Lined with brightly painted walls and vibrant murals of Singapore’s Marina Bay, Killiney Kopitiam is downtown Palo Alto’s latest trending cafe. The pungent aromas of fresh coffee, dried shrimp and savory sauces waft from the kitchen, enticing hungry customers.

One of Singapore’s most well known restaurant chains, Killiney Kopitiam opened its first United States location in Palo Alto in September. The business is over 100 years old, having established its first location on Killiney Road in Singapore in 1919, according to its website. Since then, Killiney Kopitiam has expanded to nine countries with over 80 locations worldwide. 

Motivated by the lack of authentic Singaporean cuisine in the Bay Area and nostalgic memories of Killiney from her childhood, franchise owner and Singapore native Amanda Toh Steckler made the decision to expand the popular chain by opening the Waverley Street location.

“From early in my childhood, Killiney was my favorite place to go for comfort food,” Steckler said. 

While the restaurant was expected to open its doors in the spring, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Steckler to delay its launch. However, despite the challenges of opening during this unprecedented time, the restaurant has boasted long lines since its opening in part due to online networking.

“The power of social media is fantastic and the word quickly spread via Facebook and Instagram,” Steckler said.  

Waiting in line for a chance to try the restaurant’s renowned offerings, we had high expectations. We were pleasantly met by their bold, spicy and comforting Singaporean flavors and comfortable outdoor seating, and would gladly return.  

Roti Prata ($5.99)

 

This layered pan-fried flatbread was served with a fragrant yellow curry sauce. The mild and buttery taste of the prata paired well with the bold flavors of chili and coconut in the dipping sauce, and the lightly crispy and extremely flaky texture of the bread left our mouths watering.

Kaya Toast ($5.49)

Featuring house-made kaya coconut jam with salted butter on white pullman toast, this snack was definitely one of our favorite items. The bread was toasted to perfection and the sweetness from the jam and saltiness from the butter complemented each other exquisitely.

Mee Rebus ($12.99)

Comprised of thick egg noodles in a special sweet potato broth, this dish sung with subtle flavor. The broth had a light saltiness to it, while the noodles had an irresistible chewy texture. Tofu, sprouts, scallions, hot peppers and a boiled egg topped off the dish. The hot broth was served separately to prevent sogginess and we poured the delicious soup over the toppings ourselves.

Mee Siam ($10.99)

One of Killiney’s house specials, this noodle dish contained a sweet and tangy tamarind gravy with thin rice vermicelli topped with lime, bean sprouts, fried tofu and sambal chili paste, creating an explosion of textures and flavors in our mouths. While a bit spicy, the dish was perfectly balanced with the acidity from the lime. 

Kopi O ($3.99)

If you like strong coffee, this is the drink for you.Lightly sweetened and without milk, Killiney’s Kopi O was saturated with an intense and bitter flavor. The distinctive nuttiness of the coffee blend was unique, and while sharp, the drink was extremely refreshing. 

Kopi C ($3.99)

Paired with sweetened condensed milk, this iced coffee struck a lovely balance between bitter and sweet. The condensed milk complimented the strong coffee just the right amount, building a rich flavor, and the drink paired well with the salt and spice of the rest of the dishes. 

 

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