A long-time tenant of Tangs, Island Cafe serves local fare in an upmarket setting. The food isn't great but it generally passes muster. Like the offerings in a country club coffeehouse. But what I really appreciate about Island Cafe is its ambience, which sense of exclusivity and tranquil restfulness is a respite from the madding Orchard Road crowd.
The Tauhu Telor ($12) a towering fried egg and tofu cake, strewn with julienned carrots and cucumber, and drenched in a sticky sweet kecap manis sauce, was decent. Nice texture on the tofu cake.
A signature, the Island Laksa ($19) dotted with prawns, taupok, cockles, fish cake, and quails eggs was middling and forgettable. This needed a lot more chilli to balance out the coconut cream.I'm not sure how this is one of their two signatures.
The other signature, the Black Pepper Crab Tung Hoon ($21) of glass vermicelli tossed with black pepper, laced with squid, shrimp, and crabmeat, and topped off with a duo of fried soft shell crabs, was quite excellent. This was punchy and robust, and the seafood was cooked perfectly, soft with a hint of bite.
The Lamb Masala Biryani ($23) was a mixed bag. The basmati rice was tasteless, the lamb shank in masala spiced curry was fall-off-the-bone tender but could use a couple more hours marinating, the achar was refreshingly piquant, and papadam a failsafe.
310 Orchard Road
Level 4 Tangs at Tangs Plaza
Tel: 6311 3424
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 10.30am to 9.30pm;
Sundays from 11am to 8.30pm