If there’s one thing that’s been with me through the good times and the bad, it’s coffee. It was there through the late nights spent agonizing over my thesis, it was there in the unbearably early hours spent struggling out of bed for those ungodly 9am classes (in the depth of New York’s winters no less!), it’s there over breakfast with the boy, it’s the social lubricant at 4pm on office days with my colleagues, it’s witnessed every heart-to-heart with girl friends (break ups, make ups, bitching sessions and more…), and it’s there keeping me company on quiet afternoons with a good book (or in this case, an ipad). It’s been my one constant.
So here’s a round up of my favourite coffee joints on our little island, I do believe we’re making progress in the world of coffee culture, so hear hear for local boys doing the good brew.
So I was a little selfish about this one and kept it to myself for a good long time because it’s one of those places where the coffee is quite seriously underrated and you’ll always be able to get a seat during lunch hour. Everyone always flocks to Blacks with it’s cute cups and hip interior but little do they know the coffee served over at Dimbulah is far superior. I like the very generous sized lattes and the mini macchiato (espresso served with just a wee bit of frothed milk).
30 Raffles Place / 72 Anson Road / 60 Robertson Quay
A perennial favourite of coffee lovers on this tiny island, PPP and it’s offshoot, Loysel’s (first picture in the post), hits all the right spots. It’s small, located in an unexpected place, tucked away down a quiet corner, chock full of quirky furniture and has lots of character (right down to the fake old radio that has a real modern stereo behind it). But I kid, I kid, I do love this place. Their lattes are always perfectly done, with just the right amount of milk-to-coffee ratio, so you don’t need to add sugar (for the love of god do not add sugar cos you’ll ruin a perfectly good cuppa). The caramel biscuits that come with it are the best, and they’re not stingy about it (you can ask for more if you like, which shamelessly, I always do). This place is cash only so bring some.
140 Bukit Timah Road
66 Kampong Bugis Road
There’s a whole bunch of ex-bankers turned Baristas popping up all over the shop these days (not that it’s a bad thing for caffeine addicts like me!) The latest contender in the chain of chic coffee joints to enter the RP foray is Jewel Coffee, over at 1 Shenton. The (small) space is light and bright, the mushroom pasta smells amazing (I didn’t try it, but the ladies at the next table seemed very pleased with their lunch) and all their espresso-based drinks come with a double shot (double the goodness). Hurrah!
And as you can see, they do drip coffees.
1 Shenton Way
A languid afternoon spent in the chic confines of any of the PS Cafes is always an ideal way to while away the weekend. It comes complete with hot coffee, delicious food, people to watch and great ambiance. You’ll have to bring your own good company though. [more here]
Palais Renaissance / Ann Siang Hill / Harding Road
A little indie on the bridge is printed on the namecard of this charming, quaint and tiny little coffee joint that sits along the walkway that connects OUE to the rest of civilization (read: Raffles Place). This little hole in the wall serves up a really refreshing iced latte made from beans roasted by Papa Palheta’s and put together by a rather friendly barista who’s name I didn’t manage to catch (if any of you head that way, do ask on my behalf). Perfect little hidey-hole during the mad crush during lunch at Raffles Place.
62 Collyer Quay
The Coffee Daily
Serving up a sensational cuppa coffee or tea or even a smoothie(!), The Coffee Daily offers a laid back, quaint and quiet space to read, think or just relax with a friend. This charming hideyhole is bound to be a neighbourhood (and island-wide) favourite as it isn’t overcrowded with kids studying or girls gossiping too loudly or hipsters taking lots of pictures (you know what I mean). [more here]
The Coffee Daily
75 Brighton Crescent
The Plain at Duxton was inspired by the booming and very sophisticated coffee culture in Melbourne. Vincent (the owner) opened the Plain in hopes of bringing some of that coffee culture back to Singapore (3x cheers) when he relocated a little while ago. I’m a fan of the chocolate-based coffees (try the iced mocha), the humpty dumpty & soldiers, and the melbourne broadsheet (above). I’m an even bigger fan of the awesome service, the friendly staff and the fact that they remember your name! [more here]
50 Craig Road
(near the Pinnacle at Duxton)
Sarnies does sandwiches very well. It also does super strong lattes (order it exactly like that, say it, super strong latte) and huge portions of chunky delicious tomato and lentil soup very well. There are long lines of men snaking out of the place, because this is where you go (in the CBD) to get a real sandwich and a strong cup of coffee. [more here]
136 Telok Ayer Street
The Orange Thimble
Located just a hop, skip and a throw away from 40 Hands, is a little haven for art lovers and espresso drinkers. What I love is that this place is larger than the usual hole in the wall (we’ll call it a slice in the wall) coffee joint, it has both an indoor and an al fresco area, and can accommodate groups of up to 8 (more if you squeeze). The design aesthetic is tasteful, the croissants are larger than life, and as always, they make good coffee. [more here]
The Orange Thimble
Blk 56 Eng Hoon Street
ReStore’s an interesting little concept, a vintage furniture store that specializes in giving old pieces a new fresh look, they also offer a range of coffees, home made bagels, and the most delightful little earl grey sugar cookies. Nestled between bridal boutiques, they’re located just a stone’s throw away from the central business district – perfect spot for a mid afternoon escape from the office. All thanks to Miss Jo Joy for this lovely little discovery! [more here]
124 Tanjong Pagar Road
(Closed on Mondays)
This one is no stranger to the coffee scene, in fact, I’d categorize it as an old favourite of the caffeine addicts among us. What’s wonderful about Kith Cafe (other than their stellar iced-coffees) is it’s river-front location and outdoor seating that is just perfect for people and cute-dog watching. There are a lot of those in the area as well [more here]
7 Rodyk Street
Food for Thought
Food for Thought is well known for it’s excellent and extensive (and customizable!) brunch menu, and one of the things I love best about the perpetually-packed joint is that they gula-melaka everything. They’ve got gula-melaka pancakes, gula granola, and yes you know it, gula-melaka lattes. While I would absolutely make the trek there for the coffee alone, it’s definitely a good idea to have brunch or lunch while you’re at it.
Food for Thought
(right by the Singapore Art Museum)
As a multiple-award-winner of local and international coffee-making championships (yes, who knew, there were international competitions and awards for these things?), one would well assume that Keith knows his coffee, and he’s damn good at making sure his team knows it too (a number of his baristas have also gone on to win awards too!) If memory serves me right, Oriole is actually one of the very first (if not the first) place in singers to start roasting, packaging and selling their own beans. A trend that Papa Palheta’s and other coffee joints have since picked up on. Great place for that 4 pm coffee break I was talking about earlier.
Republic Plaza / Pan Pacific Serviced Suites
Da Paolo Gastronomia
Da Paolo Gastronomia at The Sail does decent coffee, and if you’re there, their latte > cappuccino. To be honest, I’m mostly attracted to the packaging (such a slut for good packaging). But seeing as how my options for angmo coffee within a 5 minute radius of the office are Coffee Bean, Starbucks, and Da Paolo’s, I’d happily support a local home-grown brand over a giant international chain any day.
#01-15 Tower 2, The Sail
And just in case you were starting to think I’m a coffee snob, let me assure you that I do in fact patronize (and very much enjoy) our local coffee chains on an (almost) daily basis since Wang’s is located just below the building where they serve up a great kopi gao siu dai (coffee thick less sweet).
Wang Cafe. Located across the island.