Whether you're looking for the perfect Instagram shot, a new weekend brunch hangout, or a mean cup of joe, these cafés in Singapore deliver on all those fronts and more. Need more than one cup of coffee to rev your engines? Go café hopping in Tiong Bahru or pop into the various coffee shops along Amoy Street that keep the caffeine-hungry CBD folks going.
Keong Saik Road may be synonymous with alcohol, but it’s sure able to cook up a fine cup of coffee. At Kafe Utu, you’ll be transported to Africa the moment you step foot into the coffeehouse due to its wood and leather furnishing, as well as African-inspired paintings and portraits. The specialty house blend is called “Ubuntu” – a combination of coffee beans from Uganda, Mexico, and Brazil – whereby you could have it black ($4.50) or with some Hokkaido milk ($6). The food fare here is also excellent. Order up a Curried Avocado with Raw Garlic and Toast ($18) and Ricotta Hotcakes ($24) from the brunch menu or add on the Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($18), which is accompanied by homemade sauces of Congo Bongo, Fresh Mango Chilli Marmalade and House Chilli for an extra snack on the side.
Perhaps a signal of flagging café food standards of late, this hot Neil Road joint appoints itself a 'gastro-café' to highlight its flavour-forward leanings. And The Populus definitely lives up to its tag. The rice and grain bowls ($18.50-$24) – they’re topped with all manner of vegetables and meats like pulled pork, teriyaki salmon and truffle-scented seared wagyu – are Instagram favourites that taste as hearty as they photograph. As is the server-recommended seafood linguine ($24), with al dente spools of bisque-coated pasta next to nubs of crabmeat and scallops. One tip to getting a balanced meal here is to have a tall swirl of ice cream on waffles – like the raspberry- and passionfruit-soured Dark Chocolate Sundae ($14) – with a cup of coffee to kill the sugar.
Upper Thomson is no stranger to the hipster café – and Pacamara fits right in the ’hood. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow sunlight to drape over the minimal (if a little sterile) interiors of white walls paired with white tabletops, but it’s still a cosy-enough spot for catch-up sessions with friends over brunch. Highlights Ricotta Pancakes ($18) and crab rump eggs Benedict topped with bonito flakes ($19.90). And that’s not to mention the many pasta dishes available all day – dive right in and order our favourite plate of the lot: the duck pappardelle ($18.90). A selection of cakes such as the yuzu tart ($6) will tempt you at the till, but order it beforehand to enjoy with a cold-brewed coffee ($6) or a bold, nutty Roadster blend ($4.50-$6).
This sandwich joint takes Singapore’s sandwich game to levels beyond your basic tuna mayo stack. Think hoagies like the Cubano ($16), which floweth over with cheese, pickles and all manner of seared and braised pork. A word of warning: these sandwiches are messy, over-the-top affairs, so have a pack of napkins at the ready.
Assembly Coffee's sibling café in the Coronation neigbourhood. Atlas Coffeehouse is owners Daphne Goh and Lionel Ang realisation of a goal to serve more hot food than Assembly's tiny kitchen can handle. Dishes like creamy mushrooms on sourdough ($12) with the option to add a sunny side ($2) or scrambled eggs ($3), and glazed salmon and a fried egg with crisped edges on soba noodles ($17) are some of the popular picks on their menu. Assembly's ever-popular waffles ($12-$14) are also on the menu here, and Atlas has also introduced pancakes topped with caramelised bananas or honeycomb ice cream ($18) to its desserts menu. If you plan on being productive after a meal like that, the coffee programme's ($3.50-$4.50) worth buying into.
No office towers throw shadows on The LoKal's shophouse unit in Bukit Pasoh, yet you'll struggle to find a seat among white-collared types deep into lunchtime on a weekday. For a light lunch, go for options like The LoKal Lobster Roll ($26). Gherkin, coleslaw and lemon mayonnaise elevate curls of slipper lobster, packed in between a hotdog bun. But if it's eggs you're after, the Pimp Your Breakfast beats any morning-after brunch: you have the freedom to assemble your very own plate. And what an assortment The LoKal puts out. Cram your breakfast with eggs done three ways ($6), goopy cauliflower and cheese ($6), as well as your pick of protein – we recommend mackerel ($7), smoked in-house over cherry and apple wood chips.
Near-unbeatable coffee and an all-day breakfast menu unlike any other elevate this 1920s Art Deco-inspired Five Senses/40 Hands/Spa Esprit Group mash-up to greatness. The frenetic eight-metre-long bar crawls with all creeds of coffee devotees rhapsodising about the rotating range of single origin brews, but it’s the uncommonly good brunch classics done with a twist that we can’t get enough of – the Common Man Full Breakfast ($27) sees back bacon, tomatoes, sausages, rosti and scrambled eggs on toast topped with housemade chorizo baked beans, portobello mushrooms and sour cream laced with mint. It sums up this café: hearty, honest and hella hefty. Elsewhere on the menu, you have your wagyu burgers ($29), squid bolognese orichiette ($28) and, for the vegans, a cold soba salad with green papaya, toasted seeds and asparagus ($19).
Dennis Tang and Lee Jia Min's tiny coffee outpost single-handedly turned Everton Park into hip neighbourhood. At this baristas' hangout, coffees are simple black or white affairs, in 3-, 5- and 7-ounce measures. And its staple Four Chairs Seasonal Blend is a common sight across cafés around town. Nylon's roasts also made it on The New Black's curation of top-notch coffees from around the world, and the pair takes yearly trips to bean-growing regions like El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia and Costa Rica to get up-close with the product – that's dedication right there.
This boulangerie – which first opened its flagship store at it's eponymous neighborhood – set up by celebrity baker Gontran Cherrier together with the Spa Esprit group, serves french artisanal breads, tarts and coffee at three locations around town. Savory options like the Smoked Salmon Squid Ink Roll ($8.50) and Ham and Melted Cheese on Focaccia ($8) are great for satisfying the peckish while sweet options like the ever-popular Almond Croissant ($3.20) and the sinful Kouign-Amann ($3.50) are not-to-be-missed especially when bought fresh off the oven.
The good folks behind hipster joints The Plain and The Bravery seem determined to slake our thirst for their Genovese cuppas – they’ve only just gone ahead to open up their third café along the chintzy HongKong Street. There are your requisite bare designer light bulbs, cement-washed walls and friendly service, but the mood at RONIN (whose name is Japanese for 'master-less samurai') is considerably darker; matte black finishes lend it a snazzy, mysterious air. Then there are its smooth-as-always lattes ($4.20) and new bites like the dirty ronin sandwich ($15), a substantial loaf holding up spicy chorizo, soft-boiled egg and romaine lettuce in a miso mayo dressing, and the French toast ($14) with bacon, braised green apples and walnut butter.
Paddy Hills manually brews its coffee using the V60 and Aeropress, and also uses a Slayer to jet out Iyego Gatuba AA beans ($7). Inspired by Australian café culture, offerings here include the squid ink tagliatelle ($23) for daytime eating. By night, it serves up to Asian tapas dishes. The lobster somen ($28) is an individual portion while the TFC, or ‘Taiwanese Fried Chicken’ ($15), is its version of san bei ji, served in sharing portions.
Before the evening shenanigans at The Spiffy Dapper kick in, 73 Amoy Street is a cosy little coffee spot. The brews here are as quirky as their names suggest with the likes of Unicorn Tears ($10) and Gold Brew ($10), made with Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. If it's a straight espresso you're after, Dapper’s espresso-based drinks are brewed with its house blend. Pair your cuppa with a slice of cake that comes in flavours like gula Melaka walnut oat and the best-selling salted egg black sesame.
With bakes named after divas like Beyonce ($9.50/slice) and Diana Ross ($9/slice), The Fabulous Baker Boy knows how to #werk. Celebrate all things sugar, spice and everything nice with boozed up classics like the Sugee Brandy ($85/whole) and Strawberry Shortcake ($95/whole). You can pre-order your cakes seven days in advance if you want them whole or rock up for a slice.
What the heck is a jaffle? According to the Australians – after all, it was conceived Down Under – it's named after the jaffle iron invented in 1949 and is basically a toasted sandwich. At Amber Ember, a café located smack in the middle of Serangoon and Kovan MRT stations, you can find this slice of Australian gastronomy on our sunny shores. Splashed out in shades of dusty pink and warm neutrals, the Instagrammable café offers six jaffle options served with purple sweet potato mash. Try the Chessus Take The Wheel ($14), which has pulled pork mac and cheese stuffing or the vegetarian Miso Hungry ($10) stuffed with miso pumpkin puree, fried cauliflower and scrambled eggs. There's also power points and free Wi-Fi here so you can get some work done.
Lush greens, elegant furnishings and magnificent views of Marina Bay greet you as you step into the CBD escape that is PS.Cafe One Fullerton. This outlet is its largest yet – spanning over 89sqm and accommodating up to 160 guests – and it has something for everyone, be it coffee and cake, business lunches, relaxing dinners, or post-work cocktails. Pop in for a quick two-course executive lunch ($34) or come during dinner for a range of exclusive dishes such as the chargrilled lampchops with masala chat potatoes ($39) or the moules vin blanc ($24), which is served with a side of crusty bread to dunk in the broth. Rest assured that you’ll still find your favourites such as the PS. Truffle Shoestring Fries ($15), PS. Burger ($29) and the PS. Caesar Salad ($23) on its all-day menu.
If popular Toa Payoh ice cream café Creamier’s too inaccessible for your dessert fix, you’ll find an alternative in Sunday Folks, the brand’s breezier dessert bar at Chip Bee Garden (sorry, Easties). Bestsellers include earl grey lavender and sea salt gula melaka ($7.90 each in cone/cup), which you can finish with toppings such as sea salt chocolate honeycomb, honey-toasted granola and handmade gula melaka mochi alongside sauces like miso caramel and chocolate hazelnut. Waffles start from $12 with one topping with add-ons for $3 per waffle. To make your meal complete, grab a drink for an additional of $4 or if you're feeling adventurous, mix-and-match your options with the toppings to create your very own special piece. To coerce you to stay a little longer, the café also brews coffee ($4-$8) out of a La Marzocco machine, and offers Gryphon tea ($6).
In case it hasn’t ring a bell, Tan Tiong Hoe was who taught the founder of local roaster Papa Palheta, Leon Foo, how to roast his coffee. Now Jacob Tan rides on his father’s expertise – running Tiong Hoe & Co for half a century and as an apprentice at Dutch company Mirandolle Voute & Co – and portioned off about 600 sq ft of their flagship roaster in Queenstown to open the 10-seater café with business partner/fellow barista, Juliana, who learns the craft from senior Tan. There is no menu, so ask for any brew from the rotational range of single-origin coffee beans roasted, ground and brewed in-house, and expect clean-noted long black brews in a refined reddish-brown colour coming out from the vintage Elektra espresso machine or the V60. Our favourites are a spicy, earthy and smoky monsooned malabar AA from India and a citrusy yet creamy Kinshasa from Kivu in Congo.
Kith Café's flagship at Millenia Walk boasts even more space than its Rodyk, Park Mall and Quayside Isle locations. Enjoy a cup of its coffee ($4-$7), blended in-house, with housemade pancakes drizzled with maple butter and topped with honey cream cheese ($15) or a truffle mushroom sandwich ($16). Kith Café also serves dinner on its menu, with a range of pastas from aglio olio to ricotta-filled ravioli ($16-$23) and black chicken curry atop baked banana leaf rice ($19). Sip on wines by the glass ($12-$27) to help you take the edge off a busy day.
Yes, it’s all about the beans at Dutch Colony Coffee Co. But you’ll want to balance out the caffeine with this quaint Siglap café’s breakfast and brunch menu. There are hearty platters with scrambled eggs, sausages and turkey bacon ($16), and a Colonial Beef Burger ($19), which slathers mango chilli aioli and melted Emmenthal over a juicy patty. Take note that the kitchen closes at 3pm, so if you’re planning to have a meal with your espresso, you best head down before the chef hangs up his apron for the day. If the breakfast is enough to get you out of bed nice and early, the coffee will do an even better job. Dutch Colony expertly pours its brews (from $6) – you can choose either manual pour-over or by machine – into glassware more befitting of a science lab than a coffee shop (fortunately, the drink is served on a wooden tray with a normal cup). And you aficionados better not miss out on its espresso flights (from $6).
Relocated along the east coast with a brand new concept, Stamping Ground Coffee is now a co-sharing cafe space together with a florist, Petite Fleur SG, as well as East Mezzanine – an event venue space. Imagine Stamping Ground Coffee’s signature rustic wooden chairs and marble tables along with the rich aroma of coffee combined together with the gorgeous blooms all around the space and you got the perfect weekend café spot. Enjoy artisanal coffee from local brands to overseas brands where blends are on rotation and are constant switched up once in a while. Stamping Ground Coffee also has an all-day menu where everything is below $15, with options like Smoked Salmon Pate Bagel ($14) and Belgium Waffles ($13) with a scoop of cinnamon caramel ice cream.
Just when you thought the Tiong Bahru couldn’t possibly fit in another indie café, along comes Flock Café – a family-run affair with more of the minimalist, industrial-like décor du jour. Here, they offer up an all-day breakfast menu that’s a nice balance of the sweet and the savoury – there’s the braised pork cheek with gruyère cheese ($11.90) and prawn avocado ($12.90), as well as a variety of salads (all $8.90). Then round off your meal with the orange bundt cake ($5) or the chocolate cake ($6), accompanied by the quintessential cuppa: espressos for $3.50, plus lattes, cappuccinos and flats whites for $4.80.
Three-time Singapore National Barista champion and ASEAN Barista champion Ryan Tan has a new coffee spot. But there are more than coffee drinks ($3.50-$10) and Aeropress, Syphon and Wave Dripper ($6.90) brews made with a roasted in-house blend and the occasional guest blend – a comprehensive all-day breakfast, lunch and dinner plan is also in place. Specialties include berry ricotta hot cakes ($18.90), wagyu, portobello and truffled scrambled eggs ($26.90) and truffled sweet potato fries ($14.90). For lubrication, Brewdog Dead Pony Club ($14) pours on tap, and a selection of craft beer, are available.
Follow the hipster past the huge covered metal gates and you’ll find Chye Seng Huat’s semi-secret (well, not so much anymore) compound in the Jalan Besar industrial zone. Headquarters of Third Wave coffee pioneers Papa Palheta, the two-storey coffee complex hides a coffee school and retail space on the second floor, while a full inventory of coffee gear dominates its ground floor café. Wait in line by the vinyl player piping Phoenix or The xx into the perpetually crowded space, and order an espresso made with its Nuts and Bolts or Terra Firma blends, or a procured single origin to drink in the café.
Platters of pastries and cakes tempt your taste buds as you enter Plain Vanilla Bakery, but resist that because you’re here for one purpose: to capture those cupcakes, squash them between your teeth, reduce them to a sticky, gooey clump. Choose from a dozen flavours ($4.50 each): chocolate hazelnut’s a bold, Nutella-fuelled prize crowned with more nuts; red velvet’s made with Valrhona chocolate and capped with a thick cream cheese frosting; and cookies and cream’s a chocolatey affair with smashed Oreos weaved into its frosting. You’ll want to collect ’em all, we promise.
If you manage to nab seats in this perpetually packed café, order the eggs Benedict ($18) for wobbly poached eggs with molten centres that ooze when broken into, charred bacon streaked only on the fatty edges, and soft brioche buns that bring together the whole affair. Too bad the accompanying spicy roasted potatoes are an unseasoned afterthought. For a meatier dish, get your hands dirty with the 40 Hands Cubanos ($19). Fall-apart mojo pork, honey-smoked ham, melted cheese and piquant jalapeños are tucked into baguette halves from Tiong Bahru Bakery – except, unlike its menu description, the baguette doesn’t crackle a peep when teeth meet crust. Still, it’s greasy goodness with fries – or, if you really must, a salad – on the side. Best to come mid-afternoon to stave off the lunch crowd.
The location is offbeat – a no-man’s-land for restaurants. Pioneering local pastry chef Pang Kok Keong has stepped way out of his comfort zone to set up this pastel-themed French restaurant on the outskirts of Lavender and Jalan Besar. Antoinette’s menu offerings stick to more familiar territory: the ex-Canelé chef seems to have transplanted his previous formula to this Ladurée-meets-Ottolenghi space, so that aside from his usual array of pastries, all-day-breakfast plates, pastas, sandwiches and meats are also offered. He has, of course, added ‘Antoinette’ to the line-up – an Earl Grey-infused milk-chocolate mousse with chocolate biscuit, dark-chocolate tea crémeux, raspberry coulis and tea crumble, $9) and baguettes made using a process that takes 24 hours.
From its high ceilings and concrete floors to its wooden-toped chairs and tables, miniature cactuses at each table and outdoor greenhouse-like seating area, Five Oars Coffee Roasters takes industrial-chic to a whole new level. Not only does its interior capture your eyes, this Melbourne-inspired café also has a vast array of brunch options available that's sure to satisfy your stomach. Think mentaiko mac and cheese, avocado grain bowls and fab coffee including a constantly rotating selection of filter brews.
Opened by a group of interior designers, Avenue Cafe is a quirky blend of a cafe and an architect’s office. Just like the name suggests, Avenue Café gives its patrons possible avenues of interior design planning with in-house consultants over a cup of coffee. Founded by Quadwork Pte Ltd, Avenue Café is a decorative store with furniture for sale and also displays a small collection of clothing and accessories for sale. This unique blend of project planning alongside food and beverages allows for customers to plan and design their dream home whilst snacking on savoury or dessert waffles, drinking gourmet coffee, or munching on rainbow cake.
Like its sister cafés Ronin and The Plain, PUNCH appeals to your senses even before the food arrives. Its interiors of mostly white furniture with dashes of marble and wood are perfect to up your Instagram game, while the open courtyard at the back of house offers a boost of Vitamin D, wooden benches, greenery and a glimpse into the kitchen. That is, if you can even find the opaque glass door of this signboard-less café. Skip the café-standard breakfast offerings of poached eggs with avocado ($13) or mushrooms ($14) and pick from the lunch menu, which boasts a – dare we say it – punchier line-up.
Sibling café to Lunar Coffee Brewers and Atlas Coffeehouse, Columbus Coffee doesn’t disappoint with its minimalistic interior with accents of greenery and gold touches in a fairly spacious space. Known for its coffee, coffee fanatics will be able to choose between the ATLAS Blend and Nautica Blend for their espresso selection, and would also be happy to know that their famous cold brews; Cosmos ($7) and Milky Way ($7,) are also available here, along with their newest addition – Matcha Warrior ($7). Some new dishes to keep a lookout for would be the soft shell crab burger ($22), buttermilk fried chicken ($14.50), as well as the dill and garlic seafood pasta ($21). Frequent café-goers would recognize some familiar crowd-favourites that are also available on the menu such as the butterscotch banana pancake ($18.50), salmon soba noodles ($18), and the mushrooms on sourdough ($14).
Tucked away in Chijmes, The Glasshouse is a quiet escape from the bustle of city life right in the beating heart of City Hall. The café is flushed with natural light, with pops of green adding colour to the otherwise white and bare space. Spend a lazy afternoon reclining in one of its Cogswell chairs sipping on specialty coffees from a variety of roasters on a rotational basis alongside artisanal sourdough breads topped with smoked salmon, avocado and the like.
Kurasu, which means 'to live' in Japanese, is a specialty coffee cafe from Japan. It opened its first outlet in Kyoto, and uses a Japanese roasting style that results in a smoother brew. It has also partnered with Good Coffee to provide coffee beans from Japanese roasters to subscribers on a monthly basis – making it your one-stop-shop for all things Japanese coffee. While the coffees are obviously a draw, don't miss its matcha latte either. Made with Morihan matcha powder from Kyoto, a traditional store that's been around for a long time, this cuppa puts the one from Starbucks to shame.
Looking for pastries and sweets to complete your lunch? Check out Pantler, a quiet café along Telok Ayer. Helmed by Matthias Phua and chef Tomoharu Morita, both of whom came through the kitchens of Grand Hyatt Tokyo and Joël Robuchon Singapore, Pantler serves up cakes, sandwiches and pies made with carefully sourced ingredients from Japan and France. Try a cheesecake ($6.80) or chou puff ($4.90) for a taste of Pantler’s brand of delicate and refined pastries.
We're all guilty of it. Mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, double tapping perfectly-styled #foodporn pics and putting the restaurant on our list of places to try, just because it looks good. It’s a strategy that brings in the crowd – so it’s understandable why the team behind Merci Marcel, which also runs Ô Comptoir and Ô Batignolles, has made this new French eatery as photogenic as possible. Potted plants line the rattan bar and there’s garden space out back that’s drenched in sunlight. In the day, expect ’grammable brunch requisites such as eggs benedict ($21) and French toast ($18) alongside more uncommon imports like marinated crab tartine ($18) and ravioles de royans ($18) – a must-order.
Ciao, bella! There’s a new café hidden away along Craig Road. The comfortable space flooded in natural light serves brunch staples like avocado toast ($17) sprinkled with quinoa, feta and pomegranate as well as spiced scramble ($18), silky scrambled eggs topped with mushrooms and crispy kale. If it’s a cuppa you’re looking for, you’re at the right place. Co-owner Regina Tay is a National Barista Championship Winner and roasts the beans in-house in small batches.
Café by day and cocktail bar by night, this outfit serves up brunch-style meals for the working crowd. Get some of the most affordable truffle fries around for only $5 a basket, and pair your meals with a cuppa or a glass of cold-pressed juice.
We’re spotting more craft beer popping up in cafés these days, but few do it with the commitment of On the Table. This industrially kitted-out Pasir Panjang café partners The Great Beer Experiment bottle shop to stock the latter’s whole range of beers in its dining room. The beers on the shelves aren’t chilled, so the bottles by Danish brewers Mikkeller and To Øl, Britain’s Thornbridge, and the US’s Prairie Artisan Ales – priced reasonably from $8-$36 – are available to go. If you can’t wait ’til you get home to steal a sip, order a Crabbies flavoured ginger beer ($6) or a Brewdog ($12.50- $13.50) to drink in the café. Get some savoury bites in the form of the mushroom monsieur that comes with wholemeal bread, mozzarella and béchamel sauce ($12), smoked salmon and mushroom truffle cream linguine ($16).
Just a stone throw away from Old Hen Coffee Bar lies Old Hen Kitchen, serving up a brunch menu alongside its usual coffee and cake options. The open kitchen concept alongside the wooden furniture and little pockets of greenery creates a cozy familiar environment whether it be for a satisfying lunch or for a chill afternoon with a book in hand and coffee in the other. Aside from the usual café offerings, you can look forward to unique options such as the Mochi Pancake Stack ($13.50), Ahi Tuna Salad ($14), and the Chilli Crab Fries ($12). Of course you can’t forget their famous selections of cold brews – Black ($6), White ($6.50), Cold Dark Cocoa ($6.50), Cold Matcha Milk ($7), and the Cold Mocha ($7.50). If coffee isn’t your thing, no worries, choose from the vast array of Japanese tea options by ippodo tea co. available like Genmaicha ($7) and Gyukuro ($10).
Nestled within the Hotel NuVe Urbane along the Jalan Besar neighborhood, The Communal Restaurant takes on a more casual and cosy atmosphere as compared to its sister restaurant BRINE. Having two separate menus for lunch and dinner – the former offers value-for-money sets while the latter sees more family-style sharing plates – the restaurant takes pride in serving Asian flavours prepared using Western techniques to perk up your taste buds.
Taking its name from the 18th century term for coffeehouses in London – noisy, men-only affairs which cost a penny to enter and where coffee was served up along with the latest news and gossip. True to the origins of its name, Penny University aims to be as inviting and dynamic as possible. Order eggs your way ($13) and top it off with all your favourite trimmings or go healthy with its vegetarian black rice poke bowl ($23). For coffee, you can choose between the Penny's Blend and a range of single origin coffees, or maybe try the crowd favourite – Muddy Espresso ($5.50).
While Brotherbird is known for its unique flavor filled mochi-donuts and house-made soft serves that changes flavor on a rotational basis every month, they have also since made a name for themselves as Singapore’s first bakery to offer artisanal mochi croissants and cruffins (croissants + muffins). In fact, they are so popular that you need to make reservations the week before you can get your hands on these baked goods. While the flavours available are on rotation every two weeks, some have already made their way into our hearts as crowd favourites – Kinder Bueno mochi croissant, Matcha White chocolate mochi croissant, and the Lemon Meringue Cheesecake mochi cruffin. Within the crispy golden crust of each mochi croissant lays multiple layers of soft, fluffy and chewy consistency, best-eaten warm. Priced affordably between $3-$5 per piece, you have to try these crispy bakes for yourself!
From the custom DIY furniture to the charmingly inexperienced pair of owners as they fumble to put together your order, Brawn & Brains’ unpretentiousness – closeted away in a hard-to-spot nook at Geylang’s old badminton hall – oozes an infectious quality. Cramped yet cozy, there’s no fancy latte art or overthought, intricate brunch menu to be had – just good, lovingly-brewed coffee (an organic, single-origin from Brazil, $3.50-$4) and co-owner Gwen Peh’s homey and fragrant grapefruit yoghurt pound cake ($3.50/slice).
Located in the outskirts of Changi, this not-so-hidden-gem surrounded by lush greenery is a blast to the past with a great variety of collectors’ treasures and vintage items on display. And we mean brightly-coloured Vespas, antique bicycles and vinyl players that sit on shelves, immersing diners in nostalgia. Despite its ulu location, it’s worth a trip down if you’re in a big group as the café seats a whooping 300 people both in-house and at the outdoor al-fresco dining area.
Oriole Coffee + Bar is a cafe by day, bar with music by night with the highest standard and quality coffee from tree to cup. With house pour, wine, and beer, this bar promises a hearty lunch and dinners served daily. Of course, being a coffee bar, the joes are not to be missed – signature in-house cold-brewed coffee comes in black ($6), white ($7) or with MAD milk ($8), a non-dairy nut concoction of macadamias, almonds and dates.
If you’re a fan of laid-back, Aussie-style café nosh, check out Sarnies. Opened by Australian Ben Lee, this sandwich shop lives up to its name with rustic ’wiches like roast chicken with house-cured bacon ($15) and tuna mayo with bell pepper, onions and coriander ($14.50). For heartier fare, check out its evening and weekend brunch menus, brimming with sinful options like truffle mash in bacon ($13) and churros with salted caramel sauce ($10). Top it off with Sarnies’ cuppas that have made it to Lonely Planet’s list of best coffees – choose from an exhaustive list of brews including flat whites, macchiatos and mochas.
From the creator of Strangers' Reunion and Curious Palette comes an all new open concept cafe. With large window panes and a spacious seating area that fits up to 60 seats, the modern café draws plenty of curious onlookers. A must-try is the waffles served with your choice of ice cream ($12).
From the folks of Rich & Good Cake Shop, this Plain Jane Cafe is no plain Jane. The café has a quaint homely feel, with its neutral-coloured furniture and marble-tiled floor that won't look out of place in any local apartment. This shop has a reputation for its Not So Plain Jane swiss rolls, a Matcha flavoured confectionary that's soft on the outside and creamy on the inside. Going at $5.90 per piece, this swiss roll is definitely worth the trip and money.
Another in the clutch of cafés on Rangoon Road in Farrer Park, Brunches Cafe is a vintage-themed spot serving all day breakfast, gourmet sandwiches and café standards. Its high tea set with slices of cake, mini tarts and sliders, is limited to ten sets a day, and is served in a bird cage. Apart from brunch staples like the eggs Benedict ($13.90) and mains like the baked smoked salmon pizza ($16.90), Brunches Cafe also serves vegetarian options such as the vegetarian pasta in tomato sauce ($14.90) and brioche french toast ($11.90).
It’s hard to get particularly excited over yet another vintage café, but we make exceptions for My Awesome Café on Telok Ayer. Located on the ground floor of what used to be the Telok Ayer Chung Hwa Free Clinic, My Awesome Café takes the retrospective-looking trend aesthetic and knocks it out of the ballpark with equal parts knack for sourcing and creative ingenuity. The food is pretty awesome too with salads, sandwiches and coffee available during the day and wines and platters taking over at night.
Hidden at the far east part of the island, this undiscovered artisanal coffee shop puts a unique twist to modern cafés. Blending both art and coffee, the art gallery part of the shop has paintings made from coffee – blending in with its otherwise crisp and clean interior. There aren't a lot of options on the menu, just a couple types of beans done in your preferred style as well seasonal cakes and bakes but that doesn't mean you shouldn't add this place to your café hopping list.