It’s no easy task keeping up with the ever-growing list of cafés and restaurants in Katong. As of late, we’ve noticed that a number of brunch spots in the area have some form of Japanese influence – sando shop Hello Arigato for one, along with cosy joints like Kanome Bakery and Okada Coffee. No matter, we’re not complaining by any means: that simply means more wagyu sandos and fusion eggs Benedict for our weekend brunches.
Now, we can add newly-opened Café Natsu to the list. They’ve just opened their doors on the ground floor of Crane Joo Chiat, a stunning 1920s Peranakan heritage building. It’s less than a week old, but they’re already drawing in crowds of hungry diners. Everyone’s anticipating good things since it’s by Ebb & Flow Group – the same folks behind neighbouring tart shop Tigerlily Patisserie as well as The Dragon Chamber and Sommer. One glass panel overlooks bustling Joo Chiat Road, while those lucky enough to clinch a table at the open-aired windowsill seats will get a glimpse of the pastel-coloured Koon Seng shophouses.
Try the eggs Benedict here, either as a classic benny ($28) with glazed ham or done as a Florentine ($30) with spanner crab. Once again, obvious Japanese influences come into play with wasabi spinach and miso hollandaise. We’re also huge fans of sandos, and the menu at Café Natsu doesn’t disappoint with options like egg mayo ($22) and chicken katsu ($29). The standout, true to form, is the wagyu sando ($30) – beef short rib sandwiched between soft, crustless bread.
It’s interesting that they have a full-fledged dinner menu too, since cafés in this area tend to shutter their doors before sundown. It’s divvied up into small and large plates, so communal dining is evidently at the heart of what they do. Start with fresh oysters ($26 for three), drizzled with negi ponzu and fermented chilli, or the wagyu tartare ($28) that has sharp flavours of umeboshi mixed in.
Wagyu does appear to be a recurring ingredient, and for dinner, you can simply order up an MBS 6+ slab of wagyu, either the rib cap ($28 per 100g) or ribeye ($40 per 100g). It comes with a side of togarashi fries and watercress salad. Finish with a sweet treat: fried mochi doughnuts ($12) aren’t commonly found in Singapore, and are satisfying when paired with salted Hokkaido milk ice cream.
The wine list at Café Natsu isn’t a real head turner, spanning just a page or two – you can still choose to pair your wagyu with a classic red or even a bottle of junmai ginjo.