The word “best” is subjective, but when we are looking at noteworthy new cafes in Singapore, the entire package is considered – from coffee, interior, consistency to service. (Food is not key primary in this list as cafes should be coffee-focused.)
It is fair enough to say that new café openings have slowed down this year, and many are foreign brands setting up an overseas post in Singapore.
% Arabica Singapore
56 Arab Street Singapore 199753
Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm (Mon – Sun)
Famous Kyoto Cafe At Arab Street
%Arabica which opened at 56 Arab Street, is still going on strong with constant crowd with both locals and tourists heading over.
The Arab Street branch is a small 20-seater, designed in minimalist white similar to many of the other stores world-wide. So if you are looking for comfort, perhaps this is not the place.
Caffe Latte is priced here at $7 for short, $8 for tall, while the iced version is priced at $8. On the pricy set.
If you prefer something sweeter, also available is the Spanish Latte ($7.80. $9.00) which is included with condensed milk.
I enjoyed the Iced Caffe Latte, it was as pleasurable as how I remembered it to be – the smooth milky feeling, aromatic coffee, and balanced robustness.
% Arabica Singapore should be opening up more branches, locations set to be at Holland Village and 313@somerset. %Arabica Singapore (Arab Street)
Starter Lab Bakery
721 Havelock Road Singapore 169645 (Tiong Bahru Station)
Tel: +65 9839 0408
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 5pm (Mon – Sun)
Famous Bakery From Bali Opens In Singapore
From hipster area of Canggu in Bali to Havelock Road, Starter Lab Bakery has opened its 2nd outpost (in the world) right here in Singapore.
Baker-consultant Emerson Manibo has worked at New York’s Per Se, trained at famed Tartine and Della Fattoria bakeries in California.
The bakery café essentially offers a wholesome menu of posh toast (so much so they have been reviewed to serve the “Gucci Of Bread”), sandwiches and build your own bread boards.
All the loaves and pastries served (other than the scones) contain sourdough/starter, and loaves are fermented over 36 hours before being baked.
If you are lost at what to order, some recommendations include House-Made Mascarpone, sustainable honey, bee pollen and crushed walnuts ($14); Salmon, pickle, house-made creme fraiche on Danish Rye ($14), Country Loaf ($11 for half, $18 for whole, estimated 1.2kg), and Miso Baguette.
Breads are top-notch quality, while coffee is with partnership with Glasshouse. Starter Lab (Havelock Road)
2 MacTaggart Road, #01-01 Khong Guan Building, Singapore 368078
Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm Last Order 4:30pm (Mon – Fri); 9pm – 6pm Last Order 5:30pm (Sat), Closed Sun
Hipster Cafe Within The Heritage Khong Guan Building
You may not have expected to find a hipster café within this interesting and nostalgic building located where MacTaggart Road and Burn Road meets.
As you look up to the top and read from right to left, you would notice the words 康元 which means Khong Guan.
Alchemist started out as small takeaway coffee outpost in the CBD. This 3rd outlet is their flagship store where they house the coffee roasters at the back, and an island-open concept coffee bar at the front.
They continue to source for their own coffee, roast them, and then focus on making it simple and approachable to our customers.
I also liked the environment, not as echoey as expected, with various seating arrangements, and decorative traces of the old heritage building. Just look at the flooring. Alchemist (MacTaggart Road)
Apollo Coffee Bar
65 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555961
Opening Hours: 9am – 10pm (Tue – Sat), 9am – 7pm (Sun), Closed Mon
Mediterranean-Inspired Brunch Café Opens At Serangoon Garden
By the people behind Atlas Coffeehouse, Lunar Coffee Brewers and Columbus Coffee Co., the team have got their formula quite right with every venture, by coming up with variance of industrial chic dining environment coupled with creative food offerings to satisfy café hopper’s interest.
The food menu at Apollo are mostly new creations and inspired from Mediterranean origins. They are also categorized into SMALL and LARGE plates to promote communal dining.
I took a liking to the recommended Pork & Pear Tartine ($19.50) which came with roasted pears, bacon chunks, caramelized onions and ricotta cheese spread on a bed of fluffy ciabatta bread.
Exclusive to Apollo Coffee Bar is the Dark Chocolate and Miso Caramel Softserve ($7). I prefer the latter which has an interesting blend of salty miso and sweet caramel flavour. Apollo Coffee Bar (Serangoon Garden)
2 Orchard Turn, #01-15/16 ION Orchard Mall, Singapore 238801
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Gorgeous Moroccan Themed Coffee Boutique & Brunch Place
This is the Moroccan brand’s first international outpost, specialising in coffee from single origins, coffee blends as well as flavoured coffee.
People think the concept is like TWG, but coffee version.
There are over 200 to choose from, and so you can come almost every day in a year if variety is what you crave. While the coffee selection may look overwhelming at first, they do include the taste profile and strength, and the serving staff can guide you along to make a preferred selection.
The décor itself is striking, designed to reflect the Moroccan Dar el Bacha palace in Marrakech. Some customers take the opportunity to strike a pose, some repeatedly and too many.
As for food, perhaps the more unique and Moroccan style dishes left a better impression, such as the Morrocan Chicken Pastilla infused with Rosenheim Coffee ($24), and Moroccan Kefta Meatballs accompanied with straw potato fries ($28). Bacha Coffee (ION Orchard)
12 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089265 (Outram/Chinatown MRT)
Tel: +65 6996 3937
Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm (Wed – Sun), 6pm – 11pm (Wed, Thurs, Sun), 6pm – 1am (Fri, Sat) Closed Mon, Tues
1st African Themed Café In Singapore
Kafe Utu is listed first because it dares to be bold, different, and sticks true to its theme. How many African themed places in Singapore can you find?
The attention to details… from the menu design, sofa, cushions, decorations, paintings, doors to even the panels, you know a lot of thought has been put into the collection and planning of the space.
Many of the furniture (even the doors) used are specially imported.
Kafe Utu serves up brunch items, East and West African food, as well as specialty coffee. Owner Kurt Wagner grew up in Kenya and wanted to bring a piece of home to Singapore.
Food items on the menu include Swahili Fish Curry ($29) with red snapper, tamarind, coconut milk, house curry paste, habenero and coconut rice; Liberian Peanut Chicken Stew ($28); West African Spicy Greens ($28) with chicken thigh and smoked fish; and Caribbean Goat Curry ($28).
If you would prefer something safer and more familiar, go for the more ‘brunchy’ items such as Curried Avocado with Raw Garlic and Toast ($16) and Ricotta Hotcakes ($23).
Kafe Utu has really been on the radar, but its attention to details makes it a name to be mentioned. Kafe Utu (Jiak Chuan Road)
Glyph Supply Co
111 Somerset Road, #01-06, Singapore 238164
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 8:30pm (Mon – Fri), 10am – 8:30pm (Sat – Sun)
Minimalist White Café Found At Somerset
Glyph Supply Co. has been attracting quite a fair bit of customers, because it is an artisanal café with quite an “instagrammable” interior.
Coffee is priced at $4.50 for the black, $5.50 for the white, Coldbrew at $6.00, while iced versions cost $1 extra. For non-coffee drinkers, there is also offering of Matcha ($6.00) and Chocolate ($6.00).
This is slightly pricier than what you find in other hipster cafes in the neighbourhoods, but I suppose they have high rentals to pay.
Bakes are from Carpenter & Cook, and you get a rotational selection from Lemon Tart, Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Tart, Passionfruit Meringue Tart, Almond Croissant, Pain Au Chocolat, to savoury bites of Mushroom Quiche, and Ham and Cheese Croissant.
Quality coffee you can find at this part of town, plus it is considered slightly hidden. Glyph Supply Co. (TripleOne Somerset)
PPP Coffee by Papa Palheta
Funan #02-19, 107 North Bridge Road Singapore 179105
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Papa Palehta rebrands to PPP Coffee
We have not heard from specialty coffee roaster Papa Palheta in a while. The group who is also behind the famous hipster coffee place Chye Seng Huat Hardware, launched Singapore’s first employee-store PPP Coffee. That means a portion of the profits will go to the staff.
The revamped Funan has quite a number of coffee places, but PPP Coffee stands up for its quality control and modern outlook.
A highlight of the space is an experiential brew bar for customers to have a go at brewing and interacting with coffee apparatus
The selection also incorporates some local Nonya Kuehs and other locally inspired cakes, and you can look out for the Ondeh Ondeh ($5 for 5 pieces) with coffee infused gula melaka filling. PPP Coffee (Funan)
Cafe De Nicole’s Flower
224 Telok Kurau Rd, #01-01, Singapore 423836
Opening Hours: 8.30am – 8.30pm (Tue – Sun), Closed Mon
Floral-Themed Café With Soufflé Pancakes
While many new cafes in Singapore has gone for a minimalist or industrial concept, Cafe De Nicole’s Flower focuses on a garden theme.
And this is not just about the aesthetical aspect but also through its presentation and scent.
Being a florist shop, an event space, a workshop venue and an animal playground (yes, it’s pets friendly too!), the interior is like a garden with its pleasing floral scent in almost every part of the space.
Something that caught my attention is the addition of flowers, be it dried or fresh flowers, in all the desserts and drinks that I ordered.
Even though the souffle pancakes may not seem as tall, wobbly or bouncy (worthy for a Boomerang shot), this plate of soufflé pancakes is a piece of art on its own, with sauces, fruits and flowers used for plating. Cafe De Nicole’s Flower (Telok Kurau Road)
Baristart Coffee Singapore
65 Tras Street Singapore 079004 (Tanjong Pagar MRT)
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Hokkaido Cafe With Delicious Cream Puff
It is the first café here to offer coffee using the popular Brown Jersey Milk from Biei, a small town in Hokkaido, Japan.
This is matched with beautiful latte art; its food and desserts.
The desserts, all made in-house, are designed by the talented pastry Chef Emi Sasaki with the support of local chefs whom had spent several weeks of intensive training in Japan.
Most would head for the Shiro Kuma ($9.80). Shaped like a bear, Shiro Kuma is a shaved ice dessert is too adorable to destroy and eat. This much-talked about item is served with a glass of Hokkaido BIEI Jersey Milk, so you can drizzle a little or pour as much as you like.
You can also opt for other homemade syrups instead of the milk, i.e. Coffee, Strawberry, Mango, and Green tea for your preferred flavour.
Also, can I add that its Cream Puff is one of the best I tried in Singapore? Baristart Coffee (Tras Street)
343 Jurong East Street 31, #01-59, Singapore 600343
Tel: +65 9183 8447
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 10:00pm (Thurs – Tues), 11:00am – 10:00pm (Sat – Sun), Closed Wed
Patisserie With Delicious Matcha Cake And Lime Tart
Lee’s Confectionery has recently attracted a lot of attention on social media, and it certainly has grabbed mine with its visually satisfying in-house made pastries.
Its space may not be considered insta-worthy as it is small, but the bakes certainly are.
Located near Chinese Garden MRT, the confectionery serves roughly 6 to 7 different types of tarts, with some varieties available on a rotational basis.
The best-seller here is the Dale ($8), which includes matcha included 4 ways – in a sponge, as crumble, matcha mousse, passionfruit compote with seeds on a tart sprinkled with… matcha powder.
A refined and polished version with multiple different textures.
Soft sponge cake, crispy crumble, creamy mousse, crunchy passionfruit seeds and sturdy tart base. Lee’s Confectionery (Jurong East)
JW360° (Japan Way Three Sixty)
78 Airport Boulevard, #01-223/224/225, Jewel Changi Airport (Nearest Terminal T1)
Tel: (Retail) +65 6242 8377 I (Restaurant) +65 6243 2466
Opening Hours: 9am – 11pm (Mon – Sun)
Legit Matcha Desserts At Jewel Changi Airport
If you are a sweet tooth or just needing a tea break while walking around Jewel Changi Airport, the JW360° café corner is for you.
They have a range of cakes and gelato, with matcha and sakura specials, using Japanese ingredients like matcha, adzuki bean, and wasanbon, an expensive fine-grained Japanese sugar made from Shikoku sugarcane.
The must-get is the Japanese Gelato ($7.50) with 2 flavours topped with sweet potato. Flavours include Japanese Whiskey, Caramel Walnut, Soba-Cha (interesting), Matcha Milk, Sweet Potato, Hoji-cha and Black Sesame.
The Goma I dare say with its rich and intense flavour, is possibly THE BEST black sesame gelato I had in Singapore.
The picturesque Matcha Mont Blanc ($9.00) with Japanese chestnut paste is my personal favourite; while Matcha Mille Feuille ($9.00) with matcha butter, custard and sweet chestnut are both art-on-a-plate. JW360° (JEWEL Changi Airport)
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