Many of us are hit by the no-travel sian-ness.
While heading overseas for leisure and casual holidays is not in the horizon for now (Germany, perhaps?), you can still ‘travel the world’ with these 12 instagrammable cafes that are specially themed. No passports needed.
32 Maxwell Road, #01-07 Maxwell Chambers, Singapore 069115
Opening Hours: 9am – 10:30pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
This is where you can experience “Autumn in my heart 가을동화”. Create your own 秋天的童话.
I couldn’t help feeling how spacious, how well-decorated this space was. And the attention to details.
There were some groups of Koreans around, and there was a certain sense of tranquillity around (sorry, it got a lot more crowded when this post went out.)
You would be attracted by the different coloured autumns leaves of amber, crimson, orange, yellow and green, making you feel momentarily you are in Yeouido Park.
Other than the usual Latte and Long Black, there are more Korean-café oriented drinks such as Dalgona Coffee (don’t have to whip yourself), Creamy Choco, Sweet Potato Latte, Vanilla Latte, and Cloud Latte.
The drinks can be accompanied with scones in flavours of Cranberry, Coffee, Matcha, Chocolate, Korean Yuzu Citrus, Cinnamon & Almond, and Butter & Jam English Scone. Kreams (Maxwell Chambers)
Hvala – Keong Saik
34 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089141
Opening Hours: 12om – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Matcha fans will not be unfamiliar with Hvala, who started off as a waffles kiosk at 313@somerset and subsequently opened a few Japanese-style cafes over the years at CHIJMES and TripleOne Somerset.
Their latest flagship store which is a three-storey Japanese-inspired teahouse located along Keong Saik Road.
The first floor includes a cake display shelf, gelato counter and a tea counter bar for the curious diners to watch the matcha whisking and drinks preparation process.
Moving up, there is a similar interior layout to Hvala’s CHIJMES outlet, decked in a “living room style” with wooden furniture, sofas and ceramics on display.
Footwear has to be removed before entering the third floor, which has an interesting Japanese tatami-concept that is similar to the Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya Starbucks in a traditional Japanese house. Hvala (Keong Saik Road)
12 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089265
Tel: +65 6996 3937
Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm, 6pm- 10:30pm (Wed –Fri), 9am – 5pm, 6pm – 10:30am (Sat – Sun), Closed Mon, Tues
Kafe Utu is an all-day Afro café serving brunch, lunch, a curated set of east and west African food, and specialty coffee served with only Hokkaido milk.
At night, the Utu Lounge at this cashless establishment serves unique house cocktails, Kenyan ales, and a hand-distilled Procera.
Most of the items are made and sourced from Kenya (like 90 %!) from the hand-carved doors, hand-blown water glasses, and ceramic coffee cups and saucers, down to their leather and bill folders. The 8-meter long banquet table is made of African Mahogany.
Even the sauces used and served are all home-made, including the Congo Bongo, Fresh Mango Chilli Marmalade and House Chilli.
Highly recommended is the Swahili Fish Curry with Coconut Rice aka Mtuzi wa Samaki. Kenyans love this dish prepared with chunks of red snapper in a house curry paste, made even richer with tamarind paste, coconut milk, and spiced up with habanero peppers.
To balance the heat, it is served with coconut rice (made with parboiled rice with coconut milk) and kachumbari, a fresh tomato and onion salad dish. Kafe Utu (Jiak Chuan Road)
907 East Coast Road, #01-04 Springvale, Singapore 459107
Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm (Tues – Thurs), 11am – 10pm (Fri), 9pm – 10pm (Sat), 9am – 8pm (Sun), Closed Mon
La Fez is a new Muslim-owned (pending Halal certification) Moroccan-style cafe that opened 2 doors away from Kota88 Restaurant at East Coast Road.
Inspired by the Moroccan architectures, the iconic “horseshoe” arch can be seen from their windows and doorways from a distance.
Stepping inside, I felt like I had stepped into Marrakesh, one of the four historical capital cities of Morocco. It is also known as the “Rose City” due to the natural red clay used to tint their buildings.
The entire 70-seater space is painted in rose pink and gold, equipped with rattan chairs, and exudes a Mediterranean charm with a unique dining experience.
Two different menus are available, namely an all-day brunch starting from 8am and Lunch & Dinner from 11am onwards, with the incorporation of Arabic spices and ingredients in most of their dishes.
For their all-day brunch menu, signature dishes include the Majorelle Shakshuka with Feta Cheese ($19.90), Ziz Latkes Potato Pancakes ($12.90), Maghreb Baghrir Pancakes ($15.90), La Sultana Pandan Pancakes ($16.90) and Kasbah Brioche French Toast ($18.90). La Fez (East Coast Road)
Bali On The Cove
Sentosa Cove, Quayside Isle, #01-16, Singapore 098375
Opening Hours: 8am – 8pm (Mon – Sun)
Bringing a piece of Bali to Singapore, Bali on the Cove is the latest addition to Sentosa Quayside Isle located just few doors away from bicycle-themed cafe Crank n’ Chain.
This space includes a cafe, retail boutique and a co-working space (supposedly).
Here at Bali on the Cove, you can expect floor-to-ceiling glass windows for natural lighting and use of raw, natural materials such as rattan and wood for furniture pieces.
Earthly colours such as white, brown and green are commonly used in various corners. There is also a retail boutique in the centre area displaying various sculptures and ornaments.
Their brunch menu features a selection of the usual brunch fare slightly on the pricey side such as Acai Bowl ($18), Mixed grain Bircher muesli ($18), Egg Benedict on Sourdough with Bacon ($25), Eggs on Toast ($18) and Chia Pudding ($16). Bali On The Cove (Quayside Isle)
204 Telok Ayer Street Singapore, Singapore 068640
Opening Hours: 8am – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)
The 50 seaters space has a similar layout as Merci Marcel outlet at Tiong Bahru, separated into 3 spaces namely: Lounge, Café Chic, and the Garden Patio.
Stepping inside, the French Creperie is designed like a tropical paradise, painted in shades of Pine Green and decorated with potted plants and hanging vegetations.
The brand is unanimous and consistent in their branding with their repetitive floor tiles created in Italy and a lifestyle vibe in their interior design.
A French fold is a technique of folding papers into quarters and this can be seen in their signature Crepes and savoury Galettes (folding to create 4 corners).
The slice of crepe was enjoyable as it is thinly sliced, with a soft and chewy texture filled with a distinctive buttery fragrance. Pleasant without being overly sweet. French Fold (Telok Ayer)
Tapas 24 Singapore
60 Robertson Quay, #01-04 The Quayside, Singapore 238252
Opening Hours: 12pm – 11pm (Tues – Sat), 11am – 11pm (Sun), Closed Mon
While traveling for leisure to visit the famous Basílica de la Sagrada Família and have Spanish food there is not quite possible for now, you can have a taste of Barcelona in Singapore.
The famous tapas bar from Barcelona, Tapas 24 has opened at Robertson Quay.
This is the first Asian outpost of the iconic Barcelonian concept, helmed by Michelin-starred Chef Carles Abellán. The Singapore branch is helmed by Chef Carolina Garcia Santamaria, who has over a decade of experience with Spanish cuisine and is a protégé of Chef Carles Abellán himself.
Tapas 24 Singapore focuses on tapas with a twist, highlighting bold flavours.
Highlights include the “Tapas 24” Bikini Sandwich ($16) with black truffles, Ibérico ham and buffalo mozzarella; Barceloneta’s Bomba ($6) – a deep-fried breaded potato ball with pork and beef filling topped with Bravas sauce and aioli.
Large plates include Paella de Gambas Al Ajillo ($40), a hearty update to the classic garlic prawn dish (Gambas Al Ajillo); and Barbequed Ribs en Bosam (S$40) — Josper grilled ribs served in Korean Bossam style, wrapped in lettuce.
Zorba The Greek Taverna – Cafe and Restaurant
Clarke Quay #01-02 Blk A 3A River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, #01-02, 179024
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm (Tues – Sun), Last order at 930pm. Closed Mon
Santorini-inspired Zorba the Greek Taverna at Clarke Quay is more than just a place to eat – it’s an instant cure for wanderlust by bringing Greece to you (especially when we cannot really travel to Europe for now.)
Enjoy a healthy Hellenic menu of authentic, timeless Greek cuisine in a genuinely relaxing ambiance. Mediterranean coast colours of blue and white fill the interiors, offering waterfront views for your pleasure.
Weekend All-Day Breakfast includes Shakshuka ($16), Giaourti ($12), Greek pancakes Tiganites ($15), Tsoureki ($16), Avokanto ($18), Zorba Breakfast Platter ($24), and Avga ($20).
Vegetarian-friendly Avokanto comes recommended – an avocado toast served with pomegranate, caramelised onions and crumbled feta cheese.
The all-in-one dish Zorba Breakfast Platter ($24) has everything you need for a hearty balanced meal.
You get either scrambled or poached eggs, served with meats (Greek sausage and bacon), mushrooms (feta-stuffed grilled Portobello), veggies (roasted Roma tomatoes and caramelised onion), fruit (avocado), and a slice of toast.
Tiong Bahru Bakery (Safari)
130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819
Tel: +65 6877 4876
Opening Hours: 8am – 6pm (Mon – Sun)
Botswana (African Safari)
Tiong Bahru Bakery has gone on the “wild side” and has set up camp in Dempsey, right next to Open Farm Community at Minden Road.
Founder of Tiong Bahru Bakery Ms Cynthia Chua, was inspired by her trip to the African safari in Botswana, specifically Selinda Camp and Gomoti Plains Camp.
Have their French croissant and coffee under canvas, in a unique garden setting, safari-style. So my advice is, wear light; and even if you intend to bring your leopard prints (preens attire for photos, then get a portable fan.
Expect the usual Tiong Bahru Bakery signatures, and leave some space for the Matcha Almond Croissant.
Eat 3 Bowls 呷三碗車站
103 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 118531
Opening Hours: 11am – 9:30pm (Wed – Mon), Closed Tue
Fans of Eat 3 Bowls at Crawford Lane will be thrilled to know that they have opened a second outlet in the West at Pasir Panjang near to MapleTree Business City.
The popular Taiwanese cafe first started off from a humble stall at Seah Im Food Centre and has quickly gained a permanent space and fanbase at Crawford Lane.
Their speciality is in authentic Taiwanese food and with famed 3 bowls (thus the name): Braised Pork Rice, Chicken Rice and Oyster Intestine Mee Sua.
Instead of the classroom theme at Crawford Lane, their 40-seater space here at Pasir Panjang features the theme of a train station, bringing diners on a gastronomical ride around Taiwan.
The number of menu items seem to have increased over here, with outlet exclusive items such as Sautéed Beef Cubes with Garlic 蒜香骰子牛 ($19.90), Tomato Omelette 台式番茄炒蛋 ($6), Sliced Pork Belly With Garlic Sauce 蒜泥白肉 ($7.20), Night market snacks such as Salted Crispy Chicken 酥炸盐酥鸡 ($7.80), Fried Fish Fillet 东港炸鱼块 ($7.80)，Bitter-gourd Pork Rib Soup 苦瓜白骨汤 ($5.50).
There are also refreshing drinks such as Passion Fruit QQ 百香果QQ绿茶 ($4.80), Lemon Wintermelon Tea 冬瓜柠檬茶 ($4.30) and Black Tea Latte with Pearls & Red Beans 相思豆珍珠奶茶 ($4.80). Eat 3 Bowls 呷三碗車站 (Pasir Panjang Road)
Legendary Hong Kong
63 Jurong West Central 3, #03-80 Jurong Point 2 Shopping Center, Singapore 648331
Tel: +65 6794 1335
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
The cafe is run by 8 professional chefs hailing from Hong Kong, and they have raised the bar for other Hong Kong cafes in Singapore.
The interior is modelled like an old-school HK cha chaan teng, serving a spread of roast meats, pastry, toasts, noodles, congee and dim sum.
Their house specialty is the London Roast Duck, sometimes known as the ‘best duck in the world’ for its succulent meal and tasty flavours. Legendary Hong Kong gets the premium duck supply exclusively from Silver Hill Farms, where each duck sold is de-feathered by hand so as to ensure integrity of the quality of meat and no bruising.
Do you know that roasted pork is to be eaten with mustard, roast duck with plum sauce and the roasted chicken with a garlic sauce blend for the best complement?
This was told to me by a waitress here. Looks like Legendary Hong Kong is keeping things authentic here.
Also, don’t miss the oozing Custard Bun with a crispy bolo bun exterior.
Wan Wan Thai Cafe
127A Bencoolen Street, Singapore 189637
Opening Hours: 12:30pm – 3am (Mon – Sun)
Sawadee krub! Missing your yearly trip to Bangkok and Shibuya Toasts? Without any hopes of travelling to Bangkok in the near future, Wan Wan Thai Cafe by the folks behind Aroy Dee Thai Kitchen may be your next-best alternative.
Located on the 2nd floor directly above Aroy Dee Thai Kitchen along Bencoolen Street, Wan Wan Thai Cafe is well hidden from many passer-by on the ground floor.
Stepping inside, you will be instantly transported into a gorgeous 30-seater cafe filled with Bangkok-cafe-style vibes.
Think neon lights, plants and greenery, white marbled table tops, ample of natural sunlight and photo walls for your #ootd.
The space looks totally different in the day and night, which transform from a white minimalist space, to a dark and moody vibes at night.
Frequent travellers to Bangkok will be familiar with Shibuya Toasts and Shaved Iced Desserts (Kakigori) – made more popular by After You Dessert Cafe.
These items can found on the menu at Wan Wan Thai Cafe. Wan Wan Thai Cafe (Bencoolen)
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