Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Symmetry Cafe, Singapore

It's an interesting street scene - a quiet backdrop of traditional fabric shops and food stalls, with the quiet of a weekday afternoon occasionally broken by the call to prayer from Kampong Glam mosque. It's been like that for years, with shops being passed down from generation to generation. Lately however, the area around Arab Street in Singapore has been transformed, with an increasing number of interesting cafes to be found. 

Symmetry is one such example. Located along a quiet side street (Jalan Kubor) just off Victoria Street, the nondescript exterior hides the contemporary bare brick walls and wood panelleling of the third wave cafe within.  

Symmetry is also home to the second Slayer machine in Singapore (at the time of writing) - the original is in Jimmy Monkey, at One North. The potential for good things exists - but has the potential been realised? As always, I ordered an espresso and cappuccino - two drinks that tell me a lot about the quality of coffee in any cafe. 

Espresso - there was a dark reddish brown crema, which indicates that the coffee beans used were roasted fairly recently. The volume was roughly correct for an espresso shot, maybe a little higher than in other third wave cafes though. The lack of white specks on the crema suggests that this was not an over extracted shot however, which would have an adverse effect on the quality of coffee. My first impressions were of a slight acidity, which faded slightly in the aftertaste - not uncommon with beans from South America. The shot is not too astringent, as the acidity seems to be tempered by the flavour of a more earthy, darker roasted bean in the mix. The end result is a balanced shot. 

The cappuccino arrived with well executed latte art, which is always a good sign - it shows that there is attention to detail, but more importantly that the barista has spent time and effort perfecting their craft. The microbubbles give a smooth mouthfeel, but the underlying characteristics of the espresso were still present - they were muted but not eliminated. This was a combination of milk, foam and espresso that complemented each other, rather than a mismatch of each. 

One things I did notice however - this was potent - I definitely felt the effects of caffeine afterwards. Slayer machines pack a double ristretto into each shot, rather than a conventional espresso shot - please bear this in mind when you order! 

Overall, there are well executed (but potent!) shots being served on a quiet corner of Jalan Kubor, and the presence of a slayer machine is certainly worth noting. The price was approximately $10 - $12 for an espresso and cappuccino, with a variety of food and drink options available also. 

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