Singapore's obsession with java beans and third-wave cafes has led to a book called Cafe I Sg: A Cafe Lover’s Guide to Singapore, which profiles 50 cafes that have created a buzz in the city. The guide, written by coffe-loving journalists from The Straits Times, shows photos of coffee and food and includes information such as opening hours and walking directions from the nearest MRT (subway) station alongside each cafe’s richly detailed description. The book is available at all major bookshops and on stpressbooks.com.sg.
Here are the writers’ personal favourites:
The Clueless Goat
Named after the first known creature to achieve a caffeine high, cosy hangout The Clueless Goat celebrates that hapless ancient goat and modern cafe culture in equal measure. Orders are taken at the counter, where friendly staff recommend brunch items like Ranchers Eggs – poached eggs with avocado, salsa and parmesan on multigrain toast. If any of the paintings or ceramics decorating the cafe’s walls catches your eye, ask for its price – you could take an artwork home along with a slice of cake.
Chin Mee Chin Confectionery
There is a routine to eating at Chin Mee Chin: Grab a table, pick out the baked goods in the self-service cake cabinet, tuck in and wait for the staff to come round and take your order for drinks, eggs and kaya buns. Go for the pastries here, but don’t expect fanciful and photogenic cream layers. The ones here are of the old-fashioned variety and mostly spongy, but enjoyable nonetheless. The custard egg tart comes with an enjoyable cookie-like base that is crisp, buttery and a little sweet.
Kick back with friends over Group Therapy’s aromatic, full-bodied lattes or flat whites, and don’t miss its hearty sandwiches and salads. Weekends tend to pull a late brunch crowd all the way until 4pm, but perhaps that’s just a result of the laid-back feel of Duxton, on a weekend, seeping into the cafe and slowing time down.
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Chye Seng Huat Hardware
The cafe’s full name is Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar, and the emphasis is deserved. Nip around the shophouse facade, and what greets you upon entering the (literally) post-industrial space is a massive central bar. The hand-brews are presented with utmost seriousness: a generous serving in a glass flask, a prewarmed ceramic cup from which to drink and an accompanying note with details ranging from supplier background and tasting notes to bean varietal, elevation and crop year.
Tolido’s Espresso Nook
Regulars flock to Tolido’s Espresso Nook for specialities such as the 462 Prawn Laksa Pasta, a creamy combination of springy spaghetti, juicy prawns and alfalfa sprouts. The sauce is not overly rich and the dried shrimp hiding in the bowl adds crunch to every bite. Drinks here flow beyond the ordinary too, with intriguing offerings such as the sea-salt caramel latte, Baileys affogato, Cointreau mocha and pumpkin spice latte.
Its ordinary coffees are intense in flavour and immensely reliable, but the standout drink at Ronin is its signature Wicked, a rich mocha infused with mint and poured into a chocolate-slicked glass. Get it iced on a hot day for instant relief. Ronin also makes a mean sandwich. Its eponymous Dirty Ronin tops slices of chorizo and emmental cheese with miso mayo and a soft egg. Vegetarians will delight in the Salada – avocado mash and emmental elevated by the sour tang of daikon.
Jewel Cafe and Bar
Amid Singapore’s crowded caffeine scene, Jewel Cafe and Bar has carved out a coveted reputation for serving stellar coffee. One of its main highlights is its affogato – Jewel surprises by having the ice cream sit on a bed of biscuit crumbs. The 80-seater also serves hearty meals and an unconventional set of dishes. Healthier choices include the fish tacos with sour-cream mayo, or try starters like the Shio-Koji Octopoke, which is octopus tossed in shio-koji (fermented rice and salt seasoning) and wasabi.
Jimmy Monkey Cafe and Bar
Tucked in a corner of One North Residences, Jimmy Monkey Cafe and Bar softens the industrial aesthetic of high ceilings and exposed brick walls with homey bookshelves and sofas. The cafe is known for its filling Australian-style breakfast and good coffee that isn’t overly acidic. But also of note are its vegemite-and-cheese toast soldiers and decadent alcoholic milkshakes.
Thumbnail image: 123rf.com
This story was originally published on Silverkris.