I think everything these people touch becomes gold. When we were at Apollo at 2pm, it was packed to the brim with a long queue outside. Luckily, we made a reservation on Chope.
One major factor that contributes to their success is their excellent service. I think the manager (boss?) is a fantastic host and leader.
For example, out of the 4 teenagers sitting next to us, only one of them was eating. The rest was drinking coffee and leisurely chatting. In normal circumstances, I think it’s fine. But I suppose that they had been sitting for a long time, so the boss(?) came to them, squatted down, and said softly and gently, “I’m so sorry. The cafe is very full and there is a long queue. I don’t mean to rush you, sorry. But can you please vacant your table? So sorry about it. Sorry.”
This is fantastic customer service. The first word is always “sorry” to placate the customer. Everyone should watch and learn.
And apparently she has trained her staff too. When our food came for some time and we had almost finished and our coffee hadn’t arrived, I went to the barista to ask him. I swear I asked in a nice way because I am almost always nice to service staff, and because I had a leisurely, relaxing day, and was in a good mood.
The first word he said was “Sorry.” He said very sweetly, “Sorry, it took such a long time. So sorry about it.” I wasn’t looking for an apology, just worried that he might have missed our order. But in any case, that made me feel guilty for asking.
See, that’s customer service for you.
But other than the excellent service, I am not quite sure why their chain of cafes is always crowded. For one, the food is just ok.
I read somewhere that their menu is based on Mediterranean cuisine but I don’t see it. I see it as ja pa lang (anything goes) on their menu.
Between their waygu cheeseburger ($20) and beef brisket burger ($22), we opted for the latter because it is more interesting and unusual. Usually, it’s pulled pork, but they substituted pork with beef brisket.
However, it has the flavours of pulled pork burger, sweet with onion bacon jam. We didn’t have slaw on our burger although it is stated in the menu. The slaw would have undercut the sweetness and provided a crunch. Too bad.
The pork and pear tartine ($19.50) consists of roasted pear, bacon, caramelised onion, ricotta on ciabatta bread. It’s supposed to be their signature. It’s OK.
Another signature is their butterscotch banana pancake ($19.50), which looks more like hotcake than pancake. It’s nice, of a medium texture (not fluffly, not dense).
The portions are small and the food is very expensive, although, tastewise, it is acceptable. The star is really their coffee, moderate to be pleasing to most people. It is definitely not the best cafe as proclaimed by other reviewers although it is an ok cafe.
We spent about $78 for two people. Expensive, right? We could have a good weekday lunch at a fine-dining restaurant for that price.
Apollo Coffee Bar
65 Serangoon Garden Way Singapore 555961
Tue – Sat: 9-10pm
tel: +65 6246 3875
Ambience / decor: 7/10
You may be interested in…
–Thus Coffee, Upper Thomson: Renews My Faith in Cafes
–Walking on Sunshine, Orchard Central: Expensive but Terrific Garden Cafe
–Bee’s Knees @ The Garage, Botanic Gardens: Find a Winning Formula for Cafes, then Cut and Paste
–Clinton Street Baking Company, Purvis Street: Popular All-Day Breakfast from NYC Fails to Shine
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.