Can I say that this is actually what the name of the shop is meant to mean? EspressoLab
After having read so much about new cafe openings and reviews, I wonder what took me so long to come to know the existence of EspressoLab. It was only through a casual chat with a friend when he mentioned how another friend was somehow related to a cafe located in Penang, one that has a franchise in Singapore. Only then, did I begin my search.
If you were to search “EspressoLab Singapore“, Google is likely to give you the same results as I got. Reviews and past write-ups on an outlet located in Bali Lane, outlet which is now closed. Not so sure if that same outlet shifted to its current location or this is a totally new franchise outlet.
Anyway, the current outlet is located on the second level of China Square Central. Enter the building and take the escalator to the second floor. There’s no missing the shop-front. :)
The friend and I visited on a weekend @ about past noon.
EspressoLab was not empty, neither was it packed. We managed to get ourselves a table easily.
The menu is located on a board behind the counter. There was also a promotional board at the entrance of the shop, displaying the promotion for the day/period. If you are not sure what is good, do ask the staff for recommendations. Do not know if all the staff are as helpful with recommendations but at least the one we encountered was; seeing that we were unsure about what to order, he stepped up to ask if we needed any recommendations. :)
I decided to go for the promotional item which was the Jamaican Chicken with French Fries as the side (it was originally mashed potato). There are several promotional lunch items currently available including Fish & Chips; each lunch item costs S$10.80 with a free cup of Iced-Lemon Tea. Add S$1 to change the drink to a cup of Coffee (choice of flat white, latte, cappuccino) or add S$2 to have a bowl of soup.
No prizes for guessing who ordered the Aglio Alio (S$9.80), ala carte.
I added a dollar for a Cappuccino while the friend ordered a hot Mocha (S$5.60).
The friend is IMPRESSED (:O) by the latte art produced here. First time a comment as such is made! They appear just “okay” to me. Nothing extraordinary?
Alright.. let’s talk about tastes. Presentation wise, everything was professional and looked wonderful. Nothing sloppy.
The first comment the friend made about the Spaghetti was, how the noodles appear thinner than the ones we are more familiar with. My first thought was, “is the noodle under-cooked?“. The verdict was passed after 2 mouthfuls.. the noodles were stiff… thankfully and surprisingly though, there was no taste of flour as expected in under-cooked pasta. The Aglio Olio served here, in my opinion, lacked the aroma that I usually get with the same dish, elsewhere. Improvements most certainly needed….
This is one western dish that I actually finished up all the vegetables, in the first 5 minutes too! They were too tasty! :P
The Fries are nicely done to the way we wanted them to be, limp-y. Call us strange if you want to… but that’s just the way we are. Possibly why we don’t quite enjoy those thick-cut Potato Fries, instead enjoying the thin, soft McDonald’s Fries. :)
However, the Fries were, gosh, too salty! The cook or whoever had the last hand in preparing the Fries lost control over the salt shaker or what?? :O
We usually like our Fries salty but this was a little too much…. :/
The Jamaican Chicken, lacked the spicy marinade taste I was expecting. It was also way too oily. The meat was not well-marinated; the meat itself did not have any taste. Things could have been done better.
Thank God for the serving of Mashed Potato sauce that accompanied the dish. It made the chicken meat more tasty.
As we dined, there was Christian music being played. One of the rare cafes in which, I did not find the music overpowering or distasteful. In fact, the music made me feel so much at home, and comfortable! :D
Outside the cafe, it was hype of activities. There was like a flea market ongoing outside, selling all kinds of antique items. It was a busy place.
If not cos I had other matters to see to, I would have chosen to sit around for longer.
EspressoLab, I’ll be back! :D