Kaya Toast from Tavern

This has been sitting in my drafts folder for ... a while. I want to thank Leah for her Tweet that prompted me to hit "publish." You can thank her too, then you can make your way to Tavern for its Kaya Toast and thank us both later.

So! Kaya! Kaya is basically a jam or spread made of eggs, coconut and sugar and most of the time pandan leaf to give it that wonderful flavor and color. Kaya toast is such a staple in Singapore - we have it for breakfast, as a snack, lunch, whenever the mood hits... it's always so good. The traditional stuff is served on thick, homemade bread with the crust cut off. The bread is toasted with a generous heaping of butter and kaya and served crisp on the outside but still fluffy and easy to bite through to the gooey sweet and buttery center. You'll find it at local coffee shops, or chains like Toast Box or Singapore's more popular and O.G. kaya toast joint, Yak Kun. You can also order your kaya toast with soft boiled eggs and a hot cup of kopi (the thickest coffee you'll ever drink) and it is a hearty meal of modest proportions that will knock your socks off.

My first visit to Tavern was for a late night jaunt with friends and kaya toast wasn't something I was in the mood for. But I had made a mental note to return to try it. Shortly after, I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Robbie Wilson through a mutual friend and learned that he had been to Singapore and was inspired by what he had there, so he added it to the menu at Tavern! This was a sign, I had to have it.



Wilson has given his dish at Tavern his own spin.  To say the he was generous with the kaya would be an understatement - there was a ton of it, dripping out of the sandwich and getting all over. Just looking at it made me grin and I couldn't wait to dig in. It was so decadent and rich, and super super sweet. The fried egg (bravo on serving it with black soy sauce, that's how we eat our eggs in Singapore) and the dollop of sriracha helped cut the sweetness and it all went together SO well. I'm almost drooling just describing it again.

I certainly haven't ever made my own kaya because I can't imagine it's easy to get right plus it's a ton of eggs and coconut milk and I already told you how I can't find pandan in this city. Considering the limited ingredients at Wilson's disposal, he did a great job with it. Its flavor, while somewhat sweeter than kaya from home, was as close to the real thing as I'll ever find here that's not kaya that was shipped from SE Asia. He did a solid job with his take on it. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to order it again.  So Chef, for what it's worth, consider this a Singaporean's seal of approval.