New Zealand Natural Café
#02-12 Nex Mall
Call +65 6659 1488
If you like ice cream and sorbets, you’ve probably visited one of the nine New Zealand Natural (NZN) shops across the island. NZN’s ice cream has been winning awards and children’s fickle hearts for the past twenty-odd years, so it’s no surprise that the empire is expanding into cafés that serve food, too.
But unlike some other ice cream giants that have quickly rolled out carbon-copy outlets with mediocre fare, NZN hired ex-Shangri-la chef, Roland Scherer, to compile the menu.
“I felt we could do much better,” says Roland. “We wanted to ensure the food met the same high quality as the ice cream.”
My beau and I visited Singapore’s first NZN café in the recently opened Nex Mall at Serangoon Central. Located on the second level, right at the top of the escalator, it’s easy to find and a great spot from which to watch hordes of shoppers milling about.
I chose the mushroom soup ($6.90) to start, while the beau popped off to pick up a birthday card. Like all the dishes on the NZN menu, the soup is prepared fresh each day, so the bite-size chunks of poratabello and shitaki mushrooms were deliciously plump.
Upon his return, the beau opted for the grilled steak sandwich ($15.90), which came with all the trimmings including an onion confit and portabello mushrooms marinated in garlic sauce. My chef’s salad ($11.90) was lettuce leaves piled high with ham, cheese, turkey, tomatoes, cucumbers and egg – all thoughtfully left in small heaps so I could mix in as much of each as I wanted.
The food tasted so good that it threatened to overshadow the ice cream – but only until the sundae arrived. My beau, a self-proclaimed connoisseur of ice cream, was eager to get stuck into the manuka honey sundae ($8.90) with melon seeds and yummy prune and walnut discs. He also loved the boysenberry sundae ($8.90) with chocolate shavings in cherry sauce, and was pretty keen to try some more of NZN’s gelatin- and artificial-sweetener-free ice cream. It may well be the healthiest of ice creams on the market, but even the beau’s belly can only fit so much in!
I’d say that NZN’s new menu has risen superbly to the challenge of being as good as its ice cream.