Boru Boru X Candour Coffee | A Lunch-Only Pop-Up Concept Serving Japanese Bowls

As its name suggests, Boru Boru (a pop-up Japanese café sharing the space with Candour Coffee) offers an affordable selection of Japanese rice bowls using the freshest seafood and ingredients. The fishes are sliced in-house with a pair of well-practiced hands to guarantee thick, uniform cubes of oceanic bliss that become sweeter the longer one chews. Diners are also free to decorate their bowls with add-ons – such as salmon roe (ikura), flying fish roe (tobiko), and caviar – at the cost of $1-$3 more per ingredient.

The space of the café is relatively small, barely fitting two adult elephants, and one may wish to come earlier to avoid the lunch crowd. Bar seats are also available for those who are unable to secure a table or would like to catch the baristas performing their coffee rituals amidst the lively atmosphere.

Our first bowl, Boru Chirashi ($13.90), features a lively mix of assorted seafood – diced salmon, tuna, octopus, shrimp, and salmon roe – atop a warm bed of sushi rice. The toppings were undeniably fresh and felt alive at times, in a good way of course, but what sealed the deal for us was the chef’s generosity with his ingredients. Moreover, the cook on the octopus and shrimp was textbook – soft, succulent, and so delectable!

There is a reason why classics never disappoint, and the answer to that could be found in this delicious Sake Ikura Boru ($15.90). Yet again, Chef had piled our bowl high with thick chunks of salmon sashimi before scooping on a heap of salty-sweet salmon pearls. The roe was well-seasoned and left behind a luscious puddle of umami that heightened our awareness of the salmon’s sweetness.

The Wasabi Mayo Salmon Boru (Petite $9.90 / Regular $13.90, choice of salmon or tuna) was decent, but nothing spectacular. We did not quite enjoy the dressing on the sashimi for the mayonnaise was a little heavy-handed which overwhelmed both the wasabi and salmon. On the bright side, the furikake (Japanese seasoning) rice was fragrant and brought savoury nuances to the bowl.

Similar to the previous bowl, the Shiro Maguro Boru with Onsen Egg ($14.90) was average-tasting, albeit having loads of potential. Although the menu promises an “aburi shiro maguro with spicy house dressing”, our tuna was fully cooked and lacked the spicy kick. Having said that, perhaps our bowl was the only one that was not done right as our friends had no complaints about theirs.

Another bowl which captured our hearts with its bold flavours was the 48° Salmon Boru with Triple Egg ($16.90). The aburi salmon was done right, slightly cooked on the outside with a pink centre, and paired splendidly with the rich, creamy mentaiko (pollock roe) sauce. The best part of the bowl was definitely the warm, fluffy rice hidden beneath the salmon and its delightful oil.

For the last bowl, we had the Truffle Somen ($13.90). The somen noodles (wheat flour noodles) were cooked till tender before being tossed in a fragrant, but excessive pool of truffle oil. Accompanying the noodles were tender pieces of octopus, shrimps, and imitation crab sticks. Though we appreciated Chef’s generous efforts to delight us with truffle fragrance, we have given him feedback to use the scented oil more sparingly.

Besides ordering the bowls, we also tried a few beverages from Candour Coffee to complete our meal. The Lavender Yuzu Fizz ($6) is a great choice to cool your soul from the scorching sun. Despite having an elusive lavender flavour, it still makes a refreshing yuzu fizz.

For a quick caffeine and glucose fix, the Sea Salt Caramel Latte (Hot $6 / Iced $6.5) will be sure to supply you with sufficient energy to last you through the day, without being overly sweet. A tiny complaint would be the slightly sour aftertaste.

If flavoured coffee is not your thing, perhaps the Irish Coffee ($8) would charm you instead. This naughty beverage comprises black coffee spiked with a gorgeous dose of Irish whiskey and topped with delicious cream. The flavours are surprisingly well balanced, but definitely not for the faint-hearted.

The café also serves Cold Brew Coffee ($6.50) which did not quite spark our interest as we prefer our coffee hot.

The MAN CHA Jasmine Pearls Tea ($8) is said to be a smooth and delicate tea with floral nuances. Frankly speaking, it was hard for us to tell after our reckless indulgence in cups of warm and cold coffee.

For dessert, we were introduced to a sharing platter of adorable Mini Matcha Latte Tarts (4 for $10). These tarts were crisp and buttery, and held a bitter-sweet matcha latte within the crater. Our advice is to sip a little of the latte first before devouring the whole tart to avoid choking like our silly friend did.

On the whole, our experience at Candour Coffee and Boru Boru was certainly a pleasant one. Besides having the opportunity to indulge in quality Japanese food, we were thrilled to be able to order delicious cups of coffee as well! Is it not awesome to enjoy the best of both worlds at one location? Our top three favourites were the Sake Ikura Boru, Boru Chirashi, and 48° Salmon Boru with Triple Egg. And if you’re there, do not forget to order the Mini Matcha Latte Tarts too!

Candour Coffee
41 Beach Rd
Singapore 189680

Boru Boru (Operating Hours):
Monday to Friday: 11am to 2.30pm
Closed on Saturday and Sunday

Candour Coffee (Operating Hours):
Monday to Sunday: 8am to 9pm

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Words and Photography by Kenneth Lim (@exasperatedmilk)
The writer is an avid tea drinker who enjoys slicing cakes with his golden fork. 

Singapore

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