The Bravery, Amoy St: “Courageous, but it needs work.”
The Bravery is pretty. Pretty enough for perusing images of its interior on Instagram for days on end, or fervently peeking past its gold-plated signage into a pastel-filled depiction of laid-back yet classy dining. Having only recently moved from its seven-year-old Horne Road outfit, this newly-minted shophouse space warrants a visit.
But Amoy Street demands more than glimpses of visual pizzazz. Food must take centre stage in this stretch of Michelin-starred plates and bold, funky fare. It’s unforgiving and cruel to the most unprepared of establishments, but wholly rewarding to those who put forth outstanding grub.
I’ll discern which category The Bravery falls into in just a few moments. In the meantime, I’m ushered upward to its second-floor space of playful lime-green cushions and healthy bathings of natural light. A daytime affair here is composed of vibrant brunch fare and more aggressive fill-me-ups of pasta and beef burgers.
What I tried
Nothing screams protein-packed like the Steak & Eggs (S$23), and The Bravery’s iteration begs for prompt satiation with a neatly curated bowl of sunny-side-ups, toast, and a hunk of striploin steak. On paper, there’s much to love in indulgent brunch fare like this, and it does succeed—for the most part.
The meat here is great, boasting tender, well-marbled beef that’s seared off to a perfect medium-rare. It’s let down only by the slice of house-baked sourdough bread which is challenging to chew and cut into. Does bread deserve all this effort? I find myself consciously leaving the plain toast untouched while fiercely mopping up all else on the plate.
Elsewhere, the Seafood Alfredo (S$20) is a seductive twirl of al dente spaghetti that’s topped off with plump orange beads of ikura and an oceanic waltz of clams, deshelled prawns, and chunks of crab meat. This one’s a creamy affair that proves addictively flavourful. I get the gentle umami of fresh seafood and the occasional savoury bursts of salmon roe. Seafood lovers would go ga-ga over this—any pasta lover would.
But here is where we depart from all things great at The Bravery. Perhaps a miscalculated decision, but our remaining two plates come by way of the same toast from before. It’s a shame, really. When bread is half the dish, these plates are already burdened by those hurtful slices of sourdough. But what’s life without second chances?
The ‘Shrooms Toast (S$16) teases at a medley of fungi—confit portobello, sautéed mushrooms, and drizzles of truffle oil to boot. On their own, they’re pleasantly juicy morsels of mushroom that come well-executed. It’s accompanied by an artful spread of hummus that is alright in every sense of the word but could definitely do better in texture by nailing the proportions of chickpea and tahini.
Yet, just as a plate of chicken rice cannot rely on chicken alone, I can’t ignore that offending toast. I shan’t express my displeasure again, for I’ve already said my piece. Instead, until The Bravery decides to look at the man in the mirror and make a change, I can only advise you to skip their bread-based plates.
The astronomically named Nova Cheese Toast (S$16) does have commendable qualities, bread aside, of course. Here, slices of smoked salmon come beautifully cured and generously laid out atop smears of cream cheese. It’s a hallmark of great produce, though much like the steak before, that’s where the fun ends.
It’s the eggs. I’m usually excited by scrambled eggs in all shapes and sizes, but not ones that beg for heavier bouts of seasoning. Unfortunately, The Bravery’s rendition falls into this category. Texturally, It’s fluffy and faultless, which makes its scarce seasoning all the more regrettable.
Perhaps, dessert may better grapple my heart in this daintily clad establishment. I’m holding out hope, desperately searching for some plates to swoon and shower with praise. Alas, the Lemon Meringue (S$6.90) doesn’t earn any with an undercooked base that’s more gum than pie crust.
Adding salt to the wound are these unchewable stalks of rosemary which we pick out from our mouths and lay across the table in poker fashion. I’m all for jazzed up iterations of a classic pie, but this one’s a poignant lesson in first mastering the fundamentals.
Elsewhere is the Nutella Tiramisu (S$6.90) which sounds like decadence and sin personified. Of course, there’s the richness and fragrance of hazelnut to cuddle you, though I’m not yet convinced that tiramisu needs this touch. But hey, there’s no reason for one to hate on this. After all, a mess of cocoa, hazelnut, and sponge cake never hurt anybody.
Having lasted eight years in Singapore’s brutal F&B scene must mean The Bravery brings with it a cult following that has long supported its bonny plates of easy-going cafe grub. Yet, is this loyalty one that can be sustained with glamour and aesthetics alone? I’m not certain. For now, I reckon a refinement in their flavours is due, and until then, my returns to Amoy St will be focused elsewhere.
Expected damage: S$20 – S$35 per pax
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