“Comfort food” used to connote any of the bland and soothing stuff we slurped down when we were kids—whether in Brooklyn, Bangkok, or Bangladesh. But, these days, the term has become a global brand for decidedly Western fare that’s indulgently hearty and accessibly basic, served up in large portions. Now, there are even clearly demarcated niche interpretations: luxury comfort, truckstop comfort, Euro comfort, nostalgic comfort, and so on. The recently-opened, upscale coffee shop Scruffy Apron straddles several of the above with daring aplomb and plenty of gravy.
A grandfather clock, pewter pots, and tinkly chandeliers evoke a touch of old England mixed with the Old West and promise a “retro” menu. (Best tables are at the back, facing a bright wall of windows.) But this pleasurable outpost on the climb up the circular gardens of the EmQuartier does 50s food no one would have heard of, or even dared dig into, back then. Truffle fries? A Canadian gut-buster called “poutine”? (Hint: it’s fries topped with gravy, cheese, and some Italian salami [B295].) Would Ozzie and Harriet have served a goat cheese salad, a Wagyu casserole, a filet of barramundi, salad of duck confit, or diavolo pasta informed with spicy Malaysian sambal? Thankfully, the good ol’ days taste a lot better and more complex now, as Scruffy Apron ably proves.
The pulled pork pie (B360), a mainstay, is humongous, flaky, and layered with mash and a sauce kicked up with hints of whiskey. The lobster roll (B950) isn’t big, but it is thankfully more lobster than mayo; and the six-meatball open-face sandwich (B395) far outshines anything from a Subway.
Best of all, this is an enterprise that would never treat beverages as afterthoughts. Milkshakes served in handled mason jars climb half way to the stars with tons of whipped cream studded with chocolate truffles (B250), or, in the case of their “Cereal Shake,” luridly coloured fruit loops (B275). Mocktails of mint and cucumber are most refreshing, as well, and the Scruffy Apron crew even attempt a smoothie version of mango sticky rice.
Stay tuned for many adventurous changes on a menu that has no fear of crossing borders or boundaries. Having just added a thin mini-pizza using honest Italian mozzarella and confit egg in the centre, the place is perfect for kiddies, or kiddies who are all grown up, hooked on yummy regressions to their most primal oral fixations. There’s nothing scruffy about the food here—it’s a series of cleanly executed tributes to excessive cholesterol in its tastiest forms.
6/F, EmQuartier | 0 2003 6263 | facebook.com/scruffyapron | Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri-Sun 11am-11pm