I saw a video on TikTok about the different ways you can spot an authentic Chinese restaurant in the States. One of them was how run down the place was and I guess that applies to Thai restaurants too. It’s gotta be ghetto.

Locating Warm Up Cafe was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. With no foreknowledge of the place, I thought it was Thai-inspired cafe. One of those that serve Thai Milk Tea French Toast, or Thai Milk Tea Souffle Pancakes like the one in Bangkok Jam. Turns out, it was an actual Thai restaurant.

Don’t you dare laugh. You have to admit the name is misleading.

Honestly, we were unimpressed when we saw the restaurant until we followed the waitress to the alfresco seating at the back. Wooden benches, large umbrellas and fairy lights which illuminated the canopy of midnight blue. For a moment, we were in Thailand.

Authentic Thai Cuisine

Huge shoutout to the Boat Noodle ($7.5) for maintaining its integrity while we were waiting for the other dishes.

The noodles were springy and fully absorbed the flavours from the broth, which was more robust than most Singaporean variations. Imagine taking a shot of cold brew concentrate, but savoury. While I somewhat enjoyed it, it’s definitely not for those who prefer lighter flavours.

Creamy Crab Omelette with Rice

The Creamy Crab Omelette with Rice ($10) did live up to its name. Rather than American diner-style, the omelette was prepared in a scrambled egg fashion. Loose curds, a luscious finish and a generous portion of crab meat.

In general, all the other dishes had their flavours cranked up to match Thailand’s palate. But this remained mellow, a refreshing change of pace amongst the heavily seasoned dishes.

Although seemingly unwelcoming with her lava-like appearance, the Tom Yum Soup ($12) was creamy in terms of flavour and texture and was fully loaded with seafood. While I did like the more bodied texture, I would prefer more spice and tartness to counteract the creaminess. 

But every family has a dark horse, and Warm Up Cafe’s was its Crispy Pork Basil ($15). Barely crispy, and certainly absent of basil, the dish was heavily seasoned with salt, leaving no space for any underlying flavours to shine.

We ended up leaving the restaurant with half the dish untouched, as no amount of liquid could quench our thirst. 

Speaking of which, the drinks hit the spot. The Thai Lemongrass Drink ($2.8) had just enough flavour and was fortunately not cloying like some syrup drinks would be. The Thai Milk Tea ($2.8) was also pleasantly sweet and refreshing.

Verdict

If you like Thai cuisine, you have to give Warm Up Cafe a shot. In general, it’s more flavorful than Singapore variations, and honestly, I felt like the Boat Noodle was stronger than the ones I’ve had in Thailand. But in general, the flavours were authentic. And most importantly, the ambience at Warm Up Cafe was an uncanny mirror image of Thailand.

For desserts, you can head down to Three’s A Crowd. It’s a 15 minutes walk which isn’t exactly the most convenient but hey, it’s the perfect ‘workout’ before you indulge in your next meal.

Location: 110 Mackenzie Rd, Singapore 228708
Opening hours:
12pm- 3pm

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