Marked only by a small chalkboard, Stagger Lee’s is a bright new addition to bustling Brunswick St. Having been to Proud Mary, I had high expectations of Stagger Lee’s, given that both cafés are opened by the same owners.
One thing different of my brunch adventure this time, though, was that instead of going with the usual crew, I met up with my coursemate, friend and fellow food-blogger, Elizabeth (go check out her blog!).
The interior of the cafe is quite similar to Proud Mary, rather spacious, which I appreciated. But we chose to sit outside as it was nice and sunny, vis-à-vis was rather dim, even though it was daytime.
Thankfully there wasn’t a queue when I got there (~ 12.30pm on a Wednesday), but strangely I was left standing at the entrance for a couple of minutes without being shown to a table. Another patron came in soon after, and while waiting the two of us struck up a small conversation. Finally we were shown to our respective tables after a staff member noticed our presence.
For my coffee, as usual I went for a long macchiato, but was really happy to see that they had two blends for the day – and one wasn’t Ethiopian. I am well aware that Ethiopian blends are becoming more and more common in cafés in recent months, but the saltiness of the blend just doesn’t appeal to me. I opted for the Guatemalan blend, and was really pleased. The long mac in Stagger Lee’s is certainly better than Proud Mary. The only unfortunate thing about the long mac was that despite it being served in a glass, the layers were not well-defined. The layer profile looked somewhat latte-ish, just slightly darker due to the milk-espresso ratio.
For my main, I decided to go with the roast lamb, which sounded really hearty and shiok. However, when the dish arrived, I was slightly unpleasantly surprised with the plating, as it seemed somewhat overly complicated, and to make things worse, the lamb was chopped into small pieces. Moreover, while the menu did state that there was hummus, I didn’t expect it to be spread across the whole plate.
The plating seemed very George Calombaris-style, sophisticated and cool. For all the disappointment that I felt with the plating, it made up with flavour. I had never tried hummus before, until that day. On my blog, I generally reserve comments about foodstuff that I don’t really like to begin with, because I feel it would be rather unfair to the chef. In this case, the hummus (I really hope it is made in-store) was delicious (coming from someone who does not like hummus). The roast lamb, though chopped up, was flavourful and tender. These two ‘main ingredients’ were complemented with pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, fresh herbs, and baby radish, which gave the dish the freshness it really needed. The bread, on the other hand, was a letdown, being tough and hard. One overall disadvantage of the dish was that it was too oily, and I felt slightly gelad (Singlish for the feeling you get after eating something overly oily) after finishing it.
Overall, Stagger Lee’s is worth a visit, but I guess they could improve by spicing up their menu a bit – currently it is rather sparse. I plan to revisit it after a couple of months, to try their other dishes, or other new ones that may be featured.
After my meal, though I was feeling rather full, I felt it would be too much of a pity if I did not visit Shocolate, which was just round the corner from Stagger Lee’s. I was so relieved to find that the interior of Shocolate was air-conditioned, and so I sat inside and started clicking away, only to be politely informed by the staff that photography of the menu or the shop interior was not allowed (they did have signs, but I didn’t see them). They did allow me to take a photo of the ice chocolate that I ordered though.
The chocolate syrup drizzled on the walls of the glass may have provided some sort of abstract-artsy look to the drink as a whole, but contributed little to the taste. The chocolate flavoured milk was not too rich, but that worked out for good because there was so much of it. The best part of the ice chocolate was the chocolate gelato, which had a really unique flavour, except for its iciness, which seemed rather unusual, unless it was intentional. Also note that the seating area is rather limited, so be prepared to queue if you visit at a busy time. For $8.95 though, I don’t think I’d be returning.