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Chillax Massage Café

Restaurants, Cafés Serangoon
Chillax Massage Café
Serangoon café with massages

Time Out says

We like the idea of Chillax Massage Café, on the corner of Serangoon Garden Estate – an open-fronted café with a casual Australian feel, and a relaxed massage room upstairs. A lot about the concept works – though there are a few areas that let it down. The café has a vaguely retro feel, with old typewriters, a jar of iced gems on the counter, and a rack with old comics and those paper gliders that have come back into vogue as the early-’80s children have grown up.

There’s a simple one-page menu, with food on the front and drinks on the back, and the food’s all pretty good. There are five classic pastas (think vongole, $17, or carbonara, $16), bangers and mash ($18), truffle fries ($10) and a Wagyu beef rosti ($22). The highlights are probably the breakfasts – from a decent full English ($22) to ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ ($16), an eggs Benedict with sliced prosciutto and yuzu hollandaise. With only a Caesar salad ($14) offered as a lighter bite, we feel there could be more healthy options.

Drinks run from smoothies to boutique beers, Magners cider and an impressive selection of teas. The service, from co-owner Darren Wee (together with his wife Cecilia), is as friendly and hyperkinetic as you’d expect from a DJ at 987FM (he hosts Sunday’s ‘Only the Hits’ at 11am). Also a drummer for local band Monochrome, he is unfailingly cheery.

But what really sets Chillax apart is the unusual café-massage combo. The massage room upstairs is a large, loungey room, but the brown wallpaper and upholstery make it feel more like a Chinese bathhouse than the retro-casual vibe of the café downstairs. Still, it’s good that you can get quick massages. While it’s possible to have a two-hour full-body massage ($105), we go for a cheap and cheerful ten-minute head massage ($10) and a neck-and-shoulder massage ($10). Both hit all the right spots, but could do with more oomph – the idea perhaps is for gentle massages after eating, but veterans may be left wanting more.

Overall, we like the place, but feel like a few tweaks would make it hum. The concept feels a little like disparate elements coming together – kind of retro-meets-Aussie beachfront caf-meets-Chinese massage parlour. They could give the massage room more of the café’s offbeat style, and maybe have more ‘chillaxing’ elements downstairs, like comfy old chairs. Because it’s a nice idea with nice staff and good food – in other words, it’s so nearly there. Toby Skinner



Address: Serangoon Gardens Estate
28 Maju Ave
Opening hours: Sun-Thu 11.30am-9.30pm, Fri-Sat 11.30am-10.30pm
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