It’ll take you more than a glance of the ‘bak chor mee’ ($14.90) at this café to realise that it’s actually a sweet treat: the ‘noodles’ are made from mango jelly and the ‘mushrooms’ are really slices of sea coconut. The disguised desserts here are part of Non Entrée’s Back to the Future menu, which puts a sugary spin on local fare. But for something less mind-boggling, the matcha avalanche ($13.90) is a warm green tea lava cake served atop a peanut brittle. Slice into the cake and its lava centre oozes onto a bed of gelato and edible flowers below. Heavenly.
The location is offbeat – a no-man’s-land for restaurants. But pioneering local pastry chef Pang Kok Keong has made this pastel-themed French restaurant on the outskirts of Lavender and Jalan Besar a destination in itself. There's a wide array of pretty cakes and pastries as well as all-day-breakfast plates, pastas, sandwiches and meats. Chef Pang is always coming up with new and crazy ideas – salted egg yolk croissants anyone? – so watch this space for more.
The French pâtisserie carries a spread of sweets for your picking, but its made-to-order soufflés are reason enough to return. The Guanaja Chocolate option ($18.50) does no wrong – it’s decadent but retains the texture of a good soufflé, with gently bitter notes to cut through any cloyingness. Crack the top of your soufflé, drizzle a little sauce into its aerated centre, then tuck into mouthfuls of the warm chocolatey stuff.
Pretty cakes paired with exquisite teas, all housed in a beautifully decorated space adorned with handpainted floral murals – that's what you can expect from Nesuto Patisserie. Helmed by Alicia Wong, the head pastry chef who's spent five years in Capella's kitchen, Nesuto serves cakes, entremets and plated desserts alongside tea pairings by Antea Social. Our favourites include the Noisette Rocher, Wong's take on a Ferrero Rocher made from hazelnut praline mousse, Guanaja 70% ganache and a caramalised hazelnut feuilletine for an added crunch. For something lighter, opt for the yuzu raspberry. The light yuzu meringue and delicate Japanese cotton sponge feel like a cloud on the tongue, with a slight tartness from the raspberries coming through.
The roomier digs at Assembly Coffee's Farrer Road offshoot finally grants owners Daphne Goh and Lionel Ang more kitchen space to fire up more than waffles, letting Atlas Coffeehouse quickly ascend the local café rankings.
You'll find this joint packed to the gills with the well-dressed set on weekends. They're probably there for the desserts. The prudently sweetened waffles, drizzled in salted caramel and vanilla ice cream ($12.50), are the perfect counterpoint to the silky, well-built Gibraltar ($4.50) of 2Degrees North Coffee Co beans.
Savouries score high marks as well. Creamy, white wine-laced mushrooms on sourdough get a drench of scrambled or sunny-side up yolks ($14, add $2 for sunny-side up, $3 for scrambled eggs, $3 for sausages). And we'll definitely drag ourselves out here for a bowl of chicken stew ($18) when a dreaded cold hits. Scooped into rippled porcelain bowls, each serving features a roasted leg of chicken in a flood of nourishing, creamy broth with carrots and potatoes. One point of contention, though: can you guys please open for dinner, too?
Cake Spade has moved to a bigger space down the row of shophouses in Tanjong Pagar, decked with retro, quirky interiors and a pink neon sign that screams, ‘I want it all’. And it’s hard not to when faced with a phalanx of cake slices from strawberry tofu cheesecakes to Speculoos cookie butter cheesecakes ($6.90/slice). The giant cake shakes ($16.90) will make you weak at the knees, too: think milkshakes stacked with wafers, cake bits, sprinkles and so much treacly stuff it’s amazing these mason jars don’t topple over. Order the unicorn cake shake, with a towering swirl of cotton candy on a rainbow-sprinkled cone, and you’ll understand.
There are also sugar rush-inducing desserts like an Oreo cookie brownie ($3.80), apple cinnamon crumble ($5.50) and passion fruit meringue tart ($7.50). And if a special occasion calls for it, order a customised cake (from $60) and make it every bit as decadent and voluptuous as Cake Spade’s flamingo decor.
Run by Cordon Bleu trained Gwen Lim, PatisserieG might possibly offer some of the best cakes in Singapore. Ingredients directly imported from France ensure desserts of the highest quality – featuring the G Spot Cake ($9), its signature dessert piece. They also offer artisan coffees and a wide range of pastries and macarons ($3 a piece).
This Halal cake brand has grown to two takeaway outlets in the city, but you’ll want to retreat into its cottage-like Jalan Besar flagship for a sweet treat. The cakes here look bang on trend, but use recipes inspired by owner Shannon Lua’s grandmother.
As-seen-on-Pinterest tiered cakes (from $280), frosted minimally between layers and dressed with foliage and fruits, are the hot order for weddings and birthdays. Butter Studio’s also a whiz at matching trendy ingredients. Milo and Speculoos? Check. Salted caramel and red velvet? Hell yeah. A slice goes for $7.90, with the option to add ice cream at $4 a scoop, and cupcakes start at $3.50 a pop.
And if you must pad your stomach with savouries before the sweet, pick from the menu of standards like eggs Benny ($15), turkey bacon melt French toast ($13), and sausage lover’s platter ($16), available at lunch and late into dinnertime. Butter Studio’s open ’til midnight on Friday and Saturday nights, so definitely count this as an alternative to a Swee Choon supper pig out.
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 ($3.90 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.
Something’s churning deep in the Toa Payoh heartland that’s making local residents scream… for ice cream. Creamier has made a name for itself whipping up some of the best ice cream on the island. But we’re not only talking about its strangely comforting flavours like sea salt gula Melaka, Thai milk tea and roasted pistachio ($3.30/single scoop, $5.60/double scoop). The dessert itself is flawless: not too dense and not too light, its texture delicately coats the tongue without leaving behind a cloying finish. That the ice cream isn’t too sweet is yet another plus point.
The Belgian waffles ($6) are worth a return trip. They’re served in stacked pairs, and while you can easily crush them alone, do yourself a favour by adding a scoop ($8.80). The fluffy waffles soak in the richness of the ice cream, yet their edges stay crispy and crunchy.
This café tends to be too crowded on weekends, but there are communal tables and benches outside you can use – there are lots of chill community cats lazing around the area, too, which only makes this café one of our faves.
For more cafés
We ate our way through dozens of cafés to pick out the best of the lot – whether you're looking for brunch, desserts or that perfect #foodporn shot.