No, there's no relation to the gym here. Though it is related to sister cafe and bar Botany, opened by the same co-founder and multi-industry entrepreneur Cassandra Riene Tan. The Ritual was created to fill the gap for decent coffee, much to the gratitude of the residential neighbourhood, but more importantly, to foster a community and holistic wellness with its own 'tribe'. To simplify and hopefully not reduce—bonding through food.
Tan has voiced her disdain for the use of the term 'instagrammable', but with the natural light against neutral tones, calming greens and browns accented with mustard (not to mention the neon sign that will likely be quoted for caption), it's not an entirely bad descriptor. Tan also kindly set up every table with a powerpoint for fellow business owners or us regular staff-subject-to-pandemic to work remotely.
Head Chef Matthew Tham brings his experience from Two Men Bagel House and Meta Fine Dining for dishes that are also inspired by Tan's own travels (remember when that was a thing). The Beetroot Gravlax sandwiches beet-stained gravlax, deliciously pickled beetroot, a generous cream cheese slather and roe sprinkle between solid bagels that are made in-house daily.
The gluten and meat free The Impossible™ Mala Somen also comes on top with a balanced amount of Szechuan sauce (homemade again) dressing the asian noodles, bok choy, garlic crumb heap, and a mince of the meat-alternative. Plus, who doesn't love a sous vide egg?
Yeah, we know. The irony of distancing from the negative connotations of a brunch spot but getting smitten by a café staple. But the Truffle Kombu Fries do deserve the spotlight with the ideal ratio for thin-cut fries (crisp but not all the way through), and a liberal topping of truffle shavings. Don't make the same folly of mistaking the black bits for charred burns (or colloquially, chaotah). It's actually kombu flakes that add depth to the savoury element.
Another worthy mention are the Tofu Tempeh Fries that are also vegetarian. Served with in-house dips, the fritters are a service to all tofus with its evenly crisp skin. They are also dusted with Himalayan salt, the only salt that the kitchen uses for all dishes as Tan is a firm believer of their health benefits.
Desserts like the waffles also earn a decent nod, especially the cafe's own Basque Cheesecake. It's not The Best out there, but hits all the right notes of burnt roof and satisfyingly gooey centre.
How we feel about it in a gif
The RITUAL is located at 383 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259727.