Daily Affairs – Ex-Hotel Chef Opens Hidden Café in a Community Centre!
Cairnhill Community Centre isn’t too far from my house. In fact, I used to go down there to play basketball and badminton as a kid. That was why it came as a surprise when I recently found out that a hidden gem of a café opened there about a year ago! Let me introduce you to Daily Affairs — a cosy little café that serves up restaurant-worthy dishes at affordable prices.
Standing at the helm of Daily Affairs’ kitchen is Oh Qihao, a 32-year-old who’s happily married and has three kids! He developed his culinary craft by working in hotel kitchens, including the likes of Hilton Hotel and Swissotel. When asked about what motivated him to leave the corporate life behind, he shared, “Opening my own eatery has always been a dream of mine. I see it as an opportunity to expose myself to new challenges. I have to handle everything myself, from cooking, to even admin and logistics.”
Chef-owner Qihao best describes his food as a fusion of both Western and Asian cuisines. What’s more, the dishes are really affordable as there’s no GST & service charge! At just $16, the Slow Cooked 8 Hour Beef was a dish I simply could not pass up on. The dish features beef cheeks that have been braised in aged hua diao wine for a whopping 8 hours. Along with the beef, I got a side of truffle mashed potato and vegetables.
The amount of time and effort that had been put into braising the beef cheeks definitely paid off. The beef was so incredibly juicy — my knife cut through it like butter. Each mouthful had just the right amount of fat which completely melted in my mouth. The use of hua diao wine instead of red wine, which is traditionally used, is a lovely Asian twist. The sauce enhanced the flavour of the beef by contributing a hint of acidity. The truffle mashed potato didn’t carry much of a truffle oil fragrance, but Chef Qihao explained that this was to allow the distinct flavour of the potato to come through. The mashed potato wasn’t overly buttery or creamy, and was the perfect accompaniment to the beef cheeks!
I didn’t expect to find Japanese cuisine at Daily Affairs! The Unagi Donburi ($16.50) features unagi imported straight from Japan. The unagi is coated in a luscious kabayaki sauce that’s torched to achieve a smoky caramelised char. To finish off this hearty and satisfying rice dish, Chef Qihao adds a 65-degree sous vide egg, and nori.
I wasn’t intending on finishing this dish, especially after eating the slow cooked beef cheek. However, I managed to wipe my bowl clean within 10 minutes! The unagi was so tender, and had a brilliant sweet coating. With cameras ready, I broke open the egg and heard an audible gasp as the golden-yellow yolk oozed out. The yolk enriched each mouthful of rice and unagi. If you’re a fan of Japanese food, this is a must-order at Daily Affairs.
I’m not one to order salads when I go out for lunch, or for any meal of the day for that matter. However, my vegetarian friend confidently approved of the Daily Affairs’ Create Your Own Healthy Salad ($9). This salad is built with Japanese cucumber, avocado, sweet corn, nuts, cherry tomatoes, parmesan flakes and carrot. For the dressing, you can choose from a homemade Asian sauce, Thai mayo, goma dressing or soy sesame dressing. No salad would be complete without meat (am I right), so you can add items such as smoked salmon/grilled salmon ($5), grilled chicken ($3), grilled beef ($4) or smoked duck ($4).
I couldn’t leave Daily Affairs without trying one of their desserts! They have a deli counter with a wide selection of cakes. However, the highly recommended Red Velvet Waffles ($9.50) caught my eye. Each waffle is cooked to order, so be prepared for a 15-minute wait. The waffles come with your choice of either chocolate chip or raspberry ice cream! You’re in for a treat if you have a sweet tooth. The combination of both the chocolate sauce and strawberry sauce was pretty great. As if that wasn’t enough, Chef Qihao added torched marshmallows!
I would never have expected to find such top quality dishes in a community centre! The café is also immensely popular amongst the working crowd. They offer a daily set lunch for just $9.90, which comes with a soup of the day and a cup of coffee or tea. I look forward to returning to Daily Affairs, as their menu changes every 2-3 months!
Address: 1 Anthony Road, Cairnhill Community Club, Singapore 229944
Phone: 6262 4342
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday: 11am to 10pm, Sunday: 8am to 3pm.
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.
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