There’s no denying – the cult classic sitcom “Friends” may have ended their series years ago, but the warmth from slouching on the cosy couch over some intellectual natter with your closest friends never gets old.
While we do not have Ross Geller’s natural bearing for humour, nor Rachel Green serving us her coffee, at least we can now finally have a taste of how it feels like to immerse in that once familiar setting – thanks to a group of strangers-turned-friends who are captivated by the hit TV series even up till today.
The birth of Central Perk Singapore originates from one of Jit Min’s (Founder and an avid fan of Friends) travel experiences, where he chanced upon a cafe that provides a locale for friends’ get-together. Inspired, he then went on to conceptualise his ideal space where like-minded fans can come together to enjoy the most watched television series of the 2000s decade along with quality food selections. Afterwhich, a spontaneous crowdfunding exercise on Indiegogo has seen overwhelming response from passionate supporters of the sitcom, where a 5 – 6 months execution of the initial ideation followed, with an eventual team of Jit Min and 5 other partners heading the restaurant. The team of six later managed to attain the only creative asset licence out of United States from Warner Bros., which subsequently provided them with a style guide.
A done-up area of the show’s recognizable alfresco dining space greets the customers, before the iconic orange couch shows up in a setting which depicts a perfect replica of the scene where the show’s characters are usually seen hanging out. With neon signs, warm lightings and high table-chairs combo surrounded by the rustic brick walls, the smell of nostalgia has never been stronger.
The crowd’s favourite is undoubtedly the characters feature wall which stands adjacent to the main dining area, with individual sections dedicated to feature the signature items of each character. The foosball table that sits prominently in Joey and Chandler’s apartment looked exactly like the one in the show and we thought there is no better way to represent Phoebe with her quirky doll and the prized guitar. The gorgeous runaway wedding dress shines brightly in Rachel’s corner, while nothing is more indicative of Ross than a portrait of his signature “unagi” pose. Monica’s kitchen may or may not stole the limelight, with almost-scary resemblence portrayed from the circular dining table right down to the functional pacman machine.
Fans of Friends will be ecstatic to know that more merchandises will be available in time to come, albeit a small selection of fans’ tees, bottles and umbrellas are currently ready for purchase.
To recreate the Friends’ experience, the founders have went through all the 10 seasons of the sitcom (because, why not?) and sieved out 52 thematic dishes. Three fine dining chefs spearhead the action in the kitchen, who also insist on using only quality ingredients sourced from credible suppliers.
Janice’s Oh.My.God. Baby Back Ribs $39.00++
Using only free-range BBQ Iberico Bone and cooked over 72 hours in a controlled temperature to bring out its full moisture, the meat falls off the bone with minimal effort. Tender with a good amount of fats, it is further alleviated by the homemade BBQ sauce and the tangy side pickles which complements the juicy assortment of compressed fruits.
Joey’s Fisherman Stew $38.00+
Read directly off the menu, “The One with Medley of Seafood” – this creation is truly the one which stands out with its generous portion of mussels, prawns, scallops, pan-seared salmon and dashi-infused octopus. The fresh crustaceans were bathed in a sweet, flavourful broth that is in our opinion, best enjoyed by soaking in the accompanying bread roll to sponge up all the ocean goodness.
Mrs Braversman’s Cheesecake $16.00++
Way lighter and not as dense as the typical cheesecake, the mousse-like layer of cream cheese smoothly glides off your spoon before delivering a tangy aftertaste. The combination of berries and biscuit crumbles that lined along its side allows an occasional switch of texture between mouthfuls of this uniquely-executed cheesecake.
Heavy Fudge Chocolate Mudcake $16.00+
Another almost-too-beautiful-to-slice-down dessert, it seems to mimic a well-grown garden with its elaborated plating. Although the garnishes are similar to that of the cheesecake, the mudcake bears a chewy brownie base, holding up the top layers of liquor-infused dark chocolate. The consistency is at the opposite spectrum when compared to the cheesecake – intense, rich and heavily indulgent, this is recommended for sharing (unless you’re Joey).
Our friends at Central Perk also boosts a serious selection of beverages – from your morning caffeine dose, healthy teas and juices, right down to the post-dinner cocktails, you guessed it – each of them is specially customised to suit a character.
With a choice of 6 different blends, you can further opt for an Espresso ($4.00++), Cappucino or Latte (both at $8.00++). Take your pick in the coffee blends – Phoebe’s will guarantee you a hinge of herself – weirdly, nutty and lightly-roasted with scents of herbal tones and earth-like sweetness, or if you are feeling Chandler – treat yourself to an interesting finish of a smoky full body.
The list of cocktails also entails an acute representation of each character and our friends here went through extensive tasting sessions to bring out the best beer and wine offerings. Chandler’s W.E.N.U.S. ($18.00++) is a creative concoction with whiskey, nutmeg and umeshu dominating the first few sips before the gentler scents of elderflower and soursop gradually reveal. Ross Dinosaur ($18.00++) will appeal to those looking for the dessert in a glass, as the caramel and milo mixture in the baileys-kahlua combo will not shortchange you of any sweet sugar moment.
All in all, fans of Friends or not – the set-up that portrays an uncanny resemblence to the favourite classic will be sure to leave jaws-dropping and eyes lit. Together with a specially curated menu of quality dishes, we can foresee Central Perk Singapore to be a potential venue be it for the anniversary dinners or some “How you doin” catch-ups.
Address: 01-01 Central Mall 1 Magazine Road, Singapore 059567
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday 1000 – 2200
Contact: +65 9025 2524