PODI is the newest baby in The Bakery Depot's stable of cafes and bakeries. The Bakery Depot also owns Cedele, so while both cafes look like twins, the fare served up is very different. While Cedele's focus is on the fresh, healthy and everything that's good for you, PODI is the wild child rebel, by putting its own spin on breakfast classics and grills.
However, as with Cedele, the stuff here is a mixture of hits and misses. Even at the pre-launch tasting where we were invited a couple of weeks ago (p.s. our thanks to Rachel for the invite and hosting us). The food's generally decent, but not particularly outstanding or memorable. Quality is also a little uneven, as with their service, which can get choppy during peak hours. At the revisit, we had a bit of difficulty explaining what parsley was to the staff when trying to get them to hold the herb off.
The Baked Egg Pots, a shashouka of sorts with a couple of eggs and chorizo baked into a blend of tomatoes, leek and onions, was very rustic and uneven. The eggs in all of our pots at the table were overcooked but our neighbouring table's were just right.
The Duck Berry Waffle, a savoury waffle with duck confit, blueberry compote, and maple syrup vinaigrette was surprisingly good. Each of the components worked together as a team and harmonized beautifully.
The Stuffed French Toast won fans all over, with its fluffy, spinach-accented brioche, layers of smoked ham, melted brie and accompanying maple syrup.
The Prawn & Crab Spinach Salad wasn't thoroughly tossed in its peppermint and lemon vinaigrette, so the leaves were bare and plain, and while the grilled buttery prawns were lovely, the crabmeat was a little cloying.
The Beetroot Carpaccio, with cherry tomatoes, shavings of parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic basil oil, was refreshing enough, but not my cup of tea. I never really quite took to the sour sweetish taste of beetroot, even if it's purportedly a superfood.
The Chicken Pot, with a whole chicken thigh simmered with puff pastry, baby potatoes and seasonal root vegetables, was very pedestrian. It was sufficiently moist, had a nice simple flavours of the countryside farm, but failed to make an impact.
The Spicy Prawn Konbu Pasta, with its uncomplicated aglio olio sauce, konbu for an Asian twist, and drippings of prawn oil, was really quite good. A complex but well-balanced fusion of the east and west.
Next up was the Argentina Sirloin Steak, accompanied by a classic chimichurri sauce and mustard cream. It was done medium well, to the dismay of many a tasting blogger. But, I quite liked it. I like my meats medium well, you see. This was robust and full-bodied. Thing was, we weren't given steak knives, so we were left tugging and sawing at the hunk of meat. Very barbaric, really.
The King Prawn with Herb Butter had good flavour, having employed the use of aromatics like garlic, butter, cheese, herbs and orange rind, but was let down by the less-than-fresh prawns. This was too mushy. A quick check with my neighbours confirmed my suspicions. Theirs were all mushy too.
The Mexican Spiced Hat, with 2 scoops of lemon and strawberry sorbet stuffed between 2 Nigella-spiced meringue thins, was unexpectedly good. The refreshingly tart sorbets were just what we needed to cut through the many tasting courses.
The classic American dessert, a Whoopie Pie, with a creamy, orange and earl grey frosting wedged between 2 fluffy, chewy cake-like cookies was pretty decent. Sweet but nuanced.
At the revisit, we opted for the tasting dishes that we liked, like the Stuffed French Toast ($15). To be candid, this is really just a premium, upmarket ham & cheese sandwich. Still, this was pretty awesome. Thick and fluffy, with the barest of caramelisation from the frying pan, this was totally sumptuous.
We also got the Duck Berry Waffle ($18), and surprisingly, the duck was more tender than before at the tasting. This time, knives were hardly needed.
However, the Spicy Prawn Konbu Pasta ($18) was awfully disappointing, in view of how good it was at the tasting. The bisque sauce was terribly cloying and I couldn't stomach more than a mouthful. This should have been more like an aglio olio, with light spicy garlicky overtones, than the rich bisque the pasta was drowned in.
Raffles City Shopping Centre B1-45
Tel: 6336 5648
Open weekdays from 10am to 10pm; weekends from 9am to 10pm