2018 is going past us like a breeze.
Looking at the trend of cafe openings in Singapore, it is certainly slowly down especially after the 1st half of the year. More cafe owners are seeing the challenge in operating in a competitive market, in which customers have more choices and less loyalty.
So what constitutes to the “best” NEW cafes?
They all open in the year of 2018, and have the complete package in terms of drinks (and food) offerings, service and ambience. You are likely to disagree with a couple but that is fine.
There are a number which I wish to put inside, but perhaps lacking in a certain X-factor. Anyway, here are the 10 Best NEW Cafes In Singapore:
161 Lavender Street #01-12 Singapore 338750
Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm (Mon – Sun)
Beautiful White Cafe That Makes You Feel Like Home
This specialty coffee place at Lavender Street is called “Apartment” because the owner wanted to create the vibes of inviting people home, to have chats with coffee lovers at the counter seats, and for them to feel welcomed.
I think a lot of instagrammers will start heading here, because the café fulfils many requirements needed for those ‘mood’ and ‘got-feel’ shots – natural daylight, white space, Scandinavian furniture, locally-designed ceramic cups.
I was recommended the Colombia La Falda ($6.50), a single origin with notes of plum, redcurrant and grapefruit.
It was indeed a well-balanced, refreshing cup with that obvious fruitiness that made a good perk-me-up. Apartment Coffee (Lavender Street)
CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Japanese Cafe & Teahouse Hidden Within CHIJMES
A Japanese teahouse located within the walls of the 19th-century built chapels at CHIJMES.
The space has a minimalist touch with wooden elements incorporated into every single details, yet brought out the beauty and the simplicity in the design. (Reminds me of Peace Oriental Teahouse from Bangkok.)
The tea apparatus and tableware are all neatly displayed at the bar counter, from the mini stone mill grinder, pour over apparatus, tea scoop to the whisk.
This is probably the best spot to witness all the actions and effort in preparing every cup of tea. They have recently expanded their space, and certainly feels more “zen” now.
31 Bukit Pasoh Road Singapore 089845
Tel: +65 6320 9180
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Perhaps The Most Beautiful Café To Open This Year
Clan Café is located on the ground floor of Straits Clan – a members’ only club; and the space used to house New Majestic Hotel.
It was indeed a space I liked immediately upon walking in, actually from the moment I saw the Instagram account – and this is when reality looked as pleasant as the gallery on social media.
Designed by local firm Takenouchi Webb, there were the tropical elements that would make you want to sip on a Pina Colada, yet it felt classy enough to be able to hold a quick business meet-up.
My friend thought there were parts that reminded her of a beautiful and welcoming living room. Clan Café (Bt Pasoh)
Columbus Coffee Co.
220 Upper Thomson Rd Thomson Garden Estate, Singapore 574352
Phone: +65 6253 6024
Opening Hours: 9am – 10pm (Tues – Sat), 9am – 7pm (Sun), Closed Mon
Popular Upper Thomson Café By Team Behind Atlas and Lunar
By the team behind Atlas Coffeehouse at Bukit Timah and Lunar Coffee Brewers at Downtown Gallery, Columbus Coffee Co is relatively new but very well received.
It is a bold step to open a new café in an area already swarming with a dozen others, but it definitely stands out. You should find yourself liking the general vibe as soon as you step in. It has a spacious seating area, looking chic and neat.
There are no so-called recommended items, but some dishes that appealed included Mushrooms on Sourdough ($14), Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($14.50), Mussels with Coconut Lemongrass & Ale ($17), Heart Meatballs On Toast ($18), Brown Butter Sardine Crumb Pasta ($18), to sweets of Butterscotch Banana Pancake ($18.50), Peanut Butter & Berries ($14) and Earl Grey Caramel Waffle ($12.50).
The Summer Chicken Stew ($18) seemed like an obvious choice.
This dish had a slight Asian-take as it reminded me of a home-cooked meal with roasted potatoes and carrots, except that the gravy was not as creamy as I imagined. Columbus Coffee Co. (Upper Thomson)
Five Oars Coffee Roasters
39 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088462 (Tanjong Pagar MRT)
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Melbourne Inspired Cafe With Loads Of Brunch Items
Five Oars Coffee Roasters along Tanjong Pagar Road is said to be Melbourne-café inspired.
It certainly looks attractive (ie instagrammable) from the outside, with effective use of greens and a square-shaped seating arranging to create an illusion of space.
For the menu, there is an extensive list of brunch items, followed by a couple of pastas and rice bowls. The recommended items included Cured Ocean Trout ($22.50), Strawberry Avocado ($18.00), Mentaiko Mac & Cheese ($20.50); while its dinner menu offers Beef Wellington ($32.00) and Duck Gnocchi ($21.00).
However, the price is towards the expensive side. It certainly got a lot of attention from bloggers during the opening days, but think it can have a more enticing menu to keep people talking and coming back. Five Oars Coffee Roasters (Tanjong Pagar)
Halcyon & Crane
Paragon Level 3 (Orchard MRT)
Tel: +65 9727 5121
Opening Hours: 9am – 10 pm (Mon – Sun)
Western Meets Sichuan Food In The Heart Of Orchard
Halcyon & Crane brings about Western-meets-Sichuan café-style dining and drinking at Orchard Paragon.
Its food is modern European with Sichuan influence, and has a well-designed chic and serene pavilion concept where you can take a break after all that shopping.
Some of their signature items include King’s Chicken Hash Benedict ($21) of English muffins topped with gong bao chicken, sous-vide egg and Cheddar cheese; Beetroot & Seafood Risotto ($32) made with Japanese pearl rice and given a touch of spice from pickled chilli; Baby Chicken Roulade ($32); and Chicken & Mushroom Capellini ($23), a nourishing soup of chicken and bamboo mushrooms with quality vermicelli noodles imported from Sichuan. Halcyon & Crane (Orchard Paragon)
Liberty Coffee Bar
387 Jalan Besar Singapore 209002
Opening Hours: 10am – 6pm (Tues – Thurs), 10am – 8pm (Fri), 9am – 6pm (Sat), Closed Sun, Mon, PH
Popular Cafe Is Back After 4 Years
After 4 years of absence, the NEW Liberty Coffee Bar is back and located at 387 Jalan Besar, steps away from Kam Leng Hotel.
Other than its signature coffee blends, there is a “simple but focused” food menu consisting of pastas, sandwiches and finger foods.
Unfortunately, the previously-popular Lemon Poppy Cake and Gular Melaka Café won’t be available anymore.
Offerings include Rodeo Hero Sandwich ($14) with Angus beef and homemade bacon & onion jam; Hot Butt Sub ($13) filled with Cubano-style pork hind; Ragu on Ribbons ($15) – a papardelle pasta in rich tomato-based beef & pork sauce; and Blue & Shells ($13) – pasta shells cooked with Gorgonzola cheese.
Good to have you back, Liberty. Liberty Coffee Bar (Jalan Besar)
8 Craig Road, Singapore 089668 (Tanjong Pagar MRT)
Opening Hours: 7.30am – 5pm (Mon-Sun)
Melbourne Inspired Cafe At Tanjong Pagar
Melbourne-inspired brunch fare, white and spacious interior, glass rooftop with natural sunlight, are some of the promising pull factors for Bearded Bella – the promising brunch and coffee place at Craig Road.
The name may sound catchy: union of a Bearded man and a Bella, which represents the fun and quirkiness here.
A selection of healthy-looking breakfast items such as Toast, Chia Pudding, Smashed Avocado and brunch food such as Dill Cured Salmon, the Bearded Egg and Pulled Brisket Sliders are available.
Bearded Bella (Craig Road)
Benjamin Barker Café
8 Grange Road, #01-01, Cineleisure, Singapore 239695 (Somerset MRT)
Tel: +65 6732 2123
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Sun – Thurs), 10am – 12mn (Fri – Sat)
Popular Menswear Label Opens Stylish Café
Some may not know that the fashion label is a home-grown brand, with the name inspired by the expression “Benjamin Generation” – a prophetic name which implies astounding blessings.
One thing distinct about their stores is the thought put into the interior, as though you are walking into someone’s house, designed like a living room.
The Cineleisure Orchard clothing store is decorated with keepsakes the founder collected during his travels, and the vintage typewriter from London was the same one used when he proposed to his wife.
What appealed to me were the neon words of “It is swell with my soul.” – a clever play of words on a famous hymn. Benjamin Barker Café (Orchard Cineleisure)
215F Upper Thomson Road Singapore 574349
Opening Hours: 10am – 11pm (Mon, Wed, Thurs), 10am – 12am (Fri), 8am – 12am (Sat), 8am – 4pm (Sun)
Under-Rated Café With Decent Brunch Items
Birdy’s is a newly-opened neighbourhood kitchen and bar at 215F Upper Thomson, which serves up breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, wines, craft beers and everything in between.
The strange name of “Birdy’s” comes from a fictional character who is peckish is all day, and the shop’s objective is to provide quality without the frills.
Its menu is divided into Day and Night, with the evening menu comprising of recommended dishes such as Charred Cauliflower “Steak” ($15) with semidried tomatoes, chives and hazelnut beurre noisette; Slow Cooked Pork ($25) of 12 hours braised pork belly in kecap manis, served with duck fat potatoes.
I would recommend the Eggs On Toast ($9). Not many cafes (even restaurants) in Singapore do the ‘simple’ Scrambled Eggs well, but Birdy’s got it just right in terms of the consistency, creaminess and fluffiness. Birdy’s (Upper Thomson)
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