Lettuce Wrapped Natto from Cafe Garb
To the uninitiated, this must be a very puzzling post. Who would go to a place named Cafe Garb, and why would one eat natto and okra - two of the most mucilaginous items in existence - wrapped in lettuce leaves? Well, Cafe Garb is actually a chain from Japan that has set up shop at Robertson Walk (11 Unity Street #01-01, 6836-0751). Yes, I know - there have been a lot of stores from Japan popping up in Singapore lately, but to me, that is a good thing.
Clearly in Japan, this was meant to be some kind of a Western cafe. But it really was Japanese, as evidenced not only by the natto above, but also the presence on the menu of that quintessential Japanese pasta dish, supagetti mentaiko. I have a thing for natto, so I gobbled those lettuce cups right up. I liked how firmly they cooked their spaghetti too, regardless if one got the version with Japanese mushrooms, mentaiko, or even shirasu (little sardines like chirimen and tatami iwashi).
Perhaps one of the most amusing items on the menu was the "Baffarow Chicken." (The Japanese description of the dish said that it was a "spicy fried chicken wing with Cafe Garb's original spice recipe.") One would think that it was meant to be a Japanese version of buffalo wings, but it came out with none of that red sauce at all. Instead, these were batterless little wings deep fried with some kind of dry cinnamon-like mixture, as if Colonel Sanders got into a fight at Cinnabon. It wasn't sweet, and it was odd, but I was rather amused by it, especially since they cut the wing at each joint - such that one could actually eat the wings using chopsticks.
Well, if you're not into Japanese adaptations of Western food, then this place will probably seem very strange. I, on the other hand, have been rather curious. Surprisingly, the only thing I didn't like was the most Japanese item of them all: yakisoba, which was so boring that the dish was left nearly untouched. I'd better stick to the other items on the menu.