Are we in Japan?
Known as Genkan in Japanese, the entrance features a nameplate, and a longitudinal window just like an enlarged mailbox against a light-coloured wall.
Stepping through the wooden door, I felt that I had just entered a Japanese Omakase restaurant, with a single long wooden coffee bar counter elevated like a sushi bar.
With 5 bar counter seats and a communal table that can seat another 5 pax at the rear end of the compound, DAWN is not a huge space to begin with so you might expect some waiting time.
I liked the raw, unfinished textured concrete walls which creates a natural vibe, coupled with distressed limestone table top and warm lighting for a cosy experience.
Familiar faces can be found here if you are a frequent patron of Kurasu at Waterloo Street , where one of the head baristas there had left the latter and set up his own space here with his barista friend Jane.
I am happy for Jane who was seen at several places over the years; from Ronin to Punch and to Maxi Coffee Bar at Ann Siang before opening her own place here at DAWN.
While the whole space may seem a little peaceful, you can hear Jane’s laughter and checking in with the diners occasionally.
The menu is short and concise, focusing on their artisanal specialty coffee with both espresso-based drinks and filtered coffee.
Using a single origin from El Salvador roasted by The Community Coffee for their espresso-based drinks, think Espresso ($3.50), Black ($4.50), White ($5.50) with optional Iced (+$1), Oat milk (+$1) and Espresso shot (+$0.50).
One thing to note, their espresso machine is not placed at the bar counter but against the wall, so that the barista can have deeper conversation with diners seating along the long bar table.
My cup of White ($5.50) was velvety smooth and medium bodied, with hints of caramel and chocolate, complemented by a light acidity from the berries.
For the serious coffee drinkers, single origin beans from Ethiopia and Colombia roasted by Manhattan Coffee Roasters are used for their Filtered Coffee ($7 – $10).
Apart from coffee, DAWN also serves Tea ($7), Cold Brew Tea ($7), Home made Soda ($7 – $9) on their menu.
Light bites such as Granola ($10) and Toasties ($8 – $10) were unfortunately not available during the time of visit.
As for their pastries, all their bakes are made in house by Jane herself, a passion project call Wabi Bakes which she had previously offered at Maxi Coffee Bar.
With a rotating menu, expect Lemon Pound Loaf Cake ($5), Pandan Coconut Loaf Cake ($5.50), Walnut Banana Bread ($5), Apple Crumble ($6) and Brownie ($6) on the display.
The Pandan Coconut Loaf Cake ($5.50) is the crowd’s favourite, pre-heated before serving with a nice warm and moist texture, in contrast to the sweet, caramelised crust on the surface.
The pandan was aromatic whereas the desiccated coconut adds a nice sweet crunch to it.
The Lemon Pound Loaf Cake ($5) was as memorable, a nice balance of sweet and citrus punch, with a nice crumbly texture.
The Apple Crumble ($6) is also worth a mention, packed with 3 different layered textures.
It is a combination of sweet cookie crumble on top, moist and soft apple cubes in the middle layer and fluffy bread base, that complement well with one another.
Even though seating space is limited, there is a certain charm to DAWN, especially sipping on a cup of coffee in the early morning (since they open at 8am) and watching the world goes by through the little glass door.
78 South Bridge Rd, Singapore 058708
Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm (Mon – Sun)
* Written by Nicholas Tan @stormscape who loves all things [NEW]. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.