The culturally-rich Chinatown 牛车水 is enjoying some resurgence now that tourists are coming back to Singapore.
If you are new to the area, some of the surrounding precincts to explore around there include Kreta Ayer, Ann Siang, Telok Ayer, and Bukit Pasoh.
One thing for sure, there are many new cafes that opened in the last couple of months that is of walking distance from Chinatown MRT, many of them along South Bridge Road.
Here are 11 Chinatown Cafes in Singapore you can check out:
28 Ann Siang Road, #01-02, Singapore 069708 (Chinatown MRT)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Last order at 9pm for food, 9:30pm for drinks
Japanese-French Café By Michelin-Starred Whitegrass and Hvala
The newly-launched Boyutei at Ann Siang Hill brings together tea artisans Hvala and one-Michelin star restaurant Whitegrass.
The main menu food items are conceived and exclusively crafted by Whitegrass Head Chef Takuya Yamashita, with the Boyutei offerings a ‘festival’ of Japanese-French fusion cookery.
Comforting and inspiring yet featuring familiar flavours, it includes an extensive range of soups, salads, Japanese sandos, noodles, rice dishes, as well as sweet and savoury crepes – go for the Goma Matcha Crepe ($14).
One of my favourites in the new menu, the Ebi Katsu Sando ($22) is an open-face Japanese sandwich with crunchy, golden-brown deep-fried prawns at its centre.
The centre was moist and made an unusual brunchy item for a lazy afternoon.
Adding to the texture of the sandwich is a bed of tomatoes and cabbage atop a thick and soft brioche toast.
Read more at: Boyutei (Ann Siang)
258 South Bridge Road, #01-01, Singapore 058807
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Tues – Thurs), 11am – 10pm (Fri), 10am – 10pm (Sat), 10am – 9pm (Sun), Closed Mon
Aesthetic Brunch Place With Fried Chicken French Toast And Sakura Drinks
The people behind September Coffee draw their inspiration from mature café scenes in South Korea and Thailand.
Some of the signature foods are the briny Masago Udon ($23), rich Beef Ragu ($20), delicate Crab Linguine ($20), and the indulgent Wagyu Beef Brisket ($26).
Headlining is the Fried Chicken French Toast ($18), which you can consider a spin on fried chicken and waffles, and is also sold-out early.
Cut into the French toast that has soaked up the spicy honey, with a piece of fried chicken to go with it.
There are also the pretty-looking Iced Refreshers of Sunset Breeze ($7), Sakura Peach Blossom ($7), Sakura Lychee Spritz ($7) and Yuzuri Spritz ($7). Take a couple of photos, and give the drinks a good stir.
Read more at: September Coffee (South Bridge Road)
283 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058832
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Mon – Thurs), 12pm – 10:30pm (Fri – Sat), Closed Sun
Cake Spade Reopens With 2-Storey Pink Cafe At South Bridge Road
Cake Spade has moved further down the road from Tanjong Pagar Road to South Bridge Road, a short walk away from Maxwell Food Centre.
This patisserie café has a much bigger space, painted in a baby pink on the exterior.
The cake café first got into the limelight years ago with their take on of Strawberry Tofu Cheesecake ($8.80, $65 for whole) with fresh strawberries encase in jelly with digestive biscuit crust at the base.
A highlight at this new shop would be the whimsical looking Comic Cake ($9.80) that would look like it was out of a 2D webtoon.
This was a soft vanilla Chantilly cream cake, layered with mangoes and strawberries, cleverly outlined with chocolate strokes to make it better for the gram. Somewhat pricy though.
Read more at: Cake Spade (South Bridge Road)
Madame Ooze Ice Cream Cafe & Dessert Bar
259 South Bridge Road, Singapore, 058808
Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm (Sun – Thurs), 8am – 11pm (Fri – Sat)
Croissant Ice Cream Cafe Hidden In A Boutique Hostel Along South Bridge Road
Madame Ooze is a concept store opened within Adler Hostel. The 20-seater is colourful and vibrant, well-equipped with comfy sofa seats, tables and chairs just like a living room.
What you can expect include Ice Cream (Single $4.20, Double $8, Triple $11), Croissant ($4.50), Cinnamon Bun ($2.50), Coffee (from $3), Tea ($6.50) and Bubbly ($6).
Their signature item is their Croissant with Ice Cream, which created an oozy effect due to the temperate difference and thus the name – Madame Ooze.
I must say that each scoop of ice cream is huge and generous, sandwiched between the warm croissant, before sprinkling some icing sugar on top as a finishing touch.
The croissant was light and flaky, giving a textural contrast to the creamy ice cream and a good balance between the warm croissant and cold ice cream.
Read more at: Cake Spade (South Bridge Road)
The Food Peeps Coffee & Deli
34 Sago Street, Singapore 059026
Opening Hours: 8am – 5pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Sun), Closed Wed
Under-The-Radar Brunch Café At Sago Street
This humble cafe previously located at Maxwell House has shifted to Chinatown, next to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.
Apart from the expansion in space, the cafe has also undergone a change in colour tone, a distinctive green added to the previous pink colour used.
In the sandwich department, there are some creative items such as Hong Kong Breakfast Bagelwich ($12), Halloumi & Avocado Bagelwich ($12) and Spicy Prawn Burger ($15).
Their Brunch menu, on the other hand, has more than just sourdough toasts, with interesting options such as Big Breakfast Club ($18), Omelette “Crepe” ($15), 3-Cheese Rosemary Waffle ($14) and Hangover Pancake ($15).
The Omelette “Crepe” ($15) caught my attention. It was a thin crepe-like omelette with wilted spinach, creamy avocado, multigrain toast and a choice of smoked salmon or mushrooms added on top.
36 Temple Street, Singapore 058581
Opening Hours: 12pm – 11pm (Mon – Sun)
Ice Cream Cafe With Pandan Mochi Waffles Opened By Titus Low
Online controversies aside, this shop is a collaboration between influencer Titus Low with Hundred Acre Creamery at Sunset Way, serving up scoops and waffles from noon till 11pm daily.
In terms of gelato flavours, you get a range from the not-so-conventional to safe choices, from Strawberry Cheesecake, Rocher, Dark Chocolate Sorbet, Honey Chrysanthemum, Peanut Butter Banana, Ocean Blue, Tiramisu, Sea Salt Butter Caramel Biscotti to Roasted Black Sesame.
A single scoop goes for $5, double scoops at $9, with premium flavour at an additional $1. Customers can opt for a rosemary cone at $1.50 extra.
Hojicha Mochi is one of the recommended flavours with pleasant roasted flavour of the Hojicha tea from Uji, velvety-smooth texture with bits of chewiness and hints of black sesame in between.
You can get your gelato on top of Belgian Waffles ($8), Lava Cake ($10) or the signature Coconut Pandan ($8).
The Coconut Waffles was lightly crispy contrasted with sticky mochi in the middle, lined with fragrant gula melaka sauce.
Read more at: OnlyCreamery (Temple Street)
Breakfast Hola 早餐好了
280 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058829
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 5:30pm (Mon, Wed – Sun), Closed Tues
Taiwanese Breakfast-Style Cafe With Egg Crepes At South Bridge Road
Breakfast Hola 早餐好了 specialising in Taiwanese-style breakfast has opened at South Bridge Road, of short walking distance from Maxwell Food Centre and Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum.
Recommended items are the Strawberry & Egg Toast ($5.80), Pork Floss Egg Toast ($5.40), Ham & Pork Floss Club Sandwich ($7.90), Double Cheese Crepe Roll ($4.90), Lady Boss Pork Brown Rice ($5.80, $7.80), and Taiwanese Nabeyaki ($7.90).
No Lu Rou Fan at Breakfast Hola though. They serve up another version called “Rou Zao Fan” ($4.80, $6.80) which they term as “Authentic Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice”.
The key differences is that “Rou Zao Fan” uses ground pork instead of pork belly, and has a mellower taste with use of fewer aromatic spices.
Their version was considered decent, with braised savoury pork on top of fluffy rice with light fragrance that made it more appetising to have.
Read more at: Breakfast Hola 早餐好了 (South Bridge Road)
The Social Space
333 Kreta Ayer Road #01-14, Singapore 080333
Opening Hours: 9am – 5pm (Mon – Sun)
Beautiful Cafe at Kreta Ayer With Bali Vibes
This is a gorgeous and elegantly done up café with Bali vibes, which also features several social enterprises under one roof.
There are ethical products and fashion items, a refill station (for soaps and cleaning products), and The Nail Social.
The Nail Social is known to offer vocational training programme for underprivileged women, and uses only non-toxic and cruelty-free products.
The toast varieties ($7 onwards for single portions) include Toasted Banana with Peanut Butter, Avo with Egg, Roasted Mushrooms and Crème Fraiche, Roasted Egg Plant with Miso Dressing, along with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese.
Or you can get a Smoothie Bowls ($12 onwards) topped with house-made granola, toasted coconut flakes and seasonal fruits.
Read more at: The Social Space (Kreta Ayer)
QUEIC by Olivia
41 Kreta Ayer Road, Singapore 089003
Opening Hours: 11am – 7pm (Wed – Sun), Closed Mon – Tues
Cheesecake Specialty Cafe With Cheesecake Macaron At Kreta Ayer
Known for their Basque-style burnt cheesecake and starting the trend in Singapore way back in 2019, Olivia Restaurant & Lounge at Keong Saik is no strangers to many people.
After 2 years, the team behind Olivia Restaurant & Lounge has finally opened a standalone shop for their signature cheesecake, QUIEC, just one street away from their sister outlet at Keong Saik.
Their signature Olivia Burnt Cheesecake can be found here at QUEIC in various sizes: 4” ($15), 6” ($48) and 9” ($78).
I remembered vividly how distinctive and remarkable Olivia’s version is, using Valdeon cheese (a Spanish blue cheese made from a blend of goat and cow milk) that give it a savoury note, on top of an almond sable base that is firm and crisp, before scorching the top layer to add a caramelised touch.
More like a pie instead of the cake due to the almond sable base, the result is a semi-molten cheesecake at room temperature, creating a myriad of textures from the oozy cheese to the crazy caramelised layer and the crunchy almond sable base.
There is a nice balance of sweet and savoury notes due to the Valdeon cheese used, intense but not overpowering, slightly salty and pungent, with a complex combination of flavours.
Read more at : QUEIC (Kreta Ayer)
The Community Coffee
14 Upper Cross Street, Singapore 058330
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 5:30pm (Mon – Sat), 11:30am – 5:30pm (Sun)
Upper Cross Street Cafe With In-House Coffee Roastery
Those who frequent the Orchard area may be familiar with The Community Coffee which first started in 2017, serving $4 at Far East Plaza.
Over here at their new space, the 19 seater space is more spacious and has a “MUJI-like” touch, mainly decked in white and wooden elements with bar counter seats, sofa and a long banquette bench lining against the wall.
2 single origins are offered on their menu for their espresso-based drinks, namely Peru and Colombia.
Prices start from $5.50 for a cup of Double Espresso and $5 for a 5oz espresso with Milk.
My cup of Flat White ($5) using single origin beans from Colombia was medium-bodied, smooth with a medium roast, with hints of yuzu and plum with a sweet finish.
Unlike the usually taste profile of Colombia coffee beans, Caturra trees were grown by the Colombian producer, which undergoes a classic fully-washed process thereafter.
Read more at: The Community Coffee (Upper Cross Street)
Grids Coffee & Bar
200 South Bridge Road, Level 1 2 & 3, Singapore 058749
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm (Sun – Wed), 9am – 12am – (Thurs – Sat)
Japanese-Inspired Menu at 3-Storey Heritage House
Grids Coffee Bar which is also located along South Bridge Road, is a coffee bistro by day and gastro bar by night.
Set in a charming 3-storey heritage shophouse, their menu is Japanese inspired and they recently gone through an entire rebrand.
Their Sandos are freshly made with Japanese Milk Bread, with several options including Lox-ness ($16) filled with smoked salmon, Pluck Pluck ($15) which refers to fried chicken with yuzu tartar, Pigasso ($16) with breaded pork loin, and Sitting Duck ($16) with aburi smoked duck.
I had the Brekkie Trail ($15) which was a satisfying treat with scrambled eggs, spam, furikake aioli, roasted tomatoes, pickled cucumbers and greens.
Enjoyed the fluffy shokupan toast which had a light crispy, and fluffy and flavourful egg in the middle.
Grids Coffee also offer mains include Salmon Ochazuke ($19), Smoked Duck Ochazuke ($18), Smoked Duck Hiyashi Chuka Capellini ($18), Teriyaki Chicken Steak ($17), Beef Curry Omurice ($17) to Chicken Katsu Omurice ($17).