I chanced upon The Providore while hunting for desserts after my meal at Fukuichi. The decor was so chic and modern that it was hard to resist stepping inside. The whole cafe reminded me of Jones the Grocer, just 2 levels up, with its colourful tea sets and accompanying tea leaves stored in colour-clad metal tins. After a round of satisfying desserts and drinks, I aimed to come back to try the mains and here is a full run-down of my dining experience on both occasions.
Chocolates and sweets in simple but classy packagings – great ideas for gifts.
Spoilt for choice!
Huge windows for you to stare out from where you’re sitting at.
Sampler Plate [Prosciutto w fresh figs, sautéed prawns, manchego, tomato toast w goat cheese, tuna tartare] ($18.50) – Out of the five samplers, I only fancied two – the prawns and tuna. I am a fan of prosciutto but I felt kind of cheated when the fresh figs were replaced with dried prunes without being informed earlier. I hate prunes. I attempted to have a small bite of it but it was way too sweet and hard. On the other hand, the prawns and tuna were fresh, lightly cooked and seasoned to bring out their natural flavours. I especially enjoyed the tuna as the small cubes complimented the crispy chips really well and the avocado cubes were a nice touch. If you do not want to opt for the sampler plate, you can go for their Small Plate/appetizer portion ($14.50), to just have one or two of the above.
Medium plate: Grilled Asparagus wrapped w Prosciutto w Poached Egg, Black Truffle Vinaigrette & Red Shiso ($18.50) – I was pretty impressed that white asparagus was used! If you’re forgiving, this would be a great dish. Why I say so is because I tasted no truffle at all. It seemed that the chef had forgotten to add the final dressing of the black truffle vinaigrette. I could have sent the whole dish back but I was too busy enjoying my asparagus, parma ham and egg.
Large Plate: Lobster Mac & Cheese w Shaved Fennel & Dill baked in Cast Iron Pan ($22.50) – A must-order at The Providore! A great rendition of American’s Mac & Cheese, I loved how the macaronis, or rigatonis here, were not drenched in a very creamy and ultra cheesy sauce. Also, I was glad how chunky the lobster morsels were; I suspect at least half a lobster was used! However, the fennel was a little too hard and quite redundant in my opinion.
Salted Butter Caramel ($5.50) – I’ll definitely recommend this for desserts as it is value-for-money (big enough for 2), homemade and really tasty too. Apart from the usual salted caramel, the addition of butter had added an interesting dimension to the ice cream. It’s extra fragrant and almost cake-batter-like.
Strawberry Shortcake ($8.50) – The sponge was light and eggy, in a good way. My friend and I enjoyed this a lot as it was more of a rustic, old-school kind of cake than an artisan one, though the price proves the latter. The slice could get quite heavy so I’d recommend to share.
[Selection of drinks on first visit]
LEFT: Lemongrass, Lychee & Mint Mocktail ($12) – I’m a huge fan of this drink! The drink contained lots of fresh lychee puree, with a strong taste of lemongrass. The hint of mint kept this a refreshing drink, which was highly enjoyable after a heavy meal. Huge brownie point goes towards its attractive presentation as well!
RIGHT: Today’s Ice Brewed Tea ($8.50) – This was musk earl grey tea. My friend was troubled over what to order and the ‘bartender’ (guy behind counter in first photo) was very nice and patient to explain to us their different teas and drinks and even gave us small cups to taste. This drink was ultimately chosen, a great choice to tea lovers as it wasn’t just your plain, old earl grey tea. The tea was literally perfumed with an earl grey scent that permeates through every tastebuds of your tongue that makes drinking this so pleasurable.
[Selection of drinks on second visit]
LEFT: Summer Berry Lemonade Mocktail ($12) – I was in high hopes that I would be served some good lemonades similar to the ones I had in Russia, which I’ve been craving for. Sad to say, this was a disappointment. It was way too sweet and somehow I felt that the taste was rather artificial. I’ll just stick to my lychee lemongrass drink next time.
RIGHT: Iced Chocolate w Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream ($7 + $3.50) – A good dessert drink, but I still prefer to have the ice cream on its own.
The Providore is a fresh and invigorating addition to Mandarin Gallery that cafe lovers will have to try as the ambience is great and laid-back. Service was pretty slow when I was over for dinner but the attentive and warm staff made up for it. I was happy that the ‘bartender’ still remembered me after my brief visit the first time. It’s difficult to find good Mac & Cheese in Singapore and I believe The Providore is the answer to that!
[EDIT] A quick google led me to find out that The Providore is a gourmet food brand venture set up by the former founders of Jones the Grocer! This flagship cafe at Mandarin Gallery serves up dishes created from the ingredients found at The Providore warehouse at Outram. If you’re interested to check out more, do visit: https://www.facebook.com/TheProvidore.
Mandarin Gallery, #02-05
333A Orchard Road