The Populus Cafe, Neil Road: Gay Boys and Butches Galore

the-populus-cafe-singaporeWas reluctant to visit The Populus Cafe at Neil Road. Don’t want to chase another hipster cafe. But Pinky Piggu wanted to go. Ok lor. When we were there, half of the popular cafe was packed with gay boys and butches; that’s always an auspicious sign. Gay people are purveyors of good taste, right? (Positive stereotypes are ok for minority groups, right?)

You can tell from the decor that Populus is different. Not those commonplace industrial cement stuff, but a chic contemporary look.

the-populus-coffee-and-food-coThe menu too reflects a difference in outlook from other cafes. Strangely, half of the food we had that day have Indian spices. The spring pancake and fried chicken ($21, above) has a yogurt-like and delectable housemade ranch dressing, and the chicken itself seemed to be seasoned with a hint of Indian spice (clove?). A dish well received by us trio.

the-populus-cafe-neil-roadThe other dish we liked is the beef ragu pappardelle ($18). Although the pasta is brittle, the spiced tomato sauce (curry?) gives an excitement to the dish.

the-populus-cafe-menuBuckwheat pancake ($18.50) is not something I’d order but it is nice, I suppose. Nice is a 4-letter word. It is too much carb for a person. And for a dish without meat, the pricing isn’t worth it. If you want to order the pretty skillet regardless, make sure this is something extra (not your main) that you share it with other friends.

the-populus-cafe-outramWe were, however, ambivalent about the pork belly sandwich ($16), which is similar to the Vietnamese banh mi. The pork belly is too thinly sliced, and the garlic mayo does nothing to the pork. The ciabatta bread is very crusty and diamond-hard, which I like because it polishes the teeth, but  I can see how others may not share my enthusiasm for polished teeth by rock-hard bread.

The popularity of the cafe is deserving, and it certainly lives up to the hype surrounding it. Definitely on my best 10 cafes of the year, possibly even top 3. We paid $85 for 3 persons. 

The Populus Coffee & Food Co
146 Neil Road, Singapore 088875
T: +65 6635 8420

Decor: 7/10
Price: 6.5/10
Food: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Overall rating: 3.438/5

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6 replies »

  1. Apart from saving time are stereotypes ever useful?
    Thousands of people have apparently signed a petition objecting to Adam Lambert performing on these shores. What positivity can ever be drawn from stereotyping someone’s sexuality?


    • You’ve already answered your own rhetorical question. The plus drawn from stereotyping someone’s sexuality is to save time. It’s a major plus. You see, we can’t help it if someone of a specific sexuality choose to prefer themselves a specific manner.


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