Telok Ayer which is in the heart of the CBD, is full of coffee shops to cater to the working crowd in the vicinity.

Do you know that the name refers to “bay water”, as “Telok Ayer Street” was the coastal road along the bay? It was initially designated a Chinese district by Stamford Raffles, serving as the landing site for early immigrants.

The street links Church Street to Cecil Street, with an MRT train station at Cross Street, lined with restaurants, bars, bistros, and some quirky shops.

During lunch time, shops do get pretty crowded and overwhelming, but yet there are off-peak moments when everything comes to a stand-still and you can enjoy quiet moments with a cup of coffee.

Popular cafes there include French Fold, Platform., Genius Central, Sarnies, My Awesome Cafe, Plain Vanilla, Upside Down Coffee Roaster, Segafredo Zanetti Espresso, Dapper Coffee… just to name a few.

Here are 10 Telok Ayer cafes you can head to:

Merci Marcel – Club Street
7-9 Club St Singapore 069400
Tel: +65 6438 3913
Opening Hours: 8am – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)

Beautifully Chic French Social Dining Place At Club Street
The Telok Ayer outlet of Merci Marcel boasts of a 1,250 square feet space, with light-filled indoor and alfresco dining spaces.

The space somehow was able to marry contemporary, casual and classy all of the same time with the décor, lined with plants, rattan light fixtures and Marcel Breuer-inspired furniture.

Going for the food? Mains include Duck Parmentier façon Marcel ($27) – a duck confit dish; Ravioles de Royans ($18, $30) which is a type of French dumpling pasta; Smoked Salmon Burger ($21), Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio ($22); and Ceviche of Red Snapper ($26).

I had the cleverly named Croque Marcel ($25), the most ‘brunchy’ item of the lot with Bayonne ham (cured ham from southwest of France), fried organic egg, and French Morbier cheese, served on rustic sourdough bread. Not bad place to feel ‘Parisian’ in the middle of work hours. Merci Marcel (Club Street)

Parallel Cafe – Club Street
3 Club Street #01-00, Singapore 069001
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun

Club Street Cafe Has Good Coffee From $2.90
Parallel Cafe started with the objective of serving affordable artisanal coffee, as the owners who were two brothers “couldn’t find a good cup of coffee in Singapore for less than $5”.

So yes, you can still find artisanal coffee for $2.90 near the CBD.

There is a wider menu now comprising of all-day breakfast, mains, pastas, sharing plates, sandwiches, salads and acai bowls.

For the mains, there are options of Chicken Leg ($23), Fish & Chips ($23), Pan Seared Salmon ($31), Steak & Fries ($31), and Wagyu Beef Burger ($28).

The recommended Sandwiches are the Classic Ham & Cheese ($17), Club Sandwich ($19), and Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($17).

The Club Sandwich ($19) was a much better rendition than what I tried previously, with a substantial portion and filled with bacon, ham, fried egg, tomato, cucumber, mayo and sweet chilli sauce. Big space to chill-out too. Parallel Café (Club Street)

Panquecas
92 Club St, Singapore 069460
Opening Hours: 3pm – 12am (Wed – Fri), 12pm – 12am (Sat), 12pm – 10pm (Sun), Closed Mon

Crepe Pancakes Specialty Cafe With Kopi O And Apam Balik Crepes
“Panquecas” in Portugese means “pancakes”, and the Muslim-owned cafe offers this signature item in both sweet and savoury options.

If you have a sweet tooth, then good for you as Panquecas offers a total 7 different sweet pancakes topped with various toppings.

Using wheat flour for both their sweet and savoury pancakes, the batter is mixed with the respective flavours to bring out a more wholesome flavour.

Their Classic ($11) is the most affordable on the menu, with toppings such as Creme Pattisiere, Beurre Noisette, Roasted Buckwheat Seeds, Fresh Berries, Compote, Chocolate Dipping Sauce and a single scoop of Ice Cream.

The remaining sweet pancakes are priced at $13 with interesting flavours such as Kopi O, Chocolate Dream, Apple Crumble, Blueberry Earl Grey, Apam Balik and Lemon Yuzu. Panquecas (Club Street)

HENRI
48 Pekin St, #01-01, Singapore 048778
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)

French Cafe & Bistro That Is Pets-Friendly (Outdoors)
HENRI is opened by the folks behind Bread & Hearth and wholesale bread supplier Sourdough Factory.

Their bakery section starts from 8am to 4pm daily, with 2 tables indoors and 6 pets-friendly outdoor seating space for dining in.

The remaining 20-seaters space indoors will only open for Lunch (12pm to 3pm) and Dinner (6pm to 10pm) services.

A wide assortment of Viennoiseries and pastries are available on the shelves; from classic Croissant ($3.50) to Raisin Roll ($3.80), Pecan Cranberries ($3.50), Chocolate Twist ($4.20), Almond Croissant ($4.50), Butterhorn ($3.70), Cheese Danish ($3.90), Chocolate Chip Cookie ($3.50) and Quiche ($7.50). Henri (Pekin Street)

Free the Robot
118 Telok Ayer Street Singapore 068587 (Telok Ayer MRT)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 4pm, 5pm – 11:30pm (Wed – Fri), 10am – 4pm, 5pm – 11:30pm (Sat), 10am – 8:30pm (Sun), Closed Mon, Tues

Robot-Themed Cafe At Telok Ayer Street
With a huge white wooden wall covering up the most part of the cafe, it is almost hard to tell that a cafe is indeed in operations behind that wall.

Through a nondescript door, a small and dim cafe of wooden tables and benches fills up the space. Talk about hole-in-the-wall.

All day lunch and dinner items include Grilled Chicken Thigh Rice Bowl ($20), The Blue Swimmer Crab Pasta ($25), The Prawn PAsta ($25), and Handmade Meatball Pasta ($22).

For snacks to share, go for the Love Truffle Chips ($13), Shoestring Truffle Fries ($13), Shake & Pop Chicken ($13), and Fish Tacos ($16).

From the mains, we were recommended the B&L Beef Burger, Made with Love ($24), a homemade beef burger of 100% ground beef patty, cheddar, streaky bacon, tomatoes, onions, romaine lettuce, chilli aioli, homemade brioche bun and fries.

Surprisingly, the burger did not disappoint – the beef patty was moist and juicy, and the burger as a whole was rather satisfying. Free The Robot (Telok Ayer)

Jarrell’s Bistro
198 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068637 (Tanjong Pagar)
Tel: +65 6223 1766
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm (Tues – Fri), 9am – 10:30pm (Sat), Closed Sun, Mon

Delicious Chilli Crab Pasta and Har Cheong Burger At Tanjong Pagar
If you are around the CBD looking for inexpensive meals, Jarrell’s Bistro is a modern, casual Asian bistro located along Telok Ayer Street.

It offers Lunch Sets and A La Carte menu of modern Asian fusion tapas, mains, pastas and sides – at wallet-friendly prices considering this area.

A 2-Course meal is priced at $25++, while a 3-Course with appetiser, main and dessert is at $35++.

Chef’s Traditional Prawn Paste Chicken aka Har Cheong Gai which is available as a bar snack got so popular, he decided to make a burger out of it.

The “patty” is a fillet of chicken thigh marinated in fermented prawn paste, basil leaf powder, ginger and more.

Once the flavours have seeped in, it is deep-fried till the skin turns crisp while keeping the meat juicy. Jarrell’s Bistro (Telok Ayer)

LUNA
53 Amoy Street, Singapore 069879
Opening Hours: 12pm – 6:30pm (Sun – Thurs), 12pm – 9pm (Fri – Sat), Closed PH

Popular Patisserie For Orh Nee Cake and Elegant Goma PB
LUNA Patisserie is known for the selection of pretty, quality cakes.

While its menu changes periodically according to the seasons, best-sellers still available continue to be the popular Orh Nee Cake ($8 per slice, $80 per whole cake) with velvety yam ginko paste and yam cubes; LUNA 2.0 ($9 for entremet, $90 for cake) made of Valrhona Guanaja 70% chocolate mousse; and Matcha Opera ($8 for slice, $80 for whole cake).

The Orh Nee Cake ($8) is my favourite of the selection, made of pumpkin sponge layered with a mixture of yam and ginkgo paste.

The surprise came from the textural contrast in the yam and ginkgo paste, a mixture of smooth and velvety puree and bite-sized chunks of yam.

The Orh Nee is then topped with whipped cream frosting and dollops of yam cream with a touch of desiccated coconut that enhanced its sweetness.

The overall combination is well-balanced without overly sweet, yet packed with different textures.

They have also introduced Goma x PB Tart ($8.50) – swirled on top is a smooth Chantilly cream filling flavoured with black sesame. LUNA (Amoy Street)

The Bravery
50 Amoy Street, Singapore 069876
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (Tues – Thurs) 9am – 9:30pm (Fri – Sun), Closed Mon

Brunch Café Reopens With Pancake Stacks At Amoy Street
Long-time café hoppers would have been familiar with The Bravery – a Muslim-owned brunch café which has been around since 2013 at Horne Road in the Jalan Besar area.

Following their lease expiry, the café has found a new home at Amoy Street, a short walk from Telok Ayer or Tanjong Pagar MRT stations.

From the brunch menu, they serve hearty options like Wholesome Breakfast ($23), Nova Cheese Toast ($14), Smoked Duck Aglio Olio ($14) and Rosemary Chicken Breast ($14).

I had the Pancake Stacks ($14) which came with fluffy stacks of pancakes decorated with mixed berries, berry compote, cream cheese and maple syrup.

The texture of the pancakes was also on point – moist and balanced and I could easily finish most of it without feeling jelak (overwhelmingly rich). The Bravery (Amoy Street)

Stay Gold Flamingo
69 Amoy Street, Singapore 069888
Opening Hours: 8am – 4pm, 5pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sat), 8am – 4pm (Sun)

Duo-Concept Cafe Bar At Amoy Street
Stay Gold Flamingo is a combination of 2 concepts under the same roof, founded by Jerrold Khoo and Bai Jiawei who are formerly from Jigger & Pony and Employees Only.

Flamingo is the name of the cafe concept, which has a fun and vibrant image.

In contrast, the bar is named Stay Gold – inspired by a 1980s film The Outsiders’ OST “Stay Gold” by Stevie Wong.

Currently, the cafe-concept Flamingo is serving a streamlined menu with Granola ($10), Sandwich ($12- $14), Pastries ($5 – $8) and Artisanal Coffee ($4 – $6).

The selection of pastries is outsourced and include Butter Croissant ($5), Escargot Raisin ($7), Gourmandaise ($7), Tartlet Citron ($8) and Raspberry Macaroon ($8).

There were two choices of sandwiches – Shiso Chicken ($12), and Ham Sandwich ($14) with turkey ham, pimento cheese and mixed greens.

I was half-expecting slices of roasted chicken within the sandwich, but this came in a mayonnaise base reminding me of the usual tuna-mayo sandwich.

Included with pineapples and shiso leaves within, there was a fruity-tangy Hawaiian pizza-like feel in the middle and with refreshing notes in between. What I enjoyed best was the light crustiness of the Focaccia bread. Stay Gold Flamingo (Amoy Street)

Neighborhood by ALLY Singapore
Manulife Tower, 8 Cross Street, #02-01/02, Singapore 048424
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 9:30pm (Mon – Fri), 9am – 4pm (Sat – Sun), Dine-in 12pm – 5pm

Sleek Coffee Bar At Telok Ayer Found Within A Cycling Studio
“Neighbourhood” is a cafe nestled within a cycling studio ALL Singapore at Manulife Tower in Telok Ayer.

This is their coffee bar and shake store, a refuel station for members of the cycling studio and the public to grab a cup of pre and post-workout beverages.

Featuring a sleek granite bar counter and a chromed Slayer espresso machine, the menu is pretty concise with only Black ($3.50), White ($4.50) and Shakes ($9).

2 single origin coffee beans are available for their espresso-based drink, Guatemala or Brazil, both roasted by Brewsmith Coffee Roasters in Malaysia. Neighborhood (Telok Ayer)

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

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