River Valley which is an area popular with the expat community, has been bustling with cafes of late such as Little Farms Café, Grace Espresso, Kura, and Starter Lab which is a short walk away at Havelock Road.
While much has been written about cafes at nearby Tiong Bahru, I thought of compiling a cafe guide listing coffee places from Valley Point, Great World to UE Square – all in the River Valley area.
Note: There are also Common Man Coffee Roasters, Grounded by CMCR and PS. Cafe along Martin Road, which is also a short walk away.
474 River Valley Road Singapore 248359
Tel: +65 6221 6223
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 6:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Patisserie Known For Delicate Japanese-Style Cakes Opens At River Valley
It is a pleasant surprise to find Pantler moved to the River Valley hood, opposite Valley Point (which also houses Little Farms Café and LR Boulangerie).
You would notice there is not only an alfresco seating area outside, but a dining area at the back which includes a covered sitting space which evokes dining under the open sky with an artificial skylight.
Signature products include the Yatsura ($9.50) featuring hazelnut praline and dark chocolate ganache, Chou a la Creme ($5.50), Pantler Cheesecake ($7.80), Dark Chocolate Delice ($8.80), and the Strawberry Shortcake ($9.50).
If you are looking out for the new stuff, they are the Raspberry Pistachio ($9.50), Russa ($9.50), Gianduja ($9.50) and Ivory ($9.50).
The Raspberry Pistachio ($9.50) would please those who love that gentle tanginess, with raspberry buttercream contrasted with the more muted layer of pistachio sponge. Pantler (River Valley)
PRAIRIE by Craftsmen – River Valley
486 River Valley Road, Singapore 248370 (Opposite Valley Point)
Opening hours: 8:30am – 9:30pm (Sun – Thurs), 8:30am – 10:30pm (Fri – Sat)
Beautiful Pink Dining Space With Brunch, Croissant And Coffee
This tail-end stretch of River Valley Road has been flourishing with cafés including Pantler, Little Farms Café, LR Boulangerie, Grace Espresso, and now PRAIRIE by Craftsmen.
While the Bukit Timah PRAIRIE has an outdoor seating area with natural daylight and more greenery feature, the River Valley branch is done with a contemporary look decorated in various shades of dusty-pink.
The All-Day Breakfast items include Acai Super Bowl ($14), Hummus Sourdough ($16), Ricotta Cream Sourdough ($16), Egg & Bacon Sourdough ($17), Morning Pancake ($17), Beef Breakfast ($18), Salmon Bruschetta ($19) and Prairie Breakfast ($20).
A whole new menu is created exclusively for this outlet, which includes all-day brunches as well as lunch & dinner menu with salads, mains, pasta, burgers, and sides.
Signature items include Beef Breakfast ($18), Salmon Bruschetta ($19) with in-house beetroot cured salmon, Burrata Salad ($21), Spicy Italian Fettucini ($23), and White Bolognese Penne ($26). Prairie Café (River Valley Road)
491 River Valley Road, Valley Point #01-02, Singapore 248371
Opening Hours: 9am – 5:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Under-The-Radar Bakery Cafe With Crispy Croissants
For those craving for some fresh bakes of Buttery Croissants, Baguettes and Basque Burnt Cheesecake, you will be thrilled to know that there is a new and unknown (for now) French bakery LR Boulangerie at Valley Point (right next to Little Farms Café).
Besides serving their own coffee beans that are roasted in-house by Coffee Plus, LR Boulangerie offers a selection of bakes, mainly French-style breads and pastries, including cute and Instagram-worthy ones.
Sweet treats include Burnt Cheesecake ($12.80), Tiramisu ($9.80), New York Cheese Cake ($7.80) and Croque ($4.20) piped with vanilla custard, though they rotate depending on the time of the day.
It is worthy to wait for their freshly-baked Croissants, who would probably be snapped out not long after they are out from the oven.
Compared to some others which are generally either fluffy or dense, these were light and crisp, of buttery layers and remarkably flaky texture. (However, online reviews seem to be fairly mixed, though I did have good ones after two anonymous visits.) LR Boulangerie (River Valley Road)
Little Farms Café
491 River Valley Road, Valley Point #01-25, Singapore 248371
Tel: +65 6262 0619
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 8:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Wholesome Brunch Place With Fresh Produce
Little Farms has gained a little reputation since opening in 2016, known to offer fresh produce, meats, seafood, dairy, and groceries, source directly from suppliers in Australia and Europe.
It has recently expanded with a café and brunch concept at Valley Point, replacing where Greenwood Fish Market used to occupy.
The brand has typically been associated with fresh, wholesome and nutritious foods.
Ingredients are sourced directly from their suppliers over Australia and Europe, supposedly arriving within 2 days from the market floors to the shelves of their store.
Their breakfast and brunch items is available from 7:30am (considered quite early in Singapore’s context) to 3pm, offering Gluten-Free Crumpets, Bacon & Egg Roll ($14), Eggs Benedict ($22), Buttermilk Pancakes ($18), to Buttermilk Pancakes ($18).
I had the Smashed Avocado on Toast ($17), feeling a slight pinch in terms of price, though I must say that the mashed avocado was more creamy and luxurious than most of the average avo-toasts around. Little Farms Café (Valley Point)
Thong Aik Coffee
78 Indus Road #01-495 Singapore 161078 (15 min walk from Tiong Bahru MRT Station)
Tel: +65 8901 7155
Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun, PH
Nanyang Coffee & Authentic Thai Cuisine In One Café
People do not head over to Indus Road for food on an ordinary day, though it is of walking distance to Valley Point and Beo Crescent Food Centre.
Thong Aik Coffee is considered a well-hidden find within this older estate near River Valley Road Bukit Ho Swee.
Thong Aik serves up Nanyang coffee in the morning, and Thai food from lunch (11am) to dinner as it is a collaboration with Ying Thai (not to be confused with Yhingthai Palace Restaurant).
Starting with the morning offering from 8am to 11am, there are items of Lu Rou Fan aka Braised Pork Rice Bowl ($3.90), Century Egg Porridge ($2.90), and Green Bean Soup with Gula Melaka ($2).
Moving ahead to Lunch, you can expect something totally different with Basil Minced Pork Rice ($6), Thai Fried Rice ($5.50), Tang Hoon with Pork or Chicken ($5.50), Green Curry Chicken with Rice ($6), Pineapple Fried Rice Chicken ($5.50), Phad Thai ($7) and Tom Yum Fried Rice ($5.50).
I was initially quite surprised at the quality of the Green Curry when I first tried – rich and deliciously creamy, not losing out on the heat factor. Thong Aik Coffee (Indus Road)
428 River Valley Road #01-14 Loft@Nathan Singapore 248327
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 6pm (Mon – Sun)
Hidden Cafe With Good Coffee, Opens From 7:30AM
This hidden café along River Valley is done up simply with medium-blue walls, with most of the customers seated outside on the wooden bench.
The tables are ‘tree logs’ and I enjoyed its easy-going vibes.
While there is no air-con, I still think it is a rather comfortable space to watch the world go by.
The menu is quite rather lean, Loaded Avo Toast ($12), Crunchy Peanut Butter Banana Toast ($8), Grace Benedict ($12), Turkey Bacon Avo Melt ($12) and Roast Beef & Portobello Mushrooms Sandwich ($14).
For Pescatarians (people who eat fish but not meat), available is a Big Breakfast ($15.50) with smoked salmon, portobello mushrooms, scrambled eggs, cherry tomatoes on sourdough.
For drinks, they offer up the usual Flat White, Latte, Cappuccino ($5.50 each), Mocha ($6), Matcha Latte ($6) and option of Ceremonial Grade Matcha Latte ($7.50).
I enjoyed the coffee which was balanced and slightly rich due to the usage of Hokkaido milk. Grace Espresso (River Valley)
409 River Valley Road, Singapore 248307
Opening Hours: 8am – 10:30pm (Sun – Thu), 8am – 11am (Fri – Sat), Closed Tues
Café Concept With Cakes, Thai, Indonesian, Filipino Food
Culture Spoon is a new co-sharing kitchen concept along River Valley Road, with a 40 seaters space (30 indoors and 10 outdoors) featuring different chefs and cuisines on different days of the week.
You get Thai, Western, Indonesian, Filipino Food, along with pastries and cakes – offered at different hours of the day.
Thai food is prepared by Wok with Man, Chef Wyman Wong who has prior experience at two-Michelin-starred Waku Ghin, and is available daily for lunch (11.30am – 2.30pm) and dinner (after 5.30pm).
There are 2 pop-up concepts: Mamilani Home Cook (Indonesian food) on Fridays and Saturdays; and Luci’s Kitchen (Western and Filipino dishes) for lunch on Sundays to Thursdays dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
Dessert is sourced from Cultured Bakeyard from 7.30am, whereas coffee is supplied by Quarter Life Coffee Roasters and Tea by The Tea Affair. Not bad place where you can try a variety in one seating. Culture Spoon (River Valley)
Mavrx Coffee Bar
1 Kim Seng Promenade, #01-129 Great World Office Lobby, Singapore 237994
Opening Hours: 8am – 5:30pm (Mon – Fri), 8am – 4:30pm (Sat – Sun)
Hipster Coffee Place Moved From Duxton To Great World Office Tower
First and foremost, “Mavrx” is pronounced as “Mavericks”, just in case.
As the owners believe the best ideas are brewed over a great cup of coffee, the name is a celebration of “mavericks” – individuals doing things from works of originality, creativity, to experimentation.
The menu has been expanded to include a selection of coffee, aromatic teas, and special lattes such as Genmaicha and a Seven spice chai.
Mavrx Coffee Bar serves up cups of Espresso ($3.50), Flat White ($5), Latte ($5), Cappuccino ($5), Mocha ($5.50), and the not-so-common Genmaicha Latte ($5.50) and Yuzu Cooler ($5.50).
It also offers options of House Blend and Single Origin – a Kenya Rianjagi with blackcurrent, lemonade sweetness, and juicy finish.
The MAVRX house blend is a medium roasted coffee blend using the Allpress Espresso Blend made from 4 origins- Brazil, Sumatra, Colombia & Guatemala, with primary flavours of caramel and cocoa and clean, crisp apple acidity. Mavrx Coffee Bar (Great World)
The Dark Gallery – Great World
Great World #01-117/118, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, Singapore 237994
Tel: +65 6235 4582
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Dark Chocolate Heaven With All-Day High Tea, Dessert Dégustation And Brunch
Salon by The Dark Gallery is an expansion on the brand’s philosophy, and the new concept combines dedicated dine-in salon, café, retail.
What’s welcomed is that there is spacious dining space for a relaxing day out, a takeaway counter and sit-down cafe area for a quick coffee or ice cream, and retail section for Ice Cream Cakes, Single Origin Chocolate Tablets, Bonbons and Macarons.
Also included is a new dine-in menu crafted by Brand Chef Kimberly Tan, with exclusive plated desserts and savoury dishes – after customers have requested for more brunch food.
The French Toast ($18 for ala carte order, $39 as part of Dessert Dégustation Set) is served a la mode with a scoop of sea salt butterscotch-flavoured ice cream.
The freshly baked brioche is fluffy and slightly custardy, paired with a medley of fresh fruits to balance out the richness. The Dark Gallery (Great World)
tcc Art Boutique Caffè
Great World 1 Kim Seng Promenade #01-119, Singapore 237994
Operating hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
New Brunch & Dessert Cafe With Pancake Tiramisu At Great World
tcc art boutique caffè has newly opened at Great World with a different menu and look.
The revamped menu offers everything from all-day breakfasts to appetisers, mains, and kids meals, down to a well-curated line of desserts, cakes, and healthier-choice beverages.
There are 12 new dishes in addition to tcc’s popular mainstays.
These include Soft-shell Crab Benedict ($20.80), Mille-Feuille Toast & Egg ($17.00), Garden Greens Salad ($15.00), Seafood Chowder in Bread Bowl ($19.50), Broccoli & Cheese Tortilla Bites ($11.80), Hot Wings & Fries ($16.90), Vegetarian Hawaiian Pasta “Pizza” ($17.80), Pulled Oyster Mushroom Burger ($15.00), Pan-Seared Salmon ($23.80), Stuffed Chicken Roulade ($22.00), Pancake Tiramisu ($13.80), and Belgian Waffles ($12.50).
This must-try main the Cold Angel Hair Pasta ($23.90), prepared with fine angel hair pasta and served cold for a different experience.
Beautiful in its simplicity, this exquisite pasta dish is an intermingling of ponzu-marinated salmon, scallop and black truffle paste. tcc art boutique caffè (Great World)
Plentyfull Bakery & Deli – Great World
1 Kim Seng Promenade #B1-K119, Great World, Singapore 237994
Tel: +65 6721 9952
Opening Hours: 9am – 8pm (Mon – Sun)
Freshly Baked Breads And Brunch At Great World
Plentyfull Bakery & Deli has a more casual, sunnier vibe and different menu (compared to the Millenia Walk outlet which has now closed) .
Other than fresh baked breads and cakes, bright salads, hearty hot mains like the Westside braised meatballs, customers can look forward to a Bubur Ayam dish first launched at this outlet.
At Plentyfull, food items are made from scratch whenever possible, preservative-free and sourced from farmers and artisans locally and internationally.
The menu includes offerings such as Plentyfull’s OG Avocado Toast ($13.90, +5 for Norwegian smoked salmon, +2 for sous-vide organic eggs), Plentyfull’s Wagyu Burger ($18.90), Grilled Cheese Toastie ($10.90), Westside Braised Meatball Spaghetti ($17.90), Truffle Cheese Fries ($11.90), Hand Stacked Potato Tots ($11.90), Sourdough Prawn Toast ($14.90), Oma’s Bubur Ayam ($12.90) and Bacon & Kimchi Fried Rice ($16.90).
336 River Valley Road, #04-02, Singapore 238366
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Hidden Cafe with Japanese Food Concept
SHO is the brainchild of the barista, Shawn Ho (and thus the name) and he started off from a home-based business selling bottled coffee, specifically cold brew.
The menu is short and concise, serving Cold Brew ($6 – $7) and Espresso-based drinks ($3 – $5) such as Latte ($5), Flat White ($5), Cappuccino ($5), Long Black ($4.50), Magic ($4.50), Espresso ($3) and Macchiato ($3.50).
Even though this hole-in-the-wall coffee bar can only accommodate 2 tables and 3 counter seats, the common area outside can accommodate another 40 people in total.
There was a small selection of Pastries, namely Butter Croissant ($3), Cheese Croissant ($3.50), Chocolate Twist ($3) and Pizza Twist ($4), all prepared and baked in-house in small quantities. Quite a relaxing spot to sip coffee with a pool view. SHO (River Valley Road)
46 Kim Yam Road, The Herencia #01-07 Singapore 239351
Tel: +65 9722 2996
Opening Hours: 11am – 6pm (Mon – Sun)
Well-Hidden Cake Café With Pretty & Delicious Black Forest Tart
Kura is a patisserie-café found at The Herencia, a commercial development located at Kim Yam Road (near River Valley Road), where Nan Chiau High School used to be situated at.
KURA 蔵 in Japanese stands for a “storehouse”, a place where the owners would ‘store’ treasured pastries for customers.
Some of their signature offerings include the Key Lime Tart ($4, $7.5), Earl Grey Tart ($8), Dark Black Forest ($8.50), Uji Triple Matcha Tart ($4.60, $8.50), Kopi Gao Tiramisu ($8), Hojicha Tiramisu ($8) and even a Mango Pomelo Tart ($9).
The Dark Black Forest ($6.50) which is a contemporary twist on nostalgic flavours comes recommended.
While it didn’t look like a black forest cake at all, it kept its ‘cherried’ essence within, and I enjoyed the soft chocolatey mousse-like texture. Kura (Kim Yam Road)
Gelatolabo – Mohamed Sultan
18 Mohamed Sultan Road, 01-01, Singapore 238967
Opening Hours: 1pm – 10pm (Mon – Thurs), 12pm – 10:30pm (Fri – Sun)
The gelato shop is known for churning out small batches in interesting flavours, and use only fresh fruits and source for local and organic ingredients where possible.
What you get include rotating flavours like Yamanashi Peach & Lemongrass, Madagascan Vanilla, Fuji Apple Pie & Cinnamon, Sakura Smoke, Artichoke & Pear Compote, Colombian Cold Brew & Cookie Butter Bits, Watermelon, Mint & Chia Seeds, Navel Orange & White Chrysanthemum Flower, Lychee Raspberry & Rose, and Kyoto Shiso & Yuzu Jelly.
This time I had the Fresh Tokyo Mochi Waffles (additional $6.60) which is again not so commonly seen in Singapore.
Made with nippon flour and mochi, this had a delightful crisp and a slight-sticky and soft inside.
While I initially thought this could have been pretty filling, it was overall not too dense or thick, and paired well with the lightly-flavoured gelato. Gelatolabo (Mohamed Sultan Road)
18 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-01, Singapore 238967
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (Wed – Mon), Closed Tues
Wood-Fired Brunch Cafe With Boston Crab Cakes And French Brioche Toast
Diners can now enjoy wood fired brunch in the day by Brick, wood fired pizza at night after 5pm by P. is for Pizza.
Brunch items such as Acai Superfood Bowl ($15), Cast Iron Baked Shashuka ($16), Convent Truffle Potatoes ($16), Boston Crab Cakes ($28), Breakfast of Champions ($28) and French Brioche Toast ($20) are available from 9am daily.
If you are heading for the mains, go after 10:30am for items of Smoked Tomato Soup ($12), Smoked Grilled Lemongrass Chicken ($24), Red Miso Crusted Salmon ($28) and 100 Days Ribeye Steak & Eggs ($32).
The Boston Crab Cakes ($28) arrived with 2 crab cake patties, coated in a batter before putting in into the wood fire oven.
There was a pleasant creaminess from the single poached egg, citrusy touch from the kefir lime in the mayonnaise, and a hint of spiciness from the paprika powder sprinkled over. Brick (Mohamed Sultan Road)
Dutch Colony Coffee Co. – UE Square
UE Square #01-21, 81 Clemenceau Avenue, Singapore 239917
Tel: +65 6904 4522
Opening Hours: 8am – 6pm (Mon – Sun)
Coffee Bar With Breakfast, Toasts And Cakes At UE Square
Not many may know that Dutch Colony Coffee Co. which has a popular outlet at Frankel Avenue, has another at UE Square (just adjacent to River Valley Road).
The coffee selection includes a rotating selection of single origins – Finca La Loma (Colombia), Yirgacheffe Aricha (Ethiopia) and Fazenda Santa Clara (Brazil).
If not, an Espresso ($3.50) or Latte ($5.00) made from the signature “Dutch Blends” which has tasting notes of milk chocolate and strawberries (on white) should be a good choice.
In terms of food, there are breakfast items of Granola Bowl ($9.80), Ham & Cheese Croissant ($8.50), Guacamole & Egg Toast ($10), and Toast with Butter & Jam ($4).
Or get a Tex Mex Beef Wrap ($8.50), Thai Chicken Wrap ($8.50), Beef Pastrami Sandwich ($9.50), Smoked Salmon Sandwich ($9.50) or Baked Beef Pie ($9.50). Dutch Colony Coffee Co. (UE Square)
Fine Dining Bakery
207 River Valley Road, 01-59 UE Square, Singapore 238275
Opening Hours: 9am – 3pm (Mon, Thurs – Sun), Closed Tues, Wed
French-Trained Baker with Quality European-style Breads
You would find many Japanese expats and ladies hanging around the café, and find that some of the recommended breads are quickly snapped up.
The head baker Chef Maekochi’s or “Akira” used to work at La Boutique de Joël Robuchon in Roppongi, Joël Robuchon at Resorts World Sentosa, and béni Singapore. That’s why the name of “fine dining bakery” due to his experience.
The bakery café specialises in handcrafted breads using Hokkaido flours, and baked throughout the day in small quantities so that the goods stay fresh.
Its signature is the Shokupan White Bread – deliciously soft and fluffy that may just transport you to Japan. You would also find the bread used for sandwiches such as the Fluffy Egg Salad Sandwich ($8.50).
Quick note that the cafe dine-in section is currently closed, and there are only takeaways available for now.
Tiong Bahru Bakery Foothills
Fort Canning Park, The Foot Hills, 70 River Valley Road, #01-05, Singapore 179037
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 7pm (Mon – Sun)
Swimming Pool Themed Cafe Opens From 7:30AM Daily
Taking over the space previously occupied by The Fabulous Baker Boy (which had since shifted to their new home at Aliwal Street), Tiong Bahru Bakery Foothills is located along River Valley Road, just a 2-minutes’ walk away from Fort Canning MRT Exit B.
To recreate and commemorate the site where a swimming pool previously was, check out the lifeguard stands, donut floats and faux “pool rules” signs that have been built within the 120-seater space for your #OOTD shots.
Here, you will notice more sourdough options on their menu, including their outlet-exclusive items.
These include Sourdough Croissant ($4.80) served with a creamy and crunchy crémeux praline filling; Nutmeg Teh Halia ($7), a ginger tea perfumed with spices; and Sourdough Kvass ($5), a sweet, sparkling and refreshing Eastern European beverage brewed with sourdough yeast.
Bestsellers include Kouign Amanns (Original $4.50, Bak Kwa $5), Croissant ($3.50), Pain Au Chocolat ($4), Almond Croissant (Original $4.80, Chocolate $5.20, Green Tea $5.20) can be seen on their display. Tiong Bahru Bakery Foothills (Fort Canning)