Artichoke Cafe and Bar, Sculpture Square, Singapore

I think I have mentioned a few times that Artichoke was one of my favourite restaurants when I lived in Singapore, after all what’s not to love about a kitchen that cooks what they term to be “Deviant Middle Eastern” cuisine? Located in a pretty cobbled courtyard just minutes from the CBD and with an emphasis on using local products wherever possible, there are few better places to brunch on a Sunday

One of the things I love the most about Artichoke is that they are continually developing and changing their menu which means more and more interesting (not to mention delicious) dishes are finding their way onto it. Of course the downside of this means that previous dishes – such as the genius “Dirty Fries” topped with tahini, tabbouleh, chilli, chickpeas and labneh or the fantastic selection of homemade mezze – are no longer available but thankfully these seem certain to have found their way into their upcoming cookery book (due to be published in the Autumn) for us all to enjoy in future.

The current brunch menu is made up of 10 dishes from the more traditional dishes like Scrambled Eggs and Bacon “Chop” to Smoked Salmon Pancakes with Jim Beam Sour Cream, wasabi pea dukkah, egg salad and orange blossom honey with a few additional side orders like scrambled eggs, maple glazed bacon chop, grilled halloumi, sautéed local mushrooms and fries with toum (a Lebanese garlic dip) also available. But I didn’t even get as far as the menu as I was sat directly across from this:

I mean who could resist a Cauliflower “Sabbich” of open pita topped with Israeli salad, fried cauliflower, hummus, labneh and THAT gorgeous smoked egg with its molten oozing orange yolk?? The sabbich was so appealing that no less than 4 of our group of 7 ordered this, including our Vegan friend Amy, with Artichoke very kindly removing the labneh and the egg for her so she could enjoy it. WARNING Artichoke is not the sort of restaurant that you make menu changes at unless you have strict dietary requirements (and even then you should give them a heads up in advance if possible) There is no requesting fried or poached eggs and you certainly wouldn’t ask for eggs benedict or waffles – especially not if you have seen their rather stern but fun warnings on the boards around the room. They are however happy to make small adjustments – that won’t have a major impact on the dish – to their menu such as Amy’s case and I know she was very happy with her dish indeed. I loved the combination of the oozing egg yolk with the fried cauliflower and the fresh light salad of cucumber, tomato and fresh herbs and leaves – adding a drizzle of tahini just brings it all together beautifully and I would eat this again and again and again if I could.

The others in our group ordered the Lamb Shakshouka, slow braised leg of lamb cooked with cheese, pistachio dukkah and stewed eggs in a rich tomato sauce with a little kashkaval cheese on the top which is bought to the table in a huge skillet with homemade pita bread whilst D chose their Crispy Fried Chicken – another huge portion – in a delicious honey lemon glaze with a crunchy tahini and cabbage slaw, pickled veggies and a few spice sprinkled paprika fries. As we had underestimated the portion sizes somewhat, we also ordered a couple of portions of Halloumi, some Local Wild Mushrooms and more pita bread along with a couple of portions of Paprika French Fries with Toum – serious food coma inducing amounts but all just so good, especially the lovely selection of wild mushrooms and halloumi.

We shared a few (Ok 5) bottles of their house cava amongst us with the total bill coming in at just over $85 SGD each. Of course you could do brunch for far less but where would be the fun in that?! It was great to see their chef/owner Bjorn working the room after service and even better to get a sneak peek of the beautiful cook book I mentioned earlier, he really is such a talented and exciting chef to watch and his cooking and the lovely service at artichoke is absolutely, without a doubt one of the things I miss the most about Singapore.

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