Bukit Merah refers to “red hill” in Malay, and includes several subzones such as Alexandra, Bukit Merah Central, Depot Road, Henderson, and Telok Blangah.

In terms of food choices, there are hawker centres such as Bukit Merah View Food Centre and Bukit Merah Central Food Centre, as well as zi char eateries like Cheval Chibao 赤宝.

While the places are not as hipster or well-known as those found at Tiong Bahru, I find that there is a quiet charm and character among the many cafes at Bukit Merah. Here are 10 cafes you can head to:

Alchemist at The Mill
5 Jalan Kilang #02-02 Singapore 159405
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm (Wed – Sun), Closed Mon, Tues

Victorian-Themed Cafe In Neo-Gothic Building
The Mill is a neo-gothic building at Jalan Kilang (kind of near ABC Brickworks Food Centre).

It has been described as an “amalgamation of post-industrial American architectural influences, cast alongside a fortified Gothic tower, and rooted in industrial Singapore.”

As you head up into Level 2, you would find Alchemist, a brand not unfamiliar among café hoppers in Singapore.

Their signature espresso beverages are brewed with coffee beans fresh from their roastery, and include the usual Black ($4.50), White ($5), Mocha ($5.50), Pourover ($6), and Iced versions ($6 – $7).

Similarly, the house-blends available is the Dark Matter with hints of caramelised hazelnut, milk chocolate and a velvety mouthfeel.

Pastries are supplied by local micro-bakery Bakehaus, and you can expect Butter Croissant ($4), Pain Au Chocolate ($4.50), Almond Croissant ($4.50), and Forest Berries Danish ($5).

Well-hidden but highly instagrammable place worth a visit. Alchemist at The Mill (Bukit Merah)

Roundboy Roasters
146 Jalan Bukit Merah, #01-109, Singapore 160146
Opening Hours: 8am – 3pm (Tue – Fri), 8:30am – 4:30pm (Sat – Sun), Closed Mon

Hidden Cafe & Roastery With Great Coffee Conversations

The coffee place is well hidden under a block of flat at Block 146 Jalan Bukit Merah (kind of near Good Chance Popiah?).

The roaster and café under a HDB flat in an olden estate may remind you of other places such as Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee at Stirling Road, Nylon Coffee Roasters at Everton Park, and Coffee Plus at Queen’s Road.

The shop offers extensive range of beans that covers everything from filter coffee to roasts – found on their website with some bags sold on the retail rack.

I also saw many machines – big and small, equipment and accessories that would pique the interest of budding home baristas. (They do provide workshops for those interested to find out more about coffee.)

Coffee offered include the Espresso ($3.50, $4), Long Black ($4.50), Milk Based ($5), Filter ($7) and Batch Brew of The Day ($4).

The Flat White ($5) uses a “double chocolate beans” which a rich and dark taste – stronger than I imagined, but some would like that lingering in the mouth.

Their objective is to “continually teach customers what they know”, to form a relationship with customers rather than just being transactional. Round Boy Roasters (Jalan Bukit Merah)

Mad Roaster
108 Depot Rd, #01-14, Singapore 100108
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon

$3 Specialty Coffee With A Good Cause
Opened by a part-time lawyer, Mad Roaster is a specialty-coffee shop with a good cause.

They help refugees who are seeking asylum in Thailand by commissioning tiny works of art, which can be found in the design of each of their customised logos on their cups and products.

Their new space at Depot Road is equipped with 2 long benches on the sides, each accommodating 3 mini coffee tables.

The coffee here features a signature blend featuring Ethopian Sidamo Arabica, with options of Espresso ($3), Americano ($3), Flat White ($4) and Latte ($5). Add a dollar for Oat Milk or extra Espresso Shot and $0.50 for iced version.

New on the menu are the savoury options, namely Brioche Grilled Cheese ($7) and Avocado Brioche Toast ($7) using laminated brioche baked in-house.

I enjoyed the Brioche Grilled Cheese ($7) which was toasted before serving to give it a crispy and flaky texture. Mad Roaster Café (Depot Road)

Maison Sucree
63B Lengkok Bahru, #01-362, Singapore 152063
Opening Hours: 11am – 8:30pm (Sun – Fri), 11am – 7pm (Sat)

Muslim-Owned Bakery Cafe With Delicious Crispy Croissants
The Muslim-owned bakery Maison Sucreé is quite striking with its dark blue frontage and buttery aroma, and has gained quite a positive reputation via word-of-mouth.

It is of short walking distance from Redhill MRT station and 85 Redhill Food Centre.

On its menu are viennoiseries like Butter Croissant ($3.50), Chocolate Croissant ($4), Almond Croissant ($4.50, Coffee Bun ($2.50), Custard Bun ($2) and Cinnamon Roll ($6).

Almost popular are its Carrot Cake ($7.50), Red Velvet ($7.50), Blackforest Cheesecake ($7.50) and Flourless Triple Chocolate Cake ($8).

The must-have item in the menu when you dine at Maison Sucreé is definitely the croissant. And I recommend having there and then (if possible) as it may lose some of its crispiness due to the humidity.

I thought that the Original Butter Croissant ($3.50) was delightfully crisp (crispier than many of the famous brands out there) with good amount of fluffiness and buttery aroma. Maison Sucreé (Lengkok Bahru)

Abundance
63A Lengkok Bahru, #01-378, Singapore 151063
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 10:30pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon

Taiwanese-Style Cafe With Xiao Cai And Fried Rice
A short walk away from Redhill MRT station and the popular Redhill 85 Food Centre, Abundance specialises in Taiwanese-style buns (get it?) and dishes.

Slightly different from Bao Makers and other Kong Bak Pau specialty stores, Abundance offers Taiwan-style Gua Bao ($6.90).

Abundance’s version, other than being on the pricey side at $6.90, was a credible version which got a good balance of the savoury pork belly, sweet peanuts and tangy pickles.

The thick pork belly was cooked till melt-in-the-mouth, yet not overly fatty.

The Taiwanese-style modern eatery also serves up “Xiao Chi” of Red Hot Chilli Dumplings aka Hong You Chao Shou ($8.90), Golden Egg ($6) which is fried century egg, Prawn Toast ($9.50), Pork Chop ($8), Popcorn Chicken ($8) and Fried Beancurd Skin ($4). Abundance (Lengkok Bahru)

Cheval Chi Bao 赤宝
Sports Lifestyle Centre, 3500A Bukit Merah Central, Singapore 159837
Tel: +65 6899 9188
Opening Hours: 11am – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)

Hidden Zi Char Fare And Bistro-Cafe With Bali Vibes At Bukit Merah Central
This restaurant used to be located at Bukit Batok HTNS, but has moved over to this bigger outlet which houses both Chibao Chinese Cuisine and Cheval Café Bar – a western concept.

To get there, it is found inside Sports Lifestyle Centre (where Bukit Merah Swimming Pool is), with free parking available at the private side road of the complex.

This is where you can enjoy al fresco pool side dining in a tropical Bali-like setting as you savour the food.

In terms of the menu, the bistro-side offer starters, pasta, mains, salads, rice bowls and desserts. Brunch is available weekends from 11am to 3pm.

Pasta dishes include Mac & Cheese ($16.90), Crab Meat with Basil and Tomato Angel Hair Pasta ($18), Bacon Carbonara Linguine ($18), and Seafood Aglio Olio Capellini ($19). For heartier mains, there are the Slow Braised Beef Ribs ($36), Grilled Boneless Cajun Chicken ($18.90), and Cheval Signature Fish and Chips ($19).

A best-seller is the Signature Homemade Prawn Balls ($16) made with prawns, minced pork and chopped water chestnuts. Cheval Chibao 赤宝 (Bukit Merah Centrak).

Geometry
2 Jalan Bukit Merah #01-5142, Singapore 150002
Opening Hours: 12pm – 9.30pm (Sun – Thurs), 12pm – 11pm (Fri – Sat)

Ice Cream Café Next to ABC Market
It felt like a Mathematics lesson on “Geometry” when owners Shuxian and Jeslyn named their ice cream cafe as such due to the formulas and equations needed to create their gelatos (The café business has been passed to new hands.)

With a total of 18 flavours to choose from, expect interesting flavours such as Earl Grey Tie Guan Yin, Mandarin Orange Sorbet and Watermelon Lychee Sorbet.

75% of the flavours were classified under “Premium” flavours at an additional $0.70 per scoop due to the fresh fruits added.

3 bases were available as a base with a single scoop of gelato: Tart ($9.90), Belgian Waffle ($8.50) and Brownie ($8.90).

The French tarts were freshly baked and served warm. Its base had a contrasting chewy centre, buttery fragrance, and taste that resembled that of a cross between almond tart and Taiwanese pineapple tart. Geometry (Jalan Bukit Merah)

Carrara Café
Blk 2 Jalan Bukit Merah #01-5148, Singapore 150002
Tel: +65 6250 9952
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)

Ice Cream Cafe Serving Mentaiko Pasta And Marmite Fried Chicken Waffles
Carrara Café is located at Blk 2 Jalan Bukit Merah, of walking distance from ABC Brickworks Food Centre, few shops away from fellow ice-cream café Geometry.

There are 3 components to Carrara – a café, bistro and creamery.

All Day Breakfast choices include Sausage Cheese Rosti ($17.90), Turkey Bacon Eggs Benedict ($16.90), Big Breakfast ($16.90).

Mains served were familiar items you get from the typical Singapore-café, with Chilli Crab Pasta ($17.90), Tom Yum Seafood Pasta ($13.90), Truffle Breakfast Pasta ($13.90), Chicken Chop Aglio Olio ($12.90), Fried Chicken and Waffle ($12.90), Salted Egg Fried Chicken and Waffle ($13.90) and Fish & Chips ($12.90).

You can have a scoop on the Signature Waffle ($8.50) topped with chocolate sauce with a side of maple syrup.

The outer layer was suitably crispy, matched with thick fluffy batter. The accompany scoops of Thai Tea and Coconut ice cream which I ordered were creamy, with pronounced flavours of each. Carrara Café (Jalan Bukit Merah)

Refuel II
28 Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 152028
Tel: +65 6265 7368
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri), 9am – 9pm (Sat – Sun), Closed Wed

Hearty Brunches, Pastas and Coffee
Refuel Café can be found at 744 Bedok Reservoir Road and 28 Jalan Bukit Merah, and this Refuel II Café is considered quite a hidden find of a short walk from ABC Brickworks Food Centre.

All Day Brunch items include Full Tank ($15.90), Salmon Benedict ($13.90), Salmon Pesto with Scrambled Eggs ($14.50), Pulled Pork Benedict ($13.90), Fried Chicken Waffles ($13.90), Porky Egg Waffles ($13.90),

For something more fillings, you can have mains of Honey BBQ Ribs ($15.90), Honey Lemon Chicken ($14.50), Baked Chicken Stew ($14.50) or pasta dishes of Bacon Aglio ($12.90), Spaghetti Carbonara ($13.50) and Creamy Shrimps & Mussels ($13.90).

The Double Chilli Crab Pasta ($14.90) is called “double” because there are both flaky crab meat and crispy soft shell crab, in a spicy, creamy and eggy tomato base sauce. Good to know that the soft shell crab is first fried with a special spice coating.

Noticed that they gave quite a lot of sauce, and it was strong in flavours, from the tomato-tanginess, sweetness, to the spicy kick.

Would have preferred chunkier crab meat for better bite and a lighter sauce, but it is a not-bad version for its price point.

Durian Lab Cafe
Blk 119 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-22 Singapore, Singapore 151119
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Mon – Sun)

Ah Seng Durian Opens Cafe With MSW Burnt Cheesecake And Cruffins
Ah Seng Durian has expanded with a 2nd outlet at 119 Bukit Merah, and this comes with their very first Durian Lab café next door (The shop is near Alexandra Village Food Centre.)

Just a note that the space is air-conditioned and so the aroma is trapped.

Over at Durian Lab, the cakes and pastries are supplied by 2 homegrown bakeries: Flor Patisserie and Keong Saik Bakery.

Both patisseries are incorporating Mao Shan Wang durians into the desserts from Ah Seng (himself).

The MSW durian desserts include Durian Tart ($8.50), Roll Cake ($8), Mille-Feuille ($11.50) and Short Cake ($8); while Keong Saik Bakery is also supplying Burnt Cheesecake ($11) and Burnt Cruffin ($6.50).

The Burnt Cheesecake ($11) was well-executed with a texture of smooth, velvety cream with some durian flesh for an extra bite, and an ice cream-like sensation when served. Durian Lab Cafe (Bukit Merah)

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* Compiled by Daniel Ang @DanielFoodDiary and Nicholas Tan @stormscape.

2 COMMENTS

    • Thank you for informing, and we have updated the post. It’s a pity as we just visited Blu Hills Cafe a couple of months back, and it was not bad a place.

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