Jalan Besar has to be the cafe hipster area to look out for with many new F&B entrants lately.
Located few doors away from Apartment Coffee, Glacier has joined include Lola Faye Cafe, Once Upon A Time (opened by actress Jeanette Aw), For The People, Sweets Craftsman, to Café Monochrome in the hood.
Other recent café openings at Jalan Besar include Pacto 忆缘 by Parchmen, Habitat Coffee, Sweet Cheeks Gelato and Asylum Coffehouse.
Here’s a look at 12 NEW cafes to head to at Jalan Besar:
23 Hamilton Road, Singapore 209193
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 6:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Bakery Cafe With Bo Bo Cha Cha Croissant
Levain, a leavening agent used to bake bread, is a starter of bread-making, thus the fundamental principle at La Levain.
The 30-seater minimalist space is decked out in industrial-like grey interiors, rustic wooden furniture and neon orange lighting.
More than just a bakery, it offers with brunch fare, pastries and specialty coffee menu-wise.
With a wide selection of more than 50 pastries and bakes on display at their counter, customers can look forward to Bread ($4 – $9), Viennoiserie ($3.50 – $7.40), Cruffin ($4.60 – $5.20), Baked Sandwich ($5.50 – $6.50), Muffin ($2.50 – $7.50), and Pies ($32 – $35).
The croissants are double baked to give it a very crispy texture, flavourful and buttery aroma.
The Bo Bo Cha Cha Croissant ($6.50) is recommended, inspired by our local dessert Bubur Cha Cha with a layer of purple sweet potato, yam and coconut mochi.
The sweet potato and yam cubes give it more textures whereas the coconut mochi adds a nice subtle sweetness to the combination. La Levain (Jalan Besar)
161 Lavender St, #01-09, Singapore 338750
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Sun – Thurs), 10am – 1am (Fri – Sat)
Minimalist Botanical-Themed Cafe With Pandan Mochi Waffle
Opened by the folks behind Onalu – a bagel house located at SMU, Glacier is their new concept cafe with a botanical theme, offering an-almost ‘farm-to-table’ concept.
As their name implies, glacier refers to a moving piece of ice reflected in their space which is completely white, from the white furniture pieces to the coffee bar counter, espresso machine and coffee beans grinder.
Their menu is concise with 6 items on their brunch menu: Glacier Big Breakfast ($24), Smoked Salmon & Avocado Toast ($19), Seafood Vongole Pasta ($23), Basil Pesto Pasta ($18), Salmon Mentaiko Truffle Grain Bowl ($20) and Glacier French Toast ($16).
Here the highlight is the Pandan Mochi Waffle ($8) with a sticky mochi layer in addition to the crispy-ness and fluffiness.
Topped with desiccated coconut for the added crunch and aroma, drizzled with maple syrup and Gula Melaka sauce on the side, the overall taste is similar to that of Ondeh Ondeh, the mini green, round glutinous rice balls. Glacier (Jalan Besar)
74 Horne Road, Singapore 209076
Opening Hours: 11am – 10:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Cute Matcha Bamboo And Lychee Bao Desserts At Jalan Besar
“Ai” is the abbreviation for Artificial Intelligence and not Ai（Love 爱）.
This was what the owners projected to be initially, a cafe fully automated by machines and robots to create an immersive and futuristic experience.
Instead of the usual brunch food, Ai Cafe serves Burgers ($16 – $20), Pasta ($16 – $20), Pizza ($18 – $20), Mains ($12 – $20), Bites ($8 – $20) and Desserts ($8 – $10.80) on their menu.
Their signature mains is their Fish & Chips with Homemade Tartar Sauce ($18) that comes with beer-battered fish, fries and apple slaw.
Crispy and golden brown on the outside with a moist and tender texture, it was comforting dish and probably safe option.
Instead, their selection of desserts is more eye-catching, ranges from AI Magnum ($9.80) to MSW Durian Truffle Chocolate ($10.80), Black Forest ($9.80), Mango Passion ($8.80), Bao de Litchi ($8.80), Matcha Goma ($9.80), Lemon Cremuex Tart ($8) and Banoffee Tart ($8.50). Ai Cafe (Jalan Besar)
Pacto 忆缘 by Parchmen
Jalan Besar Community Centre, 69 Jellicoe Road #01-05, Singapore 208737
Tel: +65 9833 0858
Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Cafe Hidden Within Jalan Besar CC With $2 Espresso
The cafe is opened by the same team behind pet-friendly Sun Ray Cafe at Serangoon Garden and Parched at Ubi. One of the key differences is that Pacto has a stronger tea focus.
The one thing to note is their coffee is more on the wallet-friendly side, with an espresso priced at $2.
A Long Black is at $3.50, with no additional charges for an iced version.
Other coffee-based drinks include Flat White ($4), Latte ($4), Cappuccino ($4) and Mocha ($5).
There was a small selection of cakes available, from Sourcream Cheesecake ($6), Hazelnut Royaltine ($7), Green Tea Azuki ($6), Matcha Swiss Roll ($4.50) and Houjicha Swiss Roll ($4.50).
The Yuzu Osmanthus Cake ($6) was a not-bad choice, of soft and fluffy layers of yuzu-soaked sponge cake, layered with fresh osmanthus whipped cream. Pacto 忆缘 by Parchmen (Jalan Besar)
803 King George’s Ave, #01-242/244, Singapore 200803
Opening Hours: 9am – 10pm (Tues – Sat), 9am – 9pm (Sun), Closed Mon
Industrial-Themed Brunch Cafe Shifted From Upper Thomson To Jalan Besar
One of the main-stayers at Upper Thomson since 2011 (yes, that’s a full decade ago), Habitat Coffee has shifted out of their home ground and into the Jalan Besar neighbourhood.
This new space now accommodates 3 long communal tables and 8 tables nicely spaced apart.
It is decked in a similar style as their defunct outlet at Upper Thomson with shades of white and black, cemented floorings and wooden furnitures.
All-Day Brunch is available till 8pm, with signature brunch items such as Big Ben ($18), Pulled Pork Benedict ($17), Avocado & Eggs ($17) and Stuffed Berries Hotcake ($16).
Do not be confused with the name of Big Ben ($18) – which is a plate of ‘big breakfast’ rather than Eggs Benedict, containing scrambled eggs, maple glazed bacon, toast, pork sausage, grilled tomato, and sauteed mushrooms.
For a more substantial meal, 3 different Rice Bowls are offered on the menu: Veggie Bowl ($13), Honey Garlic Prawn ($17) and Beef Yakiniku ($13), Pasta with Mushroom Truffle ($17), Chilli Crab Linguine ($18) and Grilled Teriyaki Salmon ($14). Habitat Coffee (Jalan Besar)
Lola Faye Café
35 Hamilton Road, Singapore 209204
Opening Hours: 10am – 12am (Tues, Sun), 10pm – 2am (Wed – Sat), Closed Mon
Tropical-Themed Muslim-Owned Dessert Cafe With Gelato Croissant
Lola Faye Café is a brand-new tropical themed café at Hamilton Road, and also is Muslim-owned which uses 100% Halal ingredients.
It joins neighbours such as Lucid, For The People, Once Upon A Time by Jeanette Aw, and SCALED by Ah Hua Kelong along the same stretch at the hot Jalan Besar district.
While many tropical-themed cafes usually pick a bright and vibrant look, or Bali-style decor, Lola Faye Café has gone for a darker look which is still photogenic.
The main highlights are the gelato desserts, presented in the forms of Gelato Croissant ($9.90), Buttermilk Belgium Waffles ($6, additional $5 for single scoop, $9 for double scoop), and Fudgy Brownies with Gelato ($10.90) – moist brownies filled with chocolate chunks, topped with shaved chocolate and whipped cream. Lola Faye Café (Hamilton Road)
Sweet Cheeks Gelato – Jalan Besar
147 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207561
Opening Hours: 12pm – 11pm (Sun – Thurs), 12pm – 1am (Fri – Sat)
Pretty Gelato Shop At Jalan Besar Opens Till 1AM (Fri & Sat)
Sweet Cheeks Gelato first started in 2019 at Potong Pasir by 3 SMU graduates together with an Italy-trained chef handcrafting fresh gelato daily.
To be better in the art of gelato-making, their co-founder travelled to Bologna, Italy to train for a month.
Their 3rd outlet located directly opposite Chye Seng Huat Hardware and few doors away from Creamery Boutique Ice Creams, is their largest branch to date.
18 gelato flavours are available at any one time, priced at $4 for single scoop, $7.50 for double scoops, additional $1 for premium flavour and additional $2 for gourmet flavours.
For more indulgence, there are add-ons such as Waffle ($6), Chocolate Lava Cake ($5), Brownie ($5). Gelato flavours were inspired by their co-founder’s overseas travels. For example, Ricotta with Pistachio & Lemoncurd with Speculoos by travels to Italy, Cinnamon Brown Bread from the streets of Ireland and Coconut Mango, and Mango Sticky rice in Thailand.
Normal flavours (Single $4, Double $7.50) include Marshmallow Oreo, Earl Grey, Cereal Milk, Hojicha, Honeycomb, Biscoff Cookie Brunch, Hazelnut with Nutella Swirl and Peanut Butter Banana.
The Premium flavours (Single $5) are more unique and interesting: Ricotta with Pistachio bits, Cinnamon Brown Bread, Lemon curd with Speculoos bits, Honey Chrysanthemum with Cacao nibs, Lychee with Raspberry bits and vegan Fleur de Cao dark Chocolate. Sweet Cheeks Gelato (Jalan Besar)
216 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207749
Tel: +65 9239 1240
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Instagrammable 2D Black & White Café With Brunch & Ice Cream
While a 2D café isn’t exactly a fresh concept, you can tell that the team behind Café Monochrome did spend significant amount of time doing up the painting works, while paying attention to details.
The other one thing I noted is, the café space is rather big considering Singapore’s concept, so you may just find a suitable spot for #OOTD pics.
In terms of food, mains offered include Truffle Cream Pasta ($16), Monochrome’s Angel Hair ($14), Mentaiko Pasta ($13), Spicy Baked Fish ($12), Garlic Pepper Fish ($12), and Monochrome’s Brunch ($15).
There are also a couple of donburi bowls such as Wagyu Donburi ($18), Smoked Duck Donburi ($12), Smoked Bacon Donburi ($12), and Yakitori Donburi ($12).
I had the Monochrome’s Brunch ($15) which was considered okay-priced as many similar big-breakfast-plates are edging towards or have gone beyond the $20 price tag.
This plate included grilled sausage, bacon and a sunny side up on waffles made with their in-house recipe, topped with pure English maple syrup. Café Monochrome (Jalan Besar)
311 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208970
Opening Hours: 8am – 4:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Minimalist-Chic Cafe With Sandwiches From Hambaobao
Asylum Coffeehouse is nestled in a blue and red heritage shophouse along Jalan Besar (near Petain Road), though the inside is designed with the typical white and woody (well, MUJI like) interior, with natural daylight cast in.
Drinks-wise, there are choices of Black ($4), White ($5, $5.5), Filters and Pour Overs ($6), Mocha ($6), and Hot Chocolate ($5.50). $1 extra for iced, and switch to oat or macadamia milk.
The café serves up its very own Espresso blend, Keluak which has dominant chocolate, nutty and earthy notes. This Keluak coffee is inspired by the Peranakan dish Buah Keluak and its characteristics.
In terms of food, you can look out for two sandwiches, the Cubano ($16) and the Turfoieken ($19). Interesting to note that they are both created by the now-defunct burger hawker stall Hambaobao – previously located at Beauty World Food Centre.
If you are questioning why a sandwich would be priced at the upper-tier of $19, that is because it includes turkey, chicken AND foie gras, with aioli and apple chutney. Asylum Coffeehouse (Jalan Besar)
32 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209360
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (Mon – Sun)
Muslim-Owned Cafe In Monochromatic Colours Offering Brunch Food
Steep is one of the newest Muslim-owned cafes opened at Jalan Besar, not to be confused with Steeped Tea Bar at Bugis.
The interior is clean and minimalist, simply decked in black and muted colours (not to be confused with Café Monochrome a walk away.)
To accentuate the monotone colour scheme, their espresso machine, coffee cups and saucers, stools and photos hanging on the wall are all dark grey or black in colour.
Offering Melbourne-inspired brunch food on their menu, café hoppers can expect Granola ($9), Steep’s Breakfast ($17), French Toast ($15), Grilled Cheese ($9) and Ham & Cheese Croissant ($7). Options seem to be on the safe side though.
The remaining menu consisted of 6 other mains such as Egg on Toast ($6), Eggs Royale ($14), Aglio Olio ($14) and Truffle Cream Pasta ($12).
The Steep’s Breakfast ($17) came with an assortment of colourful components in a single plate.
The components included tater tots, roasted tomato, herb sausage, sautéed mushrooms, sourdough, turkey bacon, mixed greens salad and a choice of egg – poached, scrambled, sunny side up. Steep (Jalan Besar)
204 Jalan Besar Singapore 208890
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 8:30pm (Tues – Thurs), 11:30am – 10:30pm (Fri – Sun), Closed Mon
Minimalist French-Style Patisserie Café
LA VIE is conceptualised on the idea of providing people with a place to enjoy fine pastries, drinks, art appreciations – you will see hanging paintings of rotating local artists on sale.
The business was previously known as Reverie Patisserie, an online patisserie shop specialising in various French pastries and butter cookies.
Some of the signature dessert items include Chloe ($8.50) – a lychee rose entremet, Kaiser ($9) – a mango and passionfruit entremes, Alfie ($9) – a chocolate banana entremet, and Trio Chocolate Cake ($10) – the other one without the fancy name.
If you like something cute, there is the Épic which is a porcupine-shaped trio chocolate entremet. This is actually inspired by their little porcupine potted plantlet.
I went with the pretty-looking Watermelon Strawberry Cake ($9.50), with fresh sliced watermelon sandwiched between layers of rose chantilly and nutty almond dacquoise.
The cake was further decorated with fresh strawberries, blueberries and grapes. La Vie (Jalan Besar)
11 Cavan Rd, #01-06, Cavan Suites, Singapore 209848
Opening Hours: 12pm – 8pm (Thurs – Tue), Closed Wed
Desserts Cafe With Japanese-Style Matcha And TieGuanYin Swiss Rolls
Located along the same stretch of units as Gelato Labo at Cavan Road (Jalan Besar), Sweets Craftsman is a new dessert cafe that focuses on artisanal bakes and pastries.
With more than a decade of experience in the confectionery industry and has previously worked at Raffles Hotel and TCC, the pastry chef has decided to open his very own bakery cafe in Jalan Besar.
Served mainly as a takeaway shop, the menu features Swiss Roll ($7.80), Meringue Rolls (Summer Berries $6, Yuzu Orange $6.80), Cakes ($6.80), Tarts (Strawberry, Blueberry $6.80), Croissants (Butter $3, Almond $4), Madeleine ($2.80) and Brownie (Sea salt $3.50, Pecan $3.50).
All the Swiss roll were so kawaii, crafted with a Mt. Fuji in the middle with different flavours such as Matcha, Tie Guan Yin and Chocolate Raspberry.
As the Swiss rolls are all Japanese inspired, and thus tend to be on the lighter side in terms of texture and flavour. Sweets Craftsman (Jalan Besar)
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* Compiled by Daniel Ang @DanielFoodDiary and Nicholas Tan @stormscape.