Changing Appetites

Changing Appetites

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Far East Square that only really comes alive at night, one would think that Changing Appetites is a tad out of place amid loud nightspots like the Boom Boom Room and Carnegie’s pub. But the ‘All American, Italian and Desserts Café’, which turned a year old in July, holds its own very well, thank you.

Making its presence felt through its brightly painted interior and casual décor, the concept of Changing Appetites (fondly known as CA) may resemble that of another casual eatery named after 2 American states (think New York and Washington D.C.) at first glance, but the similarities promptly end there.

With a whopping 204 items on its current menu, CA certainly leaves customers way spoilt for choice. According to owner and operations manager Bob Toh, a self-taught cook in his 30s, the menu had gone through 3 menu revamps to accommodate different taste buds and eating preferences.

The CA menu promises something for everyone: from crazed carnivores and health-conscious vegetarians, to seafood lovers and dessert junkies, and even the pickiest of eaters. With that promise in mind, this sweet-toothed reviewer and her carnivorous Dining Companion (or DC for short) scoured the massive menu in search for the perfect dinner combination to satisfy our taste buds.

The Starters

Instead of starting off with the traditional soup and salad, we began with a drink. Now, that may sound pretty ordinary, but what we had was anything but. The juice list, in particular, serves up fresh fruit and vegetable combinations that made our imagination run wild. (We dare you to try combinations like chilli and coriander!)

Changing Appetites
Changing Appetites

After much deliberation, DC and I decided on a Quantum Leap and a Lychee Kooler. The Lychee Kooler ($5.50) was just as cooling as its name suggested. CA was real generous with the lychee helpings; apart from blending 5 to 6 lychees for the drink, it was also topped off with another 5! It was certainly a refreshing way to start off the meal, even if it was a tad sweet. I tried not to drink it all at one go – lest I ran out of space for the main course.

The Quantum Leap ($6.50) was an adventurous choice for DC. Consisting of a Vitamin C-loaded apple-ginger root mixture, it looked slightly dubious when we first got the drink. But DC gave the healthy Quantum Leap a thumbs-up after trying it – his only peeve was that the drink “should have had more ginger”.

The Main Event

If we thought choosing a starter was tough, trying to figure out our main course was much harder. Bob wasn’t kidding when he said CA’s alternative tagline is ‘It’s All Here’.

CA offers the usual Western fare – burgers, seafood combos, pasta and the like. But it’s 1 or 2 sections in the menu that really stand out. One of them is dedicated entirely to Fish and Chips, one of the more popular items on the CA menu. With flavours ranging from the classic (Parmesan or Cajun) to the quirky (Garlic or Wasabi), the possibilities were limited only to what we were willing to try. According to Bob, a seafood lover and a keen angler, most of the recipes went through some intensive research and development (R&D) before being included on the menu.

The Wasabi Fish & Chips ($12.90) featuring battered Dory meat, fried till golden brown, was fluffy and light on the palette. It had only a light horseradish taste (perfect for those afraid of the signature ‘wasabi rush’), which was easily masked by the accompanying tartar sauce.

Another section that really took the cake was the ‘Big Eater’s Meal’, whose portions are intimidating indeed.

The Barbarians ($19.90), which the menu hailed as the ‘grand champion of all burgers’ was ambitious on an unprecedented scale. Nestled between the customary sesame seed burger bun were 2 juicy beef patties, a chicken fillet and a breaded fish fillet. Unfazed by the gargantuan challenge, DC proceeded to eat the burger surgery style, dissecting it and eating it portion by portion.

The Sweets

After the main course, DC and I were surprised that we actually had space for dessert. Naturally, we couldn’t resist trying out CA’s specialty – gelato mud pies. According to Bob, CA gets their gelato from a supplier who makes the ice cream for them. All the flavours on the menu are entirely CA’s own. Many of the mud pie flavours are gelato spins on popular cakes like tiramisu, but there are also some surprises, like lavender honey & vanilla gelato, and even Nutella gelato.

Changing Appetites
Changing Appetites

Both our mud pie selections were equally yummy; DC’s Heaven In Your Mouth ($9.90) was a spin on the traditional Tiramisu, while my Marshmallow Mud pie ($10.90) consisted of chocolate-chip gelato with marshmallows. Gelato Heaven, unfortunately, wasn’t exactly eternal, as the gelato melted pretty quickly. UW’s tip: Eat quickly!

The Verdict

Aside from the impressive and imaginative menu, what also impressed us about CA was their mindfulness towards their customers. Bob makes a conscious effort to seek customers’ opinions.

“I learn a lot from my customers,” says a humble and soft-spoken Bob, who maintains good rapport with some of his regulars.

Overall, the CA experience was a heartening and satisfying one, so satisfying that this reviewer couldn’t get up from her seat after it was over.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Place
Changing Appetites

The All American, Italian & Desserts Café

Far East Square
38 Pekin Street, #01-01

Tel: 6438 0829

Email: [email protected]

Opening Hours
Monday – Thursday: 11am – 11pm
Friday, Saturday & eve of Public Holidays: 11am – 1am
Closed on Sundays

Getting there
The MRT stations closest to Far East Square are Chinatown, Raffles Place and Clarke Quay, all within walking distance.


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