In Singapore, you have your hipster cafes and traditional hawker centres selling kopi.
Banchong Café located at Vanguard Campus (at Kallang Junction) is like a mixture, maybe even a bridge, bringing the two different worlds together.
We are also probably seeing placing selling kopi paying more attention to their interior, offerings and branding.
To be honest, I was still doubtful when I checked out their photo on Instagram, and wondered if it would be another “Instagram vs reality” situation. “So nice place sell kopi?”
Despite the rather ‘local’ sounding name, its décor went for white minimalist with lots of greens – high ceiling, white coloured and clean-lines.
I do need to highlight that the place has no aircon.
So would the Instagram-lovin’ millennials flock to a café selling kopi and curry chicken, which probably cost a fraction of the price of eggy-brunch and waffles?
Maybe not so yet.
The menu in Banchong is like your typical Singaporean coffee chains, the likes of Yakun, Killiney Kopitiam and Toast Box.
It has a rather lean menu of the usual Mee Siam ($4.50), Laksa ($5.50), and Curry Chicken ($5.80). Perhaps they can look into expanding with 1-2 differentiating local dishes that has their “stamp” on it.
The prices are really good, as the French Loaf with Kaya and Butter Set only cost me $4.50, which includes a drink, and soft boiled eggs.
Drinks such as Kopi, Kopi O, Teh C, Milo and Yuan Yang are priced at $1.40 to $1.80 for the hot versions, slightly cheaper than the chain stores.
Maybe the more ‘unusual’ item here would be the French Loaf with Kaya and Butter (SGD4.50 for set, SGD2.20 for ala carte).
The French Loaf was toasted before adding the slab of butter and “Chef GK’s Kaya” spread, and the kaya handmade in-house daily using locally sourced ingredients.
The Laksa (SGD5.50) was more on the rich side, slightly spicy. I really haven’t had such a ‘gao’ and coconuty Laksa in while.
For the price, I have to say they are pretty generous with their ingredients. 2 prawns, 1 full egg, taopok, chicken shreds and fishcake. Prawns were fresh and plump.
Maybe one of the better Laksas in Singapore offered in a café.
The Kopi (SGD1.40 for hot, SGD2.40 for iced) wasn’t overly sweet.
The coffee is also freshly brewed and pulled, which I appreciate. Because more places are going into pre-making beverages such as Iced Kopi in batches – just pour, add ice and serve.
Banchong has made it happen – quality kopi + great looking space.
Hopefully we will see more of such spaces, to keep out local kopi and food culture alive.
1 Kallang Junction, Vanguard Campus, Singapore 339263
Tel: 6732 6966
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 6pm (Mon – Fri), Closed Sat, Sun
* Written by DFD’s Café Correspondent @__sy_g. Songyu is a food and travel blogger whose hobby is uncovering hidden hipster cafes. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.