Food instagrammers are very knowledgeable about cafes in Singapore. Not only are they the first customers to visit newly opened cafes, they also visit a wide number of cafes. They would often return to the ones they like, and the frequent visits calibrate their views, making their reviews accurate and reliable.
Whenever I want to have brunch, I’d ask instagrammers for their recommendations. Several of the new cafes on my Best Cafe in 2016 are haply due of their recommendations. Wanting to tap further into their expertise, I defer to their collective knowledge for this list.
It is very interesting that 13 instagrammers featured here recommended 12 different cafes. That means only 2 instagrammers chose the same cafe. This particular cafe is also my best cafe for the year. Coincidence? I think not.
Also worth noting: 4.5 cafes mentioned by the instagrammers are on my “Best Food in Singapore” lists. If as some people say taste is subjective, then why are our favorite cafes the same?
In alphabetical order, these are the best cafes in 2016 according to the top instagrammers:
@thatgreedypig: “The best cafe, in my opinion, is one that constantly delivers quality food at reasonable prices, together with a good cup of coffee. If the cafe is easily accessible, that’s a bonus.
“That said, my vote goes to Artistry Cafe. Yes, they may not be the new kid on the block or the ‘trending’ cafe, but they have been constantly delivering what I seek for in a cafe. Artistry is my to-go cafe for a good cup of perk-me-up (love their Gibraltar) whenever I’m around Bugis area, which is quite often. What I like about their food is that they serves unpretentious yet visually appealing food that tastes good too! My favourites are their PB&J french toast and BRB pancake!”
@gninethree: “My favourite cafe for 2016 is Atlas Coffeehouse because of the food and its feel. The menu offers healthy options such as Grain Bowls and Salmon Soba Noodles but also naughty ones like the decadent Nutella Brioche French Toast or ATLAS Butterscotch Banana Pancake that are definitely both made for sharing. Portions here are hearty which gives you a bang for your buck and the quality of the food is legit. The space too, while stylish and minimalistic, retains its cosiness, making it perfect for some me-time or to hang out with friends. Dont forget to wash it all down with a cuppa coffee, which is after all, the signature and must-have at Atlas.”
@jellylovefats: “My favorite cafe for 2016 is Carol Mel Cafe at Irving place. Food is good and cakes are made in-house by the owner, Caroline. My first visit to Carol Mel was last year when I fell in love with their mains and “must mention” Whimsical waffle. I felt it was better than a lot other waffles I tried elsewhere. Texture was very crispy on the outside yet maintaining the moist and fluffy interior. They weren’t stingy on ingredients and they serve fresh seasonal fruits on their waffles.
“I revisited Carol Mel cafe couple of times this year and was very pleased that they were able to keep up with the food quality. Not many f & b could do it. Kudos to Carol Mel Cafe for making effort to introduce new food items every quarterly and it keeps getting tastier. My latest love goes to their Lamb shank, Rakuzen Cold Pasta and Salted egg luncheon fries!”
@chuepachups: “Dapper Coffee was one of Amoy Street’s best kept secrets… that is, until their famous Gold Brew and Unicorn Tears went viral on social media. In between mixing their unique brews, Dapper also stirs up some serious culinary magic in the form of eclectic dishes like the Poke Don and Furikake Pasta. The fact that they’re only open on weekdays is the main reason why I never want to move out of Telok Ayer.”
Melissa blogs at Chue On It.
@spadely: “I love my bowls and over at Ninja Bowl, they’ve never failed to satisfy any cravings of mine with their unique combinations of ingredients used for each hearty and very valued-for-money rice bowl.”
@elainegirlgirl: “The pastry chefs put in much effort to create the beautifully crafted cakes and desserts which just brighten up the day upon seeing them. They are always full of new ideas to create special desserts. For example, the locally inspired desserts such as ang ku kueh, and bak chor mee which they introduced recently. And the staff always serve customers with a smile, a thing which I would love to see in cafes.”
Elaine blogs at Elainegirlgirl.
@lancetaey: “Have to admit that I was first drawn to the cafe because of its pretty rustic interior and spacious al fresco seating area. Food was better than what I expected to be. The Yakitori Salmon with coconut rice looks rather unassuming but stands out in terms of taste. Firsty, the fragrance of the coconut emanates from the rice, making it creamy, like the texture of our mushy nasi-lemak. Secondly, the sticky vietnamese caramel added a hint of sweetness to the flaky glazed salmon, making the dish a really enjoyable one! Quite a unique brunch option offered here.”
@kimberleyyeo: “There are only a few cafes that I’ve returned to and Populus is one of them. Good coffee, good food, good service. And the most outstanding thing about Populus, for me, is their Spring Onion Pancake with Fried Chicken which I fell in love with at first bite. And I’ve been hooked ever since.”
@the_xw: “Prodigal Roasters reminds me a lot of Brawn & Brains that I still regularly head down to. I love cafes that feels warm, neighborly and welcoming without being pretentious and Prodigal Roasters is just that with its real and positive vibes from the people despite its small shop space. They are also serious in their coffee and tarts and I always enjoy going to a cafe that bakes their pastries by themselves and roast their own coffee — exactly what Prodigal Roasters does.”
@Alainlicious: “What I believe in Sarnies as being my favourite cafe for 2016 (still the same for me since 2014) is its consistency. There are many good cafes in Singapore, but what is harder than being good is being consistently good, year after year, no matter what abominable circumstances in the cafe scene may appear.
“I have to admit that the menu at Sarnies hasn’t really changed much and might be getting a little tired. It’s great to see that they have recently updated their menu and I’m sure I’ll still be able to find comfort in their new cuisine – which I clearly did and will do it again!”
@juicyfingers: “Probably one of the 2016 cafe openings which have created a lasting impression from their homemade pasta and desserts. While their menu is not fanciful nor extensive, each dish shines on its own with a taste of comfort and consistency. Overall, the place strikes a good balance between awesome food quality, ambiance and affordability.”
@klzw: “I really like South Union Park because it checks all the right boxes; delicious food, great use of space, splendid service (one of the few cafes that brings mains out together so that you need not awkwardly wait for your friend’s food to arrive) and the homely feel. I really don’t have anything negative to say about this place which is why I probably ate there 6 times this year (rare coming from me).”
Kenneth was interviewed as the Food Instagrammer of Oct.
In addition to the chorus of praise by the two instagrammers, South Union Park has also topped my Best Cafe 2016 list! #vindicated
@boywithhaemoglobin: “This little charming and cosy cafe serves awesome roasted coffees (my favorite is nylon coffee’s) and delicious clean comfort food. Loving the quiet ambience and I can really laze there for a good whole day. Also, I am able to relate well with the staff. There is a sentimental value of the space where it used to be a Chinese dispensary, hence they have the pretty old school tiles!”
Is your favorite cafe on the list? If not, please comment and share it with us so that we can discover good cafes together.
If it is on the list, it means you share the taste as the instagrammer and you may want to follow the person who recommends it.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.