.

Choosing the main was a struggle between my good side and my dark side. For today, the good side won over and I had a blue swimmer crab and prawn sandwich (instead of a sinful and environmentally unfriendly and totally tempting NY burger with wagyu patty and melted blue cheese, arghh). But all turned out well with that extremely tasty and sweet crab filling, yums! although I did not much care for the toasted bread on which it was served.

Finally dessert of a homemade honey and fig ice-cream which was sweet in a very natural and healthful way with chunks of figs embedded in it and a gooey vicous texture...a good end to our meal. Overall, a good lunch (if not one to rave about) at a good price too and I like that!

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