The folks behind the defunct Smitten Coffee and Tea Bar, and Henry Congressional partner to provide the Toh Tuck area a triple threat that is a coffee shop, restaurant and bar.
Getting here is tricky if you don’t live in the neighbourhood. But it’s worth a try, if not for its laid-back atmosphere and floor-to-ceiling glass panels that let you steal a peek into the kitchen, then for the café’s popular ragu pasta ($17). Ribbons of homemade tagliatelle are cooked al dente then thinly coated in a minced beef and pork tomato sauce before shavings of Parmigiana on top give the dish a sharp punch. It’s easy to see why this one’s a crowd-pleaser.
But because lunch only starts at 3pm (we’re not sure what time zone these guys are in), there are only chalkboard specials to order if you’re here early. You have your basic sandwiches such as Croque Monsieurs ($12) and a rosemary chicken sarnie with meat roasted in-house. But pass on the sambal fried rice – it’s too liberal with chilli and, at nine bucks, you’re better off hitting up your favourite zi char stall.
The coffee beans here are roasted on-site, and the brew experiments plenty. Necessary Provisions was probably the first in the city to pioneer iced coffee cubes for its chilled drinks (from $5.50), and we've heard of the team barrel-ageing brews to taste wood's effect on coffee. And the café's exquisitely poured, crema-topped espresso-based drinks (from $5) are no swill either.