E Food & Wine (closed)
6C dempaey Road
+65 6475 8806
“East, Eat, Earnest, Earth, Efficiently, Effortless, Enamoured, Enchanted, Entice, Euphoria, Evergreen, Exceptional” reads the menu cover, along with a few more E-words of similar ilk. This is E Food and Wine, American expat John Erdos’s latest baby.
The café forms part of the exquisite enclave that the eclectic entrepreneur John has established at the end of the main Dempsey Road strip; it perfectly complements the furniture, home accessories and art gallery that have made him a byword for style over the past two decades.
Looking out onto evocatively lit virgin rainforest, E’s location is unbeatable. A chorus of crickets – or are they cicadas? – sings the overture to the meal. It’s perfectly cool and comfortable on the alfresco deck, but you can also choose to sit in the air-conditioned interior and enjoy the forest view through floor-to-ceiling windows.
The menu, says John, is inspired by the food his mother cooked for the family – hearty, tasty dishes that are “never fancy”, but hit the spot. “I added the Asian twist. And the reason the menu is not too long is that I want everything we do to be just right.”
The cumin, says Roy, comes through nicely in his carrot and cumin soup ($8); a light and healthy choice, as is my beautifully fresh mixed salad greens with garden vegetables and bacon ($9), topped with shaved Parmesan. Also on the list of starters and snacks is an attractive nibbly platter ($16), a cheese board ($22) and chicken wings dusted with black pepper and sesame and served with spicy Thai dipping sauce.
John recommends the chicken cordon bleu ($21), and so do I: boneless chicken breast has been stuffed with prosciutto and Emmental cheese, and served with a delicate bacon cream sauce and whole French beans. Simply delicious. And Roy raves about the beef Rendang; a true fusion dish, it’s served in the perfectly light puff pastry that John’s mother used to make when he was growing up, and comes with a tasty atchar of sesame, cucumber, carrot, pineapple and red onion.
Our visiting English guest Paul – sorry to introduce him only at this late stage, but he too had the salad to start – is delighted with his beautiful piece of lightly seared tuna steak ($25), crusted with sesame seeds and served with a wasabi dip. So grateful is Paul for his temporary respite from the miserable cold of East Anglia, however, that he’d probably be thrilled with fish fingers.
Desserts ($8) include homey staples such as rhubarb and apple pie, a “to die for” brownie, and a ginger-lime crème brûlée that I have to go back for. There’s a useful and well-priced wine list that includes a few cocktails; we drank house wine by the glass ($8). Children are admirably catered for with mini-burgers, fish and chips or spaghetti and meatballs (around $10 each).
This is a winner.