The Chir Cafe + Bar – Korean Fusion Delights for Brunch and After-Dark in Holland Village
Korean fried chicken fans out there would have heard of the famed South Korean franchise Chir Chir making its home on our sunny little island. As a fried chicken lover myself, I caught wind that not only did the folks behind them recently start a new cafe concept, but it’s also the first of its kind in the world. Joining the hipster enclave of Holland Village is Korean-fusion establishment The Chir Cafe + Bar.
By day, this little nook serves up brunch fare with a twist and inventive all-day meals but once the sun sets (or from 4pm onwards), the busy kitchen starts dishing out mouth-watering creations from their dinner menu that go great with a cold beer or soju in hand. Every single dish has been lovingly curated by Daniel Hu, Research and Development Manager and Korean-born chef extraordinaire.
Brunch menus usually have me in a tizzy because I can never decide between sweet and savoury dishes. The Chir Chicken Croffle ($17.50) is the answer to my dilemma with its perfect balance between the two. The deep-fried chicken thigh was tender and juicy on the inside, with a crispy skin on the outside. The croffles – waffles baked with croissant dough – added a fun element to the dish. Drizzle the ambrosian homemade maple butter syrup over these fluffy delights and you get a little piece of sweet heaven on a plate.
Get ready to snap tons of photos of the sexy Fondue Chicken Burger ($15.50) which comes with a side of crispy shoestring fries. The hulking burger comes packed with a succulent fried chicken thigh, grilled pineapple, onion marmalade and fresh rocket between toasted buns. And the best part is definitely the generous melted nacho cheese sauce dripping over it.
Definitely the most Korean brunch item on the menu, the Bulgogi Tartine ($22) boasts a mini-mountain of bulgogi beef slices on an open-faced brioche sandwich. Thumbs up to their choice of bread — I always love a good, fluffy brioche! The creamy spinach mascarpone spread and rocket leaves help in cutting through the sweetness of the beef, with the herbed mushrooms and smoked paprika adding on their own layers of depth.
Out of all the beautifully-plated dishes, the Garden Butternut Pumpkin Tartine ($17) gets my vote as the prettiest one. Complete with edible blooms and vibrant colours, the vegetarian dish sees a slice of toasted sourdough piled high with roasted pumpkin, cherry tomatoes, red pepper relish, pomegranate seeds and ricotta cheese, and finished off with a bold dressing of balsamic vinaigrette. The tightly-bound flavours completely won me over. And coming from someone who is not your typical veggie fan, that’s pretty high praise.
It’s carb-o’-clock with inviting pasta selections like the Soy Carbonara ($16.50) and Mentaiko Rosé Pasta ($11). One of my favourites was the carbonara-inspired Bulgogi Cream Pasta ($16). Similar to the Bulgogi Tartine’s spinach mascarpone, the al dente linguine in white wine cream sauce perfectly balances out the thin slices of sweet bulgogi beef. It also comes with a medley of shiitake, button and portobello mushrooms, as well as a delicate poached egg and Grana Padano cheese shavings.
When in Singapore, go local! The menu wouldn’t be complete without a locally-inspired dish. Introducing the Laksta ($14), an ingenious pasta-laksa hybrid. Thick and hearty in flavour, the laksa cream sauce is enhanced with the fragrance of coconut cream and minced dried shrimp. It comes topped with sizeable tiger prawns, whole shrimps and light fried tofu puffs.
If you’re looking for evening munchies to go with your beer, the So-Tteok Bowl ($14.50) will be your new best friend. Inspired by popular Korean street snack so-tteok so-tteok, the large serving of chewy tteokboki (rice cakes), sausages and crispy tater tots is a good choice. Tossed in sweet-spicy yangyeom sauce and tangy mustard mayonnaise, it’s easy to eat and worth every calorie.
Another dinnertime special to enjoy is the Dumpling Noodle Salad ($14). Instead of nibbling on leafy greens, partake in chilled wheat noodles doused with a tingling Korean red pepper sauce, otherwise known as bibim-myeon. As for your fix of protein, there’s the fried mandu (Korean dumplings) that come packed with meat, forming a ring around the impressive salad crowned with coleslaw, shredded seaweed and sesame seeds.
Quench your thirst with specialty brews, courtesy of local coffee roaster Hook Coffee. Coffee purists will enjoy the usual Americano ($4.50), latte ($5) and flat white ($5) brewed with 100% specialty grade Arabica beans. For me, I enjoy the aesthetically messy Speculoos Latte ($6 for hot, $6.50 for iced) that comes with sweet undertones from the caramel biscuit.
My curiosity definitely peaked at the Jolly Pong Coffee ($6). The iced espresso with milk came with a topping of the nostalgic Korean puffed rice topping that I used to adore as a kid. The beverage itself was aromatic with a smooth mouthfeel.
With so many intriguingly delicious items on the menu, it was impossible to try them all so The Chir Cafe & Bar can expect another visit from me sometime soon!
The Chir Cafe + Bar
Address: 26A Lor Mambong, Singapore 277685
Phone: 6235 9950
Area: Holland Village
Opening Hours: 9.30am to 10.30pm daily.
Cuisine: Korean Fusion
This post was brought to you by The Chir Cafe + Bar.
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