After Best Cafes in Singapore Part I, Chiobu returns to guest-blog:
Cafes are everywhere in Singapore these days. I wonder what brought the café culture here. Could it be EDB Singapore? More budding entrepreneurs here? More Singaporeans went overseas to study, soaked and loved the cafés and came back here to start this culture? Whatever it is, I think the more cafes we have, the better it is. Café experience is supposed to be chillaxing, catch up on gossips with your girlfriends, yet café/brunch places are so packed most of the time. Spread the crowd! I hate having to wait for seats and having so many people around me.
Five & Dime – Best interior décor eatery for lazy Sundays
297 River Valley Rd Singapore 238338
Mon-Thurs: 12pm – 10pm / Fri: 12pm-12am / Sat: 10am-12am / Sun: 10am-10pm
Reservations: 9236 5002
FREE PARKING BEHIND EATERY
This is probably one of the few brunch places that leaves an impression because of the ambience. There’s free parking (yay!!!). The décor is simple and cozy, the place has lotsa natural light due to the full glass window panels and the waitresses are rather friendly. I was lucky to get a table without reservations cos the subsequent crowd that came in was unable to get one. We were told that they would be expanding, which I believe they would have expanded by now, given that I went for brunch in late 2012.
Yandao had Eggs Benny ($16), poached eggs on warm brioche with smoked ham, mesclun greens, breakfast potatoes and fruit salad. It basically means poached eggs on regular bread. The eggs were runny and perfect. The breakfast potatoes were tasty. Other than that, nothing else on the plate was worth your calories. Yandao also had ice mocha which was good.
I had the Buttermilk Pancakes ($15), Chicken Chipolata sausages, with fruit salad. The pancakes were good, probably cos I always drench my pancakes in maple syrup. The sausages looked and tasted cheap. This dish is so overpriced. I will probably pay $12 for it but not $15 on flour + maple syrup + butter + cheap sausages.
Nice ambience but needs to improve on the food. We will go again for ambience and ice mocha.
Antoinette – Best bet for table if you are in town looking for brunch place
390 Orchard Road, Palais Renaissance, B1-08/09/10C, Singapore 238871
Daily – 11am to 10pm
(Last order – 9.30pm, last seating – 9.45pm)
Antoinette created waves when it first opened its Penhas Road outlet, followed by Mandarin Gallery. I’ve been wanting to try their pretty pastries and cakes for so long and I like the pretty royal design of the outlets and logos. Before its outlet at Scarlet Hotel opened, they had signs saying “The Queen has descended” or something along the line at the shop front. Seemed so chi-chi! We tried the cakes before and they didn’t disappoint (see previous review on Antoinette).
We were in town and decided to check Antoinette at Palais Renaissance since the mall is usually quiet. It was late afternoon, and we were looking for brunch food. It’s great that Antoinette serves All Day Breakfast. And it was even better that it wasn’t packed, unlike other brunch places in town. We had Eggs with Scottish Smoked Salmon. Usually we’ll get poached eggs cos we love how the runny yolks flow out when we poke them. But Antoinette charges an additional $3 if we order our eggs poached. You have to add the surcharge if you crave for scrambled eggs as well. Since brunch has always been overpriced, and the ingredients (2 eggs) are the same regardless if they are poached/sunny side up/scrambled/hard boiled/soft boiled, there’s no reason why they should charge another $3 for poached eggs. We had to compromise with sunny side ups. It came with homemade Pain de Mie toast and salad with house dressing. Food was good though it would have been better if it came with poached eggs.
We also shared Nougatine sweet crepe ($16) filled with Nutella, Salty Caramel, caramelized filo, nougatine ice cream and vanilla crème Chantilly. The crepe was thin and chewy. We are such suckers for Nutella. The salty caramel complemented the nutella, nougatine ice cream and vanilla crème so well. Great for people with sweet tooth, so I polished the entire plate since Yandao couldn’t take the sweetness.
Strangers’ Reunion – Best Hidden Gem
37 Kampong Bahru Rd Singapore 169356
9am-10pm. Closed on Tue.
Is it just me or do everybody feel the Monday blues on Sunday itself, and you feel the Sunday blues? I love/hate Sundays. Love because it’s a non-working day. Hate because the weekend is almost over. I like to nuah at home on Sundays, and if I go out, I’m typically in a bad mood. So that Sunday, Yandao and me agreed to meet for brunch at Strangers’ Reunion. This place is along a row of quiet shophouses, you will not even notice there’s life along the stretch. Since it’s so hidden, both Yandao and I were searching for it high and low and I got into a pissy mood because I was getting impatient. GROWLS.
Luckily we got a table, though it’s right in front of the cake counter and the table was low… it was fine with me since the place was so packed. This place is cosy, which reminds me of my home with all the mismatched furniture. We ordered Ice Mocha ($6.50), café latte ($4.90) and Eggs Benedict ($15) which comes with 2 poached eggs on English muffin, ham, homemade hollandaise sauce, side salad and you get to choose if you want smoked salmon or ham. Another brunch item they have is Scrambled Eggs ($15) – Rich creamy scrambled eggs on toast, side salad with choice of Bacon or Shrooms.
I like the capers on top of my eggs! Adds flavor to the whole dish. Yums. The drinks were good, and I love the cup they used for my café latte.
We also had buttermilk waffles with banana, strawberries & vanilla ice cream (S$8.50). Brunch is from 9am – 5pm. We also had red velvet cupcake which looked really good. After 5pm, they have pizza. This place also serves sandwiches & Chicken pie.
Oh, must put coupon if you park along the road behind the row of shophouses. Yandao got summoned by summon aunty. ):
Chye Seng Huat Hardware – Most Hipster Café
150 Tyrwhitt Road
Tel: 6396 0609
Tue-Fri: 09:00 – 19:00
Sat- Sun: 09:00 – 22:00
It was a Saturday late afternoon and a group of us girlies went CSHH for coffee after it shook the whole Singapore with such a traditional trade name and my whole instagram was filled with pics of the saucer “Capsules are dead”. We didn’t know this place serves food, else we would have gone for tea. The place was packed with young families, and hipsters like us. The ambience is great – busy barista, pleasant coffee aroma infusing the whole place, chitter-chatter filling up the whole room. It’s a great place to chill out with friends.
The place doesn’t have a visible menu so you can only access the menu on clipboard when you are nearing the cashier. I couldn’t decipher the menu and when I told the female cashier, “Your menu very chim, how do I read your menu?”, she didn’t seem very happy. Where’s my usual ice mocha? Café latte? Cappuccino? So anyway, there’s no iced drinks on the menu, just stick to espresso + milk ($5.50 regular) if you like kopi w/ milk, espresso ($4) for kopi-o gao, espresso ($5) for kopi. I asked for Hello Kitty coffee art on my kopi w/ milk but barista didn’t make it for me. Guess this isn’t the place for customized coffee art. He gave me a double heart instead. The coffee is REALLY GOOD, probably the best coffee I’ve had so far. They have pastries as well, and one of our girlies had chocolate croissant ($3.50). IT WAS GOOD. I will come here again when the crowd fizzles.
Chock Full of Beans – Most Overrated
Weekday Set Lunch: 11am – 3pm
Weekday Teabreak Set: 3pm – 5pm
Weekend Brunch: 9am – 5:30pm
Pizza Availability: 6pm onwards
I saw a full 5 star rating on Chock Full of Beans which made me want to visit there even though it’s at Changi. It’s a shop under a block of short HDB flats, near the Changi Village hawker centre. Service was good and the coffee art made the visit very interesting. I’ve gotten a My Melody picture on my latte and my girlfriend had a Snowman (cos it was Christmas season). But the food menu wasn’t very appealing and the food was OK only. We had Caesar Salad ($12) which was overpriced, Grilled Chicken Sandwich ($12) – overpriced again and linguine pesto with chicken ($15). We will not return unless we are hanging out at Changi Village and we need somewhere more cosy, compared to coffeeshops.
Penny University – Best Café in the East / Most Value for Money Brunch
402 East Coast Road
Tuesday-Thur 08:30 – 18:00
Friday 08:30 – 21:30
Saturday – Sunday & PH 08:30 – 22:30
Hipsters living in the east finally have a nice cafe to rave about! Penny University is a amongst a row of shophouses and it’s a cosy place with rustic charm, good enough to hang out over nice coffee and some good breakfast food.
Yandao had Muddy espresso with cold milk ($5.50) and Smoked salmon with cream cheese, dill and capers on toasted bagel ($8). I had Cheese toasties with marmite and poached eggs ($6). The prices are so reasonable! Where can we find brunch menu below $10 these days?! And some places charge an arm & leg for Eggs Benedict, which are basically poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce. Food was good, we polished the entire plate. The service was prompt and good, which is nice. They serve cakes & pastries as well. Definitely be back again someday!
Smitten Coffee & Tea Bar – Best Hole in the Wall Café in Robertson Quay
The Quayside, 60 Robertson Quay #01-11
Tel: 9876 2347
Mon – Thur 10:00 – 21:30
Fri 10:00 – 22:15
Sat 09:00 – 22:15
Sun 09:00 – 20:30
Yandao & I had a difficult time locating Smitten in Robertson. We went to Kith, then we walked the underpass, didn’t know exactly where it was, and we decided to call the number listed on their facebook page to get directions. It’s not exactly by the river, and the place is really small, so there isn’t much of an ambience to talk about. It is literally a hole in the wall and there were limited seats available. Yandao ordered a Iced Mocha ($7) and I had a Latte ($5). We weren’t particularly smitten as we thought our beverages had nothing to shout about. The staff were unapproachable and unfriendly. We didn’t think it was worth our time locating this place.
Group Therapy – Best Ambience in Duxton
Me & the girlies met up for brunch on a Sunday at Group Therapy, which is such a cute name for a café! The place is really cosy and there are sofa seats for big groups. We fell in love with the place upon entering. You can call and reserve a table before arriving. This is awesome cos there are few hipster type brunch places that accept reservations. We shared:
Poached Eggs – thick toast, smoked salmon, gruyere, hollandaise ($15)
Truffled Ravioli ($18)
Grilled Ham & Cheese Panini ($16), add on smoked salmon ($4.50)
Iced caramel cappuccino ($7.50)
Everything we ordered was good except for breaded mushroom. The poached eggs on thick toast were so delicious; the eggs were runny, and the thick toast soaked up the yolk! The truffled ravioli smelt so heavenly, it was basically nectar from heavens! The only disappointment was the breaded mushroom which was very dry & hard. When we gave feedback to the service staff, they told us that it’s their way of doing breaded mushroom. We didn’t like it and they very sweetly waived it off our bill, such great service! We’ll definitely be back again!
Fabulous Baker Boy – Best Pancake
Fabulous Baker Boy is directly opposite Liang Court Taxi Stand. There’s free parking! Yay! Fabulous Baker Boy has a very nice interior décor, with quirky ornaments, nice fridge to complement its pretty cakes. We were excited to be there because everything is so pretty, however, the service is a MAJOR TURNOFF. The service staff seems very obligated to be there, without any smiles on their faces. We were made to wait at the counter while he busied himself with i-don’t-know-what when we wanted to order. The guy in charge of making the coffee wasn’t friendly either. The girl at the cakes area was sulky.
We ordered their signature Balik Chicken Wings ($14), Choc Chip Pancake ($7.50), Cappuccino ($4.80), Egg Benedict & Potato ($10.50), Garlic Fries ($9.50), Beef Guinness Pie ($16), Iced Latte ($4.80), Latte ($4.80).
When we ordered the Balik Chicken Wings, we had no idea it came with fries since it wasn’t stated on their menu, which was why we ordered garlic fries separately. Our Egg Benedict & Potato came with fries too! I guess that was what they meant by POTATO. The guy at the counter didn’t even inform us that these 2 dishes came with fries! Can you imagine how much fries we had?! He didn’t seem happy to be there, and with such a cutesy name for the place “The Fabulous Baker Boy”, one would have thought the staff there would be happy. But no, he was not friendly, neither was he rude but he gave off a very negative vibe.
Ikea has better chicken wings. Yandao loved the chocolate chip pancake. Eggs Benedict was OK. Garlic Fries was overkill since we had so much of it. Beef Guinness Pie was good. They have pretty cakes but we had too much fries to stomach any other stuff.
I might come back to this place again, this time for their pretty cakes, but I hope their attitude improves.
Riders Café – Best Chocolate Cake
51 Fairways Drive
Bukit Timah Saddle Club
Tel: +65 6466 9819
Sun to Thu: 8am – 9pm
Fri & Sat: 8am – 10pm
Closed on Mon
Riders Café has been around for a while. This place is getting a mention in our food blog because of its Death By Chocolate Cake ($12). It is by far the best Chocolate Cake I have ever eaten. I can’t say the same about the rest of the menu but if you ever come to Riders, please save some stomach space for this awesome dish. No other cakes elsewhere can compare to this. The thick chocolate sauce keeps the cake moist and the vanilla ice cream is an absolute great complement to the chocolate cake. Time to time, I will crave for this cos it’s so damn good.
Riders Burger ($17, pictured left)
Kith – Best Café with a Great Luxury View
If you like Prive, you should go to Quayside Isle. It’s a lovely place to go in the late evening and take a stroll just before dinner. They serve breakfast and sides till 5pm, and they start serving starters ($7 – $20), sandwiches ($16-$24), mains ($30ish), pasta ($14 – $24) from 11am. Desserts ($5.50 – $10) & salads ($12 – $16) are all day.
Great view, kids friendly with rocking animals outside for your toddlers to sit on.
Tiong Bahru Bakery – Best Crossiant
56 Eng Hoon Street #01-70 S160056
Yandao & I have been frequenting the new hipster filled Tiong Bahru because of the many cafes. Tiong Bahru Bakery (TBB) was always crowded every time we tried to get a seat. Get the crossiant ($2.80)! Best thing ever. Super buttery, super nice. We had ice mocha ($8) and it is good as well, just that it’s too expensive. The staff are friendly. Atmosphere is good. I like this place. I’ll highly recommend the lemon tart ($6).
Pacman eating the dots…
Hummerstons – Best Truffle Fries
11 Unity Street
#02-14 Robertson Walk
T: 8428 1620
Sun: 10am – 5pm
If you are looking for thick soggy truffle fries, hummerstons is the place to go. Serving portion is generous and fries are mostly soggy. Service is good. Take a nice walk along Robertson quay after dinner. Good place for a casual date!
Jewel Cafe & Bar – Best Burger
129 Rangoon Rd Singapore 218407
T: 6298 9216
Closed on Mon.
The OMG! Burger ($20) is really OMG! and proves that I’m a brute. While the ladies named the elegantoctopoke as their favorite, mine was the burger because the burger was something a caveman would eat, substantial and mean. Between the brioche buns are crispy bacon, USDA beef patty, luncheon meat, cheddar, lettuce and sunny side-up. Jewel tasted 14 brands of luncheon meat in a blind test before deciding on this X brand. The patty was perfection in itself, cooked just right, browned outside, pink within, and when I used my hands to eat like a cavemen, the juice flowed down my fingers. Everything in the burger was already umami on its own but when you put 5 umami ingredients together, it was *ka-ba-boomz*. Seriously, this was an unfair fight against my diet. To quote Abba, “My my, how could I resist you?” A must order.
Rokeby – Best for Big Groups
15-9 Jalan Riang Singapore 358987
T: 9106 0437
There is a room that could sit 10 people in this Australian-inspired cafe, great for a rowdy gathering. For a full review, click here.
Dutch Colony – Best Red Velvet Cake
PasarBella @ The Grandstand
200 Turf Club Road #02-K67/K68 Singapore 287994
+65 6467 0255
I had a sense of major win when we ate the Red Velvet cos it was the last slice sitting in the fridge and it was so yummilicious! The red velvet cake was moist, and it was so soft, it melts in your mouth. The best part of this Organic Red Velvet is the cream cheese. We had the best red velvet cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, NYC and Hummingbird Bakery, London. It is so difficult to find a good one in Singapore because we can never find something with such orgasmic cream cheese. Look no further! This red velvet is good! For a full review, click here.
Little Prince Cafe – Best Concept
62 Somme Road #01-03 Singapore 207877
Inspired by the children’s story, The Little Prince, the murals on the walls are hand-painted by the owner herself. For a full review, click here.
Common Man Coffee Roasters – Best Eggs Benedict & Best Mocha
22 Martin Road #01-00 , Singapore, Singapore 239058
T: 6836 4695
The Organic Eggs Benedict ($24) was wonderful. The poached eggs were covered in a blush of white and at the slightest prick, they burst into liquid sunlight. Let the sourdough soak up the lava of yolk. Between the eggs and toast was a layer of tenderest braised ox cheeks, creating textures and giving the dish a lovely earthliness. [full review here.]
The Bravery Cafe – Best Steak Sandwich
66 Horne Road Singapore 209073
T: 6225 4387
The beef steak ciabatta ($13.50) was the best item in the cafe. The caramelized onions gave a nice zing to the sandwich. [full review]
Compl(e)ments Of – Best Popup Cafe
72 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209400
Breakfast: 9-11.30am; Lunch: 11.30am-3pm; Tea: 3-6.30pm; Dinner: 6.30-10pm. Closed on Mon.
Craft Bakery Cafe – Best Mac n Cheese
24A Lorong Mambong, Holland Village, Singapore 277683
T: 6467 7710
Sun-Th: 12-11 pm; F & Sat: 12pm-12am
The bacon mac n cheese ($12.50) was one of the best mac & cheese we had tasted. It had two cheeses, and thus, had a complexity–was it mozzarella that caused those visually stunning strands of cheese? There was a piquant taste–surely they didn’t dare use a smelly cheese? [Full review]
Department of Caffeine – Most Healthy
15 Duxton Road, Singapore 089481
T: 6223 3426
M-F: 10.30am-7.30pm, S-S: 9.30am-7.30pm
Flock Cafe – Best Singapore-Western Fusion Sandwich
78 Moh Guan Terrace #01-25 Singapore162078
T: 6536 3938
The star, pulled pork gruyere sandwich ($13.90), tasted like a tua pao (pork bun) that essence was distilled into a panini. My eating companion observed, “It has everything, complex flavors and varying textures.” Cooked for two-and-an-half hours, the shredded tender pork had a sweet Asian flavor with fried shallot, made piquant by mustard mayo and creamy with a light cheese. On a scale of 1-10, this one scored a “freaking awesome.” MUST ORDER. [full review]
The Provision Shop – Best Corned Beef Sandwich
Blk 3 Everton Park #01-79 Singapore 080003
T: 6225 9931
The Reuben Sandwich ($14) was orgasmic! MUST ORDER. A salty corned beef, soury and pungent sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), a fat Russian dressing, boasted by a creamy Swiss cheese, were sandwiched between two crispy toasted sour dough–a kaleidoscope of tastes! [full review]
Working Title – Best Mismatched Decor
48 Arab Street Singapore 199745
T: 9734 4187
The decor is awesomely retro-chic, each piece of chair and table is mismatched and different, giving it a backpacker’s feel, yet everything gels together. Very cosy. [full review.]
SPR MRKT – Best Service
2 McCallum St Singapore 069043
T: 6221 2105
M-F: 8am-9pm, Sat: 9am-4pm
The young chef Joseph Yeo, who used to work at Waku Ghin, asked me, “Can I pour you a glass of water first while you’re waiting for your friends?” And he got me water when it was supposed to be self-serviced. This is my favorite kind of chef, humble and helpful.
He also went around, asking patrons how the food was. I told him, the food was good but the portions were small for the price we paid. He explained that they use top quality ingredients and many things were made from scratch. And then he smiled pleasantly, nodded slightly and thank me politely for the feedback. SERIOUSLY, where to find such nice and humble chef?! [full review]
Ronin – Sexiest Cafe
17 Hong Kong Street, Singapore 059660
Ronin cafe is damn sexy! From the same people of The Plain and The Bravery, “ronin” means a masterless samurai. Opposite Clarke Quay MRT, Ronin’s concept is to bring us back to feudal Japan—but I don’t see that. Lots of concrete and wood with few naked lightbulbs, making the place dim, sexy and atas. The decor is a win: it’s the kind of hipster cafes I adore but it doesn’t hark back to ancient Japan. [full review]
Wheeler’s Yard – Most Likely to Meet Hot Local Boys
28 Lor Ampas Singapore 328781
T: 6254 9128
M-Th: 11am-7pm, F-Sun: 11am-8pm
A cafe in a bicycle shop in an industrial park. “I’ve never seen such a concentration of good looking people,” Ms Atas exclaimed. By “people”, she meant yandao boys in their early 20s. [Full review]