Editor's note on July 2, 11pm: The Refectory has updated its opening hours to close all three F&B brands on Sundays. This article has been edited to reflect the latest information.
Three F&B brands have moved into the Braddell area to form a new "lifestyle hub".
Located along the same stretch as the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), The Refectory overlooks the Bishan flyover along Braddell Road.
Three F&B concepts under one roof
The hub occupies more than 9,000 square feet, and currently houses three brands:
- Glean Cafe, which specialises in all-day brunch and hand-brewed coffee.
- BRDL, offering contemporary cuisine with Asian influence and a bar.
- Dining Hall by The Refectory, a multi-purpose event concept that is hosting a Nam Heong Ipoh pop-up until end August 2022.
Nam Heong Ipoh specialises in dim sum, including egg tarts and chicken sou.
To avoid wastage, most of the items served at our media tasting were in tasting portions/canapés, as opposed to regular-sized portions.
The canapé versions are also available for events hosted in The Dining Hall.
1. Glean Cafe
Glean Cafe offers both indoor and alfresco dining.
To furnish the casual daytime dining setting, the 60-seater cafe is decorated with fake plants and small trees.
Local bakery The Patissier is currently collaborating with Glean Cafe on a special menu comprising both sweet and savoury items, until August 31, 2022.
There's even a little tree seating area for customers who are waiting for their takeaway orders.
The Beer Battered Fish & Fries (S$24++ for regular-sized portion) is served with minted mushy peas and homemade tartar sauce.
The batter is crispy but not oily, while the meat retained its moisture. Personally, I prefer curly fries to regular fries so no complaints there.
Part of The Patissier x GLEAN collaboration menu, the 'Otah-otah’ Open Face Toast (S$24++ for regular-sized portion) comprises mackerel & prawn otah, brioche, pineapple and cucumber achar, and laksa gravy.
The toast adds a pleasant crunch to the otah that has a kick with bits of prawn. While the foam enhances the appearance, it doesn't seem to contribute significantly to the taste.
Known as The Patissier's "long-standing signature", the Passion Fruit Meringue (S$10++) that is made with meringue sponge, passion fruit mousse, fresh mangoes, and strawberries comes with a relatively steep price tag that may deter potential customers.
The meringue makes it light and adds a lovely crunch and the fruits help to cut through the cream, so it did not feel overly rich despite the sheer amount of cream—something I was initially concerned about as someone who is not a fan of cream.
Will I eat this again? Without a doubt, if it's a gift (ie. free). If not, I'd probably have to persuade myself to part with the S$10, which will probably happen if I'm feeling indulgent.
Also from the collaborative menu, the Ho Ho Horlicks! (S$10++) features a Horlicks creme brulee, chocolate sponge, and Horlicks-coated crumble served in a can, complete with a lid.
The sponge, cream, and crumble add a variety of texture with each mouthful and it leans on the sweeter side, which is great for those with a sweet tooth.
2. BRDL Bar & Restaurant
For something a little more atas, just look across the hall to the 75-seater restaurant next-door, BRDL Bar & Restaurant.
In case you haven't caught on, BRDL comes from the word "Braddell".
Besides the usual beer on tap and wines, it offers soy wine, an alcoholic beverage that is "extracted sustainably" from tofu.
The seats here are plusher as well, if you'd like to melt into a chair after a long day.
The restaurant also has its own entrance and exit that is separate from Glean Cafe's.
With every main ordered at BRDL, diners are served a complimentary financier with butter, with the flavours changing seasonally.
The wakame financier was light and the yuzu kosho butter enhanced the flavour with added savouriness.
The texture of the wakame (seaweed) strands was palpable with each bite.
The crab cornetto (S$15++ for five pieces) is made with crab, wasabi, and tobiko.
While it looks adorable and very easy to eat in one bite, I would prefer the wasabi to be less prominent so the sweetness of the crab could shine a little more.
The Tandoori Lamb Shank (S$36++ for regular-sized portion) comes with pickled raisin couscous, and green apple and cucumber raita (Indian yogurt sauce).
The lamb was very tender and it tasted like how I would imagine.
The Wagyu Cheek Rendang (S$36++ for regular-sized portion) is made with homemade rempah, spiced potato cake, and purple potato chip.
I actually hesitated before putting the cellophane wrapper-like decoration in my mouth, fearing it might not be edible.
I was quickly proven wrong, as it was a crisp purple potato chip.
On the other hand, the wagyu was tender, with mild kick from the sauce.
For dessert, the Black Forest (S$18++ for regular-sized portion) is made with chocolate sponge, black cherry jam & sorbet, kirsch white chocolate, and chantilly cream.
I love dark and rich chocolate but sometimes find it too overwhelming, so the tartness of the fruits really helps to balance out the richness and make it a delectable treat for chocoholics.
You can check out their alcoholic beverages too.
3. Dining Hall by the Refectory
Last but not least, the Dining Hall by the Refectory sits at the end of the very long space.
This multi-purpose event concept can be used for product launches, corporate meetings, workshops, or weddings, and comes with a dedicated events team to oversee the project.
It is also open for take-overs by partnering brands. The latest pop-up is by Nam Heong Ipoh that will run for three months, from May to August 2022.
The Nam Keong Ipoh x The Refectory collaboration dish, the X.O Seafood Congee (S$7.80 for regular-sized portion) was quite forgettable, perhaps overshadowed by the interesting dishes that were served earlier.
Nonetheless, it's still a decent bowl of porridge that is smooth and flavourful.
The egg tarts (S$2.80 each) were crumbly and not so sweet, which is dangerous because I could see myself eating one after another easily.
The space also comes with a fully functional kitchen studio for cooking demonstrations and wine appreciation classes.
One thing to note if you're dining there: customers will not be able to "cross-order" food from the three brands and have it served at their table.
If you're keen to try food from the different concepts, you'd have to get a new table at its respective dining area.
Prices lean on the higher side but the plating and ambiance are a cut above the more everyday eateries in the area. If you work or live around the area, it's worth checking out.
Special mention for the Passion Fruit Meringue and Wakame Financier with Yuzu Kosho Butter, as they take the cake for being the most memorable and enjoyable items on the menu for me.
Address: 351 Braddell Rd, #01-01, Singapore 579713
- Glean Cafe Monday to Thursday: 10am to 10pm
Friday and Saturday: 10am till late
Closed on Sunday.
- BRDL Bar & Restaurant Monday to Saturday: 12pm to 3pm, 5pm to 11pm
Closed on Sunday.
- The Dining Hall by The Refectory
Monday to Saturday: 11am to 6pm
Closed on Sunday.
Top images by Karen Lui and The Refectory.