Common Man Coffee Roasters, Martin Rd

Common Man Coffee Roasters Singapore
Harry Grover of 40 Hands combines forces with Australia’s 5 Senses Coffee to present this strange cafe. Strange because we don’t quite understand the decor, a kind of 1920s dramatic doors with naked lightbulbs and a cock as a centerpiece. Cafes have to show the personalty of the owner, but we don’t get an inkling here.

Common Man Coffee Roasters - Mocha
But the food and drinks were rather good. The coffee beans are roasted daily here. My mocha ($6) was as beautiful as it was perfect. It wasn’t fullbodied but was subtle, silky, and smooth. No bitterness from the coffee at all. In most places, the chocolate acts as a sweetener but here, the coffee was full of the chocolate aroma but the chocolate was just an undertone, a supplement and not a main player. A spiced aftertaste made the cuppa irresistible and addictive. Easily the best mocha in Singapore.

The Common Man Menu was pretty good too, with all day breakfast and lunch (12noon-6pm) menus. The eggs are organic from free-range chicken.


Common Man Coffee Roasters Menu - Organic Eggs Benedict
Organic Eggs Benedict

Every item in bold font on its menu sounded delectable: Common Man veggie breakfast ($23) for ovo-lacto-vegetarians; we saw someone eating a gorgeous Turkish Common Man Breakfast ($25) that had a soft-boiled organic egg in a nest of phyllo (filaments of pastry) and we were envious.

Common Man Cafe - Organic Eggs Benedict
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.


Common Man Coffee SG - Ribeye
The 300gm ribeye steak ($34), topped with sauteed mushrooms, crispy shallots and horseradish, was chunky, value-for-money but unfortunately overcooked. The pungent horseradish might come across too sharp after a few bites.

Common Man SG - BurgerThe three dessertschurros, mango panna cotta and creme caramel–all priced at $12 each, sounded boring so we ordered another main from the lunch menu, Common Man Burger ($28). The fries were nonsense, but the burger was pretty decent, juicy 100% ground ribeye patty partying with sweet caramelized onions and a rumor of a mild cheese, provolone.

If you’re the faithful lover who can wait 10 years for someone, this is the place for you: be prepared to wait for the service. To be fair, there were some great service staff like the bespectacled Malay waiter. But the rest were untrained. We asked for water twice before it came. We asked for the bill once then twice. After we got the bill, we waited some time for them to return to us with my credit card. Eventually, since I’m not the long suffering lover type, I walked to the cashier and our bill was sitting neglected by the side of the machine. We paid $117 for two or about $60 for one. At this price, I want perfect service.

Common Man Coffee Roasters Singapore

22 Martin Road #01-00 , Singapore, Singapore 239058
T: 6836 4695
Common Man Coffee Roasters Menu
8am-7pm daily

Rating: 3.385/5 stars

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35 replies »

  1. being a regular reader of your food blog, the sense I get is that the review is always better when it is an invited tasting and not so great when it is not. in fact, I could tell that this was not an invited tasting by your first paragraph alone.

    just a comment.


    • There is some truth in what you say. You know why? Tastings are done in a controlled environment. We don’t deal with service staff, the PRs deal with them, so that eliminates one important criteria we judge on.

      The second criteria is when we are paying, we want to see if we feel “Wow, worth it” or “wow, heart pain,” and again, this criteria is eliminated in food tasting.

      And thirdly, chefs are more careful with the food during food tastings.

      Because of these factors, we always indicate if it’s a tasting or not.

      That being said, we do give constructive comments for food tastings. For example, the most recent two food tastings: (a) Bull and Butcher: we said that the decor can be improved and the other dishes outshone the main, and (b) Indochili: we said that the food was precooked and heated upon ordering, so the meat was dry.

      We also said very nice things about restaurants we paid for ourselves: we called the food at Jamie’s Kitchen “superb” and said the service was amazing, the golden standard for what we shall judge other restaurants, and we named Burnt Ends “one of the top 5 restaurants this year.”

      In general, we always try to give an honest, balanced review–some good aspects, some negative–regardless if it’s a tasting or not. For instance, in this entry, we said we loved the food and the mocha was best in Singapore (high praise, right?) and the paragraph on eggs benedict is one of the best writing i’ve written but we didn’t like the decor and service. What is different for tastings and non-tastings is how we say it, not what we say about it.


  2. I walked past here just last week, before they opened and was delighted to see a coffee roaster in the window. Food and pics look wonderful. I wonder if the service aspect might be partly attributed to them just recently opening? I might give it a little longer to allow room for improvement before checking it out.


      • I hear you about the difficulty in finding servers in Singapore. I’ve interviewed several restaurateurs and it’s a perennial problem. How can we fix it? I feel this is the biggest problem with many dining experiences in Singapore, when someone gets it right Singapore totally rocks it but so often the service lets the entire experience down.


        • It’s really the job of Singapore’s government. They have to promote waitering/waitressing as a viable job option. Have a pay scale: grade 5 gets $X, grade 4 gets $Y. Make it a serious occupation with career opportunities.


          • Yes I think you are right, it’s the pay along with cultural factors that give respect to the people who serve us. I hope things change for the better or Singapore will get a bad reputation internationally.


  3. i passed by this cafe on monday but it wasnt open even though it states that it is open for biz everyday.. thank you for this review. i am not a fan of bad service so i will bring my money elsewhere then.


  4. Well, it looked nice and the food looked good. But in the end we didn’t go in, because I feel the envelope is being not-so subtly pushed for brunch prices, and brunch is not really meant to be an expensive meal. While this place is not horribly so, it is moving in the wrong direction IMHO.

    $18 French Toast? $24 Eggs Benedict? Sorry – this is just too much now, and there are other places to go for these. And there was not enough variety in the brunch menu to compel us to go in, such as simple eggs and toast, an omelet, etc.

    Though the place is nice looking, I would much favour a place that is more reasonable.


  5. Interestingly we popped in here for brunch this morning as I was so curious after all the comments. I have to say, the service was very good, I don’t know if they changed something around after receiving negative feedback but I was impressed. They went out of their way to squeeze two of us in when they were packed, served us soon after we were seated, food came briskly, re filled water, bill came and was paid quickly. All good. It’s definitely expensive but I would comment that the eggs are organic, they ship them in from New Zealand, so there is some justification for high prices. I just ordered toast and 2 poached eggs and it was $11 for 2 huge slices of good sourdough and 2 luscious eggs. Good coffee too.


  6. We just ate here this recent weekend and the service was really good, even though they were very busy. My steak did come out later than my friend’s meal, but I can forgive that. And they really honestly asked how everything was and wanted feedback. My steak was cooked as ordered. The espresso was excellent. Our server was smart and quick and observant. He had a hard job w every table filled w people and babies everywhere.


  7. Something about writing a coffee shop review.
    I find the fact that you have discovered what is “Easily the best mocha in Singapore” more headline deserving than your opinion about a rooster on a table. Give daring entrepreneurs some credit. This is a highly invested establishment which puts excellence in coffee making in the forefront. It is apparent even before walking in, by the frontal real estate the coffee roaster got in the design (isn’t it more interesting than the rooster?). New age reporters like RERG should celebrate every attempt to re-educate a generation of young Singaporeans that Coffee is not fast-food vs the notion that Starbux/CoffeeBean and alike created here….


    • I totally agree with you, Alon. High investment = lots of money = better food ingredients = better tasting food. And I do prefer independent small businesses, more character, more heart though not-as-good ingredients. Look at my two new entries and you’ll find I help small establishments. (That said, Common Man roasts their own coffee beans, so give them some credit.) The thing is without publicity, I wouldn’t know the existence of these small cafés. Can you recommend a few cafés with food?


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