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PS.Cafe Katong
Photograph: PS.Cafe

7 new cafés in the Joo Chiat and Katong area

All the best new cafés to hit up in the East

Pailin Boonlong
Written by
Pailin Boonlong
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The Joo Chiat and Katong area has always been a constant in Singapore’s local F&B scene – “East Coast plan” aside, there’s always been a ton of new cafés to hit up. Perhaps it’s the proximity to the beach or the laid-back ambience, but whatever it is, we’ll be making our way to the East this weekend. 

RECOMMENDED: The ultimate guide to Katong & Joo Chiat and the best restaurants and cafés in Katong

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

Café Natsu has recently opened their doors on the ground floor of Crane Joo Chiat, a stunning 1920s Peranakan heritage building. One glass panel overlooks bustling Joo Chiat Road, while those lucky enough to clinch a table at the open-aired windowsill seats will get a glimpse of the pastel-coloured Koon Seng shophouses. 

Try the eggs Benedict here, either as a classic benny ($28) with glazed ham or done as a Florentine ($30) with spanner crab. Once again, obvious Japanese influences come into play with wasabi spinach and miso hollandaise. We’re also huge fans of sandos, and the menu at Café Natsu doesn’t disappoint with options like egg mayo ($22) and chicken katsu ($29). The standout, true to form, is the wagyu sando ($30) – beef short rib sandwiched between soft, crustless bread.

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

When Japanese-inspired café Hello Arigato first opened in Upper Thomson, their sandwiches were an instant hit. For all Easties, good news: they also have a second café along the Joo Chiat stretch, near Dunman Food Centre and hole-in-the-wall coffee joint Kohi

The sandwiches here are all freshly breaded and prepared, with two thick slices of shokupan (Hokkaido milk bread) and packed with savoury fillings like teriyaki-glazed chicken and Australian wagyu striploin. Throw in Japanese influences like an ajitama egg or katsu sauce – now, that’s what you call a good sando. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Marine Parade

PS.Cafe is one of the most popular café chains in Singapore – rightfully so, since there’s no other joint that’s as well known for their truffle shoestring fries. Luckily for East-siders, they’ve recently opened their newest outlet at the newly-revamped shopping mall i12 Katong, marking it as the second PS.Cafe this side of Singapore.

As always, their newest outlet is tastefully done. High ceilings, glossy black-and-white tiles, and a pet-friendly outdoor terrace pay tribute to the grand seaside villas that once sprawled across this neighbourhood. The menu isn’t any different, with Peranakan influences made loud and clear. 

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Marine Parade

There's more than a handful of Plain Vanilla outlets around, and the East Coast joint marks the sixth. But this, notably, has the café's most extensive brunch menu – from savoury mains like smashed avocado toast ($22) to eggs Benedict ($22). They do still offer the crowd-favourite cupcakes, ranging from flavours like salted caramel and earl grey lavender. 

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Supernova
Photograph: Supernova

Supernova

As a café that's by the same folks as those behind Neptune and Atlas Coffeehouse, Supernova doesn't disappoint. It's not just because it's galatically-themed with an out-of-space name. But the menu reads well too, ranging from bacon and pumpkin rigatoni ($21) to a Wagyu cheeseburger ($22.90).

Bella People & Coffee
Photograph: Bella People and Coffee

Bella People & Coffee

It's along Tanjong Katong Road: Bella People & Coffee, a quaint café that upon first glance, looks fairly run-of-the-mill. That is, what it's compared to other newcomers along the same street like Supernova. But this casual joint is one that's worth dropping by for its all-day breakfast. Try the Bella Roasted Chicken Leg ($25), that comes served with a healthy side of veggies like broccoli, carrot, and kale. 

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Five Oars Coffee Roasters (East Coast)
Photograph: Five Oars Coffee Roasters

Five Oars Coffee Roasters (East Coast)

While they've recently opened in Tanjong Pagar, they now also have an East Coast branch. At Five Oars Coffee Roasters, it's the coffee that's the obvious star of the show. Besides a specialty roasted coffee, you can also try the fish and chips ($25) and buttermilk chicken burger ($20). 

Other things to do in Katong

  • Shopping
  • Marine Parade

Katong Antique House is pure living memory. This Peranakan house has been perfectly preserved as it was in the old days, and is filled with heirlooms and artefacts including traditional Peranakan crockery, jewellery, beaded slippers, costumes, furniture and photographs of Singapore's earlier generations of Babas and Bibiks. The vast collection can be credited to 40 long years of effort by Mr. Peter Wee, a fourth-generation Peranakan who inherited the house from his maternal grandfather in 1966. Himself the great-grandson of philanthropist Tan Keong Saik, Baba Peter Wee bought, restored and sold Peranakan-related items from 1971 and eventually turned his inheritance into Katong Antique House in 1979. Although he has since passed on, his legacy, alongside Peranakan culture and heritage, continues to live on in this irreplaceable private museum. Read our interview with the new guardians of the museum, Eric Ang and Angeline Kong, here.

  • Museums
  • Geylang

The newly-upgraded Eurasian Heritage Gallery gives an insight into the lives of the Eurasian community in Singapore. Located in the Eurasian Community House in the heart of Katong, the gallery showcases the community's most prominent personalities, the history of Eurasians in Singapore, and its culture – which includes weddings, traditional outfits, and cuisine, among others. 

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  • Things to do
  • Cultural centres
  • Marine Parade

As the name suggests, Straits Enclave is a haven for Peranakans and those interested in Peranakan culture. Experience the Straits Golden era of the early 1900s at this private museum, which is decked out with heirlooms and precious antiques collected from generations of Peranakans. This is also where traditional culture and crafts are kept alive –  try on a full kebaya, learn the art of Peranakan beading, indulge in a homecooked meal, or play the traditional Cherki card game. The best part is getting to interact with members of the Peranakan community, who have a wealth of knowledge about their rich culture and heritage. 

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • Geylang

This private museum gives visitors a taste of old-world Peranakan charm. It is a treasure trove of Peranakan furniture, costumes, trinkets, and even old black-and-white photographs – all owned by collector Alvin Yapp who is also of Peranakan descent. Take a tour around the shophouse residence with Alvin, and learn about the rich Peranakan history, culture, and even embroidery craft. That's not all – an hour tour includes tea, while a two-hour tour of lunch or dinner with authentic Nonya dishes prepared by his mother. Mmm, nothing like home-cooked food.

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  • Things to do

The main star of Joo Chiat and Katong? The charming two and three-storey shophouses, rich in heritage and culture. Take a jaunt down Koon Seng Road where you’ll find the popular eye-candies adorned in ceramic Peranakan floral motifs, geometrical tiles, pastel hues and even Chinese couplets which are said to bring good fortune. 

While you can’t photograph its interiors, Rumah Bebe has eye-catching cerulean exteriors and bright Peranakan tiles that your ‘gram desperately needs. For something less in-your-face, take a stroll down Lotus @ Joo Chiat, a stretch of 18 white conserved shophouses with green windows and doors with intricate carvings. Lace up and grab your camera – we’re going shophousing.

  • Art
  • Street art

If you're strolling along East Coast Road – en route to ice cream parlour Birds of Paradise – remember to keep your eyes peeled. There is a myriad of Insta-worthy urban artworks that bathe the walls of shophouses and other buildings here. Lurking away at one of the small side laneways between two shophouses at 107 East Coast Road is a majestic masterpiece titled Medley Alley. It resembles wings made of colourful, Peranakan-inspired tiles, representing the metamorphosis between generations. For a colossal wall art, feast your eyes on Jousting Painters along Everitt Road. It brilliantly captures the playful imagination of children.

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  • Kids
  • Playgrounds
  • Geylang

Burn some energy at this long, narrow recreational area sandwiched between houses in Joo Chiat. Here, kids (and kidults) are welcome to take on one of the city's 15 vertical playgrounds: the Wallholla Playground. It's equipped with rope bridges, a rock climbing wall, and a fireman's pole to boot. However, note that the playground can only hold up to 30 kids.

  • Sport and fitness
  • Cycling
  • Marine Parade

Besides making you sweat with its HIIT and boxing classes, Active Fitness also helps you smash your fitness goals with spin classes. Make your way to an industrial-looking shophouse in the heart of Joo Chiat for its indoor spin studio, Cycle Beats. With 30 stationary bikes, it's currently the biggest in Singapore. What goes inside involves a calorie-busting, rhythmic cycling workout complete with bright stage lights and pumping club music – think of it as a party on a bike that helps you burn up to 800 calories.

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  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Marine Parade

Take a break from exploring the Katong area and get your trotters kneaded into utter submission with the award-winning Feet Haven. Not your average spa, the cosy space is tricked out with hanging light bulbs, standing spotlights, and quirky furniture to make you feel at ease. At the hands of its experienced masseurs, the popular 60-minute foot massage ($42) will have your feet feel brand new once again.

Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong
  • Hotels
  • Marine Parade

For a staycay with Peranakan flavour, book a stay at this boutique-style hotel. It's splashed out in vivid colours and Peranakan touches abound: from floor tiles that mimic the mosaic pattern found in Peranakan abodes, to Singer sewing machine legs that form the base of in-room vanity counters and ornate display cases that double up as the minibar. Did we mention the enamel washbasin for you to have a foot soak in just like the matriarchs of old? But if that doesn't quite cut it, there's a rooftop lap pool, as well as a 24-hour gym, a lobby lounge/business centre stocked with local books, and an in-house restaurant that stays faithful to Nyonya flavours.

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