Lina’s Cafe – Halal Pandan Mille Crepe for a Wonderful Cause
Rays of sunlight shine into the quaint Lina’s Cafe that sits on Jalan Pisang. As if to match the warm afternoon sunbeams, friendly smiles welcomed us in. I already have a good feeling about this cafe, and when I uncovered its story, it pleased me to no end that I had eaten food cooked by people with wonderful hearts.
Here’s a quick summary of Lina Cafe’s heartwarming story —100% Muslim owned and opened by the Mummy of an autistic child, Lina’s Cafe aims to spread awareness about autism in Singapore. According to the owner, autism awareness “is still quite shitty in Singapore”. Hence, judgement is often cast on families who dine out with their autistic children, especially when their kids have meltdowns or break the cutlery.
In addition, Lina’s Cafe hopes to not only spread awareness about autism, but also provide a safe haven for diners with autistic family members. For every family of 4 dining in (provided the family brings their autistic child(ren) along), the first 4 drinks ordered will be on the house. These “Welcome drinks” aim to encourage families to dine out with their autistic children, instead of keeping them confined at home for fear of being judged. Their efforts have definitely paid off in the autistic community, with the owner telling me that sometimes, “random parents [of autistic children] just drop by our cafe to share stories and experiences, or simply talk about their children”.
With a smile, the owner also shared that families of children with Down Syndrome (instead of autism) also patronise the cafe. When these parents ask whether only those with autistic children are entitled to the complimentary drinks, Lina’s cafe’s kind-hearted owners extended the offer to them too. After all, promoting inclusiveness in our society is a cause they hold dear to their hearts.
Moving on to the food, we ordered the Crispy Calamari ($4.20) as a starter. Although the calamari rings come from a packet, they were fried to golden brown perfection. I was glad that the rings were very crispy, and not too greasy.
We also tried Lina’s Home-styled Fried Kway Teow noodles ($5.80), which is reminiscent of simple Malay home-cooked fare. The fried kway teow had a kick of spice (as most Malay dishes do), and a strong tomato taste. Don’t forget to squeeze the lime all over before you give the noodles a good toss. I thought this dish could use a little more salt though.
Of course, we had to try Lina Cafe’s signature Mee Rebus ($4). The Mee Rebus here was very tasty, and is easily one of the better Mee Rebus I have tried. The well-cooked noodles are sat in a sweet, peanuty and slightly spicy sauce that had just the right consistency. It wasn’t too gloopy, which I really appreciated. The Mee Rebus is also chock-full of ingredients such as a whole hard boiled egg, green chilli, fried onion, lime and a begedil (which was light, soft and surprisingly not greasy at all)! In conclusion, you should really try the Mee Rebus if you visit!
We also got the Mee Siam ($4) to share. The Mee Siam broth was sweet and quite spicy too. I was slightly surprised at how this version of Mee Siam was sweeter and more peanut-y than other Mee Siam bowls I have tried. However, I enjoyed the cubes of taopok, which were well-fried and absorbed the broth like a sponge.
The menu has a section called “Weekly Asian/Western”. Dishes under this section are served only on specific days. For example, Mee Siam ($4) is served only from Thursday to Saturday, Nasi Lemak ($3.60) only on Friday, Creamy Breaded Fish Pasta ($9.80) and Creamy chicken pasta ($9.40) only from Tuesday to Saturday and Shepherd’s Pie Cup ($3.40) only on Saturday. Hence, be sure to check the menu before heading down to avoid disappointment. While I thought the savoury food options were alright, the cakes blew me away. Both the cakes I ordered were very delicious.
The Pandan Mille Crepe with Gula Melaka ($7.20) was a hot favourite at our table. I lowered my expectations, considering that Mille Crepe is a difficult dessert to master. However, my fears were unfounded as the Mille Crepe was absolutely delightful. The thin layers of well-cooked crepe carried a fragrant Pandan aroma. The decadent gula melaka sauce drizzled atop the soft mille crepe added smokey caramel and vanilla hints. Dotted with chunky bits of fragrant gula melaka rock sugar crystals, the sauce had a very pleasant texture. To sum it up, the cake essentially tastes like an Ondeh Ondeh explosion in your mouth.
Fans of Lotus’ Speculoos cookie butter will be glad to know Lina’s Cafe has a home-baked Speculoos Cheesecake ($5.80). The rich cheesecake had a smooth and creamy consistency, without being too sweet. With a crumbly, yet moist, crust, and a strong Speculoos taste, this cheesecake was very good.
The savoury food options at Lina’s Cafe are alright, albeit a tad limited. I would, however, return for their cakes. For families with autistic children, I urge you to check out Lina’s Cafe. The owner also shared that during non-peak periods, they sometimes help to care for autistic children, so that parents can dine at ease. For those without autistic family members, why not check out this cafe to show your support too? The dessert options are rather wonderful, and you will be dining for a good cause!
MissTamChiak.com made an anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.
For more food videos, check out our official YouTube channel! You may also want to check out our articles on Magosaburo Cafe, a cafe that serves excellent western-japanese fusion food, or Q Gen, a hawker stall serving kampua mee!