I have long been wanting to go to Artichoke in Middle Road, near Bugis as I have been seeing good reviews about it. I fancy cafes and food places that serve comfort food, far from the usual hawker meals that I eat on a regular basis so visiting places anew is a personal simple thrill. Once in a while, sitting down with a comforting and sumptuous food is such a soothing feeling, top it up with fun and meaningful chitchat with friends and loved ones and a bright sunny morning or in this case, afternoon. Well, it was actually supposed to be brunch, earlier in the day, but being busy people that we are, it boiled down to an afternoon, late lunch.
Artichoke is situated near the yellow Sculpture Square, corner of Middle road and Waterloo street. Quite accessible if coming from Bugis+ mall or St. Joseph Church.
I came in first so I queued up to get us a table. Apparently, they would only have you seated when all in the group is present. Seesh. I was getting impatient as it was also a hot, sunny afternoon. I had no choice but to wait. So I visited the nearby shop first which is a Center for Photography and Films.
They sell books containing photography of the local scene and some historical memorabilia. They also have the Singlish exhibit which was quite witty and entertaining.
I waited for about 25 minutes (yes I have friends who are normally late LOL) and asked the lady to get as seated already.
The place was packed when we came in. Most tables were filled up. I guess, this is a normal weekend scene. We wasted no time in placing our orders.
I got myself an Artichoke Fried Chicken as I was trying to stay away from pork and beef. I must say that this is one of the best fried chicken I’ve had. The honey glaze that was infused in the crispy skin was so sublime, the meat was done right. In addition, the garlic whip was really a fitting match. The green harissa was good too but I prefer the garlic whip to dip in the chicken and paprika fries. The side tahini salad was delectable, its dressing not too strong or sour or sweet. It was really done right. Two thumbs up for this dish.
My friend got herself a Beef Shakshouka which was pleasantly prepared in a skillet and paired with a pita bread. We thought that this dish was salty and you cannot finish it on its own. It must really go together with the pita bread to neutralize the salty taste of it. The dish was so-so, though the serving was generous.
Another friend got herself a Bacon and Eggs. I was under the impression that it was the ordinary thin stripped breakfast bacon, but it was actually thick slices of pork, cooked the bacon way. Although their cut was composed heavily of fat, the meat was cooked so well and the taste was flavourful and right. The matching roasted pumpkin was equally delectable, it yielded that sweet, roasted taste. Yummo.
Going to their service, it was pretty slow. Some of the waiters were also forgetful, you had to ask couple of times to request what you wanted. Although there was this young guy who was so cheerful in serving everyone (yes I had to single him out for good service) and we appreciate that. The table that we got was not covered fully by the tent so there were some falling leaves that usually go into our water and dishes. We asked to be transferred to the other table, but I did not get their logic of why they couldn’t transfer us when it was actually empty. Even if it was for reservation, I don’t think the customers would particularly choose that spot. They came in late as well in telling us that there was a vacant table inside and they could have us transferred. Of course, as we were in the middle of savouring our food and everything was set, we opted not to.
Anyway, if for the food, I would definitely recommend this place. I could come back to it, but maybe next time I will sit somewhere inside if I visit it on a lunch time.