When I walked past this chio contemporary café at ION Orchard, I was slightly surprised it was a KOI. Yah, the Bubble Tea KOI. It looked like it could very well be one of those artisanal coffee chains.

Except that this is called Signature by KOI, which really means it is the more premium aka atas concept.

The other thing is, this was probably one of the few Bubble Tea shops that I see is empty, especially when it is in the heart of town during the peak festive season.

There were people who curiously walked in, and aimlessly walked out. Was it the price? Was it intimating? What?

I loved KOI when it landed in a humble Toa Payoh neighbourhood shop back in 2008. But of course time has moved on, and they have rebranded a few times with a strong following.

The Signature by KOI – the same concept as the outlet at Jewel Changi Airport, also serves up cakes, waffles, macarons, ice cream and $12.90 Totoi Toasts with a garden-like seat down area.

The recommended drinks also come at a premium pricing, with offerings included Ice Cream Earl Grey Black Tea ($5.10), Coffee Jelly Floral Green Milk Tea ($5.80), Oat-Ba Earl Grey Milk Tea ($6.30), Mini Bubble Chocolate ($7.30), Ice Cream Brown Sugar Earl Grey Milk Tea ($7.30) and Boba Brown Sugar Fresh Milk ($7.40).

Wah, $7.40. Not the most expensive, as there is also a Grapefruit Yakult at $7.60. Jeng Jeng Jeng (I start to recall my $2.50 BBT days…)

I ordered the Signature Pearl Earl Grey Milk Tea ($5.80) which come in mixed boba and mini pearls – one of the reasons why I liked KOI for the playful mixture of textures.

However, I did feel that the earl grey fragrance could have been more pronounced.

Also available are cakes such as the New York Cheesecake, Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Guinness, and Whiskey Carrot Cake.

I was recommended the Whiskey Carrot Cake, which tasted better after 10 minutes as it was still slightly hard when taken out of the chiller. Though I couldn’t really taste any strong traces of alcohol within.

There is a shift of BBT shops being just kiosks, to better branding with sit-down spaces. I think there will be enough people who are willing to pay more just to rest their legs after shopping.

If not, can always stick to the cheaper KOI Express concept. There is just one in the basement.

Signature by KOI (ION Orchard)
2 Orchard Turn #B3-18/19 ION Orchard, Singapore 238801
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)

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