Island Café was conceptualised by CK Tang back in 1993 as Singapore’s answer to the Fifth Floor at Harvey Nichols in London at that time: an elegant in-house destination restaurant ensconced within an exclusive department store.
Island Café also follows the concept pioneered by Chatterbox at the Mandarin Orchard which elevates every day Singapore street food into deluxe versions with the use of expensive ingredients, served in a posh environment, with prices to match. It achieved a fairly response from the Singaporean dining public at the time.
Fast forward 24 years later - a revamped Tangs still retained Island Café, now sharing the top floor with a trio of personal care/wellness centres. A bar provides pretty decent cocktails and wines. Food-wise, the local favourites are still all there, but standards seemed to have dropped.
Apple vodka-martini - good.
Braised pork (Dongpo) in steamed mantou buns. Pork was not melt-in-the-mouth tender and lacked the strong soysauce-spice flavours one associates with this dish. A travesty.
Fried buns with chilli crab sauce. Very much watered-down and seemed very “in-Singaporean” in its flavours. Maybe their use of non-Singaporeans chefs may have contributed to this.
- Tangs’ signature Singapore Curry Laksa, with shrimps, cockles, fishcakes, quails’ eggs. This dish was done correctly. But there is no wow factor, or something that would entice me to ascend 4 floors up Tangs to come back here for another meal.
More misses than hits - sad.
4/F Tangs at Tang Plaza
310 Orchard Road
Tel: +65 6311 3424
Operating hours: 10.30am-9.30pm Mon-Sat, 11am-8.30pm Sun.