Address: 370 Alexandra Rd, #01-14A, Singapore 159953
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00am – 3:00pm, 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Overbrod Smørrebrød and Scandinavian Deli, Alexandra Road, Singapore
Across IKEA Alexandra is the newly opened Overbrod, a cafe selling Scandinavian food fare. Now I say it with an asterisk.
I don’t want to overcomplicate, as much as its name overcomplicates the humble white bread to a layperson. Is it welcome in the Singapore cafe scene? Yes, (because aren’t we bored with the Tamagoyaki sando and Cold Ikura soba), but I say it again with an asterisk. I don’t find anything superb about its Shooting Star (Stjerneskud), the supposed jewel of its open-faced lineup of sandwiches. Brød means “bread” in Norwegian.
Charred asparagus sits atop buttered fried haddock and a single slice of gravadlax. Dill, spruce twigs (which makes its cameo at Le Matin patisserie) and remoulade. If you’ve been reading the menu carefully, all of this on Franskbrød — again, let’s not overcomplicate because it’s just white bread. White bread which by the way, they claim to be buttered, except I didn’t really taste any butter on the bread, but found about 3 pieces of fennel embedded in it. It is the only holy part of the Shooting Star. At $26, the Franksbrød, aka the next glorified toast, is a shooting-the-moon dish. (The last decade brought us Josey Baker Rye Toasts popularized in San Francisco.)
Overbrød doesn’t claim to be Norwegian cuisine specialists, but travel enthusiasts who, by way of their frequent travels to Copenhagen and Sweden, merits them the right to open a Scandinavian deli store. Amidst the enthusiasm is slightly the sin of cultural appropriation. Throw in some salted gravlax, ikura, Swedish meatballs (because we’re still in a globalization phase, after all), and foreign language to make itself sound authentic.
Copenhagen’s Smørrbrød wave is so much more than a piece of buttered rye, because the open-faced movement gives ode to the Danes in the Middle Ages. There is much emphasis to fresh produce, fermented vegetables, marinated herrings, pickled beets, preserved atop leftovers of rye bread. Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient Selma Peterson of Selma explains Smørrebrød restaurants highlight these qualities of Danish gastronomy: seasonality, sustainability and to a lesser extent, fermentation. In the forms of mentaiko mayo, kohlrabi slaw and ikura condiments, that is where Overbrød falls short. It is clear as day, adjusted for the Singaporean palate and Singapore available ingredients.
TLDR: Overbrød is simply inspired, fun concept over conversations best spent with a glass of snaps.
P.S. Their coffee is Ethiopian OCR, tad cheaper than most cafes at $5.