Café and coffee culture has hit Singapore in a very big way in recent years. The result is a multitude of small, independent cafés in a variety of locations all over the island. Often ultra-hip and hidden away in surprising, off-beat locations, this new breed of coffee shop and café eschews the chain mentality and seeks instead to be urban chic, with a focus on well-made coffee, artisan baking and homemade dishes of high quality. Expect eclectic decor, hipster owners and patrons, and an exciting energy and enthusiasm about everything that they do.
A bright and breezy, retro-chic venue situated below a backpackers’ hostel, you’ll find cafe fare such as sandwiches, pizza and Dutch Colony coffee, as well as a fine Chai Latte, and there is a large range of locally-made desserts on offer too. You can also grab a craft beer or cider, and the service is always friendly and helpful.
48 Arab Street
Beautifully made and presented cakes and pastries are the go here, with a range of bold and intriguing flavours made with a sense of artistic flair. Whether it’s cupcakes, tarts, or savoury bakes such as pain au chocolate or croissants, the standard is universally high and the atmosphere and service friendly and knowledgeable.
Block 2 Everton Park #01-61
Traditional, old-fashioned baking with a contemporary slant is to the fore at Butter Studio, and their gourmet cupcakes, tarts and cakes are both delicious and beautifully presented. They also cater for parties and offer baking workshops for those looking to enhance their Domestic Goddess skills. Stylish yet unfussy premises make any visit a real treat.
147 Jalan Besar
Typifying the new breed of hole-in-the-wall cafe, the premises are artfully designed in a hipster style, and feature work from local artists on the wall. CAD (Coffee, Art & Design) serves coffee to a high standard and there are a range of tasty homemade treats on offer too. There is a young and interesting crowd that comes to soak up the atmosphere.
23 Haji Lane
Freshly-baked scones and cakes, as well as a range of savoury pies are all on offer at Relational Goods, which is a welcoming take away cafe that offers good hearty fare that is perfect to pick up for brunch, lunch or an afternoon snack. The coffee is good here too, and its the perfect place to grab a late Sunday morning breakfast as well. They also offer a delivery service of pre-prepared home cooked meals to locals in the Joo Chiat area.
29 Everitt Road
The Mille Crêpe cake is the Lady M signature dish, and is made from twenty paper-thin crêpes layered with pastry cream, if you can imagine such a thing. The renowned crêpes come in a wide variety of flavours and you can also pick up other delicious baked goods, such as tarts and eclairs. Originally from New York, Lady M seeks to combine French pastry techniques with Japanese precision and this fusion of styles and philosophies would seem to make it perfect for Singapore.
Marina Square Shopping Mall
6 Raffles Boulevard #02-103
Located in the former Chinese Medical Hall, the Dispensary offers wide range of cakes, cupcakes, macaroons, savoury snacks and artisan-baked bread that can all be enjoyed with a cup of fresh house blend coffee. The history of the location is incorporated into their service, with baristas using the old medical scales to measure out coffee and the like. The food is healthy and exciting, a particular highlight being the Black Velvet Strawberry Cake.
69 Tiong Bahru Road
A good example of the trend for cafés to open up in slightly unusual locations, Backstage Café can be found on an industrial estate in Kallang. However, this should not put anyone off (least of all East Coast residents) as the large space is used in an exciting way, and the extremely friendly atmosphere is unrivalled. Expect good sized portions and hearty fare, with dishes such as pork chops, roast chicken and all-day breakfasts on the menu.
158 Kallang Way #01-06
Brawn & Brains
Despite the name, offal isn’t on the menu here. Instead, expect to find a chic cafe serving high-quality coffee and baked goods in an off-beat location. They offer their own original coffee blends and the personal touch is very much to the fore here. This is a welcoming place run by friendly owners who have a mission to create a relaxed environment where punters can enjoy the finest coffee in a convivial atmosphere.
100 Guillemard Road #01-07
Common Man Coffee Roasters
A perhaps slightly more upmarket take on the hipster cafe, there is simple but well-crafted organic food on offer, such as croque monsieur, burgers, baked beans on toast (on artisan sourdough bread, of course) and a range of different all-day breakfasts. Top quality coffee, great ambience, and a busy crowd can all be expected at any time during the day.
22 Martin Road #01-00