Once again, this voucher was complimentary from a MCYS campaign, Welcome the World. And, like Laksania, Breakthrough has a social cause too! This missionary-inspired eatery is associating with employing ex-prisoners and drug addicts, by giving them a chance to re-engage with the society with a new lease of hope and livelihood. But fret not, although some of them may sport tattoo, their services and attitude were quite satisfactory though. However, it wasn’t easy to find the eatery, well hidden at the back of People’s Park Centre (珍珠大厦) ground floor, directly facing Subordinate Court, perhaps as a caution to their staffs against re-adopting their old crooked routes.
Alright, enough on the introduction, let me reiterate first that unlike certain blogger who ate free at restaurants and couldn’t help writing only hypocritical review, I don’t intend to do so. Hopefully, my honest feedback can indirectly help them raise their quality to a higher level.
To start with, let me confess I’m not a big eater, hence only able to try out some basic dishes during my first visit, but I’m almost certain it will not be my last. Allow me to highlight that this humble cafe has quite a neat and good ambiance setting for its more than reasonable prices, and that prices stated are nett, no further GST nor service charge.
Whenever I visit any dim sum outlet for the first time, there will be two items I will be eager to try. The first being egg tart (custard), and the other’s char siew roll. I wasn’t able to find both here (strange, I thought I read someone ever tried the custard here, but nevermind, I must be cockeyed! LOL), so I ordered a Char Siew Pau (叉烧包, roast pork bun, $0.90) for a start. This is definitely not the best Char Siew Pau I have ever tried, but it’s one level better than many conventional Char Siew Pau you can find at common coffee shops. The moist & sweet char siew inside doesn’t melt in your mouth like some food blogger exaggerated, but its taste was adequately sweet and worth all of its 90 cents cost.
Pork Big Pau (大包, $1.60) was a big let down. I thought I found some heavy pork taste to the meat inside but I still finished it nevertheless. The meat was a bit too dry to my distaste, and I hope they can subsequently improve on that.
The Chee Cheong Fun I ordered was the plain version (猪肠粉, $2.20), but it’s probably the best plain Chee Cheong Fun I have ever tried! Soaked in light soy sauce, generous spring onion and fried onion were added to sweeten this otherwise plain dish to cater a captivating fragrance all over! Magnificent! Can you imagine the plain one was already this good, can’t help wondering how would those with fillings taste like? Well, they have other versions which include Char Siew, Shrimps, or even Scallops, and all these are reasonably priced!
I was awed by the price of the Soup Buns (Xiao Long Bao 小笼包, $3.40), and couldn’t help tempted to order one, but when it was served, I was somewhat disappointed by the quantity, LOL! I wasn’t exactly sure about the intention on the inclusion of a foil cup underneath, but at least it came useful when preventing the soup inside from overflowing the spoon. But to be honest, there wasn’t that much soup inside in the first place 😛 Well, in the very least, it did prevent the bun skin from sticking to the basket. The buns did not come with consistent crease like in those more poshy restaurants, that somehow discounted the outlook. I know look’s secondary, but frankly speaking, the taste was rather average anyway. The only common attribute with those more established restaurants, was the hard bun skin, LOL! Seriously, perhaps due to the climate, I have not found any restaurant in Singapore capable of reproducing that excellent & softer bun skin I encountered in Taipei’s Ding Tai Fong (Strictly speaking, the overall quality of local Ding Tai Fong is a complete letdown in comparison to the Taipei franchise).
No service charge!
I ain’t able to reproduce a copy of Breakthrough Cafe’s menu, but I can vow it’s filled with rich variety of conventional dim sum and I’m looking forward to return for their other specialties. Like I said, the price is very reasonable given their cosy ambiance, and yes, the cause is a worthwhile support. To be honest, this cafe is earning rave reviews in local community, particularly in online food review portal. Please don’t be discouraged by my prejudiced opinion here, as the next time you visit, they may have improved, or that you may have a different taste bud from me. For those who care to pay a visit, do take note they don’t open on Sunday or public holiday:
Mon-Fri: 7am – 5pm
Sat: 7am – 3pm
Part II: My subsequent visit:
Glutinous Rice (糯米飯，$2.30)
The appearance of this Glutinous Rice beats many other restaurants effortlessly. But the important thing is, its quality is good too! I was too busy eating and chatting at the same time, that I couldn’t recall whether I tasted any chicken here, probably not. Even then, the mild fragrance of the mushrooms and the fusion of raw and fried spring onions had blended well with the sticky glutinous rice, giving it a refreshing taste.
Steam Prawn Dumpling (虾饺皇，$3.50)
The Steam Prawn Dumplings looked pretty stiff in the picture, unfortunately, it tasted stiff too! I suppose it could do with more moist and softer skin, and I must confess, I have certainly tasted better elsewhere.
Shrimp Tofu (豆腐虾，$3.50)
Shrimp Tofu was pretty new to me. I was searching for Tofu Skin Roll (腐皮卷), but could only find this. No, it tasted entirely different, seemed like they blend together fish, prawn, and tofu, then lightly fried. The texture was a bit soft, it was tofu afterall. I thought this dish lacked character, in other words, nothing special, but not bad either. I found the accompanied mayonnaise was a little dense, but I’m not complaining.
The Siew Mai below was still a great disappointment. Strictly speaking, it was probably the worst Siew Mai I had ever tried from a Chinese restaurant. They failed to rid off the excessive pork taste in the dumplings, I need a good supply of chili to suppress the awkward taste.
Siew Mai (烧卖，$2.80)
Before I tried the Chengdol at RWS’s Malaysian Food Street, I probably might give this dessert a high rating. Not anymore. At the same price, I must say the version from Malaysian Food Street definitely tasted a class above this version here, not to mention it was larger too! Breakthrough’s Chengdol lacked the dominant coconut milk fragrance, but that’s probably a norm in Singapore anyway.
Alright, I have come to the end of this updated post. When I go again, I will definitely try order different dishes and consolidate here!
Part III: Jul 2013
Egg Tart (蛋挞，$1.20)
Finally found their egg tart! I love their crispy crust, not too brittle, and the tart has a good egg taste. I would have preferred it slightly moist, that would look great. But overall, it’s above average.
Crab-meat Roll (蟹柳，$2.80)
I have a big question mark whether it’s genuine crab meat, or simply simulated crab meat that was made of fish. Anyway, the flour skin went well with it.
Bamboo Roll (鲜竹卷，$3.00)
The Bamboo Roll was made up of fish meat, with with the skin far from over fried, though the taste was quite moderate, and not too salty.
Rice Balls in Ginger Soup (汤圆姜汤，$3.00)
The Rice Balls in Ginger Soup contained 6 rice balls with peanut filling and two red dates. Personally, my preference is peanut soup, but it wasn’t available in their menu. Anyway, their ginger soup was moderately hot (and I’m not referring to the temperature here) and mildly sweet, excellent for keeping body warm during a rainy day.
Fried Dumplings (锅贴，$5.00)
Honestly, I won’t be recommending this. The 7 pcs of dumplings looked interestingly puffy, but that’s as good as it could get. Quality wise, it’s mediocre. While generally, these dumplings are pan-fried, Breakthrough Cafe fried them in oil. The taste was slightly unconventional, and I couldn’t say I like that.
Cod Fish Tofu (鳕鱼豆腐，$3.00)
I love tofu! But I can’t say I absolutely love Breakthrough Cafe’s tofu though. Their Cod Fish Tofu was unsophisticated, code fish meat blended well with the tofu, the taste presented itself like a home cooked dish without much fanfare.