Logically, when a certain culture matures, it is supposed to get better. But as the cafe culture evolves in Singapore, it didn’t.
Many eateries are more specialised now. For example, there are many ice cream parlours now and they are excellent (Apiary and Birds of Paradise are amazing) but they cannot be considered as cafes which serve the full function of meals and desserts.
Of those that we visited this year, they seem wanting of sincerity or effort, only with the desire to cash in on the (fading) cafe trend Therefore, usually we have 10 Best Cafes, but this year we could only find 5, and we didn’t want to compromise on the quality.
And these 5 cafes are amazing.
At the Myo
4 Everton Park #01-42 Singapore 080004
tel: +65 8126 0646
T-F 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-9pm, Sat 12pm-9pm
Sebastian Fusion Cuisine, a kopitiam stall, has moved into its own space and rebranded to At the Myo, which has gained a devoted following in the hipster neighborhood of Everton Park. Myo means 妙 “wonderful” in Japanese, and the name of the cafe is now apparent: have a wonderful time.
The SHATEC-trained chef-owner Sebastian Ho has previously worked in Italian restaurants and hotels like Grand Hyatt and Ritz Carlton Milennia. Here, At the Myo, he serves pastas and rice with a local twist.
For a small cafe, they have quite a number of interesting items such as uni, tiger prawns, tobiko cream linguine ($18) and lychee salsa brown rice ($10). [FULL REVIEW]
Co-owned by two former engineers, Nurhasanah Johari and Chalith Kariyawasam, The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough at Serene Centre started as a home bakery with occasional pop-ups. They close at 6pm to prepare, proof, and autolyse the dough to be baked the next day at 7am. Bread are freshly baked daily, using organic stoneground flour, water, sea salt and their own sourdough culture. These ingredients are halal but the bakery is not halal certified.
Besides sourdough bread, they also serve sandwiches, toasts, cakes, cookies, and bialys which are similar to bagels except bialys aren’t boiled before baking and don’t have holes in the centres. On Sundays, they have pizza nights. Their menu is meatless.
What is so lovely about their breads is that the crust is hard and dark while the bread is moist. [FULL REVIEW]
Carol Mel cafe started in 2015 to predictions that it would close down soon, but it defies the odds by constantly improving and evolving, taking in customers’ feedback and putting in a lot of heart. It is a great case study for cafes surviving in this competitive field. Recommended: braised lamb shank ($25) and whimsical waffles ($16). Their latte art is at the top of the game. [FULL REVIEW]
10 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089264
tel: +65 9642 2361
9am-5pm, 6.30pm-11pm closed Sun
.elia cafe at Jiak Chuan road (just off Keong Siak) is brought to you by the same people behind now-defunct The Chillout Cafe in Labuan, Malaysia. And their experience has put them in good stead. They serve other things like ricebowls but really, just go for their pastas ($13.50-$18.50) and sandwiches ($12.50-$17.50) because both pastas and breads are made in-house. [FULL REVIEW]
Japanese restaurants import their ingredients 2-3 times a week. Mad About Sucre imports them SIX times a week, 3 from London and 3 from Paris. This marvellous oxtail is braised open-crock-top style for 8 hours and there is NO SALT. The flavour comes from the oxtail and Burgundy wine. What a win(n)er! (Get it? Coz wine, win, winner.)
Given how we like to explore new places and blog about them, it is quite a big deal that we have been to Mad About Sucre twice this year for full meals, savoury food and sweets. What else can we say that we haven’t said before? They import their ingredients six times a week, thrice from London and thrice from Paris. Their traditional cooking method is full of integrity, none of the sous vide shortcut. They coax natural flavours out of the ingredients by cooking without using extraneous salt or unnecessary seasoning. Both cakes and savoury dishes change with seasons. This is the third year MAS is on the Best Desserts list, and the second it is on the Best Cafes list. [FULL REVIEW]
To recap, these are the 5 best cafes this year:
-At the Myo
-The Bakery by Woodlands Sourdough
-Carol Mel Cafe
-Mad About Sucre
Did we miss out any good cafes this year? Comment and let us know! We’ll visit it and maybe it will be on our list next year.
You may be interested in…
–Best Food 2017 Part I: 10 Best Dishes of the Year
–Best Food 2017 Part II: 10 Best Desserts of the Year
–Best Food 2016 Part V: 10 Best Cafes in Singapore
–Best Cafes in 2016 According to Top Food Instagrammers
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.