Does anybody else still have vivid daydreams about the trend that was café-hopping from a few years ago? It’s safe to say this trend has since abated but if you were anything like me, weekends were sacred: reserved for rendezvousing with friends at some newly-opened café… and who can forget the obligatory ritual of pictures first, partake later?
While cafés in Singapore were a common sight in the upscale areas of the island like Katong, Tiong Bahru and Tanjong Pagar, they’ve slowly become a part of the average neighbourhood landscape as well.
So how do these businesses stay current and stand out against their competitors? Simply put – it’s all about #aesthetics. From cafés inspired by Australia, Japan and South Korea, to an eatery that will take you back to Singapore circa the ‘60s, we’re bringing you enough recs to last three months of weekends. Here are the 12 IG-worthy cafes to visit in Singapore!
1. Café de Nicole's Flower
Pic credit: Café de Nicole's Flower
Is it really a list of IG-worthy cafés without Café de Nicole's Flower? This floral heaven is a venture by one of Singapore’s leading florists, complete with a flower shop at the entrance that perfumes the air and adds to the fairy tale atmosphere. Nestled in Telok Kurau, this is the perfect place if you’re looking to live out your woodland nymph fantasies.
The café menu is comprehensive, to say the least. From Waffles ($12.90) to Açaí Bowls ($9.90) and even timeless favourites like Aglio e Olio ($21.90), there’s something for even the pickiest eaters. A popular item on the menu is the Soufflé Pancakes (from $15.90), and the range of flavours include Matcha, Tiramisu, Dark Chocolate & Pecan Hazelnut, but just a heads up: the estimated wait time for the pancakes is up to 30 minutes as each pancake order is made from scratch.
The drink choices range from the usual suspects like Mocha ($6.90) to Artisinal Gryphon Tea ($9.80). Additionally, the cafe has a special drinks menu for the more adventurous: Mermaid Tears ($7.90) which is a Butterfly Pea Tea with freshly squeezed lemon juice, and Summer Holiday ($9.80), red grapefruit purée and Greek yoghurt topped with whipped cream and a slice of grapefruit… yum.
For reservations and the full menu, please refer to the Café de Nicole's Flower website.
Café de Nicole's Flower
Address: UNI Building, 224 Telok Kurau Road #01-01
Opening Hours: 9AM-11PM (Tuesday to Sunday)
Price Point: $$
2. Walking on Sunshine
Pic credit: Walking on Sunshine
Walking on Sunshine makes a bold claim: the best, most Instagram-worthy café in Singapore – and it certainly delivers. This garden café features a cottage-core theme with live plants, floral arrangements, dried flower bunches and woodsy furnishings. If that doesn’t sell itself, maybe the sheer juxtaposition of an award-winning salon on the same site will pique your interest.
Still, the draw of its Korean-inspired menu with Mains for breakfast, brunch and dinner, Desserts, Drinks and (believe it or not) Ginseng brings us back time and again. The Seoul-ful fare we’d recommend, that come in portions meant to be shared, are the Bulgogi Fries ($10.00), Kimchi pizza ($17.50), and Korean style fried chicken with yangneom sauce ($23.50).
You can get all-time favourite eggs benny here with chicken ham ($16.50) or bacon ($17.50), and don’t leave until you’ve had their earthy ginseng coffee latte ($8.00). If you’re brunching, go with the Signature souffle pancake ($20.50) that scores full marks for presentation and will also have you saying 잘 먹었습니다 (jal meogeosseumnida) like a consummate Korean!
For the full menu, please refer to the Walking on Sunshine website.
Walking on Sunshine
Address: 181 Orchard Road, #03-07 Orchard Central
Opening Hours: 11AM-10PM (Monday to Friday) and 10AM-10PM (Saturday and Sunday)
Price Point: $$$
3. Five Oars Coffee Roasters
Pic credit: Five Oars Coffee Roasters
We cannot begin to express how excited we were to discover that Five Oars Coffee Roasters does coffee – because caffeine, duh – and that they do it well. This coffee house was founded by five friends on the premise of sharing great coffee after all, and the dedication to this end brought them to research extensively in “bean varietals from all over the world”.
Come unwind in this minimalist space with a cuppa of their labour of love, and treat yourself to Pain au Chocolat ($4.50), a Cubanos Sandwich ($16.00) or Crab Scramble ($18.00) on the side. Personally, I’ll make a return visit just for the White Wine Vongole ($20.00) and am looking forward to having it in the east once the new branch opens its doors.
The experience doesn’t have to end when you leave; you can purchase ready-to-drink bottled brews or a bag of coffee beans to DIY at home. Pick from options like the vegan-friendly Oat Cold Brew ($24.00 for a Bundle of 6), a Mahogany blend ($15.00) with its distinct chocolate/nutty flavour profile, the fruity and floral Konga blend ($18.00) or go bold with La Union ($24.00).
For the menu, please refer to Five Oars Coffee Roasters’ website.
Five Oars Coffee Roasters
Address: 8 Marina View, #01-01 Asia Square Tower 1
Opening Hours: 8AM-5PM (Monday to Friday, except Public Holidays)
Price Point: $$
4. Bearded Bella
Pic credit: Bearded Bella
Whether you decide to dine al fresco or in the cosy, warmly-lit indoors, expect to be wowed at Bearded Bella. This place is such a hot spot that you can expect a full house and having to wait for a table even on a weekday afternoon. (Pro tip: reserve a table in advance!)
In truth, we came here specifically for the Soft Serve ($14.50), a light and textured raspberry, lychee and rose soft serve with raspberry caviar, pistachio, meringue crunch and baked tuile. Within minutes of being seated and after none-too-discreetly eyeballing other patrons’ orders however, we added on the Big Brekkie Our Way ($25.00) and Scallop & Cold Pasta ($22.00). Long story short: no regrets.
Shout out to the baristas: I would come back just for a cup of their brewed double espresso with soy ($5.50).
In addition to grub, Bearded Bella has got you covered if you’re looking to gift someone – or yourself à la #treatyoself. The French Press Brewer Set with Manual Grinder ($160.00) comes as a set with a kettle and 200g of single-origin coffee beans roasted in-house. If you’re down to rep the café, a black and white trucker cap ($18.00) is also available for purchase online.
For reservations, the full menu and supply store, please refer to the Bearded Bella website.
Address: 8 Craig Road
Opening Hours: 7:30AM-5PM (Monday to Thursday), 7:30AM-10:30PM (Friday), 7:30AM-6PM (Weekends and Public Holidays)
Price Point: $$$
Pic credit: Hvala
Hvala prides themselves on quali-tea so much so a team makes biannual visits to their traditional tea supplier in Japan. Such is the commitment to Japanese tea culture, down to the attention to details like white garden stones, low tables and floor seating arrangements. There is a sense of openness to the café space that is meant to encourage connecting with friends and strangers alike.
Tea purists can opt for a hot brew green tea; you can’t go wrong with Sencha ($5.80), or else try the Kamairicha ($7.80) which comes from pan-fried rather than steamed tea leaves. Oolong, black tea and white tea are the other hot brew teas that range from $6.80 to $14.80 a cup.
The iced Genmaicha Latte ($6.80) is described as a shot of toasty and nutty genmaicha, which is a combination of green tea and roasted rice, layered onto fresh milk, and the fact that I had two servings in one sitting is a testament to just how delicious it is. If you are partial to sweeter tea, then the Hojicha Latte ($5.80 hot, $6.80 iced) is for you!
Indulge that sweet tooth further by pairing your drink with un petit gâteau: Honey Earl Grey Hazelnut, Sweet Potato or Yuzu ($8.80 each). Vegans will rejoice at the dairy-free gelato and sorbet ($5.80-6.80) found here with a dozen flavours to choose from, including Goma, or black sesame, and Matcha in three varying degrees of intensity.
For the full menu, please refer to the Hvala website.
Address: CHIJMES 30 Victoria Street, #01-04/05 and 111 Somerset Rd, #01-10
Opening Hours: 12-9:30PM (daily)
Price Point: $$
6. Amber Ember
Pic credit: Amber Ember
Get ready to feel all your feelings at Amber Ember, advertised as a space where ‘people gather and emotions linger’. Something about the muted lighting, neutral-coloured sponge-painted walls and plant accents give credence to this. In fact, our first impression was of artwork by Instagram artist, Katya Pérez, come to life. (DAY 14: HOUSE PLANTS and DAY 16: ART STUDIO for reference.)
While island wide delivery is available, nothing beats their signature pressed brioche toasties, or Jaffles, served fresh off the cast iron. You won’t be able to get enough of their devilled mushroom-topped Jaffles aptly named The Fun-guy ($15.00) or fusion-inspired Mala del rey ($15.00), and can I get a hallelujah for Cheesus Loves You ($14.00)?
Plus, if ever there was a dessert that you absolutely have to make room for, it’s the John Lemon Waffles ($14.00). The tart lemon curd, blueberries, strawberries and passion fruit purée are offset by a scoop of French vanilla bean ice cream that will bring you this close to licking your plate clean, polite company be damned.
For reservations and the full menu, please refer to the Amber Ember Facebook page.
Address: 730 Upper Serangoon Road, #01-01
Opening Hours: 10AM-5PM (Tuesday to Friday), 10AM-6PM (weekends), closed on Mondays
Price Point: $$
7. Merci Marcel
Pic credit: Merci Marcel
Spoiler alert: when someone asks how much you adore Marci Marcel, you’re going to say beaucoup. It’s inevitable. The gorgeous interior design at their Orchard outlet, in particular, is inspired by tropical and Mediterranean holiday destinations and exudes serious resort vibes.
Check out the menu of each branch prior to your visit as they differ from one restaurant to another. For example, Half-cooked salmon ($22.00), Barramundi tartare ($24.00) and Club sandwich ($21.00) are exclusive to the Club Street Daytime Menu, Orchard Dinner Menu and Tiong Bahru Brunch Menu respectively. Meanwhile, Beef tenderloin carpaccio ($22.00) on the Daytime Menu, Ravioles de Royans (S $18.00 L $28.00) on the Afternoon Break Menu and Duck Parmentier ($27.00) on the Dinner Menu can be found at every Marci Marcel.
For pre-dinner (and post, if we’re being honest) cocktails, try the La Vie en Marcel ($19.00) which is a smooth concoction of Fair Gin, lime cordial, egg white, pear nectar, lime juice and poire liqueur or keep it sophisticated with a Finn Gin & Tonic ($22.00). Otherwise, kick back with draft or bottle beer ($12-$16) or Domaine Fournier cider from Normandy ($6-$28).
For reservations and the full menu, please refer to the Merci Marcel website.
Address: 7-9 Club Street; 56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-68; 390 Orchard Road, #01-03 to 04
Opening Hours: 8AM-10:30PM (daily)
Price Point: $$$$
8. The Glasshouse
Pic credit: The Glasshouse
Less is more at The Glasshouse. This starts with the recently-updated décor from the sleek sofa, to blonde wood tabletops and matching stools, to artfully-placed hanging and potted shrubs.
The concept extends to the menu. The Glasshouse keeps it relatively unfussy with handcrafted toast and gourmet sandwiches. Choose from the sweet with a Banana Pecan Miso Butter Toast ($14.00), the savoury Sweet Potato Medley & Chili Chicken Bowl ($17.00) or a simple Sourdough with Butter/Jam ($7.00).
The air here is saturated with the aroma of coffee and it would be a crime not to grab a cup of specialty coffee ($5.00-$8.50). Should you visit after 6PM and it’s too late for a java boost, the newly-launched dessert bar has a series of confections with your name on it. No details have been released at the time of publication, but expect a modern twist on traditional classics like cheesecake, puff pastries and fruit tarts.
For the full menu, please refer to The Glasshouse Facebook page.
Address: 30 Victoria St, #01-03 CHIJMES
Opening Hours: 8AM-5PM (Monday to Friday), 9AM-6PM (Saturday and Sunday)
Price Point: $$
9. Mod Café
Pic credit: Mod Café
The picturesque appeal of Mod Café starts from outside with shell pink wooden panels and vertical plant pockets – and it looks especially romantic before sunset! A garden swing set invites you to stop for photos even before you enter, but don’t put away your camera just yet because the chic marble tops, sleek couches and chrysanthemum blooms in glass jars will have you snapping away.
What appeals to us in particular is how much of the menu is comfort food starting with the all-day breakfast set, Toast, Egg & Coffee ($15.90), to the ‘ChongYouBing’ Waffle with melted cheese ($9.90 for half, $15.90 full size), and not forgetting the omelette sandwiches where you can choose between a spinach or mushroom filling ($9.90).
Drinks like Ice Nonya Coffee ($8.90) with gula melaka and chendol ice cream and the Drunken Dianasour ($16.90) which is ice chocolate with Milo powder, a shot of Bailey’s and gelato ice cream are creative and tasty Mod Café creations that you have to have. If you’re still peckish, the Chocolate Banana Waffle with Melted Chocolate Chips & Fruits ($8.90) might just hit the spot.
For reservations and the full menu, please refer to the Mod Café website.
Address: 1A Kuo Chuan Ave
Opening Hours: 10:30AM-7PM (Sunday to Thursday, except Tuesday), 10:30AM-10:00PM (Friday and Saturday)
Price Point: $$
10. Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari
Pic credit: Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari
Tiong Bahru Bakery is probably a household name by now, synonymous with French pastries and artisanal breads. This is what you can continue to expect at this location, which has taken its aesthetic to a new level and drawn inspiration from an actual African safari. Diners will get to sit at gritty wooden tables on folding canvas chairs all under a giant tent - the only thing between you and nature and the elements.
TBB are famous for their buttery croissant ($3.50), but we recommend the Brie & Roasted Mushroom Croissant ($9.50) for a little extra mmm in every bite. The Smoked Salmon Squid Ink Roll ($9.50) or ham and butter baguette, Le Parisien ($8.50), will make for a light but satisfying lunch as well.
The dessert pastries you’ll want double of are the Vanilla Flan ($7.50), Apple Crumble ($7.50), and Tiramisu ($11) if you’re in the mood for something decadent. Get a Kouign Amann ($4.50) or two for the road; it looks like a cinnamon roll at first glance, but has a flakier texture and is just the right proportion of sweet and salty.
For the full menu, please refer to the Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari website.
Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari
Address: 130E Minden Road
Opening Hours: 8AM-6PM (daily)
Price Point: $$
11. Clan Café
Pic credit: Clan Café
While the decorating shelves that bisect the shop space will draw the eye instantly to its eclectic collection of tchotchkes, the sage and tea green colour scheme will put you right at ease here at Clan Café. Well-spaced out seating works to make the otherwise open concept feel inviting so that you might never want to leave.
The menu subscribes to the principle of ‘living well’, treading the line of hedonic eating. Take for example the Straits Clan Fry Up ($26.00) that elevates fried-any-style eggs with primo Ibérico shoulder ham, Steamed Mussels ($26.00) imported from Chile where the best mussels are farmed, or the Pot Roasted Chicken ($26.00) which is a Mediterranean-inspired rice dish that counts saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, as a seasoning.
Both the kombucha and tea adhere to the café’s precept as well – Lemongrass, Ginger & Turmeric Kombucha ($9.00) will aid digestion and detoxify your system, Yuzu Lavender Kombucha ($9.00) is high in anti-oxidant and anti-ageing properties, and Chamomile Blend Tea ($8.00) to calm nerves – are just a few of the healthful drinks to pick from.
For the full menu and reservations, please refer to the Clan Café website.
Address: 31 Bukit Pasoh Road
Opening Hours: 9AM-5PM (Tuesday to Saturday), 11AM-4PM (Sunday), closed on Mondays
Price Point: $$$$
12. Chin Sin Huan
Pic credit: Chin Sin Huan
The backstory of family-run Chin Sin Huan tells of humble beginnings: a coffee and toast shop first opened its doors in then-undeveloped Tanjong Rhu back in the 1960s. Who would have known that the shop selling handmade buns would go on to become a neighbourhood landmark for years to come? Despite the limited seating space, the café has a distinctly vintage appeal.
The specialty offerings are the Char Siew Pau ($0.80) and Pork Pau ($1.50), as well as the Yuan Yang Pau ($1.30), which is an intriguing combination of lotus and red bean paste with molten salted egg yolk. Dim Sum (ie. Carrot Cake, Prawn Fritters, Spring Roll) and Toast (Ham & Cheese, Nutella & Banana) are also available for $2.00 or less.
Rounding out the menu at Chin Sin Huan are the popular classics like Siew Mai ($0.50), Glutinous Chicken Rice ($1.80) and Soft-Boiled Eggs ($1.20), while drink options include no-frills Kopi/Teh (Hot $1.10, Cold $1.50) with both milk-free and carnation milk variations, Chinese Tea ($1.00) and canned drinks ($1.20).
For the full menu, please refer to the Chin Sin Huan website.
Chin Sin Huan
Address: 285 Jalan Besar
Opening Hours: 8AM-8PM (Monday to Friday), 8AM-46PM (Saturday), closed on Sundays and Public Holidays
Price Point: $
This article was contributed by Cora-Leigh L. from the Monster Day Tours program development and operations team.