For my Makan explorations this month, I visited the Springleaf Prata place at the Upper Thompson area. The restaurant is located on the far end of block, unit No.1 just by a road T junction at Thong Soon Ave in the Nee Soon district, along Upper Thompson road.
This Springleaf restaurant is one of the two restaurants of the same franchise, with the other branch is situated in Bedok Jalan Tua Kong area. The Prata Place is open daily from 7am–12am.
Dubbed as an upmarket (Atas) prata place, the place is nicely decked with air-conditioned indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating a favorite for larger groups with their large family-friendly benches.
The indoor section is laid out in a diner style setting, with a combination of rowed bench seats by the walls and tables in the main floor. The place is able to seat about 40-50 patrons at capacity. There are ample seating places, and a high customer turnover, so you won’t much of an issue finding a table within 5 minutes, even on peal weekends.
Though air-conditioned, can get rather stuffy at times, especially on the week night where the dinner crowds can get pretty large. This is further amplified by having part of the restaurant kitchen connected to the air-conditioned dining area as well, making the place rather smoky at times. Be sure to have a change of clothes if do!
The restaurant is also very popular with the Muslim community who sought the place for their quality range of halal food.
The menu selection is your usual funfair of Malay cuisine, only much more pricier than your usual open air eating places like those found at Fareer park or Bukit Timah.
The menu offers a full selection of Pratas starting at $1.50 for a kosong (plain) prata or what you may know as “Roti Chenani” in Malaysian slang. You also get a full selection of Mutabak, Goreng, and Nasi options each with their own variants as well as Roti John.
Every year, the prata place releases a trademarked premium menu item, which I like to call an “Atas prata” item into their menu. This item is added onto the current set of atas menu selection. This can range from the current egg Benedict (Prata Alfredo) to different incarnations of the Muratabak, such as their “Ultimate Muratabak” to “Murtaburger”.
These beyond-conventional pratas can set you back at least $10 per plate, earning the joint the nickname the “Atas Prata place”.
For 2017 this year, you get the Prata Alfredo chefs special, you can’t miss it by the myriad of posters stuck all over the restaurant walls promoting the dish.
Here is a list of the special items they currently have on their menu.
- 2012 Ultimate Muratabak
- 2013 Murtaburger
- 2014 Plaster blaster
- 2015 Umami-50 (A Singapore jubilee special)
- 2016 Salted egg prawn prata
- 2017 Prata Alfredo
Who knows, what will be installed for 2018! I got to try the Prata Alfredo, as well a selection of their plain pratas. Sometimes something as simple as a plain prata are one of the best ways to gauge a chef food quality and ability.
And was I impressed. For starters, their plain prata is nicely presented as a full square, freshly made and very crispy to the bite. The egg prata has it taste consistently spread across the entire prata and retains its trademarked crispy feel which Springleaf is known for.
Their Prata Alfredo is the egg Benedict laid on top of the prata was prepared well, with a solid outer and free flowing yoke the moment you slice open the egg outer layer.
As satisfying as the dish is, it was not enough to be considered a full dinner main course. That’s where their selection of usual range of Malay cuisine comes in to fill stomach voids.
You can tell Springleaf tries to differentiate themselves form your traditional prata place with an assortment of special premium menu items, yet still sticking to the tried and tested range of Muslim Mamak food options typically seem everywhere.
Their price point is moderate too, you pay on average 50% more for a Prata than the next best competitor does, compared to say Mamak restaurants at Changi Village, Bukit Timah, Clementi Road or Simpang Bedok. But the quality of Springleaf food and air conditioning justifies for the small additional premium you pay for your menu items.
Like all hawker eateries, only nets and cash are accepted.
In all, Springleaf is a place which you can spend a supper night out longing for quality prata without putting too much a dent on your wallet. However, it is probably not something you would wish to frequent everyday given the large availability of cheaper alternatives around Singapore.
Therefore, I find it hard to recommend the place for their traditional line of Malay Mamak menu items. The thing you should visit the Springleaf for are for their line of special menu items, where they can truly differentiate themselves from the competition.