Cafe food which packs a hefty punch
Have you ever wondered how the owner – Derrick Chew – of Hyde and Co. got his inspiration for the cafe’s name? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. After a period of intensive research on Northbridge Road, the stretch of tarmac where Hyde and Co. can now be found, the team discovered that it is one of the oldest and longest roads to have ever been built in Singapore.
In the olden days, Chinese trade companies used to populate the length of the road and were always named as “something-something & Co” and the team decided to keep the “& Co” part within the name of their new cafe to retain some heritage.
A graduate in literature studies, Derrick Chew chanced upon the story of “Jekyll and Hyde”; a moun that is now defined by the dictionary to be “one who has a two-sided personality – one good and the other evil”. Wishing for the cafe to have dual personalities, one for the daytime and the another for the night, Derrick then incorporated ‘Hyde’ into his cafe’s name. And thus, the name of ‘Hyde and Co.’ was born.
Even though the actual space of the cafe was small, the layout within made the entire place feel very spacious. Upon stepping into Hyde and Co., you just get the unshakeable feeling that this is right where hipsters fit in: each table comes with a pot of flowers which can be conveniently featured in instagram shots, the furniture is minimalistic yet chic and there are quaint decorations all around the place. It is fancy yet casual – overall an interesting place with a unique vibe.
Unlike other Singapore cafes that concentrate a lot on coffee blends, Hyde and Co. has also opted to specialize more on custom tea blends sourced from overseas.
Into The Woods ($7.50) – Iced berries tea with blends of ripe berries, hibiscus and rose hip. Just look at the presentation of the drink: so ridiculously photogenic. This tea was incredibly fruity and it left a pleasant, sweet aftertaste in my mouth. If you’re a fan of fruit teas, this is definitely a must-order for you.
The Addams Family ($7.50) – Iced Moroccan Apple Tea with the tartness of crushed apples paired with a mellow creaminess. Somehow, this drink reminded me a lot of shots – except instead of salt, sugar now coats the rim of the glass. The Addams Family was a highly enjoyable and refreshing tea; it whet my appetite and I was ready to stuff myself silly.
Pulled Pork Mantou ($8 for 3, $12 for 5). Slow cooked pulled pork in homemade BBQ sauce and slaw. Lovingly and painstakingly marinated in homemade BBQ sauce for over 10 hours, the slow cooked pulled pork was full-flavoured and savoury.
The crunch of the slaw and deep-fried mantous offset the softness of the pulled pork perfectly. This dish is a sinful and indulgent one; it is definitely not for those who are keeping a close eye on their diets. What can I say? The mantous were gleaming with oil but damn, were they good.
Holy Smokes ($17) – Toasted Bagel with Norwegian Smoked Salmon, pickled onions and cream cheese with crispy capers. The bagel was a little hard: it took a lot of effort from us to slice it but the Norwegian Smoked Salmon? On point.
It wasn’t too salty and it had just the right amount of smokiness to its finish – good to eat even on its own. For an even better tasting experience, pair it with the cream cheese above and a slight squeeze of lemon.
The Big Ben ($18 for bacon, $21 for smoked salmon) – toasted muffins with mushroom jam, poached eggs, mesclun, roasted potatoes and creamy hollandaise. The Big Ben wasn’t featured in their menu initially because Derrick thought that it was too mainstream: many other cafes were already serving up eggs benedict and he didn’t quite know how to set theirs apart from the competition.
It was only after the persistent nagging of customers who demanded for the appearance of Eggs Benedict in the menu that Derrick obligingly requested for his chef to offer The Big Ben with their own unique take.
After much stressful days and nights, Hyde and Co’s competent chef finally found the magical component which distinguishes the cafe’s eggs benedict from others': the mushroom jam. If you’re an eggs ben lover, then you sure as hell need to give Hyde and Co.’s version a go. It was extremely umami without veering onto the jelat (heavy) side, which I thought to be highly impressive.
Hyde’s Chilli Crab Pasta ($16) – Crabmeat tossed in a housemade arrabiatta sauce topped with herbed panko. Morsels of crab meat clung onto every strand of the pasta; it was simply delectable. Did I also mention that it was really spicy? It hits you the moment you place it in your mouth – massive kick – but it gradually subsides and the crustacean flavours take over next. This dish takes your taste buds on a thrilling ride.
Even though I was literally panting for water, I still kept reaching out for more forkfuls of the pasta. If you’re someone who can handle your spices well and are a crab lover, this one will be right up your alley. Singaporeans should love it.
Pulut Hitam Waffle ($14, available for the month of August only for SG50) – Buttermilk waffles, pulut hitam paste, salted coconut cream topped with premium vanilla bean ice cream. As a tribute to Singapore’s local food and as a celebration of the country’s milestone in reaching 50 years of independence, Hyde and Co had introduced the Pulut Hitam Waffle.
The waffles itself was incredibly light and airy, a delightful finish to an overly hearty meal. My only gripe with the waffle would be that its edges were not crispy enough: after some time, the entire dessert just becomes a soggy mess from all the sauces.
The vanilla bean ice cream itself was rich and you can actually see specks of vanilla beans on it: very high quality, artisan stuff right there. It is also nice to see a cafe’s rendition of local flavours without roping in the usual flavours like Gula Melaka; definitely a nice and refreshing change.
Butterscotch popcorn ($14) – Homemade butterscotch, banana and crushed nuts. Now, popcorn on pancakes: genius. Who knew I could enjoy popcorn so much without stepping into the cinemas?
The slight saltiness of the pancake batter was counterbalanced by the natural sweetness of the banana slices. Furthermore, there were different textures to the dessert: the fluffiness of the pancakes, crunchiness of the nuts and the mushiness of the banana slices. Once again, the vanilla bean ice cream was excellent.
Overall, the quality of food you get over at Hyde and Co is excellent and it is generally nice place to chill out with your friends as well. The cafe’s Norwegian smoked salmon and crabs are also obtained from sustainable sources so you can indulge in your food without feeling guilty for depleting Earth’s resources. It’s a very nice, intimate touch.
Expected Damage: $20 – 40 per pax