An American-inspired cafe, this flashy joint has an extensive menu of salads, pizzas, pastas and main courses. There are also student value meals and set lunches to draw in the younger crowd.
Cafe Cartel Hot
Average priced cafe
Cafe Cartel has always been popular for their free bread. As long as you're a dining customer, you get to enjoy free flow bread, which was always an appealing factor for me to visit this place. It would be best to get to the bread when it's just freshly out of the oven though, because it might otherwise be gone by the time you notice it, or it won't taste so nice when it's not hot anymore.
I also never fail to order their signature BBQ Pork Ribs everytime I visit Cafe Cartel. The serving here is large, yet moderately priced, and it is impossible to finish an entire serving all by myself, so it's definitely value for money. The food here is generally nice, and I also like that they have desserts which, last I remember, are sold for 50% off their original price after 9PM.
One thing to note, though, is that the service here at Cafe Cartel isn't too impressive - the waiters are almost always unattentive, perhaps due to the fact that Cafe Cartel is crowded at almost any time of the day. The food may also take some time to arrive, especially during meal times.
User reviews View all user reviews
User Ratings Summary
User rating summary from: 11 user(s)
Affordable and palatable
The food at Café Cartel has affordable pricings, and the food itself is delicious and comes in acceptable portions. Just the previous day, my family and I had our lunch at Café Cartel. There are really good deals, like the two for one meal, or the set lunches that comes with a drink, a soup, and one serving of garlic bread, which is a lot, for every meal you order.
One thing I must advice you against though, is the sizzling pork chop and chicken sausage with spaghetti in pepper sauce. The pork chop is tough and dry, and the spaghetti is stuck to the base of the hot plate. Furthermore, there wasn’t much sauce in the first place.
Other than that, everything is fine, and I like the fact that the set lunches come at an affordable price below ten dollars including the drink, soup and a couple pieces of garlic bread. It is certainly a good place to go!
I visited this branch some time back when they still offered free flow of bread and butter. I was excited to try the ribs since I've heard that it was good. However, when my ribs came, it was tough and overcooked. I couldn't even get it off the bone! I mentioned this to the waiter who offered to recook it for me but it came back still tough.
Honestly I thought it was quite strange for them to recook the same ribs that I've eaten halfway when it's already overcooked. They should have offered me a new plate of ribs! Needless to say, I won't be frequenting this branch again. Beware of the branch in Marina Square as well! The BBQ ribs they served tasted like garlic ribs and I couldn't finish it because it stank of garlic.
I think that the food served in Cafe Cartel is average and similar with the other western food served in other restaurants. They are served in portions which I think is enough for a person's serving. What I like about Cafe Cartel is their service and their desserts sold at 50% after 9pm.
Their service is rather fast and when you need help, the waiter or waitress will come immediately. I celebrated my birthday at Cafe Cartel once with my friends and when I was about to leave after paying the bill, they gave me coupons for the drinks sold in Cafe Cartel. It was rather unexpected for me.
Try the ribs!
The nicest thing u can find at cafe cartel, is undeniably the ribs! The Saint Louis Pork Ribs is a must order, it is marinated with some kind of sweet and sour sauce which really blends in well with the ribs. T he size of the ribs is large and meaty and definitely fulfilling. The meat is tender and sweet with the sauce. It comes off easily from the bones too. By the time I finish the ribs, I would be too full to eat much of the side dishes, which tastes pretty decent as well. if u are a meat lover, looking for something filling yet cheap at the same time tasty, this is the perfect dish for you!
There’s a saying that there’s always room for dessert and it’s not wrong! if u happen to be at café cartel after 9pm, all the cakes and some snacks are half price!!! I personally prefer the cheese cakes, they always hit the spot for me. However if you want something light after a heavy meal, why not try the banana chocolate cake, banana and chocolate are best friends and this cake brings out the essence of both. Even if you are too full, buy some cakes at half price and have it the next day, they will still be yummy!
A Decent Place for Ribs
If you have a craving for some ribs and want a delicious, meaty meal at a decent price, Cafe Cartel is the place to be. One look at the menu can you can tell right away that not only are its ribs its highly acclaimed speciality, its prices are also remarkably lower than the other items on its menu. The best part: the portions are HUGE! So don't worry too much on not being able to fill your stomach.
However, like all things in life, you pay for what you get. The ribs, though plentiful and reasonably priced, are not of excellent quality. A huge problem lies with the used of over-tenderised meat served with range of unimpressive sauces. Good ribs need good seasoning, and I think the place falls short on this crucial element. Many of its sauces (most notably the one used in the St. Louis Ribs) taste artificially flavoured with a texture that is somewhat similar to what you'll find in a bottle of BBQ sauce at the local supermarket.
I also would not recommend that you try ordering some of the other dishes on the menu, especially the pasta ones. They are usually not fresh and poorly prepared.
So if you do dine at Cafe Cartel, manage expectations. But if you're in for a sumptuous serving of ribs at affordable prices, this is the place to be.
Whenever I'm waiting for late night movie near Plaza Singapura, my friends and I will be heading to Cafe Cartel for the Happy Hour which starts after 9pm (only selected desserts and drinks are at 50%). We will order St. Louis Pork Ribs, although the sauce is a bit too sweet for me, I love the portion as it is huge, enough for four to five people to share it. At the same time we can order snacks, desserts and drinks for sharing too!
However, I find the cakes are not fresh, probably being left in the fridge for the whole day. You may need to take note of the waiting time for the food and the service crews to know you need their help. Maybe just an initiative to fill up the order slip and pass to them can save your time waving at them. They may need to increase the manpower if not service standards will never improve.
Awesome ribs! Bad service.
Café Cartel is a great restaurant to go anytime, be it for a catch-up lunch, huge dinner, or just chilling over drinks and desserts. Their food is pretty good even though it’s a little more expensive but that’s value for money.
Their specialty is St. Louis Pork Ribs! It’s really nice and I’ve tried it many times. I don’t mind having it again the next time I go to Café Cartel. The serving is quite big and I’m happy about that because I won’t be hungry again an hour after the meal. It’s served with coleslaw and fries. The ribs are nice because it’s coated with a sauce that’s sweet yet not sickeningly so and also roasted with flavor. The meat is tender and with a gentle tug of the teeth, it dislodges from the bone. It’s super yummy!
I tried the Pan-fried Macaroni too and it was awful. I felt so cheated and angry and disappointed! I hate this dish.
The snacks and sides are not bad too. Super Chicken Wing Zings and the Tic-Tac-Toe Platter are worth giving a try!
Another nice dish I chanced upon was the Crispy Dory Fish Pasta. The portion was big as well and the dory fish was just fab. It’s just like what the name suggests and the meat inside were soft and fluffy too! It tasted so springy and good.
Happy Hour starts at 9pm when desserts and selected drinks are at 50%!
I have to comment on their service though. Their service is really bad. I’m not judging them based on just one visit but several times. They always stare into space and look past me when I try to get them to take my orders, even though my hand is raised really high. I say “excuse me” so loudly that neighbouring tables can hear me but the waiters just can’t. They also take too long a time to give the bill. It’s as if they delay on purpose. They also have an attitude problem. They pull a long face and are curt and rude.
Good old memories for me
Cafe cartel is one of the most student friendly eateries I have seen so far with their student value meals. When it first start it's business in singapore, I think it's at raffles city, it is a place that I often go with with friend when we were still jc students ten odd years ago. Everytime I go I am reminded of the times I spend with my friends long time ago.
The free flow bread is one of their differences from others and for free bread, the taste of the bread is surprisingly good. Dabbed with a bit of butter while waiting or with the soup, it's also a great starter.
For the main course my favourite is still their ribs. A relatively large serving for the price given and again adequately tasty. It may not be the top notch but it is rated more than satisfactory by me. As this ribs had been following me for the last ten years, this is the only dish I order now. Haha. Cannot remember the taste of other dishes.
For the dessert though I find it too sweet for my liking so I no longer take any desserts when I eat there. Service is acceptable and I do not expect exceptional service since this is a normal eatery.
Cafe Cartel is a great place to hang out for lunch and tea breaks, especially if you want to have a chit chat session with your mates. My previous visit to this cafe left a rather good impression on me of the cafe. Its service, food and ambience is simply irrestible that i went back twice a week!
The cafe provides excellent service, with all of its staff properly dressed and ensure that our drinks are always filled, our orders are taken fast, and our food is delivered to us immediately upon avail. The best part is, the waiters and waitress are really polite, cheerful and always ready to serve.
For a cafe, Cafe Cartel sells great desserts and combo meals. I love the cakes that are available there, that also comes along with tea. Such a dessert is great for those who crave for a relaxing tea break over something sweet, or just a mini catch up with your friends with something to eat while you chatter the afternoon away. Their combo meals, which consists mainly of fried chicken or fish (which is not too oily) is also great too. It comes with drinks and for an additional fee, a soup too!
Lastly, the ambience of the cafe is just splendid! I love how the seats are placed, that is able to take up four per table, and provides privacy for the customers to enjoy their meal. In addition, the seats are cushioned, thus able to endure long hours of just sitting and relaxing in the cafe!
This cafe is just great and i hope they will continue to be so!
Not as fantastic as it used to be in the past
Cafe cartel used to serve big portions and have many other outlets in the past. I used to order their pork ribs as it was one of their best sellers and I also feel that it is the only main course that is worth the try. But ever since then, their serving portion has shrunk but not their price. Their pork ribs used to be juicy, thick and tender. But now their pork rubs aren’t as nice as compared to other restaurants, as the quality has dropped. Now, their Pork Ribs tend to be dry and over-cooked on the outsides and sides.
However, you might want to upgrade any main course to a set meal as it comes with a soup, drink, and also free flow of their freshly baked bread. I would say that it would be a great place for meeting up with friends as their food is it is affordable for all. For their free flow of freshly baked bread, you can have butter and sugar spread on it as well. Often in the evenings, I would see young adults dining there for dinner.
Moreover, I would recommend trying their free flow of bread as it is always served fresh and warm, despite the difference of serving size now. You can also order their deserts and cakes as they always sell it at half price after 9pm daily. Usually on weekends, they have a long queue where you have to wait an approximately of 10 minutes before getting your seats.