eM by the River : If Only the Service was as Good as their Eggs Florentine

eM by the River - Michael Having American Breakfast

eM by the River
26th September 2010. Written by Xin Li.

eM by the River is a café + bar located at the river front of Gallery Hotel, a boutique hotel built in contemporary architecture. The last time was around the area, I had a pleasant breakfast at Kith Café nearby, and I was quite intrigued by eM by the River for its garden café like atmosphere facing the river, it seemed like a nice place to have breakfast and enjoy the river scenery.

eM by the River - Michael & Yew Ann

About two weeks ago, we decided to have breakfast at this riverside café and besides some of our usual Moose peeps, we were joined by Glenn from HungryEpicurean, BellaV from Vanilla and Breakfast and Sean! Anime and manga fan, and my NS Company Quartermaster. The meal was significant because Glenn and Michael have ORDed! (I should change the portrait when I have time). On top of that, it was sort of a farewell get together for Liang Wei who is off to United Kingdom for his further studies (of scones and fish and chips too.)

The breakfast didn’t start off well. While I had made a reservation for ten for the interior seats, we decided to change it to the outside when we found out that it was like one coffee table with ten seats which is uncomfortable for eating. After requesting for a switch, there were not enough tables and the service staff were not very helpful so we had to get a table for ourselves.

eM by the River - Menu

One glance through the menu, I found the items to be slightly pricey, similar to Spruce. The items that provide better value would be the American Breakfast (18.00++ SGD) as it came along with coffee or tea and fruit juice.

eM by the River - Eggs Florentine

I had my maiden Eggs Florentine (13.00++ SGD) which is two poached eggs on toasted English muffin with sautéed spinach and crème sauce. The crème sauce wasn’t very thick and the eggs were nicely poached with a soft runny center. The toast was just nice too and all of it comes together quite nicely. It was an enjoyable Eggs Florentine. Inconsistency pulled this dish down for Liang Wei though. His eggs were overcooked as the egg yolk has become rather firmed.

eM by the River - Liang Wei and Eggs Florentine

eM by the River - Eggs Benedict

BellaV and Yew Ann had Eggs Benedict (13.00++ SGD). While I didn’t try the Eggs Benedict, feedback from BellaV and Yew Ann were positive.

Glenn had an Eggs Royale (14.00++ SGD). We shall wait for his feedback.

eM by the River - Homemade Pancakes

Vinleon had the Homemade Pancakes (10.00++ SGD). The pancakes were a stark contrast to the Eggs Benedict. It was too thick, floury and dry. The mixed berry compote lacked the oomph factor, I thought it could be better than just being sour. The whipped cream that came with it and the one that was requested looked different and had a different texture.

eM by the River - Cup of Coffee

The coffee and tea were quite decent. The Earl Grey that we had was from TWG, which explained why the tea here was slightly expensive.

eM by the River - American Breakfast

Sean and Michael had the American Breakfast. The 18.00++ SGD set came with Toasts (White bread kind), sausages, sautéed mushrooms, eggs (of your choice), bacon, baked beans and grilled tomato served with butter and fruit preserve plus coffee or tea and fruit juice. It was quite a spread. I am not sure about the quality but visually it came across as ordinary. Some of the meats here were supplied by Huber’s Butchery, the bacon and probably the sausages should be from there.

eM by the River - Homemade Pancake with Maple Syrup

While the food and drinks were decent, the service was appalling. While I am not so particular about service, as long as the attitude was okay and we were being treated equally and there was a mutual respect, I am fine with it, so I am not so bothered by the fact that they didn’t help us with the tables. However, I am disturbed by how they slammed the cutlery on our table, forgot our request for water which we requested in the beginning as we took our orders and it only arrived after much prompting at the end as well as the poor attitude we received from them. On top of that, orders were slow and sometimes when we request for help they would ignore us.

eM by the River - Homemade Pancakes

The café was patronized by many expatriates, Caucasians made up the largest group here and I can’t help but notice the disparity in service attitude and treatment when we observe other groups in particularly the Caucasians receiving a much more better treatment like how they could be served first, tables prepared if when there weren’t enough, orders taken first and food served almost immediately while ours had not arrived and we were a much earlier group). There are many terms to describe this but I shall leave it to you.

Last but not least, the garden is a nice place to dine and it was surprisingly cooling, pity those tiny bees and flies won’t stop pestering us while we eat. They reminded me of those aggressive birds in Tekong cookhouse.

eM by the River - Cup of Coffee

eM by the River was a pleasant place to dine, the atmosphere was good, the location was good and it was a nice walk along the river after and before the meal. It is most unfortunate that the service was quite poor despite the decent food. Personally, I enjoyed my Eggs Florentine very much, but the first-hand encounter with the poor service would probably make me think twice for any future meals there.

eM by the River

Gallery Hotel
1 Nanson Rd, Singapore 238909
6836 9691

Operating Hours:
Mon-Thu 6pm-2am
Fri-Sat 6pm-3am
also open Sun


  1. I really like my eggs royale. If not because of the bad service, I'm 100% sure I will return again

  2. The food's pretty good! I'm not sure if I'm going to blog but my opinion the food's good - perhaps it would have been better on a quieter morning. I would definitely revisit if service levels are improved - but truth of the matter, looking for the perspective of the restaurant - good service staff are hard to find!

  3. to BellaV and Glenn:

    Yep it was such a pity. But, nothing beats a home-made breakfast at home and I always have Black Sheep Cafe for good food and service haha.

    Looking at the cafe, it was not that busy actually and comparing it to Kith Cafe, I thought they were much busier but the service was much better.

  4. My eyes were on Egg Florentine when I read Bella V's blog. and you owned the plate!

  5. to Raine: haha lucky me! =D it was delicious!



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